Freely Given, Freely Copied

I recently had sight of an old CD of Roy Turner and the Camerons produced by The Glory People, an eccentric but warm-hearted Pentecostal group. On the rear of the case, some text explains than many of the songs were given by the Holy Spirit Himself during times of revival in the 1960s. The front of the case states that the songs are subject to copyright, and that no part of them (including the words given by the Holy Spirit, presumably) can be reproduced ‘in any form’ without permission.

To this little paradox I offered a wry smile, but then reflected that Bible translations do the very same. At least the Authorised Version has no publisher eagerly reaping the dividends of a copyright claim. Yes, yes, I know there might be some sound arguments for copyrighting a Bible translation or a great Christian song, but let us remember that what we are given freely by God we should freely share.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8, New King James Version, ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.