[sword-devel] Exclusive Rights Granting Crosswire License to Distribute

Troy A. Griffitts scribe at crosswire.org
Mon Jan 7 12:54:25 MST 2013

Andrew and others,

This thread is counterproductive-- and has been for quite some time.

It is now closed.

I was CC:ed on the email Peter sent you (Andrew) privately which 
outlines explicitly how he was able to obtain multiple modules from your 
mirror which indeed have:

DistributionLicense=Copyrighted; Permission to distribute granted to 

The email gave step by step instructions how to reproduce the download, 
which consisted simply of adding your mirror for use by the SWORD 
InstallManager command line interface and using the standard lookup and 
install commands.

I give you the benefit of the doubt that you innocently and simply 
didn't know that removing the mods.d/*.conf file was not enough to avoid 
listing the module as available for download (it was still in the cache 
mods.d.tar.gz file and the data files available in the modules/* folder)

Please removed all modules from your mirrors for which you have not 
obtained redistribution licenses personally.

If you fail to do so (which I give you the benefit of the doubt and hope 
you will comply), since the URL was posted publicly on this list, you 
will be banned from further posting to this list.

At the risk of assuming I can reword the sentiments of other on this 
thread, to make things obvious to you:

I believe you need to invert your thinking about copyright 
restrictions.  Try starting with 0 (zero) rights, and then build on that 
from what you read in the license.  So, in other words: If a work is (C) 
Copyrighted by the creator.  You should start by assuming you have no 
rights to copy the work and certainly no rights to DISTRIBUTE THE WORK 
FOR ANY PURPOSE (distributing is a superset of copying, so this should 
make sense in set theory).

CrossWire starts this way too.  We assume we have no rights to copy or 
publicly distribute any copyrighted work unless we gain permission from 
the copyright holder.  When a copyright owner grants CrossWire 
permission to copy and distribute, we define this as: making the text 
publicly available from "*.crosswire.org".

This does not mean our USERS can copy the work or publicly redistribute 
the work by making the text available to others; it simply means the 
CrossWire can copy the work and distribute it to our users.  Some of our 
agreements do explicitly allow redistribution and we state that to our 
users.  We assume all our users assume they start with 0 (zero) rights 
to copy and distribute the text.  We feel they can safely understand any 
of these rights conveyed by the entry in the module's 
DistributionLicense field:


If a right to copy and distribute is not explicitly granted, then our 
users should assume they do not have these DISTRIBUTION rights, unless 
they are told otherwise by the publisher.  (As DM has pointed out, some 
publishers grant further rights in the "About" section of our .conf 
file, e.g., "Permission to use up to 500 words... blah blah").  But if 
you're looking for an overall distribution license for the entire module 
that is conveyed from the publisher through CrossWire to the end user, 
this would be summarized in the DistributionLicense field.

If you've not been granted your own permission to copy and distribute a 
text by the publisher directly, then you likely do not have that 
permission and should always begin by assuming that you do not have 
permission unless you have explicitly seen it granted to you.

Hope this helps summarize this thread and represents the general 
thoughts of everyone who have spoken with you regarding copyright in 
general and the policy we have against posting of public links on this 
mailing list to copies of our modules which are copyrighted by 
publishers who have not granted redistribution rights through CrossWire 
(as would be expressly seen in the DistributionLicense field if 
re-distribution rights had been granted).

Please cease posting on this topic and please remove the modules.

