25 August 2006

Collects Revisited

Live and learn. A good friend told me today that CPH holds the copyright on the collects in LSB, and therefore that I cannot legally publish them on my blog. Sorry about that, folks. I know, it seems utterly silly - how can a publishing house copyright the ancient collects of the Western Church? The new ones they wrote for Series A, B, and C, I could PERHAPS understand. But the traditional collects that are the common heritage of the West? Go figure. But there it is.

I am still waiting to see if the collects from TLH are under copyright; again, since most of them are directly out of the Book of Common Prayer, I don't know how they could be. But if they are not, I'll offer my own "updated" version of those for any who want to use them for the daily office.

Copyrighting the Church's prayer? I may blog, but I don't get THAT - I guess I'm not ready for the silliness of the digital age.


cheryl said...

That does seem weird. In fact, I would never have thought that could be done. You should only be allowed to copyright original material. I thought that was the whole point in copyrighting?

Petersen said...

Since the collects in LSB are unique to LSB I would imagine that they are under copyright. (The "original material" that Cheryl invokes is in this case the translation.) But that doesn't mean you can't post them to your blog. It simply means you are obligated to give the reference. To put up a Collect from LSB on the blog with reference falls us "fair use."

William Weedon said...

Pr. Petersen,

That's what I had thought, but apparently I was incorrect about it. Anyone who wants to can contact CPH and see what they say.

Lincoln - BoW said...

"Fair Use" is a murky sort of thing. According to publishers, virtually any unauthorized use is forbidden. (They HATE "fair use"). On the other side, many consider "fair use" to be whatever use they have in mind, as long as it is attributed. This is also not true.
However, TLH is an interesting book, for a number of reasons. First, there are only a few hymn texts that are under copyright. All CPH employees must memorize which ones they are. But no one in the copyright department has the vaguest notion which parts of the liturgy (if any) are still under copyright.
When I wanted permission to webcast TLH services, I was told I needed permission to use the liturgy because "some parts of it" were still copyrighted. I asked which ones, and was told, "we aren't going to figure that out for you." (Silly me, I thought it was THEIR job to know what was copyrighted.) I went through the liturgy, and found three very minor differences between TLH and ELHB. They could just as easily have been printing errors. Check the collects with the ones in ELHB, or the book of common prayer. The updates can be copyrighted. The original prayers are long since public domain.
The Copyright department of any publisher is responsible for granting permission to use works under copyright. They are NOT necessarily experts in copyright law; they will decry any thought of "fair use"; and they may not even know if a particular work is even under copyright.
I also bristle at the idea that the prayer of the church is copyrighted. It would seem that CPH would want MORE people to hear about the good resources in the new hymnal and take part in it, rather than hearing that they DON'T want people to pray the collects, and be a part of the church's prayer. But I suppose that is their marketing decision. (Hey CPH, during the NAPSTER era, CD sales went UP. When the gov't closed it down, CD sales plummeted. Just a thought.)
Finally, TLH has a note at the beginning, that admits they freely borrowed from others, and encourages others to do the same. Copyright law says that you can not reproduce materials without the express written permission of the publisher. They put it in the front of the book. In writing. Expressly. Enjoy.


PS. If you were to write a series of "reviews" of the hymnal and her prayers, and include "quotes" from prayers, that would almmost certainly fall undder fair use, (though CPH might say no - see note above) as long as less than 50% of the article was taken from the hymnal. (The review has to be longer than the prayer.) It's probably easier just to use the ones in TLH (or ELHB, as the case may be.)

cheryl said...

I also bristle at the idea that the prayer of the church is copyrighted. It would seem that CPH would want MORE people to hear about the good resources in the new hymnal and take part in it, rather than hearing that they DON'T want people to pray the collects, and be a part of the church's prayer. But I suppose that is their marketing decision.

That's essentially my thing too. It somehow seems antithetical to the Gospel to be copyrighting any portion of the Liturgy whatsoever. These things should be allowed to be freely distributed, especially by a Pastor in good standing, who wants nothing other than share these things on his blog.

But I'm going to shut up now.

tutal said...


While it may be kingdom of the left stuff we are talking about, it is not as if less restrictive licenses exist in that kingdom. I question too why the prayers of the Church are licensed as such. Especially with the advent of things such as the Open Publication Licesnse (OPL). I agree, the hymn settings, and other creative content should be protected... but as far as the prayers of the Church, can anyone rightfully say they "own" these?

tutal said...

I wasn't aware that it was dead, but then again, the last time I did work in the Open Source community (writing stuff under the GNU/GDL) was in 2002 so I've been out of the loop.

