"Christians And The Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 4 No. 11: December 10, 2003 _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. WESTMINSTER CAMPUS BOOKSTORE NOW OFFERS LECTURES ON CD 2. "URGENT" PRAYER REQUEST: THE TRUTH ABOUT BABY DELANEY 3. SPAM EMAIL ON THE INTERNET AND SOME WAYS TO COMBAT IT 4. SOME USES OF EMAIL FOR CHURCHES AND FOR INDIVIDUALS 5. WHY "CATI" REQUIRES "REAL NAMES" FROM ITS SUBSCRIBERS 6. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________ The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed on-line at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati88.htm. The Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links. Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2003 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. See the end of this issue for more information on "CATI." _______________________________________________________________ 1. WESTMINSTER CAMPUS BOOKSTORE NOW OFFERS LECTURES ON CD In the last issue of "CATI," I said, "In less than a month, I should have some more exciting news for you relating to WTS Bookstore." Well, the time has come. The Web site is still "under construction" in this area, but enough is done that you can see most of what you want to know. In the past, many worthwhile speakers have been heard at Westminster Theological Seminary, and often their lectures have been recorded. These lectures have often been made available through Westminster Media, but - since they were put on cassette tape - they were a bit expensive. (Also, cassette tapes can suffer wear and tear). The good news is that such lectures are now being made available at about half the price on CD! Here is a partial list of the speakers involved: John Armstrong, John Bettler, James Boice, Edmund Clowney, William Edgar, Sinclair Ferguson, John Frame, Richard Gaffin, Jr., George Gallup, Robert Godfrey, Os Guiness, Timothy Keller, William Krispin, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Tremper Longman, III, George Marsden, Jack Miller, John Murray, Manuel Ortiz, J. I. Packer, Vern Poythress, Moises Silva, John Skilton, Cornelius Van Til, G.I. Williamson, Larry Woiwode, and E.J. Young. The cost is only $3.00 per lecture. Here's how to get to where you can see the speakers and the lectures currently available: First, go to the Westminster Seminary Campus Bookstore: http://wtsbooks.com/ Click on "Audio" near the top left corner, and then click on "Lecture CD's" on the right of the page. You'll see an alphabetical list of speakers. Click on the name of a speaker, and you'll see the lectures available. IMPORTANT: Note that "Westminster Theological Seminary, including the Bookstore, will be closed from December 20 through January 4. Orders placed after 8:00 am on December 19 will be processed after January 4, and online inventory estimates may be inaccurate during this period." So it's a good time to "Window-shop" on their Web site (even if you have a Mac rather than a PC running Windows) <grin>. Incidentally, the Web site at this point does not mention the format of the CD, but - as I understand it - we are talking about a normal audio CD. (In the future it is possible that an entire series of lectures might be placed on a CD in MP 3 format, but you would ordinarily need a computer or a special modern player equipped to handle the MP3 format.) The significant thing is that we're moving from cassette to a more durable medium, and one that can be handled by a computer. Which brings us to the question of what you can and cannot do with a copyrighted audio CD that you own. In brief, you do NOT have the right to distribute the content to other people either in that format or in another format. Even if you "own" the CD, that is "unfair use" of it. It is a violation of the commandment "Thou shalt not steal." What is "fair use" is currently being debated, but to me the description of the situation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation makes a lot of sense (check their site for the full text): ______________________________________________________________ / "Fair use allows consumers to make a copy of part or all of a copyrighted work, even where the copyright holder has not given permission or objects to your use of the work.... "The public's right to make fair use of copyrighted works is a long-established and integral part of US copyright law. Courts have used fair use as the means of balancing the competing principles underlying copyright law since 1841.... --Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) http://www.