Beg, Borrow and Steal

March 28, 2007 by

2007_03_28plagiarizingpoll.jpgLast week, we asked what your church’s philosophy is on borrowing materials. 252 of you weighed in, and after a week at the polls …

37% of you took the high road. You borrow materials, but you give credit where credit is due. I think when anybody has their materials used by another church, this is all they’d ask for.

23% of you employ what optimists would call “The Acts Model.” They met together, and shared all things in common. Make sure the one you borrow from is all right with this, or unfortunately, Joe Schmo’s Law Firm might come knocking at your altar.

13% of you hold a monopoly on new ideas, and you don’t need to borrow. Congratulations. While the other 13%–well, blessed are the poor in ideas, or something like that. You only steal.

9% just don’t have the creative prowess to make it happen, but cheers to you for recognizing a problem. While the final 4% believe it’s acceptable to steal, situationally (Christian pirates in denial).

As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. How do you effectively get credit? Need to beg for some design help? What do you think ethically about the issue?

This time around, we gear up for Passion Week by asking just what your church is up to. Don’t forget to weigh in!

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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3 Responses to “Beg, Borrow and Steal”

  • David Russell
    March 28, 2007

    We’re having this conversation around our office. In some sense, we are a church that is blessed to create some things we think are nifty. A few others think so too and we share when we can. We also love to see what’s happening in vibrant churches and we’re often inspired with ideas when we see something cool. (Right now, I’m really being inspired by LifeChurch.tv and their venture into Second Life.)
    That said, we’re trying to figure out our policy on sharing. We love the Free and Open Source style of giving. We say take our stuff, modify it, make it your own and if it works, roll with it. If anyone asks, we like a little credit, but it doesn’t have to be announced. But as much as I personally love the “freer” bounds of Creative Commons licensing, we restrict most of our current content from copying by using the All Rights Reserved license. In those cases, like our main Web site and our pastor’s blog, we want to ensure that we maintain the exclusive rights to that content and design. However, we are launching a new service soon that will have appropriate licensing for freely sharing and even redistributing our original content. Part of that free content will also be some site designs and other items that may have exclusive copyright for now. As much as we want to share, we also want to help other churches who aren’t as far along the path to learn the creative trade. And we love learning from those churches further along than us.


  • Cameron
    March 29, 2007

    I’m not suggesting anyone does anything illegal, immoral or otherwise naughty, but I wonder how Mark felt about Matthew and Luke knocking off his work like that…!


  • Derrick Henslee
    April 7, 2007

    I say we’re all on the same team. We should share and share alike! The ultimate goal is changed lives so if your church is producing some amazing content then share it! We’ve seen quite a few churches utilizing the free content on the Lifechurch.tv/open site.
    Feel free to stop by and check it out. Pretty sure you don’t even need to give Lifechurch.tv the credit!



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