Megaupload vs. YouTube

An analogy may help. You have this warehouse that allows people to deposit copies of films and music. Then you allow other people to visit and take away those copies. At best, you don’t charge for such a service, yet you provide a facility for the transaction. What are you guilty of? Certainly not of the original theft. But you’re a fence. Did you know the goods were stolen? Perhaps not. But is your ignorance any defence? A reasonable person would say no.

The analogy is to Megaupload. But it might as well be to YouTube. What’s the difference?

There is an old (or perhaps not so old) adage, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” This seems to be the principle by which YouTube operates. Copyright holders must opt out of having their copyright infringed, rather than opt in by giving (or not giving) permission to copy.

Copyright infringement is rifest where condemnation of copyright infringement is the loudest. Excuses abound.

I gave full attribution of source.
It was open content, not subscriber.
I was helping them in this instance.
I was criticising, reviewing and reporting some … news. Fair use.
Some makers of film/ music are quite happy to let their work be copied.
When someone posts a video clip that violates copyright to YouTube they are told to remove it.
We have to take it on faith that the videos on YouTube that have been copied without approval are taken down again.
Some are old and the owner of the copyright doesn’t intend to make any more money from them and gives them away free.
Many bands/popsingers these days want to show that they are “down with the kids” and don’t enforce their copyright on video clips, but probably actually see it as being good advertising for their music.

They probably do. But how would you ever know? The “it’s not a copyright violation unless someone complains” philosophy in evidence here just doesn’t wash.

In any case, can YouTube avail itself of the above excuses, weak as they are? A reasonable person would say no. In the Cannibal Corpse video I posted yesterday, at the beginning of the video we read the notice, “Ripped by Prince of Darkness,” and at the end there is a link to his website, MadhouseHQ. What’s more, YouTube includes the video in question in its YouTube Mix for Cannibal Corpse. And, not only that, but YouTube hosts his blog (both YouTube and Blogger are Google-owned), which is a collection of links to the likes of (the now deceased) and

What will the Feds do next? Pull the plug on YouTube? I sincerely hope not. When copyright laws are enforced, the collateral damage is too great. Instead, let’s try to grow a voluntary culture of respect. Respect for the productive. Respect for the artists. Embed their videos, but also buy their CDs and buy their merchandise. That’s fair use.

Festering in the Crypt

Eyes tied tight forever
Mouth wired shut forever
Body parts dissever
You will see no more, never

Lowered into the ground
You will never hear another sound
In your coffin you’re bound
Underground, forever

To the earth you’re now enslaved
To the creatures long depraved
Flesh has now turned to grey
As the larvae gnaw away

As you rot in your smallish tomb
Insects care not how you met your doom
In your casket eternally lie
Many were pleased to see you die

Fester in the crypt where you lie

Victims pass by
They watched you die

Flesh melts off of your frame
Infamous was your name
Years passed since you moved on
Nothing left but carrion

This is a more or less accurate portrayal of the fate of the wicked according to annihilationism. (It leaves out the second death, a brief event which is held to occur between “Years passed since you moved on” and “In your casket eternally lie”.)

Welcome to Hell

This is the first in a 13-part series wherein I give you Hell, a little booklet by the inimitable Dr. Jeff Obadiah Simmonds.

There are some things which Christians believe which are (or should be) non-negotiable. These are the great doctrines of the Church expressed in the creeds: the trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection. One can hardly remain a Christian and deny these truths. At the other end of the spectrum are issues on which the Scriptures are silent. It is left for us to work out a Christian position on the various issues and situations which are not specifically addressed by the Bible, and we must admit a degree of flexibility in accommodating or tolerating interpretations and views different from our own. One of the important principles established by the Church since the Reformation is that no Christian should be compelled to believe any teaching which cannot be proved from Scripture. One of the 39 Articles (the official statement of belief of the Anglican Church) says:

Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, so that whatever is not found there, or which cannot be proved from it, is not to be required of any person… or thought to be essential for salvation. (Article 6, paraphrased)

It is important, then, to recognise that while there are some “absolutes” in Christian belief and practice, there are many areas on which Scripture is silent, and such things cannot be regarded as essential for salvation. For example, the Bible says quite clearly that Jesus is the Son of God, and every Christian is bound to believe it. On the other hand, the Bible does not tell us what He did for all eternity before the creation of the universe, and any teaching on the subject must be regarded as conjecture. However, Christians have tended to create and defend dogma which has dubious Biblical authority.

In between these two extremes—things which are unambiguous in Scripture and things which are not mentioned at all—are a great many things on which the Bible says something which is open to interpretation. For example, the Bible tells us that Jesus will return, but the timing and exact nature of His coming is unclear. There are therefore a number of theories about the End Times, and Christians are free to choose the view which seems to them to be the best explanation of the teachings of the Bible. However, since there is a range of possible views and interpretations, we should not be dogmatic, and must hold to our own views lightly.

Hell is one of those subjects on which there are some different possible explanations of the Biblical evidence. Scripture affirms that there is a hell—a punishment for the wicked in the afterlife—and so we may not simply dismiss this as a myth. However, Scripture is not entirely clear as to where hell is or what it is—or even if it is a “place” at all. There are a range of possible interpretations of the Biblical evidence, the most common of which is the traditional view of hell as a place of fire and eternal torment.

