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My song is love unknown.

Here’s an unexpected tragedy of the commons:

The biggest single contributor to last fall’s Measure 36 campaign was an obscure east Portland company previously unknown in political circles.

That company, Christian Copyright Licensing International, contributed $410,000 ($200,000 of it in loans), nearly 20 percent of the $2.2 million raised by the Defense of Marriage Coalition. (The next-biggest backer was the national Christian group Focus on the Family.)

It’s part of Willamette Week’s rather dispiriting look at the infighting and fallout of same-sex marriage in Multnomah County, one year later. We do learn that anti–same-sex–marriage activist Tim Nashif, “a longtime Republican organizer” and CEO of Gateway Communications, “which makes its income by printing materials for political campaigns,” wants “reciprocal partnerships” in Oregon that would be “open to any two people not allowed to marry”:

“If it’s a question of people not being able to get benefits, let’s open benefits to anyone barred from marriage,” Nashif says.

And on the one hand, sure: I mean, it’s up to him if he wants to destroy marriage as he thinks he knows it within a generation, but so long as the benefits appertaining thereunto are available to all and sundry, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation, I’m down with that. What’s he gonna do, smack Chloe and Olivia on the wrist whenever they slip and talk about their marriage with their friends and family? I’m sorry, Bob and Ted—that’s a fifty-dollar fine for not using the sanctioned terminology for your relationship. —On the other hand, I smell a bait-and-switch: after all, Vermont anti-marriage activists want to replace that state’s civil unions with “reciprocal partnerships.” Some scrutiny of the fine print is called for.

Still, there’s something about a Christian ASCAP being such a big mover and shaker in the THOU SHALT NOT movement that tickles the husk of my funnybone. I mean, I don’t know that they’ve moved into the full-on protection racket aspect of the biz yet, calling up random churches and leaning on them for licensing fees, are you sure you’re covered? You’d better buy one, just to be sure, you know?

  1. Photocopying. The Church Copyright License does not convey the right to photocopy or duplicate any choral sheet music (octavos), cantatas, musicals, keyboard arrangements, vocal solos, or instrumental works.
  2. Copy Report. As a license holder, you will be selected to report your song copying activity once every 2-½ years. At that time you will receive a letter of notification along with a Copy Report booklet. The Copy Report will provide information about the length of the report period, and instructions on how to complete it. Your completed Copy Report is a vital element of the Church Copyright License, as it allows us to accurately process and distribute royalties to songwriters and copyright owners.
  3. Congregational Single Songsheet (CSS). A CSS is a single song, which is found in a compilation of songs intended for congregational use (i.e., a hymnal or chorus book). These songs can be copied into bulletins, congregational songbooks, congregational songsheets, or placed on a slide or transparency. However, the above activity only applies if the song is covered under the Authorized List, and only if the purpose is to assist the congregation in singing. This is the only photocopying allowed under the Church Copyright License.
  4. Copyright Notice. The Copyright Information you will find for each song needs to be placed on each copy you make, along with your CCLI License Number. If you are unable to display the copyright notice on a slide or transparency, because of lack of space, you may place the information on the frame.
  5. Recording Services. One of the rights granted to you with the Church Copyright License is the right to record your worship service. This right includes recording your meditations, preludes, postludes, interludes, fanfares, handbell, vocal and instrumental specials. Please be sure to report these when it is your time to report on the Copy Report.
  6. Rehearsal Tapes. If you would like to make rehearsal tapes for the purpose of having your choir or orchestra learn the music, you must contact the Copyright Administrator directly for this activity. There are no exceptions regarding this issue.

Seems to me it might be better to make a joyful noise in the public domain. More fitting, somehow, too.

My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.

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