Free the Catechism

My congregation recently ran into an obstacle concerning use of the 1986 LCMS English translation of Luther’s Small Catechism. This was not about the Explanation. This was about the translation of the German text as Luther himself published it.

Mrs. Heidi Sias, wife of the Rev. Dr. Pastor John Wollenburg Sias, Concordia Lutheran Church in Forsyth, Montana, Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Colstrip, Montana, and Trinity Lutheran Church  in Hysham, Montana (a 120 mile round trip) has prepared children’s bulletins that track the one year historic lectionary. Each bulletin contains a “Catechism Corner.”

The “Catechism Corner” quotes a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism. Here is an example.

catechism corner

The bulletins have many fine qualities. At the risk of oversimplifying, “Lessons for Lambs is not meant to serve as a way to keep kids busy and quiet during the service, but rather to involve them in what’s going on in the service so they can begin thinking about it.” The bulletins having that character, this Catechism Corner element would cement our desire to use them. One of the chief problems in many of our churches is that we are under-catechized. Catechism Corner puts digestible bites of Luther’s Catechism before children every week, and it shows parents that the Catechism should be taught to their children.

In our Board of Directors, each Director has a portfolio. Mine is Christian Education. As Christian Education Director, I showed these Lessons for Lambs to our Pastor, Rolf Preus, so that they could be given qualified, pastoral doctrinal review for our congregation. Having cleared that qualification, I then brought the Lessons for Lambs before a regular meeting of our Board. Pastor Preus told the Board he would like to use them, but there was one fly in the ointment. It is too big of a fly to ignore. What is that fly?

Mrs. Sias uses the 1912 translation authorized by the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, published by Concordia Publishing House.

Why is that a fly? Because of what Dr. Luther says in his Preface to the Small Catechism.

In the first place, let the preacher above all be careful to avoid many kinds of or various texts and forms of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Sacraments, etc., but choose one form to which he adheres, and which he inculcates all the time, year after year. For [I give this advice, however, because I know that] young and simple people must be taught by uniform, settled texts and forms, otherwise they easily become confused when the teacher to-day teaches them thus, and in a year some other way, as if he wished to make improvements, and thus all effort and labor [which has been expended in teaching] is lost.

(Dr. Martin Luther, Preface, Small Catechism.)

If we use the 1986 LCMS text in Wednesday School, Sunday School, Confirmation, Adult Bible Class, Catechism Review Class, Confessional Reading Group, as responsive reading in the Divine Service, in parental catechization at home, but then introduce the 1912 text, good as it is, in the children’s bulletin, we would be using different texts and mixing them in the children’s minds. Then, as Luther says, we introduce confusion and risk that all effort and labor expended in teaching the Catechism be lost. Pastor Preus is right. We have to pick one text or another, stick with it, and not mix texts.

Pastor Preus himself practices what he preaches. Before he came to our congregation last spring, he had been using the 1943 text in his prior call. When he came to our congregation, he saw that we have been using the 1986 text. He switched to our text to avoid the dangers against which Dr. Luther warned.

So, why doesn’t Mrs. Sias just use the 1986 text? Wouldn’t that be problem solved? No, because according to Concordia Publishing House, that would violate its copyright in the 1986 text.

In some editions of the 1986 Small Catechism, the copyright notice includes the grant of a license for congregations to use small excerpts within the congregation, so I am told. I have 5 editions and have not found that in mine. But, supposing that grant were there, it does not solve this particular problem.

Under that grant, when Mrs. Sias originally created Lessons for Lambs for use in her own congregations, that was fine. That was within the grant. But, when she published them on her churches’ website for others to use, that is prohibited. In that case, the author is “storing in a retrieval system” portions of the Catechism text that are then “transmitted” to people not of the original congregation. That is why she had to use some other text.

In that scenario, a person has a number of options. She can use an old text in the public domain. She can use a text that is copyrighted by some other synod, translator, publisher, or organization who is willing to grant a license for the use.

