The U.S. Copyright Office's concept of Fair Use is primarily intended to disseminate college research for educational (that is, non-profit) purposes. Accordingly, no limits are put on students for incorporating a published author's verbatim (word-for-word) statements in his/her own work. The assumption is that the student's critique (in a PowerPoint presentation or a Master's Thesis as two examples) will be freely available to other college researchers, that is, neither sold nor published.
Fair Use also extends to published for-resale materials, but the government does not mandate percentage limits of verbatim quotes from a published author. While the Copyright Office allows some non-specified minimal verbatim quoting, it's assumed that prospective authors will request formal permission to extract and incorporate any sizable word-for-word volumes from established authors. This is to protect authors' original verbal content and style. There are no limits on concepts (ideas).
Fair Use does not protect against Copyright Law infringements. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
- Reproduce the work in copies or media;
- Prepare derivative works based on originals;
- Distribute copies or media of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
- Perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, panto-mimes, motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
- Display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
Why Copyright? Why don't Bible-Study producing Ministries freely give away all their materials for free re-distribution? There are several reasons:
- They have to cover the material and labor costs to produce their products and services for the same reason a church has to pay for its own materials, building, utilities, pastoral and administrative staff. To not cover expenses is to go out of business, meaning to go out of ministry.
- They have to safeguard author originality based on "honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7) and more importantly biblical accuracy and integrity. Precept's inductive studies are the product of a unique inductive study method and a long iterative development cycle that includes a dynamic piloting process with extensive leader and student feedback (peer review) prior to production. Courses are integrated to learn "the whole counsel of God." Copyrights secure product integrity against (hopefully unintentional) misuse: fragmenting, misquoting and (worst case) tampering: deleting, adding to, and changing content.
- All Ministries give away some of their materials and services and Precept is no exception. PMI charges for products and services but also raises donations not just to cover production costs but also to subsidize training and materials and their distribution to people in nearly 150 countries, most who can afford no more than bare living essentials. This is our ministry to Jesus' most needy brethren and in fact your ministry if you're associated with us.
Precept Ministries does not allow the reproduction or transmission of any of its copyrighted products in whole or in part in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This includes NASB Scripture references the Lockman Foundation has copyrighted but given us permission to quote in our materials.
- The first lessons of Precept Upon Precept (PUP) studies (free downloads from our web site) Note: leaders are authorized to copy the first one or two lessons when complete workbooks are scheduled to arrive late (after the first class)
- Free Study Guides for Precepts For Life programs (also downloadable)
PMI does not allow any reproduction or transmission of audio tapes, CDs, or DVDs
- A one-time conversion from audio or visual tapes to CD or DVD.
- A one-time download to an mobile device for listening or viewing
- Church (only) one-time duplication to produce a vaulted master in case of product deterioration. The original and copy (master) may not be installed or used concurrently on two CPUs.
To obtain permission to copy Precept materials
Please send the information requested below to:
Mail: Editorial Department
Precept Ministries International
P.O. Box 182218
Chattanooga, TN 37422
Please note: we do not take requests by phone.
For each Title include:
- Title and Author(s)
- Copyright date
- Specific Quotes or Visuals (maps, charts, etc.)
- Line Numbers
- Class: Size, Location, and Date(s)
- Number of Copies