Thank you,


On 01/07/2013 07:53 PM, Andrew Thule wrote:
> Chris this list in an of itself is not sufficient (legally) to 
> establish these principles.  It is the Copyright owners who make this 
> determination, not Crosswire list members.
> Each Copyright owner is entitled to impose unique restrictions on the 
> use of their texts.  CrossWire is bound on a module by module basis to 
> abide by the license agreement agreed to by the Copyright owner. 
> (Although these agreements may be smiliar, I doubt very much they are 
> exactly the same. You can see from comparing ESV's general license to 
> ISVs general license (found under legal) they differ.
> It may be the case that the ISV foundations license to Crosswire is 
> not as restritive as Peter and Chris claimed and my action of sharing 
> a compile module on a separate server didn't in fact breach anything.  
> Only by inspecting Crosswire's license obligations can this be 
> determined though.
> Now that I've been tarred and feathered, I would kind of like to know 
> if Crosswires license to distrbiute the ISV indeed prohibits this (so 
> I can know if I'm guilty as charged or not).  Also, if no such 
> restriction exists, Peter's claim that I have no right to distribute 
> the ISV doesn't hold, and I'll consider continuing to server it on my 
> repo.
> ~A
> On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM, Chris Burrell <chris at burrell.me.uk 
> <mailto:chris at burrell.me.uk>> wrote:
>     I think we've got the answers across multiple threads.  DM answers
>     your question in my thread.  others in other threads.
>     1. All modules are fair game for sword front ends to use and display.
>     2. Modifying modules and/or redistributing is not allowed for
>     modules marked as Copyrighted permission granted CrossWire
>     3. Conf files are occasionally  inconsistent in the copyright
>     field and therefore setting up mirrors is strongly discouraged as
>     mirror owners may well end up hosting modules illegally. This
>     threatens the ongoing relationship between CrossWire and the
>     publishers.
>     4. Modifying modules in general is discouraged as a lonesome task
>     as there are often tools used to generate these modules and
>     therfore the source may not be available to the keen module
>     editor. There may also be extra restrictions on this modules which
>     restrict the type of modifications, e.g. adding strong numbers
>     5. As a result of 4, everyone is encouraged to contact Chris L to
>     find out who the 'owner' of a module is before making any
>     modifications but will then be encouraged to participate is
>     circumstances allow.
>     6. Sword and JSword so not cope well with repositories hosting the
>     same module.  This is a further reason for discouraging the
>     instalation of Mirrors for public use.
>     Hope that is a good summary of the discussion so far.
>     Chris
>     On 7 Jan 2013 17:59, "Andrew Thule" <thulester at gmail.com
>     <mailto:thulester at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         On Sun, Jan 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM, DM Smith
>         <dmsmith at crosswire.org <mailto:dmsmith at crosswire.org>> wrote:
>             No, we cannot publish the terms of licensing agreements.
>             Think about it. These are confidential, privileged
>             contracts between organizations.
>         Umm, with software Licenses, Acceptable Use Policies,
>         Copyright Restrictions and Copyright limitations are not
>         typically priviledge ..
>         The contractual agreement itself may be, but License for use,
>         especially in public forums is not, otherwise how can you come
>         down so hard on someone like me for trying to abide
>         by licensing agreement when those agreements are not know?
>         You're saying on the one had I have to abide by Crosswire's
>         agreement with the Copyright Owner and on the other hand I
>         cannot know what those provisions are.
>         I think if you check the contract, you'll see the actually
>         license agreement as an Appendix or something of that sort for
>         this very reason.
>             The contracts are dictated by the publishers. When asked
>             what they need to say, we provide the broadest description
>             of what they need to say at minimum, but we don't ever
>             suggest particular wording or terms. If the terms are
>             unacceptable to us, we communicate that clearly and let
>             them either amend their terms or withdraw the module.
>         Yes, true, however Crosswire as the licensee is not dealing
>         with paper, but with digital forms of the text, so
>         presumably as the licensee you've worked through some of the
>         issues related to dealing with 'digial format'.  At least
>         your this recent business between Chris, Peter and I suggests
>         that this is the case.
>         Although the terms of Crosswire license to use of these
>         Copyright works are not clear to me (dispite what Chris
>         and Peter would have you believe) because I've seen no such
>         terms, they are apparently clear to Chris and Peter.   I have
>         no trouble believing Chris and Peter have seen them, or they
>         wouldn't be calling me to account.
>             We only need to prove our assertion with the publishers.
>             Which we have do on occasion.
>         Agreed.
>             The wording of your request is inviting a "go pound sand"
>             response. Please be careful in how you word things.
>         DM, I will be careful how I word things because such advice is
>         always prudent advice.
>         That said, I deny I was telling anyone to 'pound sand'.  I am
>         disappointed at the way my character, purpose, and
>         contribution is contantly maligned in these discussions.  It
>         send the signal that 'new-comers' and their ideas are not
>         welcome here dispite the claim this is an open community. This
>         treatment on the part of some is not uniform by any means.
>         However the method of dealing with conflict among Christian's
>         is covered in the bible, and my disappointment stems from the
>         idea that not all who engage in these disagreements make
>         efforts to disagree on biblical principles.  (I assume
>         everyone here is a Christian).
>         For example, I am particularly disappointed that I was accused
>         of breaking Crosswire's licensing restrictions, yet no one has
>         bothered to either publically name one module that was
>         available at my repo that should have been, or provide access
>         to Crosswire's license as evidence this was wrong.
>         If Crosswire has legitimate license to distribution Copyright
>         text and is going to use this license agreement like a hammer,
>         it's not unrasonable to ask that it be made public, otherwise
>         it has no right to defer to it in issues of disagreement.
>         ~A
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