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php \______________________________________________________________ The question then becomes, "What is included under 'fair use'?" Here is their attempt to answer that: ______________________________________________________________ / "Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies. "In addition, in 1984 the Supreme Court held that time-shifting (for example, private, non-commercial home taping of television programs with a VCR to permit later viewing) is fair use. (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984, S.C.) "Although the legal basis is not completely settled, many lawyers believe that the following (and many other uses) are also fair uses: "Space-shifting or format-shifting - that is, taking content you own in one format and putting it into another format, for personal, non-commercial use. For instance, 'ripping' an audio CD (that is, making an MP3-format version of an audio CD that you already own) is considered fair use by many lawyers, based on the 1984 Betamax decision and the 1999 Rio MP3 player decision (RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999). "Making a personal back-up copy of content you own - for instance, burning a copy of an audio CD you own." --Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) http://www.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php \______________________________________________________________ The key, I think, is in that the copy you make is for your own "personal, non-commercial use." Distribution to others is ordinarily NOT allowed (except for special situations like the classroom where a small excerpt may be used specifically instructional purposes, according to the four guidelines in section 107 of the Copyright statute). My interpretation of things is that it's all right to make a copy for your own personal use (e.g., as a backup) and all right to loan the original to a friend (just as you might let someone borrow a book), but in general it is wrong to make a copy for a friend. (Use of recorded material in a classroom would not require making copies for students, so classroom "fair use" is ordinarily restricted to limited excerpts in printed form.) I'm not a lawyer, and sometimes the laws are unclear, but common sense (which is not always that common) can often provide answers as you ask not simply, "Is it legal?," but "Is it moral?" or "Is it ethical?" (Again, if it is robbing someone of legitimate income, then it is a violation of the eighth commandment.) _______________________________________________________________ 2. "URGENT" PRAYER REQUEST: THE TRUTH ABOUT BABY DELANEY Before you forward that e-mail letter just because you've been asked to do so, check it out! The majority of e-mail messages that request that they be forwarded are at best inaccurate and at worst intentionally deceptive (in which case forwarding the e-mail puts you in the position of contributing to that deception!). As an example, here's an e-mail that was recently received by a "CATI" subscriber (perhaps you got one as well): ______________________________________________________________ / > From: [some person]> > To: [various names] > Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 12:21 AM > Subject: Prayer Request > > > > URGENT PRAYER REQUEST from Robert & Heidi Emmett > > > > Late Thursday night an 8-month-old little girl named > > Delaney pulled a hot Fry Daddy on her body. Her Mom, > > Deena, pulled her out of her walker and also burned > > herself. They life-flighted the little girl to Scottish > > Rite and then to Parkland Burn Center in Dallas. She has > > 40% burns on the trunk of her body. They are going to > > amputate at least 3 fingers on one hand and will have to > > graft skin from her Mom and Dad to help repair her. She > > is in critical condition and her lungs have filled with > > water. They don't know if she will live or not. They say > > the next few days will decide. They live in Florence, > > Texas and have two other children. THEY NEED AS MANY > > PRAYERS AS THEY CAN GET. Will you please forward this to > > as many prayer warriors as you can? It only takes a > > moment to say a simple prayer for this sweet baby, and > > prayer is much more powerful than most people realize! > > Please - take just a quick minute to pray for this baby > > girl, and forward this request to anyone else you can. > > THANK YOU! \______________________________________________________________ Well, "Late Thursday night" turns out to be in May 2001, so the request is not as "URGENT" as it may sound at first. (At least Baby Delaney is real; that is not always true of such letters <sigh>.) Now here's the truth about the rumor. The following is from http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/babydelaney.htm (note that the accident took place in 2001, not 2003, and the baby was released from the hospital in June 2001 and is now home): __________________________________________________________________ / Summary of the eRumor Eight-month-old Baby Delaney from Florence, Texas, has been severely burned from tipping a deep fryer on herself. She has