Frivolity: St Columba: Patron Saint of File-Sharing


I was reading a book about travel and spirituality (oh, yes I was) and it told part of the story of St. Columba.

Columba was living in Ireland when he sneakily copied a religious manuscript. St Finnian, the owner of the manuscript, had forbidden this. It took a long time to make the copy. (This happened before the printing press was invented.) Finnian discovered Columba's piracy, and tattled on him to the King of Ireland. The king ruled that since these manuscripts were written on vellum (calfs' skin) and a calf belongs to its mother cow, a copy belongs to its original document. In short, the king ruled that Columba didn't have permission to make a copies, and had to hand over the copy he'd made.

But Columba held onto his copy and didn't back down. He fled back to his people, and this was the excuse for a clan feud. Columba's side emerged victorious, though at a terrible price in blood.

I'm no Catholic, but I nominate Columba as the patron saint of file-sharers.


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