The concept of gatekeeper is as old as humanity: a wholly unnatural restriction to genuine human need, maintained by horrific injustice.
(We can save the debate about what constitutes a genuine human need in God’s eyes for another day.)
At least one commenter at TechDirt understands what is going on with so-called copyright protection laws:
Stopping piracy isn’t actually the goal, and is instead merely the excuse, the justifications for their actions… Methods of distribution like file-sharing can be used for piracy, yes, but they can also be used for artists not affiliated with the major labels to get their music out there, all without having to go through a middle-man. Books not affiliated with major publishers can be shared and read, and movies put out by indie studios can be shown without ever having to go through the theaters.
You have to understand that there are quite natural monopolies out there, resources people want that cannot be delivered any other way. Something in the nature of the source or means of delivery simply requires that there can be only one vendor. When people object to natural monopolies on the grounds of some silly mythology of “fairness” you see all sorts of artificial regulation and unjust confiscation of assets. The most common area for this is delivery of wired or piped services. The act of placing pipes and wires is so disruptive and expensive in places where they are most demanded that the social costs become too high to reopen the routes every time a new entrepreneur comes along. Even if we discuss government providing these paths of delivery, we still have the problem of political favoritism and unjust exclusions when the thing itself has to be processed down to the level of end-user consumption. Some things simply cannot be done without a single monopoly provider.
So the real problem is not monopoly itself, but an artificial and unjust monopoly, particularly over resources and delivery that in no wise lend themselves to a natural necessity for singular ownership. To some degree, the same applies to oligopoly. The fundamental nature, as previously noted, is the cost of production and delivery. Stuff that costs a lot just coming to market tends to be monopoly or oligopoly early in the game, but once the technology rises to make access cheap, there simply is no excuse for keeping the entire market in few hands. It becomes tantamount to poking God in the eye, because it is defiance of His divine moral character in reality.
It’s no secret that I promote an approach to religion that makes most organized religion obsolete. Consider it in terms of resource marketing. The demand is provoked from Heaven itself; the initiative for spiritual awareness rests with God. That’s an obvious monopoly in terms of source. However, the access is controlled in terms utterly beyond human grasp. What’s being offered here is not a limited resource for consumption, at least not in human terms. We quickly come upon the sheer arrogance of some humans who claim that they are the only authorized dealer. On the one hand, God’s revelation indicates it is not universal access as we think of it, but that we cannot even grasp the means of limitation; limitations are handled on a transcendent plane. We know only that there is a limitation and it has nothing to do with human agency.
Mark 9:38-41 addresses the false gatekeeper syndrome. This assumes you are in a position to understand that all who partake of the Divine are family; that’s the way God describes it at the fundamental level. The whole business of the Law Covenants is all about dealing with family as a social structure, how to keep it stable enough to engage revelation meaningfully. Revelation means virtually nothing outside the presumption of a family structure; denying that foundation denies revelation itself. It includes learning to recognize who isn’t family and on what terms the whole thing rests. All human activity is meant to rest on household stability as the key to a wider social stability that draws in others who don’t share very much DNA. There were covenants from the roots of human existence, covenants that regulated how we deal with folks who aren’t blood kin, but who rightly exercise some of the natural privileges of family.
Need I note how God repeatedly asserts that any human government or regulatory restriction that does not treat the governed folk as family is a violation of His fundamental requirements? You blaspheme when you insist that any government failing that standard is somehow okay with God. That He makes use of human perversion does not equate to approval.
Religion is the ultimate expression of this moral image of household integrity. In religion, we bring together diverse humanity as covenant family. The organization of religion, says God Almighty Himself, must take on the character of an ancient Eastern clan or extended family household. Claiming the terminology as cover for the fantasy human systems of government won’t cut it. Has anybody ever actually encountered a church organized like a Hebrew feudal household? That was the only model for the First Century churches. As a covenant family, folks are free to come and go as the wind of God moves them. The Spirit knows when, where and for how long folks fit into a given family structure. The thing itself is alive, so artificial restrictions on that natural effervescence are blasphemous. In other words, gatekeeping is the hallmark of Satan’s preferred structure for churches.
We rightly condemn the rights-holder mechanisms of the past in media of all types in our nascent Networked Civilization. That crap is just plain old sin, a work of Satan. The linked comment cites the obvious logic of why this regime will collapse, with a brilliant grasp of what everyone wants to deny. Big Media is archaic gatekeeping at its worst, meant to prevent an entire new system arising, a system wholly justified before God in displacing the old. Given the typical nature of how people do things, we can predict the old system of gatekeeping will implode, collapsing in impotence once enough people realize gates have no place in the new social contracts (AKA acceptable customary behavior).
And as you might expect based on human history, organized religion will be about the last institution to meet this fate of oligarchical gatekeeping. The current structures were built on the false assumption that access and production of the resource demands restricted access. Organized religion has cowered behind the logic of the secular Western reasoning about the market for way too long. All the oligarchs are self-appointed, playing by the rules of a system that was veiled in glorious robes of propaganda, when it was always a nauseating abortion from the start. There’s nothing to say you can’t participate in this religion market for practical reasons, so long as you realize it’s entirely artificial.
The gatekeepers of religion are no different from the copyright terrorists at big media companies.