If we are to follow Dr. Luther’s pedagogical admonition, the copyright claim puts us to choosing between mutually exclusive alternatives.


  • We are forced to avoid using any materials created outside our own congregations no matter how high the quality and no matter how suited to our setting, if they contain portions of the current synodical text.


  • We are forced to reinvent wheels and dissipate congregational human resources in redundant labors to generate our own materials, if we want to use the current synodical text.


  • If congregations, authors, and other organizations want to share resources that help teach the Catechism, they must withdraw the current synodical text from the resources, because at the point of sharing them, they would become alleged copyright infringers.


Mrs. Sias provides Lessons for Lambs free of charge to congregations, but also stipulates that they be used intact. Therefore a workaround that we have in mind would require her permission. We would take Lessons for Lambs, blot out the 1921 text Mrs. Sias used, and paste our Synod’s text into the Catechism Corner. Then she would be innocent of “storing in a retrieval system” portions of the Catechism text that are then “transmitted” to our children. I can just hear my Dad, who owned and managed multiple enterprises employing many people in his lifetime, reverting to Norwegian to say what he would think of an organization requiring their people to waste time like that.

The Small Catechism is sui generis. It is of its own kind, in a class by itself. It is unique. Even though, according to the laws of the civil state, the ordinary rules of property might apply,[1] we of the Church should not apply them to the Catechism. The Catechism is a gift to the saints. Here, in this class unto itself, the small catechetical class, copyrights, corporatism, and business models should not stand between the Catechism and little children. Let those restraints be applied to other things, but not the Catechism.

We should be giving the Catechism away free to everyone. We should be against withholding the Catechism from anyone.

This issue is much broader than the sphere in which I have personal knowledge. I know what has just happened in my congregation. I know what the copyright claim is doing to hamper me as Christian Education Director of a congregation of the Synod. In turn, I know that it is taking bread out of children’s mouths in my congregation. O sure, you can say, just do the cut, copy, and paste to Mrs. Sias’ bulletins. But that time and labor displaces other things I should be doing to also put the Catechism before the children. The wasted time does not get replaced. This makes me wonder, in what other scenarios are others also blocked from using our own text. I have heard this called the Babylonian Captivity of the Catechism. I do not know what all that refers to, but we need to look into it.

Catechists of the Church unite. Free the Catechism. The Catechism belongs to the saints.



[1] The claim that the 1986 Concordia Publishing House version of the English text of the Small Catechism is protected by copyright seems thin. Copyright protects expression. Expression, to be expression, must be, well, expressive. To be copyrightable, it must have a degree of creativity. When we examine the English text through its pedigree, the changes from prior, public domain texts to the 1986 text fall somewhat short of being creative or expressive themselves. What, exactly, did the so-called translation committee add? The corporatists might be the Wizard of Oz.

If it were to be suggested by someone supporting the CPH position on the Small Catechism that Mrs. Sias remove the limitation that Lessons for Lambs be used intact, that would be rich. Except for quotations of Scripture and the Catechism, Lessons for Lambs are works of her authorship. She created them. They are her expressions of her creativity. She has every basis to claim copyright and CPH has little basis. She gives Lessons for Lambs away free to congregations, and only asks that, in return for the 5 years it took to create them, they be used for their intended, stated purpose, which is best accomplished by them being used intact. If they are sliced and diced, the object is lost.


About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of


Free the Catechism — 126 Comments

  1. @T. R. Halvorson #98

    I don’t consider myself an opponent (and maybe you don’t view me as such either, I don’t know). I was simply trying to offer some insight and clarity and even encouragement.

