How do I claim what I know?
That may sound silly but it is the topic of my conversation with Jodi, my law student daughter. This is on my mind because, as a blogger and fitness professional in this age of the internet, I give lots of stuff away. Intellectual stuff. You tempt and tease readers with articles about what you do, how it could help them, why they should buy, invest, sign up. Gleaning emails is considered good business practice.
But much of what I post, both here and on my website, is what I know. On my website, it’s what I have learned and discovered and worked out over the years. Here, the discovering happens when I write from some nugget that lands in my brain. Either way, it’s what I know. And my question is, “does it belong to me?”
Because once it’s written and sent over the digital airwaves, it’s free for the taking. Anyone can cut and paste, copy and post, re-blog or tweet, or who knows what. And I’m good with that. As long as it is used appropriately and they acknowledge the source. But what if the re-poster calls it their own? Does it really belong to me? I mean, it’s just an idea and some words on a computer screen.
Jodi, who is researching copyrights and patents and the difference between them, says, “Mom, it’s your intellectual property.”
“When does it become my intellectual property?” I ask, so TOTALLY out of my league now.
“The moment you write it.”
“You mean, the second I type the words, that thought is mine?” My mind is racing now. “Don’t I need to copyright them or something?”
“You can. But you don’t have to,” my amazingly wise daughter tells me. She cites some findings and uses some big lawyerly words but they are muffled by the spinning now happening between my ears.
So every time I sit down to write, I am creating something. Something real. Something I own. And the law recognizes this.
So all those stories that are in orbit in my brain…if I write them, they are mine. If I name them, I claim them. The second I create them, they become real. That is amazing. That’s a big responsibility. That’s scary.
Other words intervene, somehow slowing the spinning.
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ Revelation 21:5
God is constantly commanding us to write his words: on door frames, on scrolls, on tablets, on our hearts, and in our minds. It’s not enough for us to think them; we are to write them. Because then they become ours.
- when He speaks our name, we come to life.
- when He writes our name, we are claimed.
- when He calls our name, we are saved.
If I am God’s intellectual property, then when I write what he is creating in me, it is mine…and His. He knows the law. After all, He wrote it. And keeps writing it. Praise God.