[sword-devel] Module Licensing

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Sun Jan 27 12:30:57 MST 2008

Jonathan Morgan wrote:
> Try sending something like this...


> Currently the following modules of those I have downloaded cannot be
> accessed by anyone without an internet connection, as Crosswire is the
> only distributor. There are probably quite a few others.

You can order CDs from CrossWire.

> Is there any possibility of getting a license for these for
> non-commercial or personal use, without permitting format shifting?

Basically, no. We don't negotiate rights for third parties, and third 
parties not bound by contracts that we sign, obviously. Furthermore, 
some of the content you identify is emphatically not up for 
re-negotiation. We might not even maintain the existing level of 
distribution rights.

> As given, these kinds of licenses breaks one of the principles of
> free software.

The software and the content are now and ever shall be separate entities 
and separate issues with separate licensing schemes. Our feelings or 
your feelings towards how content should be licensed really don't play 
into this. It's the copyright holder who determines licensing terms and 

> While I don't really care if the modules are non-free
> in the Debian sense, what the current system means is that if
> Crosswire disappears for whatever reason then we will still have all
> the software (as the GPL requires), but we will no longer have
> permission to distribute some of the modules (including the ESV, which
> IMHO is one of the more important modules - it would certainly have to
> be in the top three English ones for usefulness).

Copyright holders (well, some of them at least) want a point of contact 
and a person who can take responsibility and sign a contract. 
Corporately, CrossWire has that. Sans CrossWire, you wouldn't get this 
content at all (ignoring other sources who might take that 
responsibility). Luckily, CrossWire isn't going anywhere.

> However, I
> still have a rooted objection to the idea of men holding a copyright
> or ownership on the word of God, and using that to limit the people
> who will be allowed to use God's word, or to use it so that they can
> make unreasonable amounts of money from the word of God (somewhat
> off-topic).

Translation is work. The worker is worthy of is wage, and obviously, if 
you disagree, you're free to not use his work. :)

Since we are specifically talking about English Bibles in this case, 
there's really no good reason to claim that someone charging for a 
translation is hindering the spread of the Gospel. If you don't want to 
pay $15 for the NASB, you can use the ESV for free. If the ESV licensing 
is not to your liking, use any of a dozen modules offered as public 
domain content or such.


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