UPDATE: markdriscoll.org is down, and has been unavailable since the evening of 12/27, just a few hours after this post went live. There is an interesting message for visitors:
At least he is sorry about something.
(Original post starts here)
So says Justin Dean, recently departed spokesman for Mars Hill Church.*
There is a reason why Markdricoll.org looks like Marshill.com: Driscoll’s new site is a copy of the church website. In addition to the obvious similar appearance, several readers alerted me that the source code for Markdriscoll.org contains many links to marshill.com (see a pdf of the code here). Initially, I wondered if Mars Hill Church was hosting the content for markdriscoll.org. When I asked Justin Dean about it, he said via email:
Concerning the website, MarkDriscoll.org – nothing on that site is being hosted or paid for by Mars Hill. If there’s anything in the source code that indicates otherwise, it’s because the site is a copy of marshill.com with most of the functionality and code stripped away. The site is on its own servers and was handed over to Pastor Mark.
The domain is also registered to Learning for Living, not Mars Hill Fellowship. Mars Hill originally purchased that domain many years ago and has now turned it over to Pastor Mark. It takes time for the Whois information to update, which I believe it is now.
In answer to a follow up request for clarification about the links in markdricoll.org’s source code, Dean replied:
Since Mark’s site is just a copy of marshill.com there a probably a lot of links to Marshill.com that remain, but it doesn’t mean the church is hosting content for him. After 12/31 those links will be broken if he doesn’t change them.
I then asked if Driscoll had paid for the code (assuming it is all proprietary information which is an asset of the church). I also asked who at the church had given Driscoll permission to copy the code. Dean replied:
As for who approved or what was paid, I have no idea. That would be private information. I no longer represent Mars Hill as my last day was 12/24/14.
To illustrate the copied source code, below is an image of the code for the header of markdriscoll.org which displays Mark Driscoll’s name but maintains some Mars Hill’s content:
The “Welcome Pastor Mark Driscoll” shows up on the page but the content not displayed is in the black borders above and is from the Mars Hill Church website. As noted above, Dean did not know who, if anyone, had given permission. In any case, it appears that Mark Driscoll has derived additional benefit from a church he no longer serves.
Earlier Dean told the Huffington Post that there is no relationship between Mark Driscoll and the church websites:
That domain is one that Mars Hill has had registered for quite some time but we never used. It has now been transferred to Mark Driscoll, and the domain registration to Mars Hill Fellowship is outdated (I believe it is now updated). The site is in no way affiliated with Mars Hill Church or Mars Hill Fellowship.
It is not affiliated but it was copied.
All sermons, articles, blog posts, text, graphics, user interfaces, visual interfaces, photographs, trademarks, logos, sounds, music, artwork and computer code (collectively, “Content”), including but not limited to the design, structure, selection, coordination, expression, “look and feel” and arrangement of such Content, contained on the Site is owned, controlled or licensed by or to Mars Hill Church, and is protected by trade dress, copyright, patent and trademark laws, and various other intellectual property rights and unfair competition laws.
*I originally called Justin Dean a spokesman for markdriscoll.org but that is not correct. I am sorry for the misunderstanding and incorrect information.