[sword-devel] CrossWire mirroring

Andrew Thule thulester at gmail.com
Fri Jan 11 16:40:46 MST 2013

Ultimately, the issue is about licensing rights on modules, which appears
to be a very touchy subject around here.  I suspect this is so because
without actual licenses, which are essentially legal agreements (I'm not
talking about .conf files which are not legal agreements), its pretty much
impossible to claims legal rights and restrictions exist without proof.

As people like to point out, Copyright resides with the Copyright owner.
 For a third party to 'claim' the right to distribute text they are not the
Copyright owner of, explicit license had to have been given (a legally
binding agreement).  What this means for mirrors is this:

Anyone can run an FTP service.
Anyone can call the directories anything they want in said FTP service.
What people place in their FTP servers is where the controversy starts.

Others, (not me) have already pointed out that Crosswire doesn't (and
can't) control modules once they leave Crosswire's repo.  This means
Crosswire, as the non-owner, has nothing to say about modules elsewhere.
 Crosswire tries to asserts legal right over some modules however.  There
