"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 2, No. 17:  December 21, 2001.



The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed
online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati62.htm.  The
Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  See
the end of this issue for more information on "CATI."


This is the sixty-second issue of a free newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy,"
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the

Since CATI is written and edited by an ordained Presbyterian
minister, CATI may be especially useful for Christians of
Presbyterian or Reformed perspective, but other readers are
equally welcome (including not only Christians of different
backgrounds, but also those who may consider themselves to be
non-Christians).  It is my hope that you will find CATI to
be of interest and of value to you.

CATI is a personal publication.  Through CATI, readers see
me, "warts and all," rather than a professionally-perfected
portrait.  And CATI subscribers are more than email addresses
to me:  They (you) are individual persons created in the image
of an infinite-personal God and for that reason retain a
certain dignity and respect even after Adam's fall.

Even though it may be that people sometimes act like animals,
they are (from my perspective) not animals (or even evolved
animals), but persons, and this newsletter is written and
edited on the basis of that fundamental "presupposition" or

Another foundational assumption is that God (who is God of the
21st century as much as the 1st century) has done and is doing
a special work through Christ and through (and in) those who
by God's grace seek to follow Christ (that is, "Christians").
The eternal God is beyond time, but we are called to serve Him
in our particular time.

That's why "CATI" is especially devoted to "Christians And The
Internet," though, as I said, readers of all backgrounds are
welcome here, including non-Christians (but be forewarned --
the "faith" of atheists is at risk when they start a serious
consideration of the Christian perspective; C.S. Lewis found
that out when he lost his atheistic "faith" and became a
personal believer in the Lord Jesus Christ!).

So what are my personal plans for CATI at this point?  Let me
get down off the soapbox (or get from behind the pulpit) and
get into some specifics about what you may expect (D.V.) in
the future, since CATI is not for me, but for you.

First, there will be some changes, but one thing that will NOT
change is this:  CATI has been and will continue to be a free
email newsletter that carries no outside advertising.  This is
unusual (and perhaps impractical), but that's the way I have
chosen to do things.

Second, now that I've survived a somewhat disruptive period in
my life (primarily related to medical concerns) I've decided
to go back to regular weekly publication of CATI.  Issues and
articles may be a bit shorter at times, but I've been told
that that may not necessarily be a disadvantage! <grin>

Third, a change back to such a publication schedule will mean
some other changes if it's going to work out, so here's what
you can expect.

As I said, issues and articles may be shorter.  Longer articles
will continue to be published as appropriate, but a longer
article may be broken up into parts (with the parts published
over two issues or maybe three).

Some previous CATI articles need to be updated (e.g., some Web
addresses are no longer valid, or other details have changed).
From time to time (and no more than one per issue), I'll be
reprinting an earlier article (but with significant corrections
and usually new information).  When I reprint an article,  I'll
ordinarily put it at the end of the newsletter issue.

To make this thing work, I'll need some help (not financial!)
from some subscribers.  Helping out will NOT be a requirement
(ethically, morally, or otherwise) for receiving CATI.  Free
means free.  You are not under obligation to assist.  What I
am looking for is an entirely voluntary giving of just a few
minutes of time from a small number of subscribers from time
to time, and that would be entirely informal (nothing assigned
to specific people).

What kind of help?  Just writing a short email to provide a
little feedback on a particular topic or question.  Here is
a real example.  Some of you may have decided to sign up with
a family-friendly ISP (Internet Service Provider).  If so,
what ISP was it?  Are you happy or not happy with the result?

The point is this:  You decide on your own when to write or
even whether to write.  There is no pressure to get involved.
CATI is a one-person operation, and I know what a tremendous
help it is to receive feedback from time to time, even if it
only comes from an occasional subscriber or two, so if you
do write, you will know how much your note is appreciated.
But if you choose not to write, that's all right also:  I do
not know I'd personally be able to answer all of my email if
suddenly for some reason all subscribers were to write to me
at the same time (but right now I see no immediate danger of
that happening).

