Thursday, September 17, 2009

God-Loving, God-Fearing Thieves

I've started articles about this many times. I've submitted them for publication, but perhaps the time wasn't right. The problem is that many God-loving folks steal without even giving it a thought, or a name. The name is - Plagiarism.
The Internet has spawned a whole world-ful of thieves, word-thieves. We send emails all over, hitting copy-and-paste, or just hitting Forward. Rarely, if ever, do we give credit to the author(s) of those words.

It isn't new. Alcoholics Anonymous uses the Serenity Prayer all the time. To this day, the name of the author is still being debated. I make little plastic canvas crosses that have a pocket for a verse that is titled, "Cross in the Pocket." Until these past few months, I never, ever knew the author of that verse. I do now. It is Verna Thomas, and every time I send it on its way from here on, I'll be sure to include her name.

All through the Old Testament, we are told about honesty, justice, and fairness. In the New Testament, we are told many times about the importance of fair wages. Giving an author fair credit for his/her words is only fair. Sometimes, that is the only payment the author will ever receive.

Why are we so casual about dropping the author's byline? It surely isn't difficult to add one more line, just a few words at most, saying "found on the xxx website," or "written by xxx." Even if, at that moment, we do not know the author's name, the least we can do is write something like, "Author Unknown at this Time." It at least acknowledges that someone, somewhere, sometime, created that collection of words, words that obviously caught our eye as being worth reading, and passing on.

Father, please guide us when we distribute the works of others and help us, wherever possible, to give credit where it is due.