Tag Archives: ideals

Open Letter to Online Swipers


To Whom it May Concern (Which is probably most of you),

So, maybe you’ve wondered about using those easy to cut-and-paste photos you’ve seen online–EVERYWHERE. Is it “common law” to take what you find? Finders-Keepers, Losers-Weepers?

Well, copyright law, and creative/intellectual property law is a subject of widespread ignorance. I’ve checked with some people “in the know” to make us aware of the basics.

Simply put: Any content you happen to find online is not, by default, yours to use. It’s. Not. Yours.

By what if I’m not making money from what I swipe, er…um… borrow, like with my blog, for instance; what then, huh?

When in doubt, ask yourself this simple question: “Is it really mine?”

Did you make it? If not, it’s not yours.

If you know the person who made it? Still. not. yours.

That sounds so cut and dry. Perhaps even harsh. It hurts me to have to tell you.

What if I got the content idea somewhere, but change a few words so I can be the author?

Then, ask yourself this question: “Is it really an original twist, created by me, with my unique flavor, not just a bit rehashed?”

A parody is fine, but when your idea is not a true takeoff from the original–Buzzz. Infringement.

What about “fair use”? If something is out there for the taking, why can’t I use it?

Here’s the deal with that:

Creative Common (CC) status is one for fair use, but if an image or video is not explicitly cited this way (“CC”), for instance, one can find these types of images on Flikr), it remains “all rights reserved”. Just because swiping is commonand easy (what some mistakenly may call “common law”) does not mean it is ethical or legal to use it. And try to always cite the source of the piece, no matter what.

Take this example to heart: With FBI warnings we’ve all seen before the feature on our DVDs, it works the same way. Those materials are for private use. One is not allowed to copy, distribute, sell, or publicly use the material. There was an area school, in these parts, that was showing videos to students in the typical way. A School, mind you. A learning institution. A disgruntled student reported them, and FBI agents came and took all their things (videos taped from tv, DVDs that were not purely listed as for educational use, etc) and told them that even as a school, they could use show these things for educational purposes, but only temporarily-30 days. This school, like many people do, infringed on copyright laws. Notice: They weren’t making money doing it either. The same thing goes for music. If you make a DVD copy of songs for a friend, it’s stealing the songs, because they are not paid for. It’s called pirating, whether it’s for images, music, or movies. Do people do it all the time? Oh, yes. But they ought not to.

After 75 years, unless otherwise noted, the copyright goes in the public domain. Dover Publications specializes in items of this nature (art, books, crafts, etc.)

I mention all this, not because I expect people will do the right thing. I’m not the police, and I won’t be making my list, and turning you in. This letter serves as a warning that those who swipe are liable for theft. They could be sued for damages by the creator, production company, and corporation, etc. They could even fined by a governing authority. It’s something to remember if ones chooses to play fast and loose with copyright law.

It’s actually in our best interest as writers, creators, and even as regular citizens, to respect property rights and engage in the highest ethical practice in every case possible.

In a case like youtube, and other webscites like failblog, one uploads the video or photos for sharing and distribution. But if you’ve ever submitted to those websites, you will be asked to agree that you have the rights to upload it. The legal info is all there to read (usually in the terms and conditions section).

Why does it matter?

Especially is Everyone does it!

I don’t, and can’t agree with that sort of  premise for doing what we ought to do what we do (in this case: take or not take). The reasoning that swiping is okay because it does no harm is a purely pragmatic rationale. It is a consequence driven ethic. This is secular and baseless, and because of this, a rather inferior worldview and rationale for our actions. It is a flawed position because we never know the full repercussions of our consequence-based choices. (We cannot know the true consequences.) The ill-effects, or unethical fallout is not comprehensible; therefore, it, in itself, makes a poor foundation for our choices.

A Note to Ethical Folks, Christians (ethical or not), and Idealists:

Secular/Godless reasons for behavior are so mingled in our cultural fabric and common mentality, that we often don’t realize that pragmatics are an illegitimate reason for decision making. (I cover this more in a previous post called “How do we decide things”. To read it click here.) In case you are still confused, I should mention that I wrote it. It’s original writing, so that means I own the copyright and all rights are reserved (by me, the author), just *in case* you feel like doing a quick cut and paste for your purposes…even if you won’t be making $.  : )

Our standard for what we think, say, and do is founded on a perfect and holy God, whose nature and character is the basis for all goodness. We use a vantage point outside our weak, selfish, or flawed one, to order our world. Yes, it is the realm of Ideals that we must aim, though thorough perfection remains out of grasp.

Without this, all we our left with is fickle consensus, or individual and unanchored preference.

-yours truly,


(comments? go for it!)

Shadowlands: This Real Life illustration pictures ‘Divine Love’

old spice guy

Old Spice gives us a great take on manliness; über coup for Isaiah Mustafa today!

Is God manly?

We live in the shadowlands. The goodness and love we find is a shadow of perfection, of the Eternal Mind. God, the Divine. The source of pure love and goodness, or mercy and grace.

God is not the father you had, God is the Father (or mother) you wish you had, and still need.

At the moment, I don’t think it can be better shown than in this clip of precious love that sees us through. (Olympian, Derek Redmond and his dad. It’s great stuff.)
Friends, let us love each other this way.

How do you define “hope”?

I’m working on a meaty post about Hope. but before I finish and post it, I wanted to hear your ideas.

Take a stab at it. Define hope as you see it. Please invited others to respond too.

Thank you!

Confusing God with the dad you got



It’s amazing the gut level response of people with problems against God, and those who believe in him, who fail to see how much their over-reaction gives them away.

God isn’t a man in the sky. He isn’t a “he”. “He” doesn’t pee on people, he doesn’t zap people, stand around glaring, or torching people. He doesn’t sleep through disasters, get kicks from evil acts, or remain aloof when humans encounter poverty, disease, or suffering. It’s a bit more complex.

This view is quite common, but also quite infantile as view of the spiritual of reality. However, we all begin somewhere. Essentially, the problem of understanding something–like the spiritual nature of existence, and a supreme Creator,–which is beyond the scope of eyesight, earshot, etc. and our full comprehension, involves first letting go of the physical assumptions we cling to. We continually thrust these suppositions on how the world MUST be and work, from our  human-ego standpoint.

No, one cannot “prove God” with weights and measures. One can’t prove ideals either, but hardly anyone is ridiculous enough to toss those away. Is anyone going to toss out ultimate Justice? What about Truth? Or Beauty? Or Goodness? Or Hope? Are they just fiction? Well, we can’t really prove them. If we take them away, a black hole is created, right in the middle of us, and what we hold dear. It’s nihilism. It assures its adherents that there is no point to existing, and many of its true loyalists end up killing themselves. Its not exactly a philosophy for bettering the world, and making it a happier and more beneficial place.

But just look around. One can’t waste the gift of life like that. Yes, it’s short, and pain and turmoil are found in many spots, but there is beauty and joy to be found as well. There is goodness, and one can do good. There is redemption, and hope. There are people to love and help. And, in the end, God, in a sense, “looks” like the dad everyone wished they had, as we carry out love in Spirit. But, yet “he’s” Other and not really like a human after all.

Reader response invitation…

Did you have a good dad, a good enough dad, or a crap-tastic one?