[sword-devel] DSS (Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls based upon DJD translations)

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Thu Nov 8 01:00:30 MST 2012

On 11/07/2012 02:21 PM, Andrew Thule wrote:
> Forgive me.  I forgot to address your question about what constitutes
> 'academic'.
> Dead Sea Scroll translations to date, have been translated by academics,
> holding academic positions in academic institutions. The translations
> have been (and are being) done for academic purposes, published in
> academic publications, such as the one entitled 'Discoveries in the
> Judean Desert' (At least, I assume you don't see the production of DJD
> as a 'commercial venture').  Dead Sea Scroll 'research', is not a
> commercial venture (even if some of its spin-off efforts are).
> Even in the copyright case of Professor Elisha Qimron's, the
> Israelisupreme court rules that the scrolls must be kept available for
> non-commercial purposes.
> Therefore, when translations are made publicly available in publications
> such as 'Discoveries in the Judean Desert: ISBN13: 9780199566662, use of
> those translations for non-commercial purposes clearly falls under 'fair
> use' (as courts in both Canada and the US frequently assert)
> ~A

I can't see the basis for thinking that this falls under fair use. I 
work in academia. I do translation. Those facts don't magically mean my 
translation is the property of my university or (as you seem to suggest) 
free for anyone to use and republish. That's just not the case.

The DJD is very certainly a 'commercial venture'.

Israel could conceivably mandate that the DSS are in the public domain. 
The issue there was that certain scholars were controlling access to the 
manuscripts and preventing publication of their contents. But that 
applies only to the manuscripts themselves, in Hebrew. It will not apply 
to reconstructions, critical texts, or translations.

There's also no basis for believing that non-commercial equates to fair 
use. That is most certainly NOT something courts in the US have 
suggested. (I can't speak to the situation in Canada, but that would be 
a very radical interpretation of fair use.) Fair use is also mediated by 
the length of the source document, the portion of the source document 
that is being redistributed, and the portion of the derivative work that 
is derived from the source document. When your work is entirely derived 
from other works, it is clearly not a case of fair use.

Absent some special Israeli law specifically pertaining to translations 
of the DSS (and assuming its applicability in this case), this is 
clearly copyright violation.


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