[sword-devel] Copyrighted Texts Summary

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 18:55:25 -0800

----- Original Message -----
From: Pergamum <pergamum@netzero.net>
To: <sword-devel@crosswire.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 5:15 PM
Subject: Re: [sword-devel] Copyrighted Texts Summary

> Hi guys... Normally I stay out of these discussions except for my
> rant.  However on this I have to say something here.  Nothing against the
> effort... but offering Zondervan the SWORD-ready NIV really kind of goes
> against the concept here.  We all know they'd shove a $40-$70 price tag on
> it which would, yet again keep the Word of GOD out of the hands of the
> computer-junky kids that can't afford bible software.

If NIV et al were the only available versions of the Bible, I might agree
with you.  Even if they were just the only MODERN English versions, I might
agree.  But they aren't, not by a long shot.  There are myriad free Bible
translations in many languages, certainly including English, such as the
WEB, YLT, Darby, ISV, Webster's, RSV, 1917 JPS, etc.  The NIV, even for a
dynamic equivalence translation (a concept I find abhorrent enough on its
own), is a pretty poor translation.  (Okay, cat's out of the bag, I really
hate the NIV personally.)  I don't care myself whether we ever get the right
to distribute many of these copyrighted translations, but I know that the
viability of SWORD as a popular product depends on our ability to provide
some means for giving endusers the translations that they want and expect
from a professional Bible software package.  Bible publishers wouldn't care
in the slightest, no matter how vehemently we implored them to free their
translations.  They are businesses and they operate for profit.  For that
matter, they make most of their profit through books (real ones, not
electronic) and depend on having the sole right to publish their proprietary
translations.  And I really have no issue with Bible publishers expecting
money for their translations since for the most part they paid for them.
They paid all the translation teams, so they get to own the translation.  If
you put a sufficient amount of work into someone else's previous work,
doesn't it become a combined effort.  Don't these companies deserve credit
for having commissioned the translations and don't they then deserve
monetary compensation for that since they intended from the start to sell
them for profit and made no implication to the contrary?

--Chris Little