Six months ago, I legally downloaded “Great I Am (Remix)” from The Action Bible Remixed soundtrack. I uploaded the song to my YouTube channel last month but later deleted it. Why? Anyone could have used KeepVid.com or another site to download my video for free. This is piracy and it’s illegal. Integrity Music and legal distributors would also have lost money, since potential customers wouldn’t have used Amazon, iTunes, or a Christian bookstore. Integrity has already uploaded selections from this soundtrack to its YouTube channel. Those who want a copy can purchase one at a brick-and-mortar store or online.
It’s tempting to post Christian songs, music videos, and films online as a way to minister to believers and lead unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ. I especially love the creativity of fan-made music videos, with popular film or TV clips set to Christian songs. Secular media like YouTube needs a Christian baptism anyway. But have we considered the costs? Piracy is both illegal and immoral, an economic drain. If producers and legal distributors aren’t uploading free material online themselves, then those who do are guilty of piracy. For example, dozens of pirated copies of When Calls the Heart (2014-2015) are on YouTube. Why should people purchase streaming video or DVDs of this TV series when it’s online for free? Both the Hallmark Channel and Believe Pictures are losing money as a result. It’s unethical.
I believe the gospel should be free, so I don’t like how Christianity has become a business – books, films, music, etc. Still, these things cost money to produce and distribute. So if people want to profit from their hard work, then they must charge money. I don’t know why they charge so much – $10 for a CD and $20 for a book, concert, or DVD. I wish more people would profit from secular industries and keep the gospel free for the poor, but they don’t. Still, piracy robs them of their livelihood.
If we want to support Christian authors, musicians, and producers – both as professionals and as ministers of the gospel – then we must buy their products. We mustn’t commit piracy by illegally distributing these products online either. If nothing else, we can always post a small portion of a favorite song or film to YouTube and tell people where they can purchase a copy. As a result, we would still be baptizing the Internet, just doing so in a way that honors God.