One more comment.  I do always enjoy hearing from readers,
whatever the subject may be, and I do take such email to be
personal communications.  When I receive a helpful note from
a CATI subscriber, you'll note that I never print that note
and that person's name in CATI unless he or she has given me
permission in advance to do so.  I believe in protecting
personal privacy (which is why my policy is NOT to give,
rent, or sell CATI's mailing list to anyone).

Bottom line:  I plan to resume weekly publication of CATI,
although issues and articles may be shorter and you may see
an occasional reprinted (but updated) article.  CATI will
remain a free newsletter with no outside advertising.  And
I strongly welcome and greatly appreciate hearing from CATI
readers (but I do not consider it to be an obligation upon
subscribers to write).  Enjoy!


Sad to say, piracy (say, of copyrighted music) is a popular
activity on the Internet.  Napster made it easy for people to
share files (legally or illegally).  Napster may no longer
allow file sharing, but other programs are out there that
offer a similar function.

Let's be clear about one thing from the beginning.  If the
music is copyrighted and the copyright owners have not given
explicit permission to pass around their songs, then such
activity is copyright violation and in fact stealing, which
is a violation of the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal"
(Exodus 20:15).  Christians ought not to participate in the
practice, but rather ought to respect the property of others.

Music file sharing does take place among Christians, and it
seems to be that - for at least some of the Christian music
MP3 files involved -- the music may be "free," but it is not
"legal."  Whether it is done out of ignorance or knowingly,
the activity is wrong and must be avoided.  But there is good
news:  there are free, legal Christian music MP3 files that
are available on the Internet for download.

The purpose of this article is to give some guidance in this
area.  Although the "fair use" provision of U.S. Copyright
Law allows for the legal distribution of fragments of songs,
distribution of entire songs without permission is clearly
illegal.  But some copyright holders (mostly independent
artists, but many established artists as well) have given
direct permission allowing distribution of certain of their
songs in MP3 format.

One example of a place where you can locate free and legal
Christian music MP3s is Crush Digital Recordings:

Crush Digital Recordings

Here's what they have to say in their words of welcome to
the site:

"Welcome to Crush Digital Recordings! We offer links to
Christian MP3s put up by the bands themselves. That's right,
this means they are free and legal! Grab a few rare songs by
your favorite band, or try out something you've never heard...
it's all here...."

Their list of artists includes ApologetiX ("parody"), Daniel
Amos ("adult alternative"), The Electrics (Irish/folk), and
many examples of various forms of "pop" and "rock."

Another source of free, legal Christian MP3's is CCMP3s.com,
which includes this statement of welcome:

"Welcome to ccmp3s.com, the world's largest directory of Legal
Christian mp3 files, all free and legal to download!"

Their list includes Steven Curtis Chapman ("pop/rock"), Petra
("rock" - Greek students will notice the pun), and Michael W.
Smith ("pop"), among others.

I haven't confirmed this, but I suspect CCMP3s stands for CCM
MP3s, i.e., Christian Contemporary Music MP3s.  That raises
the question:  Are all Christian music MP3 files contemporary
"Christian" forms of pop, rock, and "modern" music in general?
Are there no examples (say the traditionalists) of "a kinder,
gentler music" among the MP3 files.

Well, it is true that most MP3 Christian music files tend to
be contemporary (just as most MIDI Christian music files tend
to be traditional), but there are free, legal Christian MP3s
with a somewhat more traditional sound or perspective.

One of these is the Wigtune Company.  I first learned about
them because of their being mentioned on the Web site of Third
Millennium Ministries, a Christian work associated with Dr.
Richard Pratt of Reformed Theological Seminary.

Here's where you'll find the Wigtune Company Web site:

Wigtune Company

One refreshing thing about them is that they are consciously
in the tradition of the Protestant Reformation and they do not
apologize for it.  Their comments on their statement of faith
tell us not only where they stand, but also some interesting
things about church history as well:
"The Wigtune Company statement of faith draws heavily from The
Heidelberg Catechism. This document was written in Heidelberg
at the request of Elector Frederick III, ruler of the most
influential German province, the Palatinate, from 1559 to 1576.
Fredrick III was a pious Christian prince. He commissioned
Zacharius Ursinus, twenty-eight years of age and professor of
theology at the Heidelberg University, and Caspar Olevianus,
twenty-six years old and Frederick's court preacher, to
prepare this catechism.