    That said it is mischaracterization to say anyone is passing over “suffering.” People have complained about what they have been restrained by the limits of the law, but such restraint isn’t suffering. You are not suffering by choosing not to use Lessons for Lambs for the sake of commitment to pedagogical reasons. You are not suffering if you get permission to edit Lessons for Lambs and invest time in doing so. No one else has suffered in failing to obtain a flashcards with a specific translation of the Small Catechism text. The only possible suffering that might deserve to be acknowledged are claims of rude treatment by CPH representatives, but that isn’t exactly the topic at hand. Just as the speed limit is not the cause of suffering for some one who, because of delays in traffic, finds him or herself running late to the Divine Service, so copyright law does not produce suffering by limiting how we reproduce certain texts or artistic creations.

    And the reason why I speak regarding the secular grounds is that I have no issue with the theological or pedagogical grounds for putting the 1986 translation into the public domain or at least opening more legal avenues for congregations and their workers to share materials amongst themselves for their mutual edification. My only area of disagreement with what you initially wrote is with your footnote justification for claiming CPH’s claim of copyright was thin (an argument which relies on purely secular understandings of “expression” and “creativity”).

    As claimed by Pr. McCain, the structure of the relationship between synod and CPH is such that CPH holds the rights to the synod’s intellectual property. As a result, the copyright of any translation requested by synod to be published is an automatic, unless the synod instructs the publisher otherwise. The Epsicopal Church USA has such instruction as part of their canons regarding the Book of Prayer, calling for copies to be “certified” rather than copyrighted. So even the PDF file of the book available from the ECUSA website of the latest publication of that body’s form of The Book of Common Prayer has no copyright. If you want to #FreetheCatechism, I am pointing to a possible example of how it might possibly be done.

    I would advise a bit more caution in describing the position of others.

  2. @Jeremiah #100

    putting the 1986 translation into the public domain

    Some do ask for that, but in the instant case, I am asking for free use by the people of the Synod.

    Here is an ecclesiological issue, considered also in the context of copyright law. If we are going to talk about works for hire, then who hired? Did not the people of the Synod hire the Catechism to be translated through a human arrangement of Synod? Is the Synod not the people of it? Why, as against them, the people of the Synod, can the Synod claim a restriction? Who is Synod, and where does their money come from to hire things done?

    This focuses on a key issue. Synod is not the Church. For example, should there be a meeting of a synodical committee, that committee should not celebrate the Sacrament of the Altar. Why not? Because “The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.” Augsburg Confession, Article VII. The committee is not a congregation of the saints. Now the committee members could attend together in a congregation of the synod and there participate in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar.

    The Synod is not the Church, and that is partly why it acts in corporate rather than churchly ways, even to the point of holding what Christians gave to Synod against those Christians, viz, the finances that hired the translation. The thing is, members of synodical congregations are not thereby members of Synod.

  3. Do you know why the Hyperlaw case came out the way it did? Because of works for hire. A claim of copyright in the opinions of the United States District Courts, Courts of Appeal, United States Supreme Court and other federal courts can be made as against people and organizations in, say, Belgium. But the same claim made as against people and organizations of the United States fails, because as the taxpayers of the United States, the opinions of the Judges and Justices are works for hire of the taxpayers.

    See an analogy? The claim by CPH as against people and organizations outside Synod might or might not be good as to other issues, such as creativity, but it is good insofar as the work for hire issue. The same claim as against the “taxpayers” of Synod … what about that?

  4. @T. R. Halvorson #97

    We weren’t having parallel conversations. I brought up fair use in relationship to your hypothetical. Without further detail, all three examples of Wisløff and Laache’s use of quotes from the Small Catechism text could be considered “fair use” in given circumstances. Understanding what is fair use, and what is not, elimates certain uses from consideration.

    So, for example, if the document Wisløff writes is an article for the church newsletter on the sacraments, and includes quotes from the 1986 translation throughout, that could be considered fair use. If I understand fair use correctly, should Laache like Wisløff’s article and ask to republish the article in his own church newsletter, if Wisløff grants permission, Laache would also being doing so under fair use. For another application, think of a pastor’s sermon, which might excerpt quotes from various texts under fair use. Again, if I understand the concept correctly, should this be a sermon which the congregation might post on its website in text or audio form, such a use would be considered fair use, even by the congregation.

