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

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Tue Nov 13 16:54:59 MST 2012

On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM, Andrew Thule <thulester at gmail.com> wrote:
> With the possible exception of calling people trolls, I agree, this is how
> we are to conduct ourselves in public. Even Christian folks, sometimes
> disagree. Reasoning things out, using civility, logic, evidence, tolerance
> for difference of opinion, are all hallmarks of responsible people working
> through difficult things.  This is how differences are settled in a
> principled, civil way. With respect to apologizing, I think its premature
> for offering or expecting one (unless someone's feelings have been injured).
> Recall, this was all initiated by a simple request for assistance QAing a
> module.  An unjustified claimed was made that somehow this breached
> Copyright law; even though Copyright law is restricted in certain cases,
> this being one, and copyright law allows for derivative work, this being
> one.  Even though I made it clear early on, I had no interest in arguing
> this (I do know Copyright Law!), I've nevertheless defend this module on 2
> grounds (and been called a troll for doing so):
> 1. This module falls within the provisions of section 107 of the Copyright
> Act, and therefore constitutes 'fair use'
> 2. Independent, and in addition to this, the use of Copyrighted work in the
> case of derivative works is permitted.
> There was some haggling over this, but eventually those engaged in the
> debate have begrudgingly recognized that "Copyrights" are not monolithic,
> defacto, exclusive rights, but ones with reasonable limits and 'fair use'
> (In fact 1/3 of the act is about placing limits on these exclusive rights).
> Furthermore, we've managed to sort out that there is a difference between
> protections on cultural works (often produced for commercial advantage) and
> scholarly work, produced to expand knowledge.  Our civil discussion has in
> fact made progress, as some of the harder incorrect positions have since
> softened.  I don't expect an apology from those who have 'softened' their
> position.

No one on this list adhered to the position you claim they have
abandoned. Therefore, no progress on this front has been made.

> It's been hinted that because I stand alone in my defence, against so many,
> clearly I must be wrong. This, of course, is the fallacy argumentum ad
> populum.  The number of people who believe something to be true, has no
> bearing on the truth of the belief.  In human history, there was a time when
> only a single person believed the world was round rather than flat.  There
> was also a time when only a single person believed the messiah (though King)
> would be killed and rise on the third day.  Sometimes it takes a single
> dissenting voice, to correct popular misconceptions however bleak the odds.

If your intention is to change the face of intellectual property laws,
may I point you to the EFF and FSF, both of which have particular
interest in such things.

> Dogmatically the argument has now shifted from saying material CANNOT be
> copied under any circumstance, to saying it CAN be but not in THESE
> circumstances.  That is an entirely different argument, and one that quietly
> recognizes the merit to my defence. Let's look at those claims then.  I was
> presented 3 links.
> The first link is Wikipedia:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_content#Academia
> The Wikipedia link is not a summary of case law.  It is no kind of
> authoritative source or summary interpretation of precident (save perhaps
> for the army of Wikipedia volunteers who engineer Wikipedia articles).
> However two other cases were presented being 'Princeton University Press v.
> Michigan Doc' and ' Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corporation'.
> Very good.  Case law makes us look at the issues I've been raising in
> defence.
> http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/99_F3d_1381.htm
> http://fairuse.stanford.edu/primary_materials/cases/c758FSupp1522.html
> Before these two cases were presented,  I made the point that derivative use
> cases of Copyright work (outlined in ) says basically (in section § 107 .
> Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use) that in considering 'adapted
> works' as derived works, courts use some litmus tests.  I kind of get the
> feeling no one accusing me of law-breaking has bothered to read this
> section. In both of the cases above, the defendants were engaged in
> 'Commercial Activity' reproducing exact copies of Copyrighted material for
> COMMERCIAL advantage.

Both of these I cited because they debunk your claim that academic
work is exempt from copyright. It clearly establishes that academic
works can be held under Copyright and have been, successfully, in
court shown to be under Copyright. Thus debunking the first of your
two claims that academic works hold no copyright.

> Had anyone bothered to read section § 107 they'd see that both defendants
> were engaged in commercial activity, both were reproducing exact copies of
> copyright work, both were selling the results for commercial advantage,
> clearly failing the first litmus test.  Neither of those cases apply here.

