[sword-devel] Detecting Problem Characters

Michael Hart just_mike_y at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 25 08:51:57 MST 2011

On 9/24/2011 7:59 AM, Peter von Kaehne wrote:
> 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.
The Zefania xml project STARTED as a means to get the bible onto the 
Zaurus with as little overhead as possible (less compression, fewer 
extra characters.)  There are still Bible programs using it, but the 
Zefania XML sourceforge site isn't related to any specific program.

The sourceforge site I referenced is a Bible Archive and not a 
repository for any specific program.  If you start investigating, you'll 
find what acts as a news/home page for the Zefania Archive at


Which declares itself a Bible Archive and not  a 'program database' 
site.  They encourage the use of their sources for other programs.  They 
are actively seeking permissions and working with publishers.  It seems 
like a good fit to me, and I don't see why Crosswire and Zefania haven't 
conjoined like go-bible did.  They probably do need guidance with 
respect to some of there documents.

For documents that are recent and electronic in original form (such as 
the Holy New Covenant), I do completely agree that starting with the 
original source is the best method.

For documents prepared prior to ~1960?, there was never an 'original' 
that existed in electronic form, but instead came from someone's 
typewriter which was then edited, then re-edited, then manually marked 
up by a typesetter on a press. Starting from the source in these cases 
is always going to involve a scanner, and SHOULD involve a scanner with 
a typewritten manuscript (which I'm not aware has ever happened) because 
that was the author's original intent.  In a perfect world that is what 
I do.  (One of my current, dormant projects is 'The Word Made Fresh' 
which is starting from a scanned book.  I have scanned it and am not 
happy with the results.  I'm waiting on better technology to retry.  
This work is an 1980's work but the grand-daughter I have communicated 
with stated all that remain are the printed books.  Whatever electronic 
versions that existed are lost to time.)

Since I'm dealing with a pre-digital age document, I don't see that 
sourcing from an Archive is wrong.  In this case, the laws in Germany 
are probably different than the US,  so I'm taking extra care to remove 
any and all encoding that may have been previously copyrighted prior to 
being placed in the archive, and being extra careful with releasing the 
document because it falls in the perilous realm of 1923-1964 publication 
> 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.
This book was first published in 1923 by Macmillan, but the copyright is 
to the author and not the publisher. the renewal was to the estate of 
the author and not a publisher.  Seeking a rights statement would be 
from the rights holder.  Recently published works of scripture are more 
frequently assigned an owner like a bible society, and have a contact 
name.  Tracking down the owner of the rights when the last information 
was 1948 is very difficult.  for 1923-1964 works with personal owners, I 
have tried many times contacting the most recent publisher, and 
generally if i get any response at all, it is that they don't own the 
rights. For this work, I haven't because I don't see a publisher that 
would likely still exist in the same form.

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