Please Don’t Steal Hymns!

From Matt Bassford’s excellent blog, His Excellent Word

Please Don’t Steal Hymns!

Monday, September 1, 2014

If you copy or distribute a copyrighted hymn without the copyright holder’s permission, you are breaking the law.  ALWAYS ask permission before copying or distributing!

New hymns and praise songs are exciting.  Nearly all of us who love the worship of God love the opportunity to “sing a new song”, and we are eager to introduce these new songs in our own assemblies and other devotional settings.  This eagerness is commendable.  However, we must make sure that our eagerness does not lead us to violate the law.

At the bottom of most modern hymns, there appears a notice that looks something like the following:

© Copyright 2014 by John Smith, Owner.  All Rights Reserved.

It indicates that the author has chosen to copyright the hymn.  Legally speaking, such a copyright notice is unnecessary.  Since 1989, United States law has provided that any creative work is automatically copyrighted, whether the creator includes a notice or not.  However, most hymnists include the notice anyway, to preclude the possibility of someone unintentionally infringing their copyrights.  As a practical matter, it is safe to assume that any work copyrighted 1923 or later is still under copyright.

Under Sec. 106 of Title 17 of the United States Code, the copyright owner has the exclusive rights to do the following:

  1. “Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords.”  In other words, if you make a copy of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission (whether by transcription or scanning, photocopying, etc.), you are breaking the law.  If you make a recording of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  2. “Prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.”  In other words, if you change the words of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.  If you rearrange the harmony of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  3. “Distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership.”  In other words, if you photocopy a copyrighted hymn and pass it out at a singing without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.   If you e-mail a PowerPoint or PDF of a copyrighted hymn to a friend without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  4. “Perform the copyrighted work publicly.”  In other words, if you sing a copyrighted hymn in an assembly without the owner’s permission (which is presumed to be granted when the owner grants permission to copy), you are breaking the law.
  5. “Display the copyrighted work publicly.”  In other words, if you make a PowerPoint of a copyrighted hymn without the author’s permission, you are breaking the law.

Copyright law is civil rather than criminal, so there is no prison time attached to any of these offenses.  However, any of these actions gives the copyright owner grounds for a lawsuit.  According to 17 U.S.C. §§ 504-505, statutory damages may be as high as $150,000, in addition to court costs and attorney’s fees.

Now, on the basis of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, neither I nor any other hymnist I know would sue a brother in Christ for copyright infringement, but it is certainly ungodly to treat our forbearance as license to violate the law!  According to Romans 13:1, God commands Christians to obey the law.  Copyright violators, then, engage in activity that is not merely illegal but also sinful.

The cure for the disease is simple.  Before copying or distributing a copyrighted hymn, always ask the owner’s permission!  In our digitally connected age, this is much less onerous than it has ever been before.  All the hymnists I know have e-mail addresses or Facebook accounts.

I have never yet refused permission to someone who wanted to copy or even to record one of my hymns, and (even though hymnists do have the Scriptural right to ask compensation), I have never asked a penny in return.   I also make the effort to reply to permission requests in as timely a fashion as possible.  Once again, this is generally true of the writers with whom I am familiar.  Alternatively, websites such as songsofthechurch.org have secured the relevant permissions from copyright owners and offer the opportunity to download clean copies for a nominal fee.

All hymnists write because we want our hymns to be sung.  However, we also want our work protected, from everything from innocent transcription errors to would-be editors who think they can improve our hymns by rewriting them.  Copyright is the legal means we have to make sure that the integrity of our work is preserved.  It is ethical, legal, and godly for all who want to use our hymns to honor those copyrights, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.  All of us should want to glorify God with new hymns, but we must make sure that we glorify Him with our actions too, by obeying the law of the land.

Think A Comma Means Nothing?

This is more than grammar and punctuation … but it begins there.

How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand

By Leah McGrath Goodman / Newsweek / August 14, 2014 (Excerpts from a much longer Newsweek article)

…on the Friday before Christmas Eve 2011, then-U.S. assistant attorney general Virginia Seitz quietly issued a 13-page legal opinion that changed everything. She reinterpreted the federal Wire Act of 1961, which, until that time, had been viewed by U.S. courts—and the DOJ’s own Criminal Division—as prohibiting all forms of online gambling….

