NOTE: BELIEVE has very much the function of an advanced Public
Library, where all material is provided at no cost and no other
requirements. A visitor to BELIEVE can obviously not use any
of the included articles in any profit-making manner, without
obtaining appropriate Copyright permission from the author or
representative, but reading, photocopying to share with others in a
Church, studying and learning from them are completely allowed by
the US Copyright Law's Fair Use Provision.|
From its beginning in 1992, the BELIEVE Project has always had the single intention of attempting to provide accurate, complete, understandable, unbiased information to those who needed that knowledge. BELIEVE has essentially provided the same texts that are available in any large Public Library, and always at no cost whatever to visitors. We have always attempted to avoid ANY "promotion" of any specific set of beliefs, and therefore always attempted to present all credible approaches to each subject area. This has resulted in including articles from a very large number of different sources. In this Project, we aspire to meet the impossibly high standards that the Lord would certainly have set for such an effort. That includes complying with all Laws, as well as the many Christian characteristics of thought and behavior.
The United States Copyright Law, Title 17 of the United States Code,
Circular 92, Chapter 1, §107, states:
... the fair use of a copyrighted work ... for purposes such as ... teaching ..., scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. ... for nonprofit educational purposes;
This is commonly referred to as the Fair Use Provision.
Our Church, A Christ Walk Church, is a not-for-profit Corporation. Specifically, the BELIEVE Project, between its beginning in 1992 and currently as of Dec 2011, has never advertised or promoted, and has never asked for or accepted any donations, and has received a GRAND TOTAL GROSS receipts of exactly $0.00. As the creator and main editor of BELIEVE for these seventeen years, I have also received a grand total gross remuneration of $0.00 for the work involved. That is the ULTIMATE in non-profit! Our home page has always described the purely educational intention of BELIEVE.
(People obviously ask to send in Donations to BELIEVE, but we have always requested that such funds be given to some local Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter or other worthwhile Charity, or to a local Church instead.)
|Our List of 2,300 Religious Subjects|
In December 2002, someone sent an incorrect rumor to Baker Book House regarding an alleged claim that our massive site contained ONE potential text, from a very small portion of a single book that had been published more than twenty years earlier. Upon hearing that incorrect rumor, Baker Book House IMMEDIATELY made amazing threats against our small Church and against BELIEVE and against me as a Christian Pastor! It soon became clear that Baker Books had never even been aware of our BELIEVE site and had no knowledge of what we aspire to accomplish. It was also soon clear that they absolutely did not care! They did not even bother to check to see if the claim was true or not and they did not even know WHAT text was supposedly in question! They were NEVER interested in any discussion of what were the actual facts of the matter, they simply immediately acted to try to completely and permanently destroy the BELIEVE Project They then spent much of the entire following year of 2003 in trying to destroy our tiny Church and me as a Christian Pastor.
Baker Book House acted in amazingly vicious and malicious ways to BELIEVE, spending a lot of time and effort and money in an effort to entirely destroy all of BELIEVE, based on a serious misconception on their part and without ever even contacting us at BELIEVE or trying to learn the actual facts in the matter. In fact, Baker Book House did all that based on a simple comment from a brief visitor to BELIEVE who had been unsure whether a few paragraphs presented in BELIEVE might have been improperly taken from some Baker publication (since the specific alleged offending article had been fully credited to Baker right after the BELIEVE text excerpt). On the first time Baker Books caused BELIEVE to disappear from the Internet for several months, WE had electively made that decision, because at the time we were not sure if there had been any problem. The Baker Book House Lawyers really did not need to be making their very impressive threats against our Church and me, as we had CHOSEN to shut all of BELIEVE down just IN CASE we had done anything wrong! More than a million people who attempted to access important religious information were therefore unable to do so, entirely due to the amazingly un-Christian behavior of Baker Book House and specifically their President.
In addition to causing BELIEVE to be completely shut down two different times during 2003 (each time then denying at least a million people the access to the valuable information in the BELIEVE artices), we were later told that Baker Book House had gone to the trouble of contacting dozens of Theological Seminaries and Bible Colleges which were then encouraging their students to use BELIEVE as a reliable resource. We later learned that Baker Book House had threatened those Seminaries and Colleges with lawsuits, and all immediately stopped encouraging and allowing their students to use the BELIEVE resources. Also, by December 2002, at least 4,200 Churches had been encouraging their Members to be able to rely on the articles in BELIEVE for accurate information. We have no way of knowing, but there seems to be the likelihood that Baker Book House somehow tracked down those Churches and caused them ALL to remove links to BELIEVE from their individual web-site. That sounds like an immense amount of effort on the part of Baker Book House to destroy BELIEVE, all based on their (incorrect) impression that BELIEVE was somehow a profit-making effort which contained a portion of a SINGLE article from a SINGLE publication of thousands of such articles which had been published 20 years earlier.
