[sword-devel] Checking on "Fair Use" by individuals of proprietary Bible texts

Hastings hastings at dancris.com
Fri Jul 2 11:52:06 MST 2004

At 09:23 AM 7/2/2004, Lynn Allan wrote:
>  let's say I somehow have access to the texts of
>the NIV, NKJV, and/or ESV. This might be through the Internet, Bible
>Explorer, e-Sword, etc.

To vague. If you are making a copy of a copyrighted text from a source you 
don't own it is very unlikely it is fair use. Think of it like this, you 
never own the text, unless you are the copyright holder, but you may own 
the book or cd it is on.  Even if you own the source it is on making a copy 
still depends on other things to be fair use. Making a backup may be fair use.

>to prepare these texts into
>the 31,102 KJV versification format and then, for strictly personal  use,
>incorporate for usage with something like LcdBible/BerBible or BibleCs?

These are the kind of things judges decide and fair use becomes whatever a 
judge says it is. Realistically, no one is going to care what you do that 
is private to you. That means no one else is involved. If it takes one 
other party it is not private.

>I've not proposing distribution to anyone, but strictly for personal use on
>my own computer.

Personal/private use is not a guarantee of fair use. If you download a 
movie or song for your personal use you could be in big trouble. Texts are 
no different.

>the above fall within the understood doctrine(s) of "Fair Use" of
>copyrighted material by individuals for personal use?
>If so, how about the "next step": to provide detailed information about how
>to accomplish the above?
>If so, how about the "next step": to provide utility software to accomplish
>the above?

Providing information and software could fall under current vicarious and 
contributory infringement doctrines. There is also a new bill that has been 
introduced, the INDUCE Act, short for the Inducement Devolves Into Unlawful 
Child Exploitation Act of 2004. If passed it would make it illegal to aid, 
abet, induce or procure illegal copies. If your information or software 
"induces" an illegal act of copying this could be trouble, even if there 
are other cases where the copying was legal. Think of 123 software. It has 
legal uses but is seen by some as inducing violations. Hopefully this law 
will not pass, at least not as it is.

If you are going to provide information or software that helps others make 
copies of copyrighted works you should stay on top of what the law is, as 
it changes. Also, the laws are different in other countries, so give some 
thought to keeping people in other countries out of trouble too.


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