For Seitz, reversing 50 years of legal precedent came down to the placement of a comma. In the key passage of the Wire Act, the description of the ban on gambling over state or international lines applies to “bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers.”

The first comma, for Seitz, was crucial. The question, she said, boiled down to whether “sporting event or contest” modified each instance of “bets or wagers” or only the instance it directly followed. She decided the former, writing, “We conclude that the [DOJ] Criminal Division’s premise is incorrect and that the Wire Act prohibits only the transmission of communications related to bets or wagers on sporting events or contests.”

Punctuation aside, Seitz opened wide the door to online gambling—and in the process, critics say, may have opened a Pandora’s box. Lawmakers and experts warn that online gambling is dangerously addictive for some, especially children raised in a culture of online gaming and smartphones.

Seitz, who came from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (once characterized by Newsweek as “the most important government office you’ve never heard of,” and the same office that wrote the legal justifications for drones and waterboarding), was appointed in June 2011 by President Barack Obama and previously worked at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, where Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, met and worked until they married.

“That a single, relatively unknown person in an office at the Justice Department can just bring about such massive change to our economy in direct contradiction to what Congress sees as the governing law signals a gravitational shift in power that is very concerning,” says Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University in Washington.

“The Office of Legal Counsel once held a unique and revered position within the DOJ and government as a whole,” Turley continues. “It was viewed as the gold standard of legal analysis. This office was once tasked with the job of saying no to the president. Its job was to objectively interpret the intent of our laws passed by Congress. It had a tradition of independence and excellence, and that tradition was viewed as inviolate by past presidents….

What has not changed about that tradition, says Turley, is that once the Office of Legal Counsel has spoken, its word is treated as sacrosanct by the other government agencies. (Reached by Newsweek, the DOJ, as well as the FBI, both confirmed that, as a result of Seitz’s opinion, they have ceased cracking down on online gambling and will leave it up to the preferences of the states.) “It’s problematic that this office’s opinions are treated as legally binding, as if they came down from Mount Olympus,” Turley says. “Even in its heyday, it should never have been this way.”

“This is just the beginning,” predicts Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representative from Utah, the only state other than Hawaii that prohibits all forms of gambling, even the lottery…. “Many parents already can see how easy it is for a kid to get addicted to a video game that does not involve money. You put them on the Internet and they are gambling with money, now you have a real problem.” … Chaffetz, who has become a bit of a gaming connoisseur as he pushes to restrict the spread of online gambling across the states, is only too aware that the line between real-money “gambling” and social-media “gaming” has all but disappeared, especially for the young.

……………

“The millennials are greater risk takers; they’ve grown up on the technology of video games and watching other young people winning the World Series of Poker, and they think they are smarter than everyone else,” says Jeffrey Derevensky, a professor of applied child psychology and psychiatry at Montreal’s McGill University and one of the world’s leading authorities on youth gambling addiction. On average, he says, 5 to 8 percent of university students are what he would classify as “at-risk gamblers,” with 2 to 4 percent suffering from “a serious gambling addiction.”

“Online and mobile gambling is going to be a big thing, and those aged 18 to 25 have the highest prevalence of gambling-related problems among adults,” says Derevensky, who has treated dozens of kids at McGill’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors.

One of the hardest parts of the job, Derevensky says, is “getting parents and teachers to realize the dangers of gambling are often no less severe and sometimes much greater than drinking, reckless driving, drugs and unprotected sex.”

Once hooked, kids can take years to recover—or never recover—with the most severe cases only able to substitute one high-risk behavior for another. Some kids even commit suicide. “Once they’re addicted, these kids will take their parents’ credit cards, gas cards, anything they can find to gamble with,” he says. … when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways to their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance.”

Marc Potenza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University specializing in the neurobiology of gambling, impulse control and addictive disorders, has noticed the same link. “We are only beginning to understand this condition and the potential for treatments, using brain imaging to investigate the neurocircuitry that underlies human decision making and similarities between substance abuse and gambling disorders,” he tells Newsweek….

Seitz’s opinion has essentially opened the U.S. market to what some estimate could be a $1 trillion global industry. The Center for Public Integrity has reported on the battle between offshore companies and brick-and-mortar casinos over how to regulate online gambling, with both sides investing heavily in lobbying and campaign spending….

