Sunday, May 22, 2005

What's my name? 

We visited my mother-in-law's church this morning. It was one of those services that projects the song lyrics on a screen rather than relying on a hymnbook. Most of the songs were "contemporary"--i.e. only 30 years old instead of 130--and had copyright info listed in small type at the end of the song. I didn't think much about it, until we got to the end of the service. We finished off with those classic hits "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow" and "Holy, Holy, Holy". (It was the feast of the Trinity, after all.) Both of those songs were credited "Public Domain". That got me thinking. There just seems something wrong with the ownership society, a culture where we make sure we credit the owner of a song yet ignore the author.

(By the way, for the record, "Praise God..." was written by Thomas Kern, though I don't know the composer, while "Holy, Holy, Holy" was written by Reginald Heber and the tune was composed by John B. Dykes.)