Ending of Urgent Words for Now:
Urgent Words for Apocalyptic Times, No. 22 by Robert V. Rakestraw (August 18, 2017)
Is this the end?
There is sadness within me as I write, but also peace. This twenty-second posting of Urgent Words will be the last in this series, at least for now. My reason for making this decision issues primarily from an uneasiness within me about copyright laws, and secondarily from my increasingly poor health.
Before I began this series—the first posting was in January, 2016—I considered the matter of copyright permissions. On the reverse side of a book’s title page the publisher includes, below the date or dates, a statement such as the following. (This is from the fine book, Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World, by Lee C. Camp, published by Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Second Edition, 2008.)
“All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording— without the prior permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
The wording may vary slightly. Wipf and Stock, publisher of my autobiography, GraceQuest, has for the exception phrase: “Except for brief quotations in critical publications or reviews. …” I knew that after many years copyright limits expire. In such cases the above restrictions no longer apply: the book enters the public domain and writers may freely use the materials. I was planning to post older materials, so I went ahead and started the series. From time to time I debated using this or that item, and set some aside because they were too recent.
I also knew from experience and research that publishers vary in their actual permission practices, and that legal requirements concerning copyright matters are difficult to interpret. Both areas are somewhat muddy. One publisher (probably others also) states rather strongly in their instructions to writers: Don’t fret overmuch about copyright violations, because publishers of the books you intend to use do not want to be bothered by requests to use their copyrighted materials unless you are using a good-sized piece of their work. Whatever fees they might receive from you are usually not worth their time invested.
Yet because I do not want to grieve God in any way (“If in doubt, throw it out”) nor violate laws, I still do not feel quite right using some of the items I have been planning to use unless I contact the respective publishers for permission. Even if they would allow me to use the materials at little or no cost, however, I still need to discontinue Urgent Words because I do not have sufficient energy to correspond with publishers. (Once, with another writing project, after considerable time invested I learned that the publisher of the pieces I wished to use had been bought out by another publisher, one that I was not able to connect with regarding my request.)
I could continue to post items that were taken from very old books or sets, such as my 1872 edition of the Works of John Wesley (unless the publisher has renewed the copyright—another detail to research), but I have decided not to. Some of the pieces I have posted in Urgent Words took me nearly as much time to edit as to write certain items of the same length.
This is a long explanation, but something here may be useful to someone. My major reason for starting Urgent Words in the first place still burns within me: there is such a great amount of very high-quality material from older writings—mostly unknown today—that I long to share these materials with others because of their insights and lessons about godly living and serving Jesus Christ. I trust that the posted items, which I intend to keep on the website for now, will whet the appetites of many to search for similar writings. (Hint: if you live near a good Bible college or seminary library you may wish to wander in the sections on Christian history or older devotional works; you may discover more riches there than you might in your nearby Christian bookstore, as good as it may be.)
Dr. Rakestraw’s website, gracequestministries.org.,contains numerous essays and items that are intended to bring people closer to God. Here you may sign up to receive free postings on issues of major concern, as well as order Dr. Rakestraw’s books GraceQuest (his life story) and Heart Cries (on prayer). You may write to Dr. Rakestraw at email@example.com.