That second major effort on the part of Baker Books to destroy BELIEVE was interesting. They had discovered that they could not legally have any effect, due to a Provision in the US Copyright Law called the Fair Use Provision, so Baker chose to threaten the company that had the Server where our files were available on the web! What was interesting was that Baker Books made threats to that company, and the Server IMMEDIATELY removed ALL the BELIEVE pages from the Internet. We were not informed and we were never asked regarding any defense! In other words, simply due to RECEIVING such a threat to THEIR company, we were treated as absolutely guilty, and they admitted that there was no provision to be able to prove ourselves innocent! This is America???
But we do know for sure that in December 2002, there were many thousands of religious web-sites that chose to have links to BELIEVE, and by a few months later there were NONE! We see no possible other explanation for why so many thousands of Churches and Seminaries and Colleges and other web-sites all chose to abruptly remove all links to BELIEVE, after having had those links for several years, except for an extensive, vicious and probably expensive effort by Baker Book House. The point here is, it was NOT that Baker Book House was simply wishing to have a tiny amount of text that they might have claim over removed from a web-site. In fact, if they had ever (or could ever have) IDENTIFIED what specific text that they were complaining about, we would certainly have immediately removed any such text, whether or not it was improperly in BELIEVE. But the President of Baker Book House even confirmed the viciousness of their intentions by personally sending e-mail form letters to hundreds of disappointed BELIEVE users who both wrote to Baker Book House and e-mailed them, regarding Baker Book House's causing BELIEVE to be shut down. Again, without knowing any actual facts whatever, or ever having contacted BELIEVE regarding resolving anything, he told those many people that I (a Christian Pastor) was a "criminal" (and far more). Many of those people were extremely offended by his foul words to them and his company's actions to destroy BELIEVE.
At least if Baker Book House had had some valid reason for such vicious attacks, maybe there could have been some minimal justification in discarding all Christian values (Baker Book House promotes itself as a Christian publisher), but logic seems to suggest that they should have first gotten their facts straight, and possibly even contacted BELIEVE regarding resolving whatever issues they saw.
Since his single motivation appeared to be in maximizing the profits of Baker Book House by demonstrating their willingness to destroy anyone or anything that might have affected future profits from a 20-year old book (which apparently had had very minimal sales even back then), his intentions may have backfired! We got the impression that hundreds of thousands of the people who had long relied on BELIEVE chose to boycott all Baker Book House publications, which might have adversely affected his profit-making efforts.
I guess the most offensive part was where he insulted and offended our small Church in a number of ways, and where he had Lawyers spend much of a year attempting to cause our Christian Church to be shut down (and also sued, which never happened). It is disconcerting when a Corporate Lawyer in Tennessee calls you and immediately threatens to shut down your Church, before even introducing who he was! If anyone chooses to attack me personally, fine. But when a Publisher that promotes itself as a Christian Publisher, goes to so much time, trouble and expense to try to destroy a Christian Church and a Christian Minister, along with a (very) Christian web-site, one wonders where modern society is going.
I apologize for all these "Editorial-like" comments and observations, but they seem intimately related to the subject of Copyright permissions as discussed here with the Fair Use Act. Apparently, even the President of Baker Book House is unfamiliar with the fact that ANYONE can enter a Public Library and read anything they wish (without having to pay Baker Book House for the right!) and ANYONE can similarly read and copy any of the text included in the BELIEVE web-site, by the very US Constitution itself! The Fair Use Act makes clear, though, that no profits must be made from any such actions, either in a Public Library or in BELIEVE or anywhere else.
