"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

“The Masonic system represents a stupendous and beautiful fabric, founded on universal purity, to rule and direct our passions, to have faith and love in God, and charity toward man.”
— William Howard Taft

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Note About "The Blue Lodge Forum"

It is my understanding that The Blue Lodge Forum has recently announced that it is an official site of the Grand Orient of the USA (GOofUSA).

I have been told that the Blue Lodge Forum reformats and reposts all entries from this blog, "Freemasons For Dummies."

I do not in any way way, shape or form support the GOofUSA. While I completely disagree with the formation of a schismatic Masonic organization, I wish those involved in that group no ill will. But I do not want anyone to have the impression that the unauthorized appearance of my blog entries on The Blue Lodge Forum website somehow implies my approval or agreement with their goals.

I have asked that they cease and desist this practice and remove all previous entries taken from my blog and reposted on their site.


  1. This is sad as you have apparently never visited the forum yourself nor realize that there are Masons not just of GOUSA who frequent the site. This is however your choice and of your freedom of conscience. I would ask that you ponder this question my father asked of me when I told him I thought I wanted to join the fraternity. "Are you willing to bow to the demands of other men, or are you willing to stand up and be a good man, kind, gentle, yet willing to do the right no matter the outcome when others about live in the wrong?"

    He was one of many wonderful Masons who saw the world and the calling of the Craft as duty to man not just fraternity.

    I am not condemning your decision only wondering if it is truly yours from the wording of your post. Just so you know I am not a GOUSA member and have no wish to be.

  2. Yes, this is my wording, and no, I'm not bowing to any demands from anyone. Because the Blue lodge forum is proclaiming itself to be an official organ of GOUSA, the presence of my material there gives the impression that I somehow support GOUSA, which I do not. And it's not difficult for anyone to find this blog on their own.

  3. With all of the web forums available, many of which already having members of unrecognized GLs and GOs, why would TBL need to become an "official" forum?

  4. That is a good question Tom and I am not qualified to answer it as I am neither a moderator nor Admin of the site. I have however been a member of the forum for quite some time and though I do not always agree with others there I do appreciate the open dialogue that it has provided in the past.

    I can say that it has never been implied that (Bro. Hodapp nor any other Bro. or profane who's blog feed has been subscribed to and provide in the forum format for discussion) support GOUSA or any other entity. It along with other feeds have been used to spark and engage discussion amongst men whom seek to enlightenment and better understanding of one another and or world as a whole. I respect your decision as it is yours to make not mine. I hope your travels fill light upon your soul.

  5. Somehow, outright theft of your intellectual property seems par for the course for GOOFUS.

  6. Just a note of support for your decision. The mainstream GL's can be kind of funny sometimes about things like this. Look at the situation WB Tim Bryce had with the GL of FL, and that wasn't even involving a clandestine GL (that I know of.)

    While I also wish the gentleman of the GOUSA well, our obligations require a bright line to be drawn.

  7. For what it's worth, I sent a request to Blue Lodge's contact page to cease and desist, but I am told that one of their Admins is claiming "fair use'. Aggregators are in a fuzzy nether land of legality, so it is probable that they'll do nothing.

  8. Brother Chris,
    Let me know if there is anything that needs to be done. Let me know and I will take care of it. You should still have my email ksma1@hotmail.com

    I can say that there is no intent to "steal" your intellectual property. You know that I respect your work and what you do with it. I will stand for that any time that is required. It is my understanding that it was an aggregate matter that brought up your blog and would send people to your blog. I am not certain but that is my understanding at this point. If this is not the facts let me know.

    Netlurker2003, you and I seem to agree on this issue. A member of certain organization should, while they are a member, adhere to those rules and regulations of that organization.

    Chris, if this is not taken care of soon let me know ASAP. I will see to it that it is covered. You know me well enough to know that I don't BS folks and I will do what I say. If you are not comfortable with it then I will do what I can to rectify the situation. Keep me in the loop to the best of your ability please.

    Raum, duly noted. You don't like the Grand Orient. BTW, it is not "Mr" Brown. He is a Brother even if you don't like him and it would be appropriate to refer to him as such. Case in point. Brother Chris Hodapp and I disagree on many matters but he and I have always treated each other with respect. That will continue I have no doubt.
    Brother, we need to remember what have come here to do. It isn't politics or personal issues (petty or serious).


  9. Chris,

    Its from the RSS feed, its sort of the result of the wild west of the inter-tubes.

    I had the same question when it came to the regularity question and opted to not include it in our links in my final site.


  10. Thanks, JG. Just to set the record straight, I don't regard the reposting of my blog entries as "theft" my intellectual property. Anyone who posts on the Internet should know by now they have zero control over where their words wind up. My objection is simply that the presence of my postings on the Blue Lodge forum implies something that isn't true.

    Raum, I do not wish this thread to turn into a flame war over the GOUSA, and won't allow it to become one. The same goes for personal attacks.

  11. Chris, I fully support your concerns about seeming to support a site that you really don't. As opposed to what one of the other commenters seems to imply, this is not a matter of fear or bowing to the demands of others; it's simply about accuracy.

    I do think, though, that you give in a bit too easily when it comes to the issue of intellectual property. From the point of view of copyright law, an Internet aggregator can legitimately use the title of a post, and perhaps a single sentence; of course, they can post a summary that is not just a reformat. However, just reformatting your stuff and putting it up on their site really is theft of intellectual property. You have a right to control your stuff, even in the Wild West of the Internet.

  12. Mark,
    I guess I come at it by saying, it's my intellectual property, I own it, I should be able to say who can and cannot repost it. But in the practical world, you and I know it's, well, impractical.

    I had a situation earlier this year where I discovered a Canadian Masonic publication that had printed a speech by a brother at a cornerstone ceremony. As I read it, it started to sound awfully familiar. Turned out, he had lifted about 80% of the text directly from an article that I had written a year before for the newsletter of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. No, I hadn't given him permission, and no, he did not mention where he cribbed the words from. That IS theft.

    The Blue Lodge Forum, from what I understand, pulls the whole text of the blog posting (but not the subsequent comments) and reposts it, along with a link to my original site. The AP and the New York Times had this same argument and smacked online groups over it in the courts. I'm not threatening anybody here or screaming for an attorney. I'm simply asking The Blue Lodge forum brethren to respect my wishes.


PLEASE sign or otherwise identify yourself in your comment posts. I have been FLOODED for months with spam comments, and I've been forced to laboriously screen every post now. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers as far as I am concerned, and may be deleted if I don't recognize you or if I'm in a grumpy mood.