[sword-devel] Distribution of CrossWire software

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Sat Feb 11 20:32:30 MST 2006

I don't really have a problem with the eBay guy. He's not doing much 
different from what Troy does by offering CDs from the website.

Think All is a different matter altogether. I had meant to contact them 
about a week ago and finally did so just now. Their copyright and 
license violations are numerous and extensive. I don't especially 
believe that they will agree to bring their distribution practice into 
conformance with the requirements of the law or with what they are 
permitted to do under the GPL. Actually doing so would void the 
profitability of what is essentially a scam. If they refuse to cease 
license violation, we will probably have to do what we must in order to 
stop their using our software to rip people off, potentially including, 
but not necessarily limited to, forcing a takedown under the DMCA for 
illegal sale of copyrighted works.


DM Smith wrote:
> 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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