[sword-devel] Here's Our Chance: Copyright Negotations

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 18 Sep 2002 17:13:15 -0700 (MST)

On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, Don A. Elbourne Jr. wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matthew Donadio" <m.p.donadio@ieee.org>
> > Could we allow users to purchase one of these formats, and make it easy
> > for them to convert the text into Sword Modules?
> We could, but it is against the law. Unfortunately, it is a breach of
> copyright to convert digital material in that way.

Quit taking everything certain people on certain other mailing lists say
as the gospel truth.  :)  He was plainly wrong about a few things in that
discussion about copyright and had not the basis to make claims about most
of the others.

We can make converters, provided it doesn't require circumventing 
protection measures in software.  Unfortunately, "protection measures" can 
be pretty widely interpreted--e.g. the don't-embed bit of TT fonts or the 
don't-allow-printing/copying bit in PDFs.  I hope that courts get a clue 
about this not being a protection measure.  But my point is, if a program 
had an export mechanism, users can use that and we can provide import 
mechanisms to Sword.  Perfectly legal.

The problem, and the reason we don't do this much, is that it's just a 
pain to convert modules like this.  Users wouldn't typically bother.  And 
it would convey to publishers that some other Bible software is more 
popular than it actually is if we drove sales for it, when we should look 
to promote Sword's viability as a Bible publishing platform so that other 
publishers consider releasing material for it.  Those few translations 
available for other readers are a nice start, but I don't see anyone else 
giving out or selling Tswana Bibles, as I would like to someday.

The other problem, of course, is that it makes enemies out of lots of 
other Bible software publishers, who we don't really need to antagonize.

WRT the ALT-- we actually have permission to distribute this, I just 
haven't had time to remake the module.  I figure it's due for an update 
rather than just being unlocked.