    Now if Wisløff designs templates to have segments of the 1986 catechism text to be published in the church newsletter, that would be congregational use. In this instance, he is not free to give his template over to Laache for use as the copyright does not extend reproduction of the text beyond the Wisløff’s congregation.

    It’s a distinction we make because the law recognizes that we must be able to quote other works to an extent in order to encourage the exchange of ideas. If all quotes violate copyright, we would be silencing speech. Without further distinction as to how the quotes are substantively being used in your Trondheim hypothetical, all three uses could well be considered fair use before anything else, pending further details. So it wasn’t necessarily a parallel conversation.

  5. The introduction of the concept of “fair-use” in this context is unhelpful at best and confusing at worst. We should initially stick to “licensed” and “unlicensed” use. “Fair-use” is unlicensed use that is permitted under the copyright statues but is only determined by a court on a case by case basis. There are some general contours but no bright lines indicating what is “fair-use” and what is not. In general it is best to assume that, “fair-use” is in the eyes of the copyright holder, not the user of the material.

    Trying to make any analogy between Mrs. Sias’ use of the CPH text and the use of CD’s/MP3’s is a non-starter. First, there are a number of other rights involved (for example, a copyright holder may determine that Wisløff’s shindig is “public performance” – just as they have determined that a bar with a tv tuned to an NFL game from signals broadcast over the air is “public performance” and must be specially licensed). Second, iTunes has a special license with music studios to allow users to upload MP3’s. Third, the “ripping” of CD’s to MP3’s in the first place is a questionable practice under copyright law. The RIAA piracy guidelines indicate that “burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns” under certain circumstances, but that is far different from being a licensed use or a “fair-use”. Since copyrights (unlike patents or trademarks) aren’t impacted by a failure to enforce it, most publishers simply look the other way unless they have some inkling that their profits are in jeopardy.

    In TR’s original hypothetical with Wisløff and Laache there were a number of licensed uses, as well as a number of unlicensed uses. What you designated as “fair use” actually is a “licensed use” under the license issued by CPH. Since it is licensed, it is best to avoid “fair use” terminology and only ask the question about “fair use” as it relates to unlicensed uses.

    Wisløff’s initial use was licensed (assuming the final document was intended for congregational consumption). But we need to look carefully at that “first use.” The first use is when he copied the text from the catechism into the volatile RAM of his computer. The second use is when it was copied from the volatile RAM to a more permanent storage media (eg. Hard Drive). If he printed it to a network printer to proofread, additional “uses”/copies were made as it was copied from Wisløff’s computer RAM to the buffer on the network card – again to the buffer on the network switch – and into the buffer on the network card on the printer – and yet again to the RAM of the printer and finally the paper (which may be several copies depending on the print process – black on an inkjet printer would be one – a color laser printer where the text of the catechism used all 4 colors [CMYK] could be considered up to 5 [one for each color on the drum, then the copy applied and fused to the paper]).

    Since all of these have as their object a product that will be delivered to the congregation members, this is all licensed under CPH’s license. If Laache happened to be present as a member of the congregation when the document was distributed, his possession of a copy would also be licensed – and, if he then reproduced it (presuming Wisløff’s permission for the rest of the document), that would be licensed as well. This would fall apart if Laache’s presence “in the congregation” was a pretense in order to obtain a copy of the work in order to publish it elsewhere. That would be “distribution” outside the congregation.

    Distribution outside the congregation is an “unlicensed” use. So, Wisløff’s transmission of the document through the internet where it is copied through various buffers and network routers and switches and copies are stored on servers to be accessed by Laache is outside the congregational boundaries. ISP’s have specific “safe-harbor” provisions built into the DMCA to prevent them from being sued by copyright holders when users of their networks undertake such activities. That is the reason that such suits for such copies are not brought. But in order to qualify for those safe-harbor provisions, the ISP or Network Service Provider must abide by specific guidelines and register their existence (at fairly considerable cost) with the Copyright office. Otherwise, they can be prosecuted as a copyright infringer for allowing the material to cross their network (and incur PER COPY penalties for every network card, switch, router, server, etc.) which “copied” the work. (This is one of the reasons that the Business Software Alliance can extort such high settlements for copyright infringers – every time you boot your computer and the OS code goes from the hard-drive to RAM, that’s a copy!)

    Such copying over a network is specifically NOT licensed under the CPH license – nor is it “fair use” since the copies were not made for any of the fair use exceptions but merely for purposes of “distribution” and distribution outside the congregation. It MAY be “personal” use if the excerpts are in a personal email exchanged between Wisløff and Laache (i.e., written by Wisløff with Laache as the intended recipient) but that would not be the case if Wisløff were emailing Laache a PDF to be printed/copied to his own congregation.

    **DISCLOSURE: I am not a lawyer, nor an Intellectual Property professional – but I have studied copyright law and cases for nearly 20 years especially as it relates to the idea of “permissive licensing” (eg. creative-commons, GPL, GFDL, etc.).

  6. @T. R. Halvorson #102

    Thanks for the clarity re: your prior comment.

    I need to digest your analogy a bit and the ecclesiologal argument you are making.

    Your stated goal of “asking for free use by the people of the Synod” is still, to me, problematic in execution. Think of Mrs. Sias’ venture which currently provides Lutheran bulletins for any Lutheran church using the one year lectionary, no matter what Lutheran body (or non-Lutheran for that matter) to which the congregation belongs. Your current request for “free use” (I.e. free distribution) either limits her production strictly to LCMS congregations or causes her to create separate files for distribution and to be able to certify each purchasing congregation belongs to each appropriate category.

    It makes seperate classes of license holders for purchasers of CPH products. Currently, any teacher, pastor, member, or congregation of any denomination has the same rights and privileges as a member of Synod with regards to the use of the Small Catechism text as long as they own a copy, again if I understand the copyright I shared above correctly. I’m not aware of any similar copyright that would be like that of one resulting from a proposal such as your own which would extend certain privileges to members of one religious body, but not another. Perhaps is CPH or the synod could devise a “marketplace” where any number of individuals could publish such material for LCMS congregations to access, essentially a GoogleDocs or Dropbox-like system strictly accessed by LCMS congregations, might provide a work around, but I imagine there would still be concerns and problems to work out that I haven’t imagined.

    Again, as I think I’ve noted before, it’s not really the “use” of the 1986 translation that is problematic in and of itself, but the redistribution or republication of it, and who is authorized to distribute it in what manner. The broad ability to “use” is why current copyright is written in its particular manner. It allows for a large number of uses. The copyright does not allow for broad redistribution privileges.

  7. @T. R. Halvorson #98

    I’m an advocate who is recommending neither a particularly brotherly approach nor a particularly confrontational one.

    Your issue is interesting to me for some reasons, and I think I have some good questions that you don’t answer.

  8. A mole joke: A mama mole, a papa mole, and a baby mole all live in a little mole hole.

    One fine Spring day the papa mole sticks his head out of the hole, sniffs the air and says,”Yum! I smell maple syrup!”

    The mama mole sticks her head out of the hole, sniffs the air and says “Yum! I smell honey!”

    The baby mole tries to stick his head out of the hole to sniff the air, but can’t because the bigger moles are in the way so he says, “Jimmeny, all I can smell is molasses!”

  9. @Jeremiah #106

    still, to me, problematic in execution

    The execution in practice of Hyperlaw (the case law authority for the principle that one cannot assert a copyright against those whose paid for the production of the work) has not been problematic.

  10. As the author of these bulletins I wanted to provide a few clarifications. First of all, thank you to those who have offered kind words that they find the bulletins useful for the children in their congregations. I’m very happy to hear that!

    All the bulletins are available for download at our church’s website: They are offered free of charge, without a request for a donation. I have received no financial compensation from their distribution. (The link on the historic lectionary site contains an incomplete and outdated set of the bulletins. I have asked that these be removed so there is no longer any confusion.)

    I never asked CPH for copyright permission for the 1986 translation, nor do I intend to do so, because I did not want to deal with the copyright issues I knew would arise. I’ve dealt with copyright permissions before for a previous job so I am aware of the process, but I do not have the funds nor the time to deal with it for something I’ve personally created. The 1912 translation in the public domain was the easiest solution.

    My copyright on the bulletins requires that they be used intact, so technically a congregation cannot paste in a new translation without my permission. My name is on it, so I don’t want something to appear as my work that isn’t. (That has happened to me before with contract work where I had no say, and the final product in no way reflected my work, which I was not happy about.) A congregation could contact me personally to request making a change for their congregation, and in terms of inserting a catechism translation they have permission to use I would likely give that permission. I would want to be contacted though so I’m aware that this is being done.

    I created these bulletins (with the help of my husband’s doctrinal review) solely to give children some good theological lessons for each week, specifically for the children here. My husband asked me to do this project when we first moved to Montana because no such bulletins existed for the one-year lectionary. I decided to share them with others to help with their catechesis as well, and I pray congregations have found them edifying for their children. Please contact me if you see any errors that need correction or have any other input. Thanks!

    +Soli Deo Gloria+

    (P.S. I was recently made aware that I have to create one for Epiphany 1 as an alternate to the Baptism of our Lord, so I plan to do that in the near future. 🙂 )

  11. @T. R. Halvorson #110

    As I look at the Synod bylaws, I’m not certain the comparison between CPH and judges or other gov’t. officials is similar enough, at least from a legal perspective. Under the Bylaws, CPH is a “corporate entity,” so it is essentially its own “person” legally speaking. Unlike tax payers and gov’t officers, it’s not exactly a direct “hire.” CPH might be more comparable to the USPS (which can copyright works it produces) while a commission like the CTCR would be comparable to a federal officer or employee.

    I think we might see this a bit in practice in our publications. Materials like our convention workbooks or CTCR documents are copyrighted by the LCMS, not CPH itself. Another example of a LMCS copyright is Dr. Barry’s “What About…” series to which BJS links (I thought I’d note this document as it has a copyright allowing for reproduction). But our hymnals, and our catechism and BOC translations have copyrights held by CPH. So perhaps a question to be asked is (and one I cannot answer) how does one determine who holds the copyright to what materials and under what conditions? It would be beneficial for differentiating between whether we actually have a “synodical text” or have simply agreed as a synod to encourage the use a text to which another entity holds and administers the rights.

    Anyways, I think I have probably hit the end of my own abilities and usefulness in this area. I appreciate your concerns and your thinking on the matter.

  12. @Heidi Sias #111

    Thank you. This response clears it up, for me. And in my opinion, should end the immediate controversy.

    I think the author of the original post will need a different “test case.”

  13. @mbw #115

    Readers here do not know who you are, and that clouds an assessment of the weight to put on your analysis.

    In your view, assuming Mrs. Sias gave permission on behalf of the LCMS congregations in Hysham, Forsyth, and Colstrip, Montana to the LCMS congregations in Sidney and Fairview, Montana, to use Lessons for Lambs, and then we used the provision that if in Sidney and in Fairview, we inserted the 1986 text of the Catechism where she had the 1921 text:

    (A) Would that have to be done twice, once by someone in the Sidney congregation, and again, by someone in the Fairview congregation?

    (B) Would you be willing to take half of this labor, and do this for us in 52 children’s bulletins (52, because since the claim is that each congregation must do this themselves, your answer to A will be wrong if you don’t say it has to be done twice)?

