The use of ministry software is rampant among churches nowadays. Aside from storing your files for you in a systematic manner, it also helps you accomplish your tasks at an efficient rate, thereby giving you more time to get involved with other church activities. Software privacy, however, which is a very common problem in the world nowadays, also actually happens within the church limits. Whether you download your church software, copy, or buy them, they are all copyright-protected with laws that uphold the rights of their creators. Any violation on these laws could cost you thousands of dollars in fines, and could even get you prosecuted in the civil and criminal law.
When you acquire the software for your church, it’s not the same as buying a concrete item, such as a scanner. If you purchase a scanner for your office, you can share its use with other people in your office. With church software use, however, you are trading with intellectual property, and when you purchase one, you don’t actually buy the intellectual property, but rather the right to use that property under a series of conditions, which is called the “license agreement”. Any operation done outside of this agreement is considered software piracy. Here are two common types of piracy that are common among churches, whether deliberately or obliviously practiced.
1. End User Privacy. This happens when an employee reproduces a copy of the software without the appropriate authorization of the manufacturers. One example can be purchase of one copy, then re-installation on several computers. Another is when an employee takes home the installation CD, and stores it on his computer. These are clear violations in the ministry software license agreement considering that you paid for only one copy. A lot of you people may not be aware that this is a huge infringement because you’ve seen it done so many times before. You probably had even seen your parents do it when you were younger that it became such a commonplace procedure, which is why you don’t feel any remorse out of doing it anymore.
2. Client-Server Overuse. This type of piracy happens when you make use of the software in a network connection. If you only have 5 licenses for a certain software package, yet you allow 20 people to access it, you are efficiently stealing 15 package copies from the manufacturer and violating the license agreement at the same time. Church software violations sometimes occurs in this manner, when ministry employees who work together in a particular computer network share just one licensed software package among them. Considering the cost it may seem practical to resort to this kind of behavior, but there are clear reasons why infringement laws are filed under these violations. Manufacturers work hard to achieve perfection in developing their software, so it is but fair to give them due appreciation and respect out of all their efforts and sacrifices.
Ministry application piracy reflects on your testimony as a church, so it’s very important to take a stand against it by not engaging in such procedures. True, it can cost a lot to do what’s right, but isn’t that the point of your advocacy after all, to be not conformed to this world, but to be rather transformed by the renewing of your minds? Your ministry will surely get to where it’s supposed to be if you follow the right steps in getting there. That’s why you should never compromise.
For more information on the Endis Ministry Software, check out Insight by Endis.
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