[sword-devel] Legitimate FTP Mirrors & Module Distribution Rights Question

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Sun Jul 29 08:07:43 MST 2012

On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 8:20 AM, Andrew Thule <thulester at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:29 AM, Peter von Kaehne <refdoc at gmx.net> wrote:
>>> I really don't see your point about this.
>> To second that - there is essentially no point.
> Many publicly available repositories replicate themselves.  (Take
> Sourceforge for example).  There are many reason why they do this.
> Lower latency in downloads for example, fewer router hops between
> client and source download, load balance downloads by distributing
> them across multiple sites, reduce available from single point of
> failure, and yes even security.  There are places in the world that
> filter or monitor sites because of the word 'cross'.  The point should
> be obious, suggesting Crosswire consider replicating itself (the site)
> and it's module repository has benefits such as no single point of
> failure etc - that is unless the chief concern is not text
> distribution.

Many do. We have opted not to. The extra technical requirements to
setup mirroring and ensure it stays synced to the master are not worth
the increased benefits to us at this time. If it becomes beneficial in
the future then it will be considered. But at this point the costs
outweigh the benefits, in the group's collective mind.

>> People who access us from countries which control their internet and
>> want to block the Bible, need to be cautious and come through proxies,
>> tor or whatever or obtain stuff via CDs, USB sticks etc.
> This might be your preference, but should Crosswire really control
> it's own module distribution once it makes them available?

Uhh... yes? CrossWire should definitely control its modules. I'm not
certain what you're getting at here. CrossWire will license any
original works it creates with a very permissive license - GPLv2 for
most software or similarly themed licenses for texts. Those, anyone is
free to use. When Wycliffe or someone else grants us permission to
create a module from one of their texts we negotiate the most
permissive license they are willing to allow. We have no control over
those modules, so there is nothing we can do besides follow the
licenses we were able to negotiate and encourage others to follow them
as well.

>> Providing secondary download sources in the hope that they will not be
>> observed while our main ones are - this is silly and actually more
>> dangerous than going the long way via e.g. tor
> Well such a scenario is only one possible benefit.  Tor nodes may also
> be filtered (have you ever tried to look at a books.google.com book
> through the Tor network for example?)   The benefit of Tor networks is
> not that that they get around domain-name restrictions, but that they
> get around tracing relationships between client and server.  Likewise,
> if someone wanted to monitor access to sword modules (technically)
> they would need look at but a single site. But again, this is somewhat
> of a tangent.
>> The offer is kind, is appreciated, but is essentially one which makes no
>> sense to us, increases our opportunity costs and therefore should be
>> declined.
> No worries.  The goal wasn't to necessarily host a crosswise mirror
> (though that was the offer) but to to ask Crosswire's philosophy on
> module distribution. I wondered about how to provide maximum
> dissemination to Sword modules in my possession not in the main repo,
> some of which have not had their distribution rights negotiated.  I'd
> like to balance licensing restrictions against broad availability.

If you are the copyright holder, you are welcome to place any modules
you create under a repository. You'd even be welcomed to place that
repository in the master list so that applications can automatically
discover it and offer the source to their users. The Xiphos repository
essentially fits this description. It is not officially a part of
CrossWire, but it is listed in the autodiscover repository list and is
maintained by one of the people in this thread to host modules that he
personally wanted to see hosted but which CrossWire didn't or wouldn't

If you are not the copyright holder then you have to obey the
copyright of the source text. For modules like the NIV or the NRSV,
which we'd like to distribute, we have been unable to come to terms
with their copyright holders. So we can't distribute those and,
legally, you couldn't either. The same goes for non-Bible matieral. If
you want to post copyrighted modules in your personal repository

> Having them at a single site neither distributes risk, and represents
> a single point of failure.  Similarly, if the applications of rights
> such as "Copyrighted; Permission to distribute granted to CrossWire"
> implies that module redistribution becomes restricted to one site only
> - that likely shouldn't be the license attached to the module. (On the
> other hand if Crosswire asserted it's right to text re-distribution
> though through a sanctioned mirror program - I'd have less issue with
> it).

CrossWire can distribute its sources out across mirrors and multiple
sites if it wants to. If we wanted to host the modules off of S3, we
could do that. If we wanted to acquire a second site hosted in London
to duplicate our data as a failover location, we could do that. So
long as the sites are CrossWire, there is no limitation to CrossWire
distributing the modules from only its one server located in Arizona.
However, we just don't see any need (and yes, we understand the
benefits and drawbacks) for distributed mirrors at this time. Maybe
that will change in the future, maybe not. Maybe Troy will jump in at
this point in the coversation and say, "You know what, I think we

But those modules which are licensed for CrossWire's distribution
only, we are no the ones to place that restriction. The copyright
holders have done so. We graciously thank them for being so generous
with their text and attempt jealously to guard the copyright according
to the owner's wishes. We would like that restriction lifted, because
we do encourage people to download modules that are helpful to them
onto CD or USB stick and hand them to friends and family and
co-workers. That could very much be a violation of such a license, if
those people are not part of CrossWire. Thus, we try to avoid that
license if possible, but if that is the only terms under which a
content owner will license their text, we have to abide by that.


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