Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Acts of God] Hearts and Minds

Posted by Lex Fear on September 25, 2008

Two pieces of good news today which gives me pause for thought… Filesharer Jammie Thomas has been granted a retrial by the judge who sentenced her last year.

“Minnesota Federal beak Michael Davis said he had given an incorrect instruction to the jury on the level of proof required by the Recording Industry Ass. of America. He had told jurors last year that the act of “making [music files] available” via a peer to peer network was sufficient to prove unauthorised distribution of copyright material without evidence that others had downloaded the files.”

<snip>

Although he wasn’t considering the fine levied against Thomas in the original trial, in his judgment Davis said Congress should re-examine the law on copyright infringement, calling it “wholly disproportionate”. “Her alleged acts were illegal, but common. Her status as a consumer who was not seeking to harm her competitors or make a profit does not excuse her behavior. But it does make the award of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages unprecedented and oppressive,” he wrote.” – RIAA filesharing target Jammie Thomas wins retrial – El Reg

The second bit of good news, however it comes with a twist, is the European Parliament have wisely thrown out the “Three-Strikes” law when it comes to copyright infringement.

“The amendment, drafted by Guy Bono and other members of the European Parliament, was adopted by an overwhelming majority. 573 parliament members voted in favor while only 74 rejected. Satisfied with this outcome, Bono stated in a response to the vote: “You do not play with individual freedoms like that,” and said that the French government should review its three-strikes law.” – European Parliament Says No to Three-Strikes Law – TorrentFreak

Could this be a possible turning point in history, are our leaders finally coming round to the 21st Century and understanding of technology and innovation?

I’ve always believed in a God that is involved with life on earth in both a grand and intimate scale. I don’t believe God sends earthquakes and tornadoes in order to bring punishment to any region, I don’t believe he speaks and commands suicide bombers or terrorists to fly into buildings, but I do believe he is intimately involved in human affairs to bring about creativity and invention, justice and mercy.

I believe in a creative God, a God who fashioned humans in his image – that means we got his characteristic creativity as well. It is on display everywhere we look; invention, design, industry and the arts. Creation is in us and is a part of our human identity. I also believe, in a broader sense, that Jesus was and is a file sharer.

Jesus’ primary goal was to get the good news out. He didn’t care much for any authority that stood in the way, and he certainly didn’t issue copyright disclaimers on his stories or words. If he had, we might never had heard of the carpenter from Galilee. If Jesus was physically walking the earth today, I believe that he would be utilizing p2p networks to share all sorts of Christian media – words, songs and movies. The RIAA would probably play the part of the Romans (on behalf of copyright owners such as Hillsong) and do their bit to crucify him for this, of course.

The point is, BitTorrent is a creative invention. It is a great invention for spreading information more quickly and efficiently than any other source on the tubes. I believe God has had a hand in human invention from the beginning, gifting us with ideas and intellect, and I believe he has his hand in technology even today.

They burned the first man to translate the Bible into English in an attempt to supress the free sharing of this valuable information with the common people. How quickly they forgot that sharing of information and communion is at the core of the Christian message, and how lost are we now that the church employs the very same techniques as the world to ‘protect’ it’s ‘intellectual property’? The church has forgotten the words of the psalmist in Psalm 24:1.

So although many on both sides may disagree with me for different reasons, I believe that God has had his hand on proceedings in both of these cases today. I believe God wants us to have an open and free society more than anyone can realise or imagine. He doesn’t have to place the literal ideas in our head, or force our hands to work, he has already created the desire, the passion and the spirit, this is all that is needed for justice and creativity to prevail.

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One Response to “[Acts of God] Hearts and Minds”

  1. […] This is a follow up to my last post (Hearts and Minds). […]

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