[sword-devel] Copyrighting The Bible?
Tue, 28 Aug 2001 17:55:27 -0400
Hi John-- My comments are below.
At 06:47 PM 8/27/2001, you wrote:
> Dear Nathan,
> I think the scriptural principle of not muzzling the ox would
> have bearing
>here. In this digital age it is quite easy for people to copy something
>that is being sold and get it for free. The word of God is ours but those
>who labor in translation can, I believe, legitimately profit from their
>translation efforts. If there were no copyright protection, the translator
>would not be able to realize any profit - publisher's not under contract
>could simply publish the new translation without paying any royalties to the
There is a significant element of truth to this, but the question is: why
translate the Bible? Is it for personal gain or for God's kingdom? In my
opinion, enough money could be made to justify translation by not releasing
the new version until it is published, and having an exclusive contract
with the publisher.
> I say all this because there is kind of an unscriptural idea,
> that to "own"
>anything is immoral. The very commandment "thou shalt not steal" implies
>ownership - you can't steal if no one own's.
I agree with that, of course, but The Bible is no one's but God's.
> A more important question, in my mind, is: how many *new* english
>translations do we need? It does make one wonder if there isn't an attempt
>to water down the message or to some how make the language so clear, that
>somehow we don't need to be taught of God? Christ said, that we would
>understand if we are willing to obey. The reason that some have trouble
>understanding the scriptures is that are not willing to obey it. Perhaps
>those involved in translation, has lost the vision of trying to get the word
>out, and has become simply a quest to make money. Then the tendency will be
>to make "acceptable" translations that make money rather than accurate ones.
This is definitely the tendency today. In fact, a friend of my father's had
a friend on the board that was translating the NIV. Among the translators
was a lesbian.
BTW, the situation that prompted this e-mail was my recent encounter with
the company that is owned by the translator of the MKJV and Green's
Literal. The translator, Jay Green Sr., copyrighted both of his
translations and they are listed as locked modules on the CrossWire
website. He has made no money off of them, and in fact they are a
continuous sinkhole for charity funds. Had he released them to be published
by Zondervan, etc., they would have been distributed to literally millions
of people by now. But he requires you to pre-order them, and even now we
are waiting on our order after ~ 1.5 years. If he had released them, also,
his book reselling company (which is how he makes his money) would achieve
some publicity. The end result: poorer translator, fewer copies, no digital
distribution (unless on his custom CDs), and lots of "charity" money spent
there that could have been spent elsewhere.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Nathan Gundlach
> > Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2001 5:03 PM
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: [sword-devel] Copyrighting The Bible?
> > Hi,
> > There has been something that has gotten under my skin quite a bit
> > recently. It is the tendency of modern translators to copyright
> > The Bible.
> > Is that their right? To change slightly, for example, the KJV,
> > call it the
> > MKJV, and copyright it? Who wrote it anyway? Did they, or did God? I'm
> > aware of the legal position on translation, of course, but it still
> > disgusts me that people can do that.
> > Nathan Gundlach
> > email: email@example.com
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