These illustrations and sermons should be used for your personal sermons only and not for profit. I do not charge for the database and hope it is used for the Glory of God. It may not be sold but can be distributed freely. The value of the database resides in my addition of topics and Bible references. If you use any of these illustrations in sermons that you publish, especially on the Web, it is proper to give credit to this archive and the original source. If you publish something for money you should make arrangements with the original source.

Many of my illustrations and sermons are portions taken from copyrighted sources such as Christianity Today and Discipleship Journal, Seven Worlds Publishing, as well as the Internet and popular books. I have tried to be thorough in noting the sources of my material, though other contributors often are less thorough..

The following information on Copyright Fair Use comes from Allan Kotmel and Paulo Morales.  Most of the information comes from Circular 21 of the United States Copyright Office. I have tried to follow this from the time I became aware of it; if you find any illustrations in violation please contact me and give its number for reference.

The Fair Use provision of U.S. Copyright law is a complex issue. Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law states:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work ... is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include-

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Section 107 does not, however, give any concrete rules on fair use. In a joint letter to U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee Chairman Kastenmeier, dated March 19, 1976, the representatives of the Ad Hoc Committee of Educational Institutions and Organizations on Copyright Law Revision, and of the Authors League of America, Inc., and the Association of American Publishers, Inc. set forth guidelines for educational fair use. They were not meant to be laws, so as to protect against any special circumstances or special types of writing not included in the guidelines. The portion of these Guidelines which we consider most relevant is the section on prose which states that the copying must meet the following test of brevity:

(ii) Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.

[Each of the numerical limits stated in "ii" ... above may be expanded to permit the completion of ... an unfinished prose paragraph.]

Additional helpful links [*]

Overall U.S. government site on copyright, if you want to know the law and the history of it, this site has it. It is not overly complex or hard to understand.

A U.S. government site with an explanation of fair use:

A very readable blog explaining public domain:

This site consists of a great chart on public domain that contains the specifics about a wide variety of the dates and types of materials and when they fall into public domain:

An excellent summary of what is and isn't correct on the web as related to copyright:

Good article about copyright for educators, but with excellent comments on teaching morality:

The site that explains creative commons and links to its search function:

* From "Clipart, Images, and Articles - If It's on the Web, Is it OK to Use It?" by Yvon Prehn, Christian Computing Magazine, August 2010..

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