[sword-devel] Re: Copyright and STRONGS

Brandon Staggs sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 5 Jul 2000 22:12:21 -1000

> By the way, copyright isn't the sole dimension of risk in this area. If
> take an e-text that is based upon a work in the public domain, but which
> represents a significant effort in the form of scanning, OCR, and tagging,
> you can be sued for unfair business practices. I'm not a lawyer, but my
> understanding is that this is an even murkier area in many respects than
> copyright law since you don't have to prove creative effort, just work. I
> believe this is the legal grounds that eBay recently used to stop another
> auction site from "spidering" its listings. The information the smaller
> company was sucking into its database is available to anyone with a
> so it's not a trade secret, nor is it an issue of copyright. Yet eBay won
> because the smaller company was essentially stealing the work that eBay
> done.

Well, I must admit ignorance from this point on. All I know is that Larry
Peirce is currently benefiting from years of work from volunteers who never
intended him to be the sole trustee of their scanning. He claims to own a
peice of text which was written by someone long since dead, just because he
helped get it into digital form and fixed some problems. Lots of work? Yes.
Makes it his? Of course not. What do you think John Gill or James Strong
would think of someone else claiming ownership of their work?

All that Larry owns is his program -- the Online Bible. Beyond that, he is
simply trying to stifle competition (though it probably has nothing to do
with money and more to do with respect of men).

If you walk up to a park bench which is covered with trash and clean it, you
can't tell the next guy that he can't sit on it simply because YOU cleaned
it and he didn't. It's still public. Your work on the PUBLIC property does
not make it yours or give you any right over it that you didn't originally

> least 3 opinions! The ONLY completely safe way is to start from scratch
> a known PD print edition of a book, and OCR and tag it yourself. Beyond
> that, you're exposing yourself to risk.

True, but it is a waste of time and energy.

I obtained personal approval of Ernie Stefanik for the use of the PNTC, JFB,
and a couple other texts HE did the digitizing on for use in projects I am
involved with. Yet Larry Peirce claimes that the JFB is property of the
Online Bible, and therefor I must get permission from HIM to use it -- and
pay royalties that benifit NPOs if his choice. No -- wrong.

And what about Christians sueing each other? Doesn't that matter here?

I know that the Lord does not mind me distributing PD texts by Christian
authors long since passed on.