[sword-devel] Distribution/Copyright issues

Christian Renz sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sat, 7 Sep 2002 00:55:00 +0800

>conditions. I would be surprised if they didn't have some kind of 'no
>modification allowed' clause, or restricted copying or restricted

Actually, sword isn't at much of a disadvantage here. Even the format
of some closed-source bible apps is well known, so that the text could
be extracted. A slight benefit is being able to hide decryption keys
in the software better, so that the modules themselves can be
encrypted. However, sufficient debugging skills can render this
benefit nonexistent. (Incidentially, I was able to extract the text of
the TNIV from the text of the encrypted PDF at the TNIV website using
an open-source library. Security only lasts while people are too lazy
to break it.) I'm not advocating cracking here, of course -- just
showing how small the perceived disadvantage of open source is.

As for possible arrangements: We could go as far as giving the
distribution power to the publisher. That is -- not the Sword project
hosts the download, but the publishing company itself, on their
website. That leaves us in the position that the company could retract
the module any time. On the other hand, it is good promotion for sword
when Bible publishers offer sword-compatible modules :-)

Additionally, we could offer a encryption mode that is based on
personal data. E.g. the user submits his name and e-mail address and
gets a personal key. Not that this is more secure, but it feels more
secure :-) and people will probably be less willing to give the key to
somebody else.

An incentive for publishers to use it would be that we make it
possible for them -- by creating the module, creating an
infrastructure to create personalized keys (either on the crosswire
server or by giving them scripts to run on their server), etc. The
less work involved for them, the more attractive it is. 

And what we need most, of course, is favour with the copyright
holders. That's the part where the prayer comes in... Ora et labora
("Pray and write code").


crenz@web42.com - http://www.web42.com/crenz/ - http://www.web42.com/

"The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back,
time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so
anxious not to see."  -- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity