Home Page -> Commentary -> 2 April 2000 (Unexpected Appreciation)

Comment of the Fortnight
2 April 2000
Unexpected Appreciation

So there I was, checking through the Google search engine to see where my Korean alphabet tutorial was listed, and I found that someone had made a copy of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that someone appreciated my efforts enough to mirror them on their site.

So far, so good. I have never had any restriction on copying the tutorial, and, in fact, several folks have put the copies on their websites. What was unusual is that I'd never heard of these people; all the other people who'd copied it to their sites had asked me first.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that the organization that had copied it was the Unification Church, run by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Still, so far, so good. Even though I disagree 100% with their theology, unrestricted distribution should mean unrestricted.

My surprise turned to a very unpleasant surprise when I found that the following text had been added to the bottom of the page:

To Parents and Teachers:

In creating this section for young people we are making an effort to put quality educational tools for moral, spiritual and practical development of our children online.

If you find this Korean language course of benefit to you and your children/students please use it by downloading the zip files to your computer(s).

We hope that we can receive your support in creating and putting more educational tools online. If you have curriculum that you have developed and would like to have it used by the world commnity please send it to us either by email or regular mail. If you do not have curriculum but would like to support the creation of more courses like this please send your donations to:

As you can see, this addition made it appear that I had written the tutorial for their church. I immediately wrote a polite email to their webmaster, asking them to add some more text to the page. My next surprise was a pleasant one -- they'd added the text I had requested:

"We'd like to thank the tutorial's author, J. David Eisenberg, for making this Korean tutorial available for public distribution. Mr. Eisenberg is not affiliated with the Unification Church."

So, I guess, it's a happy ending all the way around. Let me know what you think.

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