"The purpose of the document was to instruct the youth and
guide pastors and teachers. It was carefully constructed as
Frederick obtained the advice and cooperation of the entire
theological faculty in its preparation. Ultimately this
influential Reformation manuscript was adopted by a Synod in
Heidelberg and published in German with a preface by Frederick
III on January 19, 1563.

"Wigtune Company believes that the biblical truths presented
in this historic paper are just as relevant to our youth,
pastors and teachers today as they were in the days when the
Reformation leaders were valiantly returning to the primitive
gospel tenets established in the Bible by the early Church.

"Wigtune Company affirms the Biblical doctrines of the
Reformation, recognizing the importance of regaining adherence
to the five "solas" of the Reformation:

     Sola fide (faith alone)
     Sola gratia (grace alone)
     Solus Christus (Christ alone)
     Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
     Soli Deo gloria (to God alone be glory)"


You can get many free, legal MP3 files from this source:

"Wigtune Company is offering free mp3 songfile downloads of
psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for the benefit of music
ministers, praise leaders and every worshipper of the True and
Living God for their edification.  All of the praise songs,
choruses and hymn downloads listed below have been written and
arranged by Don Wigton."

By the way, I trust that you noticed the similarity between
the company name and the author or arranger of the various
songs on the site.

Here is the Wigtune Company's policy concerning their MP3

"MP3 music files: You may keep your downloaded Wigtune Company
mp3 music files on your hard drive for as long as you desire.
You do not have to buy the CD...."

Thus the Christian music MP3 files on the Wigtune site are
free and legal to download.

And here is their philosophy of music:

"Regarding church music, Wigtune Company recognizes the value
of both the old and the new. Music that is relevant to today’s
society did not begin in the ‘70s, nor did it end there. It is
not musical style that determines whether-or-not music is
appropriate for the praise of God in the church. Rather it is
the scriptural content and the proper use of music in the
context of scripturally-based praise that renders music valid
for church use."

Here are some of the MP3s of traditional hymns available for
download at the Wigtune Company Web site:

     Amazing Grace
     A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
     Be Thou My Vision
     Come Thou Almighty King
     Crown Him with Many Crowns
     Fairest Lord Jesus
     Great Is Thy Faithfulness
     Holy, Holy, Holy
     How Great Thou Art
     I Know Whom I Have Believed
     I Love to Tell the Story
     It Is Well with My Soul
     Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
     Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
     My Jesus I Love Thee
     Near the Cross
     O Worship the King
     O for a Thousand Tongues
     Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow
     Praise Him! Praise Him!
     The Solid Rock
     To God Be the Glory!

Caution:  Even these traditional hymns are given a somewhat
more contemporary flavor, so be forewarned.

Where on the Web can all these Wigtune Company MP3s (and many
others) be found?  Here's the page:

Wigtune Company: Free MP3 Praise Music and Chord Chart

There is one thing for which Wigtune Company and other sources
of free, legal Christian music MP3s can be faulted.  In spite
of Don Wigton's statement that "it is the scriptural content
and the proper use of music in the context of scripturally-
based praise that renders music valid for church use," he (and
most others) neglect the Psalms, which are God's inspired
songs of praise for God's people to sing.

Even if you do not hold that Christians ought to sing only
Psalms, you should agree that Christians ought to sing Psalms!
The Psalms mix together solid Biblical theology and personal
human experience, many would say, in a way unmatched by other
attempts at hymns or spiritual songs for the people of God.

You can find some (partial) Psalms in MP3 format on the Crown
& Covenant Publications Web site:

Crown & Covenant Publications: Listening Post

Here's a list of the Psalms that you can sample on that Web
page:  Psalm 9, Psalm 13, Psalm 24, Psalm 26, Psalm 29, Psalm
33, Psalm 37, Psalm 45, Psalm 89, Psalm 92, Psalm 98, Psalm
100, Psalm 102, Psalm 117, Psalm 119, and Psalm 139.  It is
regrettable that only short samples (e.g., a single verse)
are available.  (If anyone knows of a good place to find
the Psalms in MP3 format - sung rather than read - on the
Web, please let me know!)

