Perhaps the Lutheran understanding of vocation might be a helpful angle. We believe that God gives everyone different gifts and skills and passions, and in following those paths we can live out a life of service. Whether you are a bus driver, computer programmer, soldier, or bishop, your daily work becomes a beautiful and holy calling. Now, it is pretty easy to see church workers, teachers, and doctors in this light, and it is clear to us that we want to honor their work. Sometimes, though, we need a reminder that musicians, camera operators, editors, electricians, and factory workers are personally impacted when we drag 300 songs over from our friend's hard drive or when we buy a bootlegged DVD on the street corner.The digital age does make our lives easier, but also ethically murkier. It is a complicated discussion to have with folks, and I have it often dealing with copyright issues. Rundman's reflection could help us all to think about the effects of our actions on others.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Lutheran Ethics, Jonathan Rundman and Piracy (of the Musical Sort)
I received an email about the new Journal of Lutheran Ethics issue and read with great interest Jonathan Rundman's piece titled, "Thieves in the Temple: Intellectual Property, Use of Media, and the Law (Not Yet) Written on Our Hearts." Rundman deals with the all too common issue of piracy and people's disregard for what belongs to others and their livelihood. What is nice is to see is that Rundman does not hammer on the seventh commandment "You shall not steal." Instead he goes to vocation. Rundman writes,