A strange conflict developed. A publisher, Baker Book House, apparently suddenly came to be aware of BELIEVE in December 2002, and they immediately began a several-year effort at entirely destroying BELIEVE. They essentially succeeded twice and almost a third time. Around a million visitors were denied access to BELIEVE early in 2003, and then another million people again later in 2003. Only a very small percentage of all the articles in BELIEVE could possibly have had anything to do with Baker, and we had RECEIVED written Copyright authorization from a DIFFERENT publisher ten years earlier for the (long unspecified) articles that Baker seemed to be complaining about. Baker Books claims to be a Christian publisher, but they certainly displayed very many un-Christian behaviors. At no point did they ever ASK us where we got the limited number of articles in question, but instead chose to have an amazingly vicious attitude of simply deciding to totally destroy the BELIEVE effort and web-site, along with direct threats at me personally and the destruction of our Church. Oddly, Baker Books never was even willing to tell us WHICH of the many thousands of articles in BELIEVE they felt was in question! (We do not think they actually even knew, as their attacks on believe appeared to be entirely based on them receiving a message from some individual who THOUGHT there might be a problem, but who soon realized that he had been wrong. So this furor was all over some portion of a text which even Baker Book House could not identify, yet they chose to actively try to destroy our Church, my career as a Christian Pastor, and the BELIEVE site. It was very hard to try to understand what the problem was when we believed we had carefully acted to receive Copyright authorization (which it turned out we hadn't actually needed due to the Fair Use Provision) when Baker Books would not even tell us what article or articles they were so aggressive about
In a first contact e-mail note received in Decemter 2002, Baker Books demanded that BELIEVE remove every article that they might have claim to, without actually ever specifying any articles! We later learned that they had not ever even seen the BELIEVE site and they began this attack based on receiving a note from a BELIEVE visitor who had seen one article that he thought was in question. We had not realized that BELIEVE even contained anything that Baker Books might ever have even published. Some of the BELIEVE articles came from handouts from several different Divinity Schools, which had been photocopied from some unspecified source texts by various Professors. But it turned out that we had actually asked for and received broad Copyright permission for any and all disputed articles in 1992, from a different publisher which had created a religious CD-ROM in 1988, which contained some articles that were apparently earlier published within books published in the early 1980s. Baker Books was suddenly (late 2002) now insisting that the (written) permission we had earlier received (1992) from the CD-ROM publisher was invalid, because they now claimed that other publisher did not have the right to grant us such permission. (How could we possibly have known whether a Copyright permission that we received from the Publisher which had created the CD-ROM was valid or not? Receiving such a document seemed to us to be absolutely valid, as being FROM that Publisher.)
Among the thousands of articles in BELIEVE, it appears that the entire usage of disputed articles is a very small percentage of the total content of BELIEVE text, maybe one or two percent of the total text of BELIEVE, or less. We were then learning that Baker Books had certainly authorized, around 1988, that other publisher to mass-distribute FAR more text [probably a hundred times the quantity of articles] from those early 1980s books (which were included in their entirety on that 1988 CD-ROM) than we have ever used in BELIEVE.
When BELIEVE visitors discovered that the entire BELIEVE web-site was (first) gone, (from Jan 2003 to March 2003), many of them contacted Baker Books for an explanation of why ALL of the BELIEVE educational resource was gone. They apparently never got a human to actually respond to them, but instead received a Form Letter from the publisher's President. One of those people kindly provided us with a copy of the Form Letter they all received. The President of Baker Books told many people (in that Form Letter) that I, who he then knew to be a Christian Pastor, am a "pirate" and a "criminal"! Interesting behavior for an alleged Christian publisher! However, that was clearly not true, as within two days of Baker Books threatening e-mails having told us that they would not honor our previously received Copyright permission from the other publisher, I removed the entire BELIEVE site from the Internet, in early January 2003.
That action of removing the entire BELIEVE web-site had very little to do with that publisher. In all activities, I feel I have to answer to the Lord on all behaviors, and I did not believe the Lord would have kept BELIEVE operating if there was ANY chance of even one un-permitted article to be somewhere in the thousands of articles in BELIEVE. Therefore, rather than even chance the possibility of actually being a pirate or a criminal, I immediately removed ALL of our extremely popular site, which five million people visited in 2002. I was making absolutely sure that even the tiniest chance of moral wrong could not occur. BELIEVE was therefore inactive for around three months and a million people were denied access to important Christian information.
Given that Baker Books had never and would never specify any article that they considered offensive, they made it impossible for me to even know which of the many thousands of ACCEPTABLE articles (which had nothing to do with Baker Book House) in BELIEVE they might be questioning. Nearly nine months later, in a second action later that year which shut down BELIEVE again, Baker Books finally identified TWO specific (small) articles (around a page each) which they said were unacceptable, and even though I knew we had total right to keep those articles, I immediately removed those two within minutes of learning of the identity of the articles in question.
Strangely, that same Baker Books President also told many people who had complained about their policies regarding BELIEVE, about some different web site where far more (entire books) of their texts are apparently available for free! Interesting! (Baker Books was freely giving away access to entire books in that other web-site, while viciously attacking a Christian Pastor, a Christian Church and actively trying and succeeding at destroying our BELIEVE web-site for including tiny parts of a few of those texts!)
Shortly after that, many BELIEVE visitors informed me of the US Copyright Law Fair Use Provision, which I then researched.
The Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Law clearly applies to BELIEVE, and we have the legal right (and therefore the ethical right and obligation) to use all the articles in BELIEVE. BELIEVE therefore returned to activity in March 2003, with all of its contents, after we knew that U.S. Copyright Law Provision fully supports BELIEVE. We believe that the Lord would agree that this is entirely ethical, legal and proper.
This subject presentation is therefore completely legal and proper,
whether or not it contains any individual article claimed by Baker Books.
Baker Books seems to have strange ideas regarding Christian behavior! Only two brief e-mails were EVER received from them, the first one that ordered us to remove all of BELIEVE and the second to tell us that the Copyright authorization that we had received in 1992 (from that other publisher) was not considered valid by them. No other communication (phone, mail or other) was ever received from them. But in mid-2003, they chose to attack the web Server (a separate company in Florida) which held the BELIEVE web-site files, and their Lawyers issued that Server a Legal Order that we remove the entire BELIEVE web-site again! Apparently, the laws are such that the publisher (or anyone else!) could threaten that Server with enormous punishment if they did not order us to remove the entire BELIEVE web-site! Without requiring any evidence or proof that anything was ever done wrong!
When we asked the Server company of what proof they had received, that something had been done wrong, they told us that they received none. Simply an accusation of such a claim (by essentially anyone) to a Server REQUIRES them to entirely shut down any allegedly offending web-site, without any evidence or proof of anything wrong! The Server also told us that we had no recourse regarding the order to remove all of BELIEVE within 72 hours, unless we could absolutely prove that we did not have ANY "disputed documents" in the BELIEVE site. But they agreed that Baker Books had not provided them with any list of any such disputed documents. So there was no possible way for us to even attempt to comply with such a vague threat!
How could ANYONE respond to such a vague requirement, without even being told what specific articles were considered to be "disputed documents"? WE WERE CONSIDERED GUILTY UNLESS WE COULD PROVE OURSELVES INNOCENT! Which was intentionally made impossible! Isn't America supposed to be opposite that, of being assumed innocent until proven guilty? The fact that NO "disputed documents" were ever specified did not seem to matter! NO opportunity to defend ourselves or to even discuss anything was possible! So that was why BELIEVE was removed from the Internet the second time, for several months late in 2003!
This capability is astounding in America! If YOU felt the desire to entirely shut down the entire web-site of General Motors, you could have an official document which claimed that a sentence or concept of YOURS was included in the General Motors web-site, legally served on the Server (and not even on General Motors!) which holds the files for the GM web-site, and that Server would necessarily then entirely shut down the entire GM web-site. Without you even ever having to identify WHATEVER you were actually claiming was yours! And then it would be up to General Motors to try to identify whatever it was in their huge web-site which you might be complaining about, without being given any indication what that might be! They could not possibly comply, until some day when they would finally be able to get you to identify wnatever it was that you claimed as yours. Only then could GM possibly determine whether your claim was frivolous or valid! Until they could finally do that, their entire web-site would have to remain dark! And if you dragged out finally informing them of what your complaint was, the entire GM web-site could be non-functional for months! Which is what Baker Books did to BELIEVE when then caused BELIEVE to be entirely shut down (the second time).
I guess this aspect is therefore not specific to Baker Books, but the fact that they and their Lawyers KNEW that they could impose their will in this way to destroy BELIEVE, simply says that they chose to act in certain ways to do that.
Whatever the Laws happen to be, in our opinion, these are strange behaviors for an allegedly Christian publisher to do, to ANYONE, much less to a Church and a Pastor who are attempting to do beneficial things without any profit, and who are also VERY solidly supported by the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Law!
It seems especially odd since Baker Books had authorized that massive earlier public distribution of far greater amounts of their publications and books back in 1988, and that they apparently now permit free access to many of their current published works (including the 25-year-old individual articles they disputed with BELIEVE) on some other web-site. If Baker Books wants to argue that BELIEVE's very minor use of a few articles from a single book published more than 20 years ago represents some sort of financial hardship, they probably shouldn't be giving it and far more away for free! (Sorry about including this opinion!)
REMINDER: A visitor to BELIEVE can obviously not use any included article in any profit-making manner, without first obtaining Copyright permission from the actual author or his representative, but reading, photocopying, studying and learning from the many included BELIEVE articles are completely allowed by the Fair Use Provision.
|Our List of 2,300 Religious Subjects|
. ADDRESS>E-mail to: BELIEVE4@mb-soft.com
The main BELIEVE web-page (and index to subjects) is at: http://mb-soft.com/believe/index.html