[sword-devel] Detecting Problem Characters

Peter von Kaehne refdoc at gmx.net
Sat Sep 24 04:59:22 MST 2011

Dear Michael,

We do not copy out of other Bible programmes, but create modules from
source. So, where ever Zefania picked up their text - that is where we
should go too.

Wrt the specific text you describe - if there is no absolute clarity re
its PD status, the usual way we would deal with it is contacting the
last copyright owner and ask them for permission. If this permission is
superfluous, then so be it, it creates at the very least a good
relationship and likely it leads to long term collaboration. While this
might take longer and is more difficult than simply to assume PD status
(and wait until we are challenged), time and again we have profited from
this - by getting better quality texts, by gaining reputation among
genuine copyright owners etc.


On 23/09/11 21:01, Michael Hart wrote:
> On 9/23/2011 1:30 PM, Greg Hellings wrote:
>> For reasons not entirely mine to go into, nor germane to your
>> questions, CrossWire policy is generally to ignore zefania files.
>> Among such, as you point out, is that many of their files have been
>> found to violate copyright laws.
>> --Greg
> Hopefully, I did not state ANY file at the Sourceforge site I linked
> to IS copyrighted, only that the one I'm working on is possibly still
> under copyright in the USA, but probably isn't (see my TMI explanation
> below.)  This specific document is right on the line at every step of
> the way, but I believe it fell through the gap in 1998 and did become
> public domain, but I don't have a way to prove that at this time. As
> far as I know noone has claimed the Riverside NT is still copyrighted,
> but my method for works 1923-1964 was to positively answer beyond any
> doubt the status of the work before publishing them.  The Riverside NT
> is 'almost, but not quite' ready.
> I do want to know if someone thinks or knows there are clear
> violations at the Sourceforge site I linked to.
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/zefania-sharp/files/
> ______________________
> As to the Sourceforge Zefania site itself:
> The Sourceforge project I linked to which produces zefania works
> appears to deal only with public domain works (the Riverside NT aside,
> and I've seen other lists that name Riverside NT 'public domain', so I
> suspect there is evidence I don't have yet.) IF any site that has
> inadvertently produced illegal copies of copyrighted works were banned
> from consideration, there wouldn't be anything left.  Amazon is
> guilty, Internet Archive is guilty, CCEL is guilty, Google is guilty,
> etc.  (I'm not sure about Gutenberg, but I wouldn't be surprised if
> even they have gone afoul of copyright law and had to retract
> works.)   I prefer to evaluate each work on its own, and whatever
> pipeline it comes by is a publishing concern.
> The group working on the Sourceforge Zefania texts is not the group
> that produced Opensong, which did or does have clear ties to ignoring
> the law.  It would be the same as saying Crosswire and the Sword
> Repositories should now be shunned because Lyricue uses Crosswire
> texts, but that project also provides clearly copyrighted texts from
> some other source.  The Zefania project started as a Linux Bible
> reader for Sharp Zaurus, clearly intending to work in a similar way to
> Crosswire on only public domain texts.  Similar to the palm bible apps
> from the 90s,  the Zaurus was resource and memory limited, so they had
> to create their own scheme to make the Bible fit.    Whatever other
> quasi-legal projects that piggyback onto it, don't blame the
> original.   I see nothing wrong with sourcing from the Zefania site
> itself.
> ______________
> For what it's worth (about the Riverside NT possibly being copyright):
> The Riverside new testament is also available on the Internet Archive at
> http://www.archive.org/details/riversidenewtest027415mbp
> However, the text output from this digitization is in much much poorer
> condition than that at the Zefania site.
> It is my belief that this work is already public domain, but there is
> a small window of time that I haven't excluded.
> The copyright law changed in 1963 to make copyrights extend 75 years
> from publication or 50 years after the life of the author, which
> remained in effect until September 1998 when congress extended to Life
> +70 years of the author.  This means There is a very likely chance
> that the Riverside NT is already public domain if 1) It was published
> before September 1923, and 2) William G Ballentine died before
> September 1948.  I believe it is customary (even in 1923) to start
> printing the next year somewhere around September.   That is you can
> get books published in 2012 right now.  If Ballentine died after
> September 1948,  then his death determines the PD date, but in all
> likelihood it will be within the next decade.  Add to this that the
> Copyright renewal in (1948?) was recorded to the estate of Ballentine
> by his wife. The question mark is to remind me of the fact that it was
> recorded posthumously after 1948, but there is or was some law that
> allowed this (widow's law).  This implies the copyright was
> continuous, so even tho recorded late, the renewal was effective 1948,
> but again I'm not a lawyer on this point.
> So the latest this work MIGHT be under copyright is around 2018.
> Also consider that without evidence to the contrary, Publications are
> assumed Jan 1 of the year they are published (earliest possible
> date).  Therefore is is reasonable to assume this work is already in
> copyright and legally can be distributed with the caveat that as soon
> as someone produces evidence of a fall publication OR a late death
> certificate, a cessation would be necessary.
> Also, note that I am stripping any copyrightable condition that may
> exist on the Zefania work to achieve the original work, then building
> it up (specifically I am not working from the OSIS document available
> there to create a module on this work)  That is, I'm going back to
> bare text (even removing all the return characters and white space
> (spaces greater than one, tab characters, etc.) and rebuilding the
> structure based on verse numbers.)  because of this, I highly doubt
> that there could be any legal action from the sourcing of this
> document being contaminated, but in this day of lawyers in the US, I'm
> fairly confident that my process would withstand a scrutiny even if
> there were legal action.  I think I've covered all my bases well
> enough.  Even today, additions to a public domain work are
> copyrightable, but the original work remains in the public domain.
> Also note that under 1923 copyright law, fair-use rights in general
> remained with the citizen, not the holder. The original 1923 copyright
> viewable at the Internet Archive link above has no restrictions
> listed, so the only restrictions are those listed under the
> constitution and 1909 law itself (sale of the work for profit.) 
> Storing, modifying, and (arguably, but not my intent until it is
> clearly legal to do so) distribution for non-profit reasons are not
> restricted.  Therefore I see nothing unethical, illegal, or immoral
> with my current work in modifying the document for my own use, and
> preparations for a release when the work IS public domain without a
> doubt.
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