OPL aside, (and this might be better discussed with members of the CoW who can actually do something about this) it seems somewhat disingenuous that the prayers and the literurgy of the Church are in fact owned by a publishing house. Honestly, that seems to be a contradiction of realities. A somewhat weak analogy may apply here. But if a publishing company were to assert ownership of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution it would be offensive to an American, as it is the people who own these documents. In much the same way the prayers and the liturgy of the Church, if in fact they are the prayers and liturgies of the Church, cannot rightfully be owned by an entity. It is not the LCMS's or ICET's or CPH's liturgy, it is not Crossway's collects, but rather the liturgy is the servitum Dei, he theia kai hiera leitourgia, in other words it is God's liturgy and thus as the body of Christ, it has been given to us.

Reality of course is that it is copyrighted and fair use laws are to be obeyed (which btw, case law and the legislative/judicial branch decides what is fair use not a copyright dept. of a publsihing house as that is a matter of vocation). Though in 20 or so years I would hope that our next hymnal (at least in part or in whole) be made more freely accessible to the world as the gift that the liturgy and the prayers of the the Church... of God truly are.

Pastor Zip said...

Ryan Markel, while this pastor appreciates your detailed response to the questions about copyright -- incidentally, I've elsewhere gotten essentially the same response from Augsburg Fortress when, after years of granting our small congregation permission to to use a particular liturgical piece gratis suddenly decided to charge a fee to use what was merely an update of something found in the Common Service of 1888 -- I must note that all the descriptions of copyright law also neatly avoids the question being raised, namely, should the church's publishing house be preventing congregations from using the Church's prayers without applying for an appropriate license.

I am all for making sure authors get what is due to them, so I can understand hymnody under copyright. But, since you raise the matter of royalties, are you suggesting that the authors of the LSB's Collects receive royalties for their use?

For those wanting the historic (one-year) Collects, I would suggest Eugene Lehrke's Prayers for the Eucharistic Gathering, published by ALPB. Pr Lehrke makes these available gratis to congregations via The Word for Today, a ministry of St. Andrew by the Sea Prayer Center, Silver Bay, MN, for which he is Prior.

Pr. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS
Peoria, Illinois

Lincoln - BoW said...

Ryan Markel wrote :
It's not a marketing decision. It's a law decision.

Crossway Bibles, ... reprint permissions are much broader


Which was my point. CPH doesn't decide the law, so they have no "law decision." Their decision is how best to market the hymnal to make a profit. Whether to allow reprints or not is decided by wheter they think it helps them sell more copies. They USE the law in enforcing the decision, but it is market driven. Just like the Crossway bible people decide to allow free reprints and allow CPH free use of the bible in the hymnal, figuring congregations will them buy pew copies.

The NKJV people figure that if you want to use it, you pay for it. Guess which one oour COW chose to use?

A marketing decision.

CPH uses crossway because they have a liberal reprint policy, then they adopt a strict one for their own materials.

That's SMART!!!


A pastor who is staying w/ TLH - who need the hassle?

As for the hymns, it used to be that they were also writen "for the church" not for Profit.
Imagine the note at the bottom if J.S. were alive today :
"INJ:SDG Unathorized Reprodution Prohibited"
But what can you expect from the synod that COYPRIGHTED THE CROSS!!!

William Weedon said...

I think Pr. Tebbitts nailed the point I was attempting to make.

Petersen said...

If someone at CPH told you that you could not reproduce a Collect translation from LSB on this blog with the appropriate acknowledgment he was wrong. Lincoln is right about the nervousness of lawyers, but fair use, murky as it might be, is absolutely legitimate. To deny fair use is to stop protecting rights and start making up rules for the sake of lawsuits. Many publishers (especially music publishers) are over-reacting on copyrights these days because they have been cheated so much. But fair use still applies, and I can't imagine anyone saying that reproducing a single collect, especially with the intent of promoting LSB for free, is a violation of copyright. It isn't. If CPH claims it is then they should sue you so that they could stop it and prove their point. But they would lose. And perhaps that would be good since it would finally put an end to some of this nonsense.

Pastor Zip said...

>>I'm not aware of what does or does not constitute the "prayers of the Church" in your context.<<

Well, Ryan, our context is the Collects that are to be used as the Prayer of the Day (or The Collect or Opening Prayer or First Prayer) in the Divine Service, ideally in every church everywhere (or in the case of the new LSB Collects, all LCMS/LCC congregations using the LSB's 3-year lectionary), by the Presiding Minister (Celebrant) on behalf of those gathered for the Divine Service -- which includes the Church Triumphant and the Hosts of Heaven.

Now, I'm not trying to pick on you, but rather on those higher up in our publishing houses (and, alas, other parts of our judicatories) whose first response to any question is to seek an attorney's counsel -- a rather touchy problem when American Lutherans acknowledge no Canon Law, so obviously our attorneys speak only in Civil terms.