[sword-devel] e-Sword collaboration & other copyright matters (including Jonathan's original post about the copyright website)

Paul Gear sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sat, 27 Jan 2001 20:27:18 +1000

Jonathan Hughes wrote:
> Paul,
>     I would like to first of all thank you for taking the time, to respond,
> and in such depth. That really means a lot to me because that is how I will
> see and understand flaws in my plans and strategy!

I don't really think it's so much a flaw in your plans as simply an
unrealistic dream.  I think efforts need to be concentrated on
developing and publishing unencumbered content rather than trying to
unencumber existing content that is out there.

I'm still tossing up in my own mind which option is best for
unencumbered texts: to have the software copyrighted, but protected by a
free software-like license (e.g. the OPL
<http://opencontent.org/opl.shtml>) or to simply have the text in the
public domain.  The latter strategy has been taken with the WEB, and the
former by GLW (both on MPJ's site <http://ebible.org>).

Jerry, are you out there?  I'd be interested in your thoughts on the
copyright + open license vs. public domain issue.  My current thoughts
are that public domain would be more desirable in terms of open
philosophy, but that it would leave the texts open to becoming
copyrighted again through people doing work on the texts and slapping
their own copyright on them.  That is something i definitely want to
avoid, so at the moment, i lean more towards copyrighting and using the
OPL or a similar license.

> ...
> I understand
> how the world works and how business works, but I also know how God works,
> and so that is why I have this as my goal.

If God was number one for all of the publishers you are approaching,
there would be no problem.  However, he is the last thing on the mind of
some of them (good luck with Zondervan!).

> If we meet with opposition from
> the publishers, then maybe we will need to modify the strategy to see if we
> can liscense the modules to be distrupted for a small fee, but I will never
> give up on trying to get all texts to be distrupted for free.

This is where my technical comments come in.  How do you distribute for
a fee, when anyone can take one of those texts and copy it for all their
friends?  Has anyone (this means you, Troy and Chris :-) got any
comments on my previous analysis of the unlock situation?

> ...
>     I will check out the links, but like I said before I don't really want
> to be involved in the technical side of how the modules will be distrupted,
> I think it would sufice how we do it now with unlock keys, you are right
> people can just decrypt the modules and spread the text around, but they can
> do that with Online Bible, and pretty much any other Bible packages, so this
> should not stop us. But it should be considered.

The difference between us and nearly all the others is that Sword is
free software.  That puts us on the back foot right from the start.

> ...
>     Yea, maybe not the close minded publishers, but some of our texts are
> from individual people, and it maybe something we can show to them to let
> them know that we as a political philosophy are commited to a product that
> will help people, without the barier of fianances, etc.

That is something that i think is worth checking out with those

> ...
> > P.S.  Quick gripe: Jonathan, Can you turn of HTML on your email
> > messages?  It makes them very hard to read.
>     Sorry about the HTML on in my email it is AOL, so I will have to find
> out how to turn that off.

Thanks.  ;-)

>  Thanks again Paul for your comments, I will be
> contemplating them for a while! I am sure this issue with come up again.
> Hey, I would love to here what you think of the official letter I plan on
> sending to publishers, you can find it on the Copyright Website:
> http://www.crosswire.org/sword/copyright/

One thing i would suggest is of utmost importance is trying to get
copyright release for forthcoming Bible versions.  I know of two that
are worth mention: the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) from
LifeWay Christian Resources, and the ESV (English Standard Version) from
Crossway Books.  (I don't have any contact details for either of
those.)  These sound like they are going to be fairly significant
translations (esp. the ESV - see below for some links), and if we can
get the publishers to agree to free distribution early in the piece
(pointing them to the precedent of Davidsons Press and the ISV), we
would be in a good position.

"He must become greater; i must become less." - John 3:30

Links to articles about new Bible translations:
<http://www.publishersweekly.com/articles/19991011_81445.asp> (under the
heading 'Manna, Mannah or Mana?')