"This unlawful use of the Work is harmful to the Church's ability to utilize this Work both as a means to educate its attendees and members about God's Word, but also as a marketable product. The Church markets this Work to other pastors, churches and ministries, and licenses it for that purpose. The availability of this video obtained without the knowledge or consent of the Church for free on your site greatly infringes upon the Church's ability to market this work."The above quote is taken from a December 2010 letter sent to Vimeo by Ed Young's lawyer that resulted in temporary removal of my three videos from the Internet that I created for the purpose of educating Christians about the dangers of preachers who abusively preach a tithing doctrine. The videos are:
"Ed Young Goes After Access to Bank Accounts of Church Members"
"Ed Young's Tithing Long Bomb"
"Give and Live: New Prosperity Gospel in the SBC"
While Young's lawyers were successful in having the above three videos removed in December and January, my lawyer was successful in getting them restored in March by contesting their claim and sending a letter to Vimeo arguing that if the sermons are copyrighted, the use in my videos falls under the Fair Use doctrine of the copyright laws. The ball is now in Ed Young's court.
Yes, church work isn't just about preaching the Word and spreading the gospel anymore, it is about "marketing the work". They need to market "the work".
A few comments on this:
- It is interesting they claim my videos hurt their ability to market the work, because the Ed Young 10/10/10 tithing sermon was posted for free on their church website for at least a month after the sermon was preached, and was removed from their website AFTER my videos were created and posted. I know, because that is how I retrieved it to use it.
- not sure how my videos harm their ability to "educate their attendees and members about God's Word." I would say the sermon itself, not my videos, harmed their ability to educate people about God's Word, because in my view his 10/10/10 tithing sermon was about as un-biblical as any I've ever heard on the topic of Christian stewardship. It was embarrassing. Watch the "long bomb" video to get a taste of what he was preaching that day.
- another portion of the lawyer's letter reads: "Permission was not sought to use this work and no license was given to the individual that posted the video to utilize the video in such a way." True, I didn't seek their permission or a license. I didn't think I needed to under the Fair Use doctrine of the copyright laws. But I wonder, did Fellowship Church seek "permission" or a "license" when they used the Gatorade trademark logo in their video and called it "Haterade"? Maybe they did. I hope so, because that video had a commercial purpose in advertising a pay-to-attend church conference. Did Fellowship Church seek permission from author Stephanie Meyer of the "Twilight" series, to use the name and the characteristic trademark in Ed Young's sermon series "Twilight"? I sure hope they did, because as you see below, there is an unmistakable match between Ed Young's use of the Twilight logo and imagery (at left) and that on the book cover (right). And I would point out that Ed Young's "Twilight" sermon series is being sold for commercial gain here.
- Ed Young's lawyers claimed that my videos were not a "fair use" of the original work, that I purposely split the videos into two parts to fall with the Fair Use doctrine. They claimed that the portion of my work that was critical was only incidental, and that my videos were "...an opportunity to run the Work without authorization or compensation". This is not true...the entire creation of the videos and my commentary in the video and on my blog was to critique his work, not to profit from it or to prevent them from marketing it.
I realize my strategy of contesting their take-down has much risk. It would have been easier, less hassle, to just let it go, and let the videos stay down. But really, this blog has evolved around the theme of not allowing mega church pastors and preachers bully people, to expose their antics in real time. So I decided to contest Young's claims because I believe I am right, and keeping my work up for other Christians and non-Christians to see serves a tremendous purpose worth fighting for.
I used this blog to expose the bullying tactics of FBC Jax when they delivered their letter of 16 sins and trespass papers to me and my wife in November 2008. When Judge A.C. Soud read his Deacon's Resolution 2009-1 live streaming over the Internet to the people of FBC Jax and made the members stand and ratify it, I put the transcript and video on the Internet. When I got copies of the subpoenas that FBC Jax and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office didn't want me to know about, and their official trespass notices filed against me and my wife, I put those on the Internet.
When a famous pastor in Texas had his lawyer bully me with a threatening letter in 2009 claiming I defamed him for blogging about news articles referring to his "shady land deal" demanding I take down a post from 2008, I kindly told him to jump in a lake (actually jump in a harbor) and blogged about it here.
So I will do the same now in this matter with Ed Young as best I can.
There are a many of us who believe great harm is being done to churches through this ridiculous tithing doctrine that Ed Young and others are aggressively pushing. Many modern preachers take their cues from Ed Young, and people need to know how awful and unbiblical this teaching is through videos like mine and others'. It is sad, really, that pastors are stooping so low as to use guilt, fear, and intimidation as tactics to raise revenue. I will continue to shine a light as best I can on these abuses.
As they use the Internet and technology to get their message out, so must we Christians do the same in response.
If Ed and Fellowship Church decide to pursue this matter in the courts, and I have no reason to believe they won't, I'll blog about it here, so stay tuned.