burns over 40 percent of her body and is facing amputation of three of her fingers. There is fear that she may not live. The Truth Baby Delaney's last name is Parrish and she is real. In May, 2001, she suffered severe burns. She is still receiving treatment, but is progressing. She did lose one finger and the tip of another and had skin grafts in several places on her body. On June 2, 2001, she was released from Parkland hospital and is now home. Her parents, Deana and Deven, appreciate everybody's love and prayers. You can check updates on Delaney at http://babydelaney.tripod.com/updates.htm Last updated 6/21/01 \__________________________________________________________________ The Web page at http://www.wgni.com/html/legends.html provides (in the middle of the page) a list of "Sick and Dying or Missing People... who are not." It comments as follows: "Those listed below are NOT sick or dying; in fact, some of them are totally fictitious. The sad thing is that there are a lot of sick and dying people out there and these kinds of false email messages just make us more cynical.... If you see the name of an adult or child below in one of your emails, then it's no longer valid or a hoax message and you should discard it. PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD IT." The list includes not only Baby Delaney, but also David Allen, Rachel Arlington, Jeermaine or Curt Beerman, Penny Brown, Amy Bruce, David "Darren" Bucklew, Amanda Bundy, Anna Cohen and Baby Jada, Jeff deLeon, Timothy Flyte, Fatima Hafeez, Braedon Hembree, Faith Hoemspine, LaNisha Jackson, Jessica Koopmans, David Lawitts, Justin Mallory, Tamara Martin, Christopher Mindo, Jr., Jessica Mydek, Natalie, Anthony Parkin, Lauren Pingel, Kalin Relek, Craig Shergold, Solidaridad con Brito, (Do any of the names sound familiar to you?) Again, before you forward an e-mail letter just because you've been asked to do so, check it out! The majority of e-mail messages that request that they be forwarded are at best inaccurate and at worse deliberately deceptive. Here are some useful places to do that: TruthOrFiction.com http://truthorfiction.com/ Urban Legends Reference Page: Daily Snopes http://www.snopes.com/ Urban Legend Zeitgeist http://www.urbanlegends.com/ulz/ About.com: Urban Legends and Folklore http://urbanlegends.about.com/ _______________________________________________________________ 3. SPAM EMAIL ON THE INTERNET AND SOME WAYS TO COMBAT IT On the Internet, spam is not a luncheon meat, but rather unsolicited email of a commercial nature, usually sent out in bulk. Some consider spam to be a more serious problem than computer viruses. If you're not getting as much spam as regular email, then count yourself fortunate. If you are getting as much spam as regular email, then be encouraged: there are many things you can do to combat spam (some good, some bad, and some indifferent). The purpose of this article is not to recommend certain specific solutions (I hope to do that in a future article), but to offer some general comments and suggest some general resources on the Web where you can learn more about spam and ways to combat it. Here are some thoughts on spam (with no attempt to be comprehensive): (1) There is no lack of software to help people deal with spam. For example, you can find _over 70_ such programs at this location: TUCOWS http://www.tucows.com/spam95_default.html Here's another place to find anti-spam software: WebAttack http://www.webattack.com/ Type "get rid of spam" (without the quotes) into the search box, press enter, and you'll be presented with over 100 results. You can also find anti-spam software on that site by going to this address: http://www.webattack.com/shareware/comm/swspam.html Some programs are commercial software, some are shareware, and some are freeware. (As I said, I hope to do a article on some of them in a future issue of "CATI.") SpamAssassin (which I mentioned in a previous issue) is not the only anti-spam software around (and far from the best; more about that in a moment). Rather, there are many good anti-spam programs out there (as well as many that are not so good, of course). Here's where you can find _over ninety_ anti-spam resources (most of them software programs), and _all_ of them are _free_: http://www.mnsi.net/~jhlavac/security/antispam.htm (2) Some of the deficiencies of SpamAssassin are discussed here: http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati77.htm#3 SpamAssassin's rules for determining what is spam and what isn't are often rather arbitrary. With SpamAssassin, your ISP is "reading" your mail and censoring it using guidelines about which you had no say. "Opt-in" newsletters are often wrongly regarded as spam, which means that it is possible that you may be prevented from getting that which you may have specifically requested. And so on. For example, some ISPs consider "CATI" to be spam - in spite of the fact that no one is placed on the mailing list who has not specifically asked that such be done - because "CATI" has entire words as well as phrases entirely in capital letters! (3) Following are half a dozen or so additional resources related to fighting spam: Scambusters.org "Stop Spam! ... How To Dramatically Reduce The Amount Of Spam You're Receiving, Using these tips and resources, we've reduced the amount of spam we receive by about 55%." http://www.scambusters.org/stopspam/ The Anti-Spam Home Page "The spam problem is not going away, it's getting worse! Learn how to stop junk e-mail." http://www.arachnoid.com/lutusp/antispam.html Spam: How to Fight it - Elsop's Anti-Spam Page http://www.elsop.com/wrc/nospam.htm About.com: Email: Spam http://email.about.com/cs/spamgeneral/ About.com: Internet for Beginners: Spam http://netforbeginners.about.com/cs/spam/ Google: Spam http://directory.google.com/Top/Computers/Internet/Abuse/Spam/ Junkbusters http://junkbusters.com/ A final thought for now: be careful not to filter out the good with the bad. Make sure that whatever you do decide to use is NOT something that will filter out "CATI"! P.S. I just got word in a newsletter from Panda Software at http://www.pandasoftware.com/ that hope is on the horizon: ______________________________________________________________ / "...the US Congress has approved the first national bill against spam, or junk mail. "The bill...does not prohibit commercial mail or even mass mailing of commercial mail, but forces senders to identify themselves correctly. Other measures in this anti-spam bill include the following: "- It establishes hefty fines, and even sentences of up to five years in prison for senders of spam. "- It prevents senders of unsolicited commercial mail from harvesting addresses off websites and obliges them to include a mechanism so that recipients can indicate whether they want to receive messages in the future. "- It encourages the Federal Trade Commission to create a list of e-mail addresses that do not want to receive any kind of spam." --Oxygen 3 newsletter, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003, from Panda Software (to subscribe, go to http://tinyurl.com/427w but you may want to check on "No" at the bottom of the page) \______________________________________________________________ The bill is likely to be signed by President Bush, according to Information Week: http://snipurl.com/3crl "Put not your trust in princes" (Ps. 146) or in politicians, however. Such a law could have great positive results, but it would be difficult or impossible to enforce outside the U.S. Other remedies will still be needed, so be sure to check some of the other resources I mentioned in this article. _______________________________________________________________ 4. SOME USES OF EMAIL FOR CHURCHES AND FOR INDIVIDUALS [The following is a slight revision of an article that was earlier published in "CATI," Vol. 1, No. 3 (Jan. 21, 2000).] The Internet is simply a way in which we can be "connected" with one another. Just as we use the telephone to keep in touch with one another, say, between Sundays (or meetings of various church groups), so also email can be an important supplementary way for us to stay "in touch." Here are a couple of examples from my own congregation. In addition to having a telephone prayer chain (to make people aware of special needs during the week), so also we have an email prayer chain (since -- as is the case with many other congregations -- most of the members of our congregation are able to receive email). Similarly, the contents of the church bulletin (in plain text format) are sent to members, both to help them prepare for Sunday services and to let them know in advance of special planned events and prayer needs. Email is also a good way for churches in the same area (say, the same presbytery, classis, diocese, parish, or whatever the appropriate term might be) to keep one another informed of activities and needs, as well as a good way for churches (and individuals in them) to keep in touch with missionaries on the field (some of whom, not all, may have some access to email). In addition to email, of course, the Internet offers many other opportunities (there is, for example, the World Wide Web - does your church yet have a Web page?), but perhaps these comments open up some of the possibilities that are there waiting to be realized! _______________________________________________________________ 5. WHY "CATI" REQUIRES "REAL NAMES" FROM ITS SUBSCRIBERS On the Internet, it is common for people not to give out their real names. Since I ordinarily require real names (there are a very few exceptions, but I expect to allow in the future even fewer exceptions, although people are welcome to try to talk me into it), it is perhaps only appropriate that I