As an Illinois state senator, Obama told National Public Radio in 1999 that herefused to take any money from the gambling industry, even though there were no limits on contributions in Illinois or on tribal donors. “It is very hard to separate yourself from the interests of the gaming industry if you’re receiving money,” Obama said. The president, who enjoys poker and blackjack, has often gone on the record stating his concerns about “the moral and social cost of gambling.”

Yet by 2007 Obama had cracked the list of the U.S. Senate’s top 10 biggest recipients of gaming money, and by 2008 he had risen to become the Senate’s No. 3 highest-paid recipient. During his 2012 re-election campaign, he accepted more money from the gambling industry and tribal casinos than any individual politician now in Washington.

McGill’s Derevensky, a consultant to international online gaming companies, says it’s not just campaign finance that’s at issue. Only a decade or two ago, most politicians would have been loath to cozy up to the gambling industry, he observes. But the financial crisis has brought a new urgency to raise revenue at both the state and federal levels, where the proceeds of gambling can provide valuable contributions. In the U.S., an online gambling license alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, in addition to the proceeds states can reap from the winnings of casinos and online gambling companies.

“Since the economy tanked around the world, you’re seeing the greatest move to gambling ever,” Derevensky tells Newsweek. “Three states have online gambling, and you will see it proliferated throughout the United States. We’re never going back. The governments are just too dependent on it for tax revenue.”

The Obama administration’s ties to the industry go beyond money. Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and a close confidant, earlier this year signed on as a consultant to the American Gaming Association, a powerful pro-gaming lobby in Washington that is pushing to make gambling more commonplace and less taboo.

Since Seitz handed down her 2011 opinion, Sidley Austin, her former employer, has expanded its deal-making practice in the gambling space, which now includes major markets in North America, Europe and Asia … Seitz, who left the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel in December 2013, plans to return to Sidley Austin to practice law, the firm’s Washington office tells Newsweek. In addition to being the place where the Obamas met, Sidley Austin has been one of the most generous contributors to Obama’s two election campaigns, donating $606,260 to his 2008 campaign and $400,883 to his 2012 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. …

Read more at http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/22/how-washington-opened-floodgates-online-poker-dealing-parents-bad-hand-264459.html

Rare hoard of coins from pre-AD 70 discovered near Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway

Originally posted on Ferrell's Travel Blog:

The Israel Antiquities Authority announces today the discovery of a box containing 114 bronze coins dating to Year Four of the Great Revolt (Jewish Revolt against the Romans). The discovery was made several months ago during work on the new Highway 1 project (between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv).

Coin hoard as it was found in the excavation. Photo Vladimir Nuhin, IAA.

Coin hoard as it was found in the excavation. Photo Vladimir Nühin, IAA.

According to Pablo Betzer and Eyal Marco, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The hoard, which appears to have been buried several months prior to the fall of Jerusalem, provides us with a glimpse into the lives of Jews living on the outskirts of Jerusalem at the end of the rebellion. Evidently someone here feared the end was approaching and hid his property, perhaps in the hope of collecting it later when calm was restored to the region”. All of the coins are stamped on one…

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Footnote 31 — William Deresciewicz, “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League”

Footnote 31 — William Deresciewicz, “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League: A Better Education – and a Better Life – Lies Elsewhere” — The New Republic, August 4, 2014, pp. 24-29

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118747/ivy-league-schools-are-overrated-send-your-kids-elsewhere

Deresciewicz, who left the Yale University faculty in 2008 to write full-time, has produced a number of provocative articles laying bare the oft-hidden skeletons in the closets of academia. Here are some excerpts from his latest installment, from the current issue of The New Republic. Notice this paragraph in particular:

“Religious colleges—even obscure, regional schools that no one has ever heard of on the coasts—often do a much better job in that respect. What an indictment of the Ivy League and its peers: that colleges four levels down on the academic totem pole, enrolling students whose SAT scores are hundreds of points lower than theirs, deliver a better education, in the highest sense of the word.”

“Super People,” the writer James Atlas has called them—the stereotypical ultra-high-achieving elite college students of today. A double major, a sport, a musical instrument, a couple of foreign languages, service work in distant corners of the globe, a few hobbies thrown in for good measure: They have mastered them all, and with a serene self-assurance that leaves adults and peers alike in awe. A friend who teaches at a top university once asked her class to memorize 30 lines of the eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope. Nearly every single kid got every single line correct. It was a thing of wonder, she said, like watching thoroughbreds circle a track.

