Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dear Mr. Worship Artist

Dear Mr. (or Mrs.) Worship Artist,
I appreciate that you have written your own songs and I trust that you poured out your spiritual heart in doing so and that it has not been some endeavor with other agendas.

However, I did want to express some concerns that I have. It is my understanding that we have the same ultimate goal (Matthew 28). So I was wondering if you had thought about the copyright laws that you are maintaining on your music. I know I know, you want to make a living and I get that, but don't your album sales, your concert appearances and your interviews and such provide you stable income? Why then force people to purchase the right to use your song in worship? If you really had a heart for leading God's people into God's presence, wouldn't you want to do that without any reservations, snafus or hang ups?

I point to Acts 2 when the believers are said to have all things in common. Why then this property war? If I want to use a song by you, why should I have to pay a licensing fee and register that I am using your song? Why can't you relinquish your ownership of the song, the words, the tune, the chords for the sake of the Church?

I just came out of a staff meeting that has mentioned that image sharing is also to be viewed in light of copyright laws. So if I come across a sweet picture of the cross, I can't use it unless I have bought the rights to it, asked permission, etc. There is a reason that Capitalism and the way of the Mustard Seed do not go together.

So Mr. Worship Artist, what are you going to do, seek self gain? Use the gifts God has planted in you to reap your own treasure? Its your call. I will respect you either way, but if it comes down to you and the artist who has humbly relinquished the rights to their song for all to use, your song will lose every time.

Your friend in the Mustard Cause,
Ben

2 comments:

Wood said...

Great point. I dont know for sure, but I would think (ok, hope) many artists would allow usage in worship services only. Publishing companies and record companies in the christian music business are really worried about business, and Ive heard many stories of these supposedly "christian" companies (defining a business that way is another discussion entirely)not behaving as such. The argument can be made that churches make money (via offering) from use of the images/songs, but I doubt that people attend a church because the worship team uses a Chris Tomlin or David Crowder song. I will take this as a challenge to find those artists who allow use uninhibited, and maybe this mustard seed action will bear fruit.

Jeff Honnold said...

Check out what Chris Rice has started: http://chrisrice.com/articles.php?id=31