Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
Hello, I will be assisting you.
The question has two components. One legal and one ethical
how much of the materials was used and how much of the sermon did those materials constitute?
Not sure at this point , but it would have been a portion !
There were some sentences thrown into the sermon that were word for word !
There were a few sentences thrown into the sermon that were word for word !
Generally speaking, Canada recognizes the fair dealing exception to copyright law. Under the fair dealing one can use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder if the use of the copyrighted material relates to research, private study, criticism, review, or news reporting. However, the also mandates that that such use be accompanied by mentioning the source of the material, along with the name of the author, performer, maker, or broadcaster for the dealing to be fair. Then there is the question of ethics. Whether a public figure should include material written by others without giving proper disclosure to the audience making it seem as if the material is original.
In my mind the issue is mre ethical than legal. As far as ethics I would ask important as the use of the materials in the sermon and how extensive was that use. If the use of the materials represents the core thesis of the sermon then I would like to towards it being plagiarism. In addition, if there was an extensive use of copyrighted materials without giving attribution then again I would consider this plagiarism (though you indicated that were only a few sentences that were thrown into the sermon that were word for word)
I agree with you that this does not bode well for the pastor. We expect our clergy to be creative and innovative and it is always surprising and disappointing when a spiritual leader is caught up in earthly matters. In this case, however because the pastor believed he had permission from the author then I think that any false perception that was given to audience is rooted in the misunderstanding and the innocent failure to reference the source. Maybe the pastor can follow up in a future sermon indicate the presumption and make the references to the source known to the congregation.
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