The Potomac - Norman Ball on Christian Music Rights
Potomac Home
December 2006
The Meek Shall Inherit Mounting Legal Bills

By Norman Ball

"Members of the Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA), an organization which specifically represents the interests of record companies, last week sent official resolutions to Congress asking for support in recognizing the importance of protecting music transmitted over digital broadcast radio from piracy." --March 20, 2006 (as reported on

The latest sectarian discord spilled over into the music industry recently when the Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA) fired a salvo at the generally unarmed and God-fearing pirates of gospel music. The dilemma is this: gospel music, traditionally the province of divine inspiration, is being proliferated at a rate not seen since Jesus' replication of bread and fish during his widely bootlegged Sermon on the Mount. Thus, while the ranks of the believers are swelling, the industry itself is losing billions every year. The good news is that the Good News is getting out. Alas, the collection plate is none the richer for the revived interest.

Said an unrepentant CMTA spokesman: "The fact is evangelists got a free ride for centuries. It's just that, up until now, no one pressed the copyright issue. The Ipod is forcing us to take a harder look."

Meanwhile that grand dame of the religion business, the Vatican, was quick to counter the CMTA's assertions, arguing that, on the contrary, free access to religious music has a market-enlarging effect. Said a Vatican spokesman: "Over the millennia, it's been the Holy Roman Church's contention that tithing increases when believers are left to sing for their suppers unharassed. So we never pressed the issue." Actually, this is not entirely accurate as, in 467, Pope Odious XIV attempted an 'alms for psalms' program only to be run out of town into the arms of restless Visigoth hordes who preferred bluegrass.

Still, there can be no doubt the CMTA isn't turning any cheeks: "Our industry group feels the time has come to crack down. The message is clear: wherever you rejoice in the Lord with unauthorized recorded music, we will hunt you down."

It's worth noting there are some reports, albeit in indecipherable ancient tongues, that God is still mulling His legal options. However judging by the alacrity of the avian flu mutations --not to mention the recent tidal wave of tsunamis-- many heaven-watchers suspect serious biblical wrath just ahead. Indeed church sanctuaries are abuzz with rumors that God is contemplating, in the salty words of one clergyman, 'a really kick-ass flood that would bury all property disputes --indeed the whole of civilization-- at the bottom of the sea.'

Reached between rehearsals for a re-match with Charlie Daniels, a fiddling Lucifer could only click his cloven hoofs and mutter, "This job's getting too damned easy."

Amen and out.


Print or Mail This Page

Email The Address

The Potomac Supports