Common Scenarios

Two items that I see frequently with people in the church:

  1. Tom buys a CD of his favorite musician.  He takes it to his computer and makes a copy and gives the copy to a friend.  Or, He lets him/her borrow the CD and lets him/her put it on their iPod.
  2. Stacy owns Photoshop software (retails for about $600).  She lets her friend borrow it and put it on his/her computer.  There is no reason for the friend to spend the $600 also, right?

Do they have the  right to do these things?


ps. tom and stacy are made up names.


About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at

Posted on October 29, 2007, in Daily Word. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Copying a CD and giving it to a friend is not legal. Letting a friend borrow your CD without you keeping a copy is legal. What that friend does with it is between them and the law. But if you make a copy and then give them a copy or the original and you keep the other one, that is not legal. (By the way, making a copy for yourself is legal, as long as you retain both the original and the copy.)

    The second scenario is not as clear, though, because different software products have different terms of use. Some are licensed in a way that you are allowed to install it on multiple machines as long as you don’t use both simultaneously (think of it similar to a book – you can read that book in multiple locations, but you can only read it in one location at a time).

    In this case, if the software license allows you to install it in multiple locations, then you can install it on your friend’s computer. But you would ethically need to make sure that you didn’t both use the software at the same time.

    More often, however, the software license allows you to only install it on one computer, in which case allowing a friend to install it as well would violate the terms of that license.

    The short answer, then, is that you only have the “right” to do those things if the owner of the copyrighted material has given you that right. It is not an inherent right.

  2. O.K., I know I shouldn’t comment on this, because someone’s going to guilt me into uninstalling Photoshop, but here’s my deal. I can’t afford PS for $600, so I bought an older version from a shady website for $100.

    I justified it by thinking that Adobe is not giving me a chance to buy older versions, but they’re forcing me to spend more money for the latest version. I think they may also force you to buy the whole suite. I’m not sure if everything they’re doing is “right”.

    Mark Dean (I mean, John Smith)

  3. thanks, steve. you have a lot of experience in both scenarios. (as the author or owner of the rights/music. Not as a pirate)

    Mark aka John smith…welcome to the blog. interesting idea on the third party involvement. Maybe steve knows of possible adobe resellers that are authorized to sell older versions. i did the whole photoshop thing several years ago. that is why i am so familiar with the scenario. so last year, we bought the full suite. it gave us 2 licenses for Mac and 2 for PC. If I would have known, I could have given you the full version. of course, we would need to call each other to coordinate our usage. (That is a new one to me)

    while teaching my course at the Bible School in austin, we came upon these scenarios and it was almost impossible for them to realize that they could be ‘wrong’.

    several years ago, Jacob L helped me realize the importance of not copying music. All the news about napster and other internet companies giving music away has helped educate.

  4. I don’t know the specifics of Photoshop’s license. If you have purchased software that gives you two licenses for PC and two for Mac, then you can have it installed on four computers (2 of each) and not “call each other to coordinate our usage”. 🙂

    I have bought software off of eBay on a number of occasions (still new in box) and saved money that way. As far as I know, that’s not illegal.

    By the way, I should probably state very clearly that I’m not a lawyer (nor the son of a lawyer) and my comments are not to be construed as legal advice!! 😉

  5. Well, guys, I have only ever copied a music cd for a music pastor at a church. It seems, it’s okay to copy a cd if it is for ministry. (wink, wink). I’ve been given many burned cds over the years, really, if I like a cd, I go buy it becuase I want to know lyrics and who wrote the songs, etc.

    What about passing off information in a book at your own thought/ideas? It’s all good and fine until you are the one writing/producing the music or writing the book. Suddenly, information becomes more valuable.

    Maybe the better question is, is it right to copywrite something God has given you and sell it for a profit? If God gives you a song or a revelation, is it for sale?

    I lived in Mobile, AL for serveral years. It is the home of Integrity music. They are a big employer in the area. Let me assure you, Intergrity music is doing very well. They just expanded and built whole new facilities… There are some rather big name Christian Bands from the Mobile area as well…as a realtor, I showed one of the home of a guy in the one of these bands (I’m not going to name any names but it’s a BIG band). Anyway, the house was about $300,000 (in Mobile, that is a very nice house), it was a 4 bedroom house with a recording studio, etc…the people who lived there, newly weds. Alot of house for two people. So I’d like to see the Christian artist to stop whining about $$ when the talent and songs they have been given, were given by God to encourage and edify His body. Not so they could get rich. It’s not wrong to be rich, I’m not saying that. When the goal, the pursuit, the passion becomes getting rich, then it is wrong.

    One more thing …about the software…another benifit to purchasing the full new version is, when they update it, the company usually offers the updates to existing customers for a fraction of the costs.

  6. Steve,
    I know you’re not a lawyer, but if you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, that would be good enough for me.

  7. ooh i have cds friends have given me they are compilations though are compliations wrong/ if i have a compilation i usually use them as a witness tool to show people there is a diverse musical selec of Christ centered music

  8. I understand where cbgrace is coming from and agree that God given thoughts are for the edification of the body. It is man’s system that corrupts the idea and turns edification into entertainment and gives us some extremely rich preachers and music people. However on the other hand, the Bible tells us to respect and obey the laws of the land. Copyright laws are no different from all other laws should be obeyed. It is a mark of spiritual maturity for a person to give their talents for the good of all instead of building personal wealth. We are all either consumers, or givers, of God’s abundance. In my lifetime, I’ve noticed that the consumers are always in need and the givers have cups running over. Where do you fit in?

  9. For clearification: I do believe that the laborer is worthy of his hire and firmly believe we should take care of those who devote their lives to God’s Kingdom. I also did not intend for my response to appear that I was asking cbgrace where she stood, as I have known her from childhood and know she gives her all.

  10. Bro. Rob, You didn’t offend me in any way. I really liked what you said about consumers always being in need and givers always having an over flowing cup. I have had a personal dilima about from the other side. I feel God has blessed me with a unique perspective on corporate prayer. Over the years I have amassed a great deal of information on prayer. Several churches have used the information for small groups and forming prayer groups. One church asked me if I would like help publishing the information. I said “no” because I feel the information should be free…it’s not mine, it is God given. The problem is, I have no way of distributing the information. So I am putting it all in a book. And it will be for sale. I do not believe I will get rich off of writing it. My only issue with people copying the information would be if they are selling it for a profit for themselves. Besides, we have already been working on a plan to invest the profits of the books we write into the Kingdom. I am always thinking, “Where will our Kingdom investment, yeild the greatest profit?” Not a profit for us, but a Kingdom profit.

  11. on there are 1,721,900 blogs with 57,891 new posts today.
    thanks to you, my blog was ranked as one of the 10 growing blogs!
    Can you believe it?
    you say a lot more than i do. Iets take it all the way to the top.

  12. They do NOT have the right to do this. That is called stealing!

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