take time to explain why I almost always require subscribers to supply a "real name" rather than simply a "user name" or an email address. Incidentally, it is my policy NOT to share or sell information on my mailing list to _anyone_. (Let them make their own mailing lists!). "CATI" is a lot of work, and I do it only for my friends (including those who become brand-new friends by requesting to be put on the mailing list). Here are just some of my reasons (in random order) for wanting people's real names for my mailing list: (1) My guess is that if you subscribe to any magazine that is sent to you via the U.S. Postal Service that you have supplied them with your full name. I am only asking for the same courtesy and privilege. (2) I regard subscribers not as simply e-mail address but as individual human beings who are created in the image of an infinite-Personal God. I earn no financial income from CATI; I write it for my friends (as I mentioned before). It seems strange to me when friends do not share names with one another when ordinarily that is the first thing that takes place when people are introduced or introduce themselves to one another. (3) You know _my_ name. Isn't it only fair it I know _your_ name in return? (4) Christ knows His sheep by name, and I think He intends us to learn one another's names as well. To put it another way, we're brothers and sisters in the same family. Does it make sense not to know your brother's name or your sister's name? (5) "Anonymity" is one of the common features of the Internet, but the hiding of genuine names and identities is not always used for good purposes. Are not openness and transparency to be marks of the Christian rather than our maintaining secrecy about who we are? (6) When someone chooses not to tell me his or her name, the implication is that I am not to be trusted, and I must confess that I resent that. It is a comment on my character that I do not think is accurate or fair. (7) My database is arranged not by e-mail addresses (which change with amazing frequency) but alphabetically by last names (which are less likely to change). That helps me keep on top of changing addresses (and it also reminds me that my subscribers are people, not just abstract addresses). Well, I could probably go on (and on), but I think you can see something of my reasons for wanting to know people's names and why I do not consider that to be an unreasonable expectation, but rather t be something that is a natural extension of my Christian faith. If someone can offer good reasons, I may be willing to make occasional exceptions to this policy, but you can see that the policy does have significant reasons behind it. It is NOT a case of "there's no reason for it - it's just company policy!" Rather, it is based on my understanding of Biblical revelation and practical considerations. I hope that no one finds the policy onerous and I trust that it will be a case of "no offense taken where none intended." Those who do not subscribe can still read the newsletter on the "CATI" Web site at http://traver.org/cati/. _______________________________________________________________ 6. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER Like to know what this is? This is the eighty-eighth 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 "Internet"). Like to subscribe to this free email newsletter? Just send an email to email@example.com (but be sure to include your name in the note). Like to read past CATI issues and articles (or even search CATI for a particular subject)? Go to http://cati.org and you'll find an archive of past issues (arranged in reverse chronological order), a partial (but rather dated) index of articles (arranged alphabetically by topic), and a search engine specifically for use with CATI. Like to pass along this issue to others? You may. Permission is hereby granted to pass along any issue of CATI to someone else, provided that it is passed along in its entirety with no changes made. (For now, I prefer that you send the complete issue, although I may in the near future provide guidelines for passing along individual articles.) Like to use material from this newsletter (say, on a Web page or in a publication)? For permission to do that, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org (explaining what you'd like to use and for what purpose). Reasonable requests are usually granted. Like to unsubscribe? That's also easy. Just send an email to email@example.com (but if you decide to unsubscribe, you'll be missed, so any thoughts about the newsletter that you would be willing to share at that time would be much appreciated). Like to tell your friends about CATI? That is not only much encouraged, but also an encouragement to the editor! CATI is 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) 2003 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.