I have recently been reading a book called Against Intellectual Monopoly, and found an interesting article entitled "Christianity and IP [Intellectual Property Laws]." The author takes the position that the laws of the State are only legitimate and worthy of obeisance insofar as they comport with God's law. Since ideas cannot be owned, says the author (Paul Green), then federal copyright laws are arbitrary manifestations of the state alone (not God) and bear no moral weight for anyone. In other words, according to Green, not only do the Scriptures not speak about intellectual property rights, but they cannot reasonably be used to argue in favor of the monopoly on ideas which copyrights or patents represent.
Some Christians believe that the State, as a "minister of good" writes laws which any and all citizens are morally required to obey. According to the author, it is an incorrect reading of Scripture to believe that any and all laws created by the state are good and must be obeyed. He points out that Romans 13 was abused by Hitler to "neutralize" the Christian churches; certainly, most will agree, WWII Germany is a good example of a state that was not "good."
Romans says there is "no authority except God's" – that is, if it is not God's law it has no proper authority (but we should be prudent...for the Lord's sake and our own...) Only in so far as the state is punishing an actual wrongdoer should we support (including by taxation) any action from our conscience rather than just prudently comply due to the threat of official "wrath."
Another interesting insight near the end of Green's article:
Regarding prudence in the face of an immediate tax demand, Jesus enlightened his disciples when He said in Matthew 17:26 "the children of the king don’t have to pay taxes… but we don’t want to make these tax collectors angry… pay the tax for you and me."
His argument being that Jesus did not view the State's rule as binding upon the conscience or posessing an intrinsically moral quality; rather, Jesus obeyed the temple tax so as to "not give offense" (ESV). So what is it, guys? Does the State write good laws? Or its laws only good so far as they reflect God's will? Also, then, is Green correct regarding what he says are the implications of this for copyright laws?
Another interesting article dealing with Copyrights is by Gary North, which I also recommend.