No, you are not a commercial entity to my knowledge. But that's not
the point of citing the above cases. It was to show you that you are
wrong when you state that academic works cannot be held under
Copyright laws.

> That said, I really didn't need to point out the litmus test since the
> Copyright act itself says (in section § 101 . Definitions ) "A work
> consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other
> modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship,
> is a “derivative work” which is clearly the case here.  This module contains
> annotations, elaborations, and other modifications and is clearly not the
> same as Oxford University Press' 39 volume published works "Discoveries in
> the Judean Desert" so automatically qualifies as derivative work by
> definition.  However, people would rather argue than read law and case law.
> Finally the Georgia State University Opinion was offered as evidence of
> wrong doing.  To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what this was presented as
> it strengthens my case more than weakens it.
> http://laboratorium.net/archive/2012/05/13/inside_the_georgia_state_opinion.
> Of the DSS translations in the Discoveries in the Judean Desert (DJD)
> series, biblical DSS translations constitute far less than 10% of the entire
> material found in the 39 volumes.  These translations clearly contain
> annotations, elaborations, and other modifications qualifying by definition
> as derivative work.  The case is considered a win for Georgia State and a
> loss for the publishers and are the same issues we debate here.  You don't
> need to read too far to see that the 'Georgia State University' case was

Now who hasn't read the material? The case was not dropped. Rather,
Georgia was found to be in violation of 5 of the Copyrights. A
non-commercial, academic entity was found to be in violation of
Copyright law. This weakens your case when you say you are exempt from
Copyright law because you are using the material for academic

Also, you once again miss the law's imposition of the 10% law. Is the
citation you are making less than 10% of the translation you are
taking from or is it less than a full chapter if said translation is
from a work with 10 or more chapters? From what you've claimed, you
are lifting a person's entire translation - that is, 100% of the
source work (please, correct me if I'm wrong here). Now if you take
10% of the translation of scholar A and 10% of the translation of
scholar B - and use them the way a library in a school uses them -
then you pass this case's litmus test. It doesn't matter what
percentage of the original Dead Sea Scrolls material was part of the
translation - the DSS manuscripts are not under copyright. But if you
lifted 100% of a particular scholar's translation of Genesis sourced
on DSS manuscripts, you have exceeded even the basic litmus test of
the cited case. Even if you've lifted 11% of their translation of
Genesis, you have violated Copyright.

Now, if the sources you lifted from are specifically listed, by their
authors and publishers, as being exempt from Copyright or in the
Public Domain or such, then you are in the clear. But please, point us
to such release. Or if you get in touch with the people who hold the
Copyright and obtain their permission, then you are in the clear. But
if you insist on violating the clear case law which demolishes your
arguments then you are in the wrong.

> The publishers were unable to prove to the court’s satisfaction that fair
> use did NOT apply in large portions brought forward in their case, and the
> court was ultimately unsympathetic.  That link you produced itself says so.
> Citing this case kind of proves my point!

Citing this case disproves your first defense in its entirety. The
school was found in violation of Copyright despite being engaged in
the academic pursuit of educating young people with the blessing of
the government in a library setting. All of those are places where
Copyright's Fair Use clause is more widely applied than it is with you
sharing files on the Internet.

Having already established that academic works can be under Copyright,
shall I look for the case law that shows sharing your personal copies
on the Internet is a violation of the Copyright act? Because I'm
fairly certain I can find case law regarding this point.

> I don't know what this thread continues on.  I speculate perhaps some of you
> work for the publishing industry.  At the end of the day case-law and the
> law itself provides provisions that restrict exclusive rights in Copyright
> cases, limitations I'm clearly well within legally in this case.  I'm a bit
> surprised that anyone (in this list) would want to restrict (re)transmission
> of Dead Sea Scrolls biblical material, our oldest fragments of biblical text
> in most cases.  But then again, perhaps that's the whole point.  Perhaps
> this isn't about preserving someone's exclusive right (a right that does not
> in fact exist) to an academic translation of ancient text, but about
> restricting (re)transmission of biblical texts.

No, this is about preserving our community's principles. We do not
willfully violate Copyright laws, as you are doing. And we seek to
correct anyone who comes into our community who does so, so that we
maintain our integrity.


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