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3. Romans 13 and Copyright Shenanigans

I made the video on Friday night for the youth night on Saturday. I was pretty pleased with the video. I used music from Run Lola Run and clips from about ten different films. It was pretty exciting I thought. I went to bed feeling quite pleased with myself. Although as I lay there for the short time between turning out the light and falling asleep it occurred to me that I had probably just broken a copyright law or three. A little uneasy I fell asleep.

In the morning I went through the day feeling both uneasy, but excited. I was excited about the video but uneasy because I thought it was probably illegal. I prayed as I tend to do, and told God that'd I go check out the copyright laws during the day and if I had done the wrong thing I wouldn't show the video. But I never got around to it.

We showed the video and everyone seemed like it. But I still felt uneasy. I drove home and felt bad because I said I'd do something but I didn't. I met Robert and Ryan as they were leaving for their trek to Dee Why. Robert mentioned that he thought that the video was probably completely illegal. I didn't really want to hear that.

I went inside and sat down and my computer and found a website that told me all about Australia's' copyright laws. It told me that my video was illegal. My mini-disks are illegal. Any music editing I've done is illegal. Any time I've ever shown a video at youth group or in church has been illegal. I didn't really want to hear any of that.

I was thinking the other day about making myself a t-shirt that said "I'm a happy legalist", at this stage I wasn't feeling that. I was feeling like an extremely pissed off legalist. I had been told by an advertising person for Sony that it's ok copy music in 3 times if you own it (it is in the US), but she was wrong. My whole mini-disk collection I have only copied cds that I own, or are owned by someone in the house. But still, it's illegal.

And the damn thing is that everyone does it.

So I was read up on the copyright laws, and I thought about what it would mean for me to comply. It was a big, disappointing thought.

I grabbed my Bible to see if I could find some way that Romans 13 could be talking about obeying the law in a different context.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.

Shut up.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Damn it.

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


I went to bed knowing what I had to do and was not happy about it.

I don't want to obey these laws, they hold no joy for me. But I have a commitment to God and His Word as given in the Bible. If I'm going to live by it, I need to live by all of it.

My reading the next morning was Psalm 119:

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.

Shut up again! But I made up my mind. I'm going to obey the law even the silly ones which annoy me.

And as I think about it, I do get joy out of knowing that I can obey God. It is good to know that obeying the law, is important in my service to God. And I do love God's laws even if I don't love men's.

Today I bought a discman, and I can listen to my music legally. I have a mini-disk player too. I can use that for making videos and the like, which is what I originally bought it for. And now I get to be more creative in my video making, so it's not all bad really.