It should be acknowledged that the traditional view of hell is able to be argued and defended from Scripture. However there is an alternative view—called annihilationism or conditional immortality—which is also arguable. Since the Bible is ambiguous, we cannot argue dogmatically either way—either by saying that hell is certainly a literal place of eternal torment in the middle of the earth, or that hell is certainly a state of non-existence. We may however carefully consider the options and the alternative points of view. In this little booklet I want to present a case for annihilation, but do so with the realisation that many readers—perhaps most—will be unconvinced. But as with theories about the Second Coming, when we talk about the nature of hell we are in the realm of speculation. No one really knows, this side of eternity, what heaven and hell will be like. We can, and should, discuss and debate what Scripture says, and consider the various options and interpretations. What is the right interpretation will be a matter of conjecture until we, like the good thief, cross over to be with Jesus in Paradise.


Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed

“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” is one of Ayn Rand’s essential dictums. But did she mean to imply Leonard Peikoff’s view transcribed below?

Is it proper for a doctor to perform a sex-change operation for a patient?

Now here I say absolutely no. Unequivocally. I regard the desire of any individual who is formed already—not a hermaphrodite but who is formed already as one sex—to say, “Nature has made a mistake. I am really the opposite gender and I have to operate to fix Nature’s mistake and give myself the right body.”—I believe that that is an arch-example of a whim over reality. The definition of male and female is biological. So to say I know more than the biological, I feel, regardless of fact is … it’s more, though, than an evasion of reality, it is a war against reality. It is a way of saying, reality gives me this and I am going to smash it and turn it into something else.

I’ll give you an analogy. I mean it’s just as bad … no, it’s not as bad, because cutting off your genitals is the worst. I mean, you know, you can weigh which is worse, that or scooping out your brain, it’s a hard call.

But, suppose a person were to say, I was really intended to have no fingers. They feel alien to me and funny when I move them and I want to get back to what I really am which is, you know, a non-fingered person, and therefore I want them amputated. And then imagine that this person goes to a doctor and the doctor says, “Oh, fine, you know, ten more and then we just hand the Medicare form in.”

That is totally corrupted, the doctors who perform those operations, in my opinion, are corrupt, without qualification. I put them in the same category as the doctors in the Nazi concentration camps who took out perfectly healthy organs simply as an exercise in their skill, completely independent of the validity or the value or the morality of what they were doing. (… I’ll let that go, but you get my drift, I’m sure.)

Peter Jackson demonstrates how to scoop out brains in this clip from the movie Bad Taste.
(At approx 12:02.)

But, suppose a person were to say, “I was really intended to have no fingers. They feel alien to me and funny when I move them and I want to get back to what I really am which is, you know, a non-fingered person, and therefore I want them amputated.”

It may come as a surprise (it surprised me), but people really do say exactly this. They have a disorder called Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Leonard Peikoff take note.

See also Lindsay Perigo’s Man Qua Woman.

[Cross-posted to SOLO.]

Ephesians 6:10-13

My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (KJV)

Darwin Award nomination attempt reports

A man has suffered extensive burns after LPG from a cylinder he was using to light a cannabis pipe exploded in his face, police say.

Sergeant Paul Lee said emergency services were called to Clyde Street in Masterton about 12.50pm today.

On arrival, they found a 22-year-old man with burns to his face, arms, thigh and knee.

Lee said it appeared the man was “pre heating a pipe used for smoking cannabis” using a 9kg gas cylinder with a modified gas valve in the laundry of his home.

“He opened a valve, there was a pause, he then operates his cigarette lighter causing an explosion.”

If the man had died he would have been a nominee for the Darwin Awards.

My question today is, “If you ran a Darwin Awards for creationists, what would you call it?”

Paley’s other watch

In his book Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, first published in 1802, William Paley wrote

In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place. I should hardly think of the answer which I had given before, that for anything I knew the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible? When we come to inspect the watch, we perceive—what we could not discover in the stone—that its parts are framed and have been put together.
We notice more: we find a series of wheels, the teeth of which catch in, and apply to, each other, conducting the motion to the balance and from the balance to the pointer. Further, we notice that the wheels are made of brass to prevent rust; the springs of steel (no other metal being so elastic); that over the face of the watch there is placed a glass, a material employed in no other part of the work, and without which the hour could not been seen without opening the case. This mechanism being observed, the inference, we think is inevitable: the watch must have had a maker, and been designed for a purpose.

Paley’s question was, “Does the watch have an intelligent designer?”

My question is, “Does the watch belong to someone?”

[Cross-posted to SOLO.]

Protestant Christianity had a Baby… Libertarianism.

For a Ref to Jefferson’s Religious views:

In an 1803 letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Jefferson declared that “I am a Christian,” though his view of Christianity was different from most:

I then promised you that one day or other I would give you my views of [the Christian religion]. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.

However, despite Jefferson’s self-declared Christianity, many of his views would be considered heretical by most theologians. Most notably, he attempted to create the Jefferson Bible – an edited version of the New Testament that retained Christ’s moral and practical teaching, while dropping supernatural elements.

Jefferson certainly believed Jesus to be a great teacher of morality, and believed the universe to be created by a God. Less clear is his views on subjects such as the divinity of Christ, the resurrection, sin and salvation. The Jefferson Bible suggests he rejects these ideas entirely, but is not definitive. Jefferson never had his Bible published during his lifetime. He did have this to say about Christianity and the message contained in the work that he created.

There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.

Ref to John Adams here:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

–Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Read/ watch more… Materialism renders Man Nought. Meaning-less, Value-less, Right-less.

The Christian Fellowship is a voluntary private society, not a theocratic political movement.