These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood. But the reality is very different, as I have witnessed in many of my own students and heard from the hundreds of young people whom I have spoken with on campuses or who have written to me over the last few years. Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.

When I speak of elite education, I mean prestigious institutions like Harvard or Stanford or Williams as well as the larger universe of second-tier selective schools, but I also mean everything that leads up to and away from them—the private and affluent public high schools; the ever-growing industry of tutors and consultants and test-prep courses; the admissions process itself, squatting like a dragon at the entrance to adulthood; the brand-name graduate schools and employment opportunities that come after the B.A.; and the parents and communities, largely upper-middle class, who push their children into the maw of this machine. In short, our entire system of elite education.

I should say that this subject is very personal for me. Like so many kids today, I went off to college like a sleepwalker. You chose the most prestigious place that let you in; up ahead were vaguely understood objectives: status, wealth—“success.” What it meant to actually get an education and why you might want one—all this was off the table. It was only after 24 years in the Ivy League—college and a Ph.D. at Columbia, ten years on the faculty at Yale—that I started to think about what this system does to kids and how they can escape from it, what it does to our society and how we can dismantle it.
……………….
I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.

Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.

There are exceptions, kids who insist, against all odds, on trying to get a real education. But their experience tends to make them feel like freaks. One student told me that a friend of hers had left Yale because she found the school “stifling to the parts of yourself that you’d call a soul.”
…………
The first thing that college is for is to teach you to think. That doesn’t simply mean developing the mental skills particular to individual disciplines. College is an opportunity to stand outside the world for a few years, between the orthodoxy of your family and the exigencies of career, and contemplate things from a distance.

Learning how to think is only the beginning, though. There’s something in particular you need to think about: building a self. The notion may sound strange. “We’ve taught them,” David Foster Wallace once said, “that a self is something you just have.” But it is only through the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart, the mind and experience, that you become an individual, a unique being—a soul. The job of college is to assist you to begin to do that. Books, ideas, works of art and thought, the pressure of the minds around you that are looking for their own answers in their own ways.

College is not the only chance to learn to think, but it is the best. One thing is certain: If you haven’t started by the time you finish your B.A., there’s little likelihood you’ll do it later. That is why an undergraduate experience devoted exclusively to career preparation is four years largely wasted.

Elite schools like to boast that they teach their students how to think, but all they mean is that they train them in the analytic and rhetorical skills that are necessary for success in business and the professions. Everything is technocratic—the development of expertise—and everything is ultimately justified in technocratic terms.

Religious colleges—even obscure, regional schools that no one has ever heard of on the coasts—often do a much better job in that respect. What an indictment of the Ivy League and its peers: that colleges four levels down on the academic totem pole, enrolling students whose SAT scores are hundreds of points lower than theirs, deliver a better education, in the highest sense of the word.
……..
Visit any elite campus across our great nation, and you can thrill to the heart-warming spectacle of the children of white businesspeople and professionals studying and playing alongside the children of black, Asian, and Latino businesspeople and professionals. Kids at schools like Stanford think that their environment is diverse if one comes from Missouri and another from Pakistan, or if one plays the cello and the other lacrosse. Never mind that all of their parents are doctors or bankers.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few exceptions, but that is all they are. In fact, the group that is most disadvantaged by our current admissions policies are working-class and rural whites, who are hardly present on selective campuses at all. The only way to think these places are diverse is if that’s all you’ve ever seen.

Let’s not kid ourselves: The college admissions game is not primarily about the lower and middle classes seeking to rise, or even about the upper-middle class attempting to maintain its position. It is about determining the exact hierarchy of status within the upper-middle class itself. In the affluent suburbs and well-heeled urban enclaves where this game is principally played, it is not about whether you go to an elite school.
It’s about which one you go to. It is Penn versus Tufts, not Penn versus Penn State. It doesn’t matter that a bright young person can go to Ohio State, become a doctor, settle in Dayton, and make a very good living. Such an outcome is simply too horrible to contemplate.

This system is exacerbating inequality, retarding social mobility, perpetuating privilege, and creating an elite that is isolated from the society that it’s supposed to lead. The numbers are undeniable.
……..
The major reason for the trend is clear. Not increasing tuition, though that is a factor, but the ever-growing cost of manufacturing children who are fit to compete in the college admissions game. The more hurdles there are, the more expensive it is to catapult your kid across them. Wealthy families start buying their children’s way into elite colleges almost from the moment they are born: music lessons, sports equipment, foreign travel (“enrichment” programs, to use the all-too-perfect term)—most important, of course, private-school tuition or the costs of living in a place with top-tier public schools. The SAT is supposed to measure aptitude, but what it actually measures is parental income, which it tracks quite closely. Today, fewer than half of high-scoring students from low-income families even enroll at four-year schools.

