[sword-devel] Distribution of CrossWire software

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 11 05:57:07 MST 2006

What should/can we do? What is our *policy*?

In the last few days we have received several different emails to 
sword-support at crosswire.org regarding an inability to use our 
software or its distribution not directly from us. As I have just joined 
sword-support to field JSword/BibleDesktop questions, so I don't know if 
this is typical or not.

It was noted in 2 emails that the software was being offered for sale on 
ebay.com. In another, it was being sold by thinkall.com. (I just posted 
my response to that email to this mailing list) Another said that the 
two Sword programs wouldn't start. I have asked for further info, but I 
suspect that it was not downloaded directly from crosswire.org. And 
another wanted to know why BibleDesktop didn't work and a the church 
membership program required an unlock key. Another was from an ebay user 
asking where is his purchase.

The GPL is really a license about the distribution of software and it's 
code. It allows for reasonable recovery of costs associated with 
packaging, and postage. But it also has lots of other requirements on 
the one doing the distribution.

Anyway, I think it is inappropriate for others to distribute the 
software over ebay (except perhaps as a "buy me now" for a few dollars 
outside of the US). In the case of one seller on ebay, they were selling 
it in UK, for a small amount and also stated that the software is free 
software from Sword, though it was not in fine print, it was toward the 
bottom of a long paragraph, so it probably would not be seen.

In the case of thinkall, they distribute it under their own license not 
the GPL. I think that this is a violation. And they package it in such a 
way as to hide its origin.

In the other three cases, I have requested more information so we can 
help them get the program up and running. And I pointed them to the 
locations where they can download it for free.

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