Well, we've looked at some sources of free, legal MP3s on the
Web for Christian music, and there are others (for example,
a past issue of CATI told where to get free MP3 files of
music by Michael Card and Phil Keaggy).  Perhaps we'll do
more exploring in a future issue of CATI.  In the meantime,
the following resource will help you do some exploring on
your own, if you have an interest in doing so:

Christian Music: Free/Legal MP3s

Yes, Virginia, there are free (but legal!) MP3 files that you
can download from the Internet, including Christian music.
As always, discretion should be exercised.  Not all Christian
music is equally good (and not all "Christian" music is really
Christian!), but if you exercise thoughtfulness and care, you
should find music that honors the God of the Scriptures and
raises you up to praise Him all the more for His majesty.



One thing that has impressed me as I've had opportunities to
correspond with various Webmasters is that these "masters"
often have a "servant" attitude.  There are exceptions, but
I've generally been much encouraged by the helpful responses
I've gotten from individual Webmasters (or Webservants) or
from other official contact persons for various Web sites.

One example is John Treacy, who is involved with Ditto.com,
a family-friendly search engine for pictures on the Internet.
The best way to illustrate this is perhaps to share with you
some emails that were exchanged (I have, of course, deleted
any expletives from the following):

From:         Barry Traver <cati@traver.org>
To:           review@ditto.com
Subject:      The "*" Word Is on Your Web Site:  What's Up?
Date sent:    Thu, 6 Sep 2001 20:23:13 -0400

Two things:

(1) In case you're interested in reading it, I reviewed
Ditto.com's Image Search Engine in a recent article in
"CATI," a free email newsletter that I publish:

CATI:  Searching for Family-Friendly Pictures on the Web

In that article I recommended you as a valuable "family-
friendly" resource.

(2) One of my subscribers, however, wrote me to let me know
that your language is not always equally "family-friendly"!
Specifically, he called my attention to the fact that the
"*" word appears on your Partners page:

Ditto.com: Partners

Here's his statement of the problem (and I've confirmed that
his report is accurate):

"Look at the sample screen closely under the caption 'Sample
Partner Web Site using Ditto'.  The URL against the first
of the Britney Spears images contains the phrase

The print is very small, so it may not be easy to read.
Specifically, here is what it says in the screen shot for
your Sample Partners Web Site:

britney spears
Size: 64747
Dimensions: 367 x 500
Found at: http://homestead.com/whogivesa****/britney.html

For a site that prides itself on its "Family Filters," do
you really want to use that screen shot?  (Also, if someone
uses your Ditto.com Image Search Engine, are there any
safeguards against obscene language showing up in the URLs
that are shown?)

I'll be looking forward to your response (which I expect to
be sharing with my subscribers).

Barry Traver, Editor of "CATI,"
a free email newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet"

Here's the response I received (published here with John
Treacy's permission):
From:         "John Treacy" <johnt@ditto.com>
To:           <cati@traver.org>
Subject:      RE: The "*" Word Is on Your Web Site: What's Up?
Date sent:    Fri, 7 Sep 2001 11:50:13 -0500


Thanks for your e-mail.  We appreciate the review you did on
Ditto in your newsletter.  We also appreciate you pointing out
the "non-family friendly" text on our partners page.  You are
correct.  It is inappropriate.  It is an oversight on our part
and something that was never intended to be on the site.  We
have already removed the image and re-worked the partners page.
You should check it out.  Again, thanks for pointing it out.
We honestly try very hard to live up to our "family friendly"
position on Ditto.  We have processes and procedures in place
(including a "Request a Review" link) but inappropriate
things do get through every so often.  We are happy to review
and correct inappropriate content that is brought to our
attention.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


John did want it to be understood that Ditto.com - although
family-friendly - is not endorsing any particular religious

"As you know, our policy is to be a 'family friendly' site.
We believe in this position but we are not a religious based
group and our 'family friendly' position is a business
decision that many of us happen to agree is good business.
We all have families and are trying to do the right things in
general regarding the content we present on Ditto.  However,
we serve a broad constituency and we try to be sensitive to
the opinions of a variety of groups that use Ditto....  You
are welcome to quote me but I'd like to be sure that my quote
is not seen as an endorsement by Ditto of any particular
religious organization."