    (C) But, since you are in neither Sidney nor Fairview, would you be eligible to do this for us? Can you walk with us? Are we in synod = walking together?

    (D) Are you happy that when one LCMS pastor serves two LCMS congregations 12 miles apart, as is the case with Sidney and Fairview, they have to duplicate their efforts, so that even congregations who share a pastor and many other things, cannot share children’s bulletins?

    (E) Are you happy that a Christian Education Director in an LCMS congregation cannot help the Christian Education program of a sister congregation sharing the same pastor?

    Business erases koinonia!

  14. @T. R. Halvorson #116

    Hi TR. I would like for my words to bear their own weight. Anyone can ask Norm for a way to contact me in private. However, that would not put much light on anything, because, as I’ve stated before, I’m nobody.

    I don’t think the arrangement you describe, even in its best case, is workable. The author and publisher declines to produce an updated version, choosing not to engage with CPH on the matter.

    It’s the principle that only principals are listened to.

    I’m not happy about your situation. Please convince Mrs. Sias to reconsider, and offer your assistance to her. You might even receive offers of assistance for your assistance.

  15. @mbw #117

    The author and publisher declines to produce an updated version, choosing not to engage with CPH on the matter.

    I am sorry to have to used such language, but really, mbw, what planet did that hallucination come from?

    Please convince Mrs. Sias to reconsider, and offer your assistance to her.

    It is inappropriate for you to be speaking publicly about what she should or should not consider doing, or what anyone should try to convince her to do. Leave her alone.

    offer your assistance to her. You might even receive offers of assistance for your assistance.

    This shows that you completely misunderstand the problem. To avoid the claim of violating copyright, all the work must be done within a single congregation for that congregation. There cannot be any help to a congregation from outside the congregation, insofar as the use of the 1986 text. Synod = walking together between congregations is disallowed. Koinonia insofar as life together and fellowship in used the 1986 is abolished.

  16. @T. R. Halvorson #118

    mbw: “The author and publisher declines to produce an updated version, choosing not to engage with CPH on the matter.”

    (which was responding to) “I never asked CPH for copyright permission for the 1986 translation, nor do I intend to do so, because I did not want to deal with the copyright issues I knew would arise. I’ve dealt with copyright permissions before for a previous job so I am aware of the process, but I do not have the funds nor the time to deal with it for something I’ve personally created.”

    You don’t own the work you are trying to revise. The owner declines to revise it for her own good reasons. Not sure what’s left there. The owner getting permission, paid or not, to cite another copyright work, is an issue not much related to any generous provisions CPH may have made for congregational use.

    You mentioned the bulletin author’s name publicly here first. The author then wrote publicly here of her own apparent volition. My mention of her was not in any way derogatory or disrespectful. You’re creating a false impression that I’m abusing her somehow. That’s divisive and odious. Come off your high horse “TR.”

  17. @T. R. Halvorson #116

    > Readers here do not know who you are, and that clouds an assessment of the weight to put on your analysis.

    I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not a pastor. I have paid CPH directly to license copyright material in the past.

  18. @T. R. Halvorson #123

    TR, not the Small Catechism. But I was providing some info to try to counteract your insults.

    I regret it if I didn’t understand any of your points.

    My suggestions were not legal advice but were ideas, meant helpfully, to accomplish the goal of republishing the work with updated citations. I may have included some ideas for workarounds. While I can’t show you a court case where I’ve done that (again, I’m not a lawyer), in my time I have created some useful workarounds to problems.

    Now, if one can successfully make the case that that is impossible for anyone to get the needed permissions from CPH, then one has a stronger case to change the synod’s policy on use of copyright materials. I just didn’t see proof that it’s impossible, nor that you had exhausted that approach. I didn’t see very much evidence that your case for freeing the catechism was “ripe.”

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