As the marketing manager for a publishing house, I fully understand the importance of protecting a copyright. Permissions need to be formally obtained, licensing fees paid when appropriate, etc.
But, in this case, I believe Credence Communications is making a both business mistake and a spiritual error (dare I say a sin?).
They are making it difficult for a wider audience to hear Thomas Merton's insights on how we can come more fully into a life with God. Instead of asking Chad to remove the videos from Journeys2008, they should have asked him to credit them, promote their Website and make more videos -- probably increasing their business.
Don't threaten the guy. Put him on your payroll!
If you check out Chad's video, you'll see that he's pretty hard on himself. In time, I hope he realizes all the good that he has done.
My hunch? From a viewpoint in heaven, Thomas Merton loves Chad's YouTube videos. I bet he loves them for being engaging, at times fun and for bringing to life so many themes on the nature of man and his relationship with God.
Chad, thank you for introducing Thomas Merton on YouTube and to a new generation. I will pray for the people who want to put him back in their old-media box.
UPDATE (Tuesday, July 15, 12:37 a.m.): Looks like I may have jumped the gun on this one. The head of Credence Communications has posted a comment at Journeys2008 indicating that they did not authorize the cease and desist letter. He indicates that it may have been a third party that works with them that had the letter sent. They are looking into it. The best part of his post: "... as long as you were not selling the audio, we would have not had any issue. We may have even suggested a link to our site."
UPDATE (Saturday, July 19, 3:14 p.m.): Looks like that letter was a hoax altogether. My apologies to Credence Communications for being critical before I did further investigation. The good news is that Chad says he is going to restore the clips.