John was refreshingly honest about how difficult it is to
filter out the bad stuff, an effort that may be successful
to an impressive degree (so that the listings may perhaps
actually be "99 44/100% pure," as in the soap commercial),
but it is unlikely to reach perfection in this life.  John
explains the situation:

"One other thing I'd like to point out.  Ditto tries very hard
to keep non-family friendly content off the site but the porn
guys are very creative in getting their content on a site.
It's a never ending battle....  We have mechanisms on the
site (Request a Review, Contact Us, etc.) so users can let us
know but we are never able to guarantee the site is 100% free
of porn.  I think we do a good job in monitoring it but it is
an ongoing battle...."

And that brings me to a repeated theme you'll find here in
"CATI":  parents ultimately make the best parents.  There is
no way that a mechanical search engine can be an adequate
substitute for a Christian father or mother.  Life (films,
television, radio, books, magazines, _and_ the people we
meet day by day) is such that our children will meet up from
time to time with results of the fall (the Bible itself is
brutally frank about that).  As parents, we can protect them
where possible from examples of improper behavior, and when
they do run into such, we must be there to help them develop
a proper and godly response.

I doubt that you're really likely to run into pictures of
immoral sexual behavior as a result of using Ditto.com.  If
it should happen, however, then being right there able to
talk about it with your child (e.g., how God created sex as
a good gift to be expressed only between husband and wife)
is better than your child's being shown "dirty pictures" by
a child in the neighborhood (and being instructed by that
child in society's current popular lies about proper and
improper sexual behavior).

I do have one complaint about Ditto.com, but it's one of
which many search engines are guilty.  Expect to see ads at
the top of the results page related to the search topic!
What you need to do is to go past the first pictures (which
are really disguised advertisements) to the "real" pictures
related to your topic.

Bottom line:  People like Ditto.com are doing their best and
are performing a useful service.  If they occasionally (and
very rarely) let something get through which shouldn't, we
should not be sharply critical, but should point out the
problem or problem file in a polite and courteous way.  If we
approach them in a positive manner, we may be surprised by the
positive manner in which our concerns are received.


(If your church subscribes to CCLI, feel free to skip over
this article.  If, on the other hand, you've never heard
of CCLI, keep on reading!)

I hope that this article doesn't lose me subscribers, but I
thought I should report that not only individuals but also
church congregations may be guilty of copyright violation
(which is another way of saying that they are guilty of
violating the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal").  It is
often innocently done, without a real awareness that what
is being done is legally and morally wrong, but it is still
a risky thing for me to point out to people that long-time
church practices (such as using the church copier to make
copies of praise songs for use in the worship service) are
in reality breaking both U.S. law and God's law.

Before I go further, may I say that many people who believe
that their church is not guilty of any copyright violation
may - after exploring the subject a bit more - have to admit
that some of their church's common practices are in fact not
really legal (even though "everybody's doing it," an excuse
we don't let our children get away with).  We may need to
confess once more that we are law-breakers and resolve once
more that - enabled by God's grace - we shall seek to be
obedient to God's laws and to the laws of the state or of
the country in which we live to the full extent that we can.

But if you are part of a church that does (ignorantly or
knowingly) break U.S. Copyright Law, I have not only bad
news for you (as you recognize the various ways in which
a church may violate copyright, and you may be surprised
by some of them!), but also good news (as you find that
there is a reasonable solution that can enable churches
to continue to reproduce copyrighted music).

By the way, many traditional hymns are old enough so that
they are not any longer protected by copyright.  None of the
hymns in the old Trinity Hymnal (except for one, "Great Is
Thy Faithfulness") are currently protected by copyright.
The same is NOT true of the new Trinity Hymnal, which makes
use of many more recent hymns.  It is in the reproduction of
more contemporary Christian music that church congregations
run into problems with copyright violation.

