"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 4 No. 11:  December 10, 2003



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."


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:


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)

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)

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.)


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

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.

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

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

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:


Urban Legends Reference Page: Daily Snopes

Urban Legend Zeitgeist

About.com: Urban Legends and Folklore


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

(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:


Here's another place to find anti-spam software:


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:


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_:


(2) Some of the deficiencies of SpamAssassin are discussed


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:

"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%."

The Anti-Spam Home Page
"The spam problem is not going away, it's getting worse!  Learn how to
stop junk e-mail."

Spam: How to Fight it - Elsop's Anti-Spam Page

About.com: Email: Spam

About.com: Internet for Beginners: Spam

Google: Spam


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

  --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

The bill is likely to be signed by President Bush, according
to Information Week:


"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


[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

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!


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/.


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
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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
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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
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Like to unsubscribe?  That's also easy.  Just send an email to
unsubscribe@cati.org (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.