The problem isn’t that there aren’t more qualified lower-income kids from which to choose. Elite private colleges will never allow their students’ economic profile to mirror that of society as a whole. They can’t afford to—they need a critical mass of full payers and they need to tend to their donor base—and it’s not even clear that they’d want to.

And so it is hardly a coincidence that income inequality is higher than it has been since before the Great Depression, or that social mobility is lower in the United States than in almost every other developed country. Elite colleges are not just powerless to reverse the movement toward a more unequal society; their policies actively promote it.
……..
I used to think that we needed to create a world where every child had an equal chance to get to the Ivy League. I’ve come to see that what we really need is to create one where you don’t have to go to the Ivy League, or any private college, to get a first-rate education.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118747/ivy-league-schools-are-overrated-send-your-kids-elsewhere

Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League: The nation’s top colleges are turning our kids into zombies

(Print edition cover subtitle: “A better education – and a better life – lies elsewhere”)

Print edition article title: “I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed By the Ivy League: Against the Tyranny of Elite Education”

A HYMN FOR TODAY – O LORD Whose Law Is My Delight

From the “New Hymns vs. Old Hymns” Front: Here is a prime example of a “new” (recently written) hymn — yet filled with “old” (Biblical) imagery and phrasing. And paired with a great tune which, oh-by-the-way, is a mere 230 years old (that’s nearly a quarter-millennium for those of us who think in such terms). Hymns written in this manner have every right and expectation to survive and thrive in the repertoire of Christian hymns — especially when fitted to an enduring and musically sound tune. This is another of the hymns recently recorded in Tampa for the forthcoming third Sumphonia CD.

A HYMN FOR TODAY – O LORD Whose Law Is My Delight

O LORD, whose law is my delight,
My meditation day and night,
I have found peace through years of strife
By holding fast the word of life.

Though frail my soul and faint my song,
“When I am weak, then I am strong.”
If struggles now or sorrows new,
I have no strength but strength from You.

I need not see the pathway bright;
“We walk by faith and not by sight”:
No cloud by day, no fire by night,
But You, my God, my inward light.

Should I depart or long remain,
“To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
So help me, God, with every breath
To honor Christ by life or death.

LM – C.A. Roberts, 2009

Tune: WARRINGTON – Ralph Harrison, 1784, alt.

#276 in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2012

Grid 20 – The “Snake Tower”

stevewolfgang:

Digging with Trent and Rebekah

Originally posted on Trent and Rebekah:

While Rebekah has been digging to her heart’s content in the Grid 16 step trench, I have been mostly working in Grid 20, which we affectionately refer to as the “Snake Tower.”  As you can imagine, this name has a purpose.  It’s not that it looks like a snake or has some meaningful historical origin, but in recent times a snake or two was spotted when it was being surveyed for excavation, and as with nicknames, it caught on.

Here is a view from down the rampart slope, looking up.

Here is a view from down the rampart slope, looking up.

So how does this grid and it’s architecture factor into the history of Ashkelon?  The majority of what you see in the photo is Islamic era construction, some of it possibly Crusader.  This is much later than most of the history we have focused on in this blog related to Ashkelon (apart from historical overviews).  The grids we were in last year…

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New excavations at Tel Achziv (Achzib)

Originally posted on Ferrell's Travel Blog:

The Nelson Glueck School of Archaeology, Hebrew Union College, and the French Research Center at Jerusalem has announced the first season of an Israeli-French mission at Tel Achziv from June 29 to July 9. This announcement is from Yifat Thareani, one of the directors of the dig. (HT: Jack Sasson).

The town of Achziv (English Bibles use Achzib) is located on the Mediterranean coast of Western Galilee about 9 miles north of Acco (Akko, Acre = Ptolemais). This is in the northern portion of the Plain of Acco.

Achziv was assigned to the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19:29; Judges 1:31), but Asher was not able to drive out the Canaanite inhabitants of the land.

Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob, (Judges 1:31 ESV)

Achziv remained primarily…

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