[sword-devel] Copyright Scripture distribution

Brandon Staggs sword-devel@crosswire.org
Mon, 6 Dec 1999 20:49:45 -1000

> >As I understand the law, it does *not* support a translation as being a
> >creative work at all.
> Nice try. In fact, legal precedent clearly shows translations to be a
> creative work in and of themselves, because there is considerable
> creativity used in the translation process. (Some may argue that some
> translators were too creative, but that is another issue.) There is
> nasty side of copyright law, too. A translation made of a copyrighted work
> without permission is a copyright infringement. Therefore, if you want to
> translate the NIV into any other language, you should technically ask
> Zondervan/IBS for permission, first. This is kind of funny, because facts
> are not copyrightable, and paraphrasing a factual report without
> and copyrighting your own expression of the same facts is OK -- unless you
> copied a substantial portion of the original expression as well.

Perhaps I misunderstood what I was reading -- since it is considered
infringement to translate and publish a copyrighted work without permission,
I would have expected that translating a public domain document would not
allow one to own a copyright on it.

I suppose I could agree that since the NIV is an extremely dynamic
equivalant translation, then it really did constitute a creative work, but I
still think it's a stretch.

The *BOTTOM LINE* is that they claim to be translating GOD'S WORDS. Most
Christians like James White teach that the NIV (and others) are EXTREMELY
TRUSTWORTHY translations of the original texts (such as they are!), and
should be considered God's word in English. If this is true, then the
publishers are indeed in a woefully sinful state peddling and limiting the
distribution of God's word. If they aren't, *THEN IT ISN'T GOD'S WORD*.
Either way (and perhaps both), there is certainly something rotten about it,
don't you think?

To go where Skip (I think) went...
  ...I want to take that copyright, shine it up real nice, turn it sideways,
and shove it straight up Zondervan's nose!... :-)