◼ Is it proper to reproduce publications of the Society for distribution to others?
Over the years, the Society has produced a wide range of publications dealing with virtually every aspect of Bible knowledge. Individuals who have learned the truth in recent years may feel that they have missed out on the benefits of material published in the past and that is no longer available through the Society. Some have gone to considerable lengths to obtain copies of older publications, and others have taken it upon themselves to reproduce Society publications and make them available in various ways. This has included actual reprints of publications as well as computer reproductions. In some cases, this has been done for a financial profit.
The faithful “slave” is aware of our spiritual needs and makes provisions “at the proper time.” (Matt. 24:45) When there has been a need for reissuing material published in the past, the Society has made arrangements for such. For example, bound volumes of The Watchtower from 1960 to 1985 have been reprinted and made available to all. However, when individuals take the initiative on their own to reproduce and distribute such material, unnecessary problems can develop.
Serious difficulties are created when this material is reproduced and distributed for financial gain. The Question Box in the June 1977 Our Kingdom Service stated: “It is best not to exploit theocratic associations by either initiating or advertising the sale of any goods or services for commercial advantage in the Kingdom Hall, at congregation book studies and at assemblies of Jehovah’s people. This will aid us to give spiritual interests the full attention they deserve and to keep commercial activity in its proper place.” Therefore, it is important that we avoid becoming profit-minded when it comes to commercializing God’s Word or matters related to it.