Taking risks and freeing up worship

Way back in 2005 (was it really that long ago) I posted a piece on my blog entitled “Christianity that doesn’t spread from the fridge“.

In that I explained how the use of copyright can stifle the spread of worship and faith among churches. I also focused on the ridiculous situation that means the vehicles of worship and relationship that God has inspired his people to create are locked down and used as revenue generators rather than faith-builders. If you read this blog long enough you’ll soon discover I am a fan of freedom and for creative works (including the text and artwork on this site) I encourage the use of Creative Commons licences. My spreading from the fridge piece ended with a rallying cry:

So here’s a wake up call to the Christian publishers, Bible houses, Song composers and authors of today:

Think about why you do that work? If it’s for God’s glory and the furtherance of God’s kingdom then are you not restricting the very purpose of that work by restricting the fair usage of it by others?

Christianity is about risks – take one with the work you do for him and see if God likes it.

I’m happy to say that I’ve found somebody who has. I’m not for a second claiming that they did because of anything I wrote – I doubt they’ve even heard of me – but when I found the music it blessed me. Yes I know that can be a cheesy phrase, all too often bandied around but in this instance it’s the most accurate description I can use.

Take Me In | live worship | freely download | freely use
Take Me In | live worship | freely download | freely use

Murray Bunton of Australia has produced and made available a live album of great original songs and made them available under a Creative Commons licence. I’m never any good at music reviews so I’m not going to try and explain where these songs fit in the spectrum of Christian music. What I will say is that the songs on this album are of a high quality – in terms of the writing, performance and production.

Murray has also made the recordings, the lyrics  and the guitar chord sheets freely available under the same licence as my artwork: the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share-Alike licence. This means you can use them, copy them, pass them around as much as you like without charge or penalty. You just can’t sell them or use them in a comercial venture. Seems entirely fair to me and I applaud and thank Murray for this step. Others will be greatly encouraged by the music and further still by the decision to allow the works to be freely used in their intended purpose.

If you produce or know of other Christian worship songs under a Creative Commons licence, feel free to post a link as a comment here.

3 comments on Taking risks and freeing up worship

  1. You wouldn’t believe it but I have wasted all day looking for some articles about this. You’re a lifesaver, it was a wonderful read and really helped me out. Kind regards,

  2. I’m a Catholic-Christian musician and composer.
    And I totally agree!

    I recently started musicforsunday.com, where I write about worship music and liturgical issues. I also post FREE, Creative Commons licensed hymns and songs. (Check me out!)

    On the one hand I understand composers needing to make a living. But on the big huge other hand, I can’t imagine how someone would, in good conscience, sue or fine another Christian for using their song in worship or making a few copies so that everyone can see the words. That doesn’t seem much like a Church that has “all things in common.”

    But I don’t think enough of us (us=the new generation of digitally-savvy christian musicians who understand the digital economy and post-modern IP issues) are talking about this stuff enough. Perhaps we need a worship-resource specific version of the CC license, which we can use and promote within the Christian World.

    Anyone want to catch up with me and work on that?
    adam.michael.wood@gmail.com
    http://musicforsunday.com

  3. Thanks for your comment Adam. I’m not sure there’s a need for a specific Christian CC-type licence as CC licences permit performance anyway.

    I’ve long had an idea for a directory of Christian resources under less restritive licences (CC/PD etc). I’ve seen a few similar projects start and fade (mostly through lack of input it would appear) over the years too but I still think it’s a project and resource that the Church may need more than it thinks.

    You’re right in that there’s not enough of ‘us’ speaking about this but I’ve noticed that — with the recent upsurge in voices for freedom within society itself — there’s a growing number of Christians among them. Oddly I wonder whether we always think to apply such thinking to our own “house” as well.

    I’ll drop you an e-mail as I think this is something I’d like to chat about too.

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