Let me go to the good news first.  Christian Copyright
Licensing International (CCLI) is the solution.  Yes, it
does cost money, but that's because the congregation is
acting ethically by seeing to it that those who hold the
copyright to the music reproduced by the church do not
lose out on the financial reward they are entitled to
receive for the use of their music.  By investing in a
"Church Copyright License," you can make copies (in
various formats) of copyrighted music, and you can do
it with a good conscience.

Here are two main pages you may want to visit on the CCLI
Web site:

CCLI: Global Site

CCLI: Church Copyright License

Christian Copyright Licensing International emphasizes the
positive as they explain the benefits, but if you read
carefully, you will see how many things that are commonly
done by church congregations actually violate U.S. copyright
"Now there's any easy and affordable solution for churches
which reproduce songs... or would like to.  It's called the
Church Copyright License. It can loose your music department
from the rigid demands of the copyright law and leave you free
to legally copy over 150,000 songs and hymns.

"Here are just some of the ways the Church Copyright License
allows you to copy songs:

"Record your worship service on tape.... The Church Copyright
License allows you to legally include the song service on
your recording.

"Project songs from your overhead or slide projector....
Overheads are...helpful when introducing new songs, and with
the Church Copyright License your song selections are almost

"Copy songs in bulletins that you hand out before worship
service....  With the Church Copyright License you can legally
copy any of over 150,000 covered songs. Almost every song sung
in churches today.

Copy music on to songsheet handouts.... [or] Copying songs
from a variety of sources to create your own church
songbooks.... It's an ideal and cost-effective way to utilize
traditional and contemporary songs in your worship services.

Maintain a database of songs on your computer. Even copying
songs onto your computer requires legal permission. But for
churches that regularly print songs in bulletins or on
songsheet handouts a computer file of songs is a logical
step.... Whatever the case, the Church Copyright License is
a perfect companion for a computer song base.

Make audio or videotapes of weddings, camps and special
services. The copyright law even prohibits copying songs on
videotapes and cassettes at special functions without
permission. But that doesn't have to stop you from recording
congregational singing at weddings, holiday services and
programs, even church-sponsored meetings outside the church.
The Church Copyright License can help you cover all your


It is the rare church that does not do some of the things on
the preceding list, so many or most churches should seriously
consider whether they ought to pursue obtaining a Church
Copyright License.

And now we come to an important question:  What's the cost?
(And another important question:  Who benefits?):

"The annual fee for a Church Copyright License is determined
by the size of your church. Church size is based on regular
attendance at your main service(s).... Royalties from
License fees are distributed to the song composers and
publishers fairly, based upon a special song survey that
churches fill out when requested...."

If your church has less than 25 people, the annual cost is
$46.  If your church is a bit larger (but still fewer than
100 people), the cost is $93 each year.  For a yet larger
church (but with less than 200 people), the cost would be
$156 a year.  For a still larger church (but with fewer
than 500 people), the cost would be $203 annually.  And so

True confession:  It was not until recent years that my own
congregation saw the need to register with CCLI.  We had
done certain things on the preceding list and had not really
thought through the question of whether what we were doing
was right to do.  We are now acting responsibility in this
area, and my belief is that CATI readers will also want to
do what is right (and there are just two options:  to obtain
a Church Copyright License or to cease from any reproduction
of copyrighted music unless permission to reproduce has been
given by the copyright owner).

Of course, I also believe that the churches of many CATI
readers already are registered with CCLI, but those CATI
readers were told that they didn't have to read this article
(if you want to check that, re-read the first paragraph of
this article! <grin>).


This is the sixty-second issue of a free newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy,"
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the

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a lot of work (albeit a labor of love) and (since it is a free
newsletter and I intend it to stay such) provides no financial
income, so what keeps me going with this personal endeavor is
knowing that people are finding it to be helpful, instructive,
and enjoyable.  (Comments from readers are always welcome, so
let me hear from you!)

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.