We received a notice from Google stating that one of our ebooks was in violation of copyrights and we now had a strike against us as well as x amount of time to resolve the issue or our Google account would be permanently deleted. Now, of course, we were not aware we had included a title that was under copyright protection and took immediate action to correct the problem.
As some of you know in order to correct the problem we shut down the library temporarily. We had to remove some ebooks that were religious in nature in the Norse aspect of religion due to copyright laws. This whole thing was new to us as we were not aware that religious material could be trademarked and or copyright protected.
Now that being said I (Richard Bishop) went digging to see why these works are protected and to what extent they are protected. Why? Because I needed to know how to keep Old Norse Paganism safe from breaking the law for starters. Additionally, I don’t think its right that religious material be it a text, a symbol, or anything that’s based on the ideology of a religion should be able to be owned by any one person.
The US Constitution
According to the founding fathers of this country and our first amendment right we have the right to freedom of religion. The First Amendment, in guaranteeing freedom of religion, prohibits the government from establishing a “state” religion and from favoring one religion over any other. All the while it’s not directly stated it’s very implied that there is and has been a long-established separation of church and state.
Now under that premise would that also not imply that to copyright or trademark religious material is a conflict of the constitutional rights by bringing the church and state together? Who controls trademarks and copyrights? The state and government offices are otherwise known as The “State”. So now the question becomes how can we stop religious materials from being protected with copyrights and trademarks?
But before we get to that let us give a few examples of something that might blow your minds. I found some examples of well-known books that are under copyright protection and can land you with hefty fines as well as jail time even if you give them away.
Are you ready?
The NIV Holy Bible
So you can use this text up to 500 words as long as it’s cited properly and credit is given. Additionally, you have to ask for permission to do so. So just to clarify if you give a copy of this bible to a friend you are technically in violation of copyright law. So that’s stating that as a Christian by law you are not allowed to share your religion with others. WTF, seriously???
If you fail to do so you can and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The other Side of the coin
King James Bible
From all the homework I did it was among one of the few religious books that do not fall under copyright law. However, it is only because it was originally written in 1611. You should also note that there is a revised or rewritten edition that does have copyright protection and it follows very similar policies to those of the NIV Holy Bible.
It should also be noted that the company that owns the rights to the NIV Holy Bible also owns the rights to numerous other bibles and religious materials for which they make millions in profits annually. Check out their own online bookstore to see the massive collection of religious works they have protected only to profit from. Their business name is International Bible Society.
Several months ago there was a company that somehow manage to trademark the word Heathen. No one is clear how this happened but the reality of it is it did. Don’t believe me Google it. Anyway moving on the company that currently owns the trademark then began seeking out mom and pop shops with teams of attorneys to file cease and assist claims as well as lawsuits. Many of these mom and pops shops were fellow Norse brothers and sisters and as a result of this company taking these heinous actions a number of these shops have been forced to close.
Here is a video with just one example of a shop saying enough and fighting back.
Stop Trademark and Copyright Protection on Religious Materials
I don’t know that there is any one way a person, group, or religious organization, can make things change. I think it’s one of those things where we not as a Norse people but a religious country/world will have to come together as one cohesive unit. How do we do accomplish this you ask?
- Regardless of religious beliefs unite with the ideology that religious materials including symbols, texts, and historical documents should not be trademarked or fall under copyright protection. It doesn’t mean you have to believe the wat the Christians do or the way the Muslims do, but what it does mean for us here in the US is that we all agree our religious material should be readily available for everyone with no one having ownership of it.
- Spread the word of the movement to remove copyrights and trademarks from religious texts.
- Start a petition that gets millions of signatures that will be the voice of the American people as a whole.
- Start protests at these assorted publishing companies that own the rights to religious texts and documents.
- Protest at Patent, trademark, and copyright offices.
Please for the love of the gods if you protest do so under the laws of the US Constitution and do so peacefully. I do not condone unnecessary violence and acts hate. If you agree with anything this post has in it I do ask that you please share it to help me get the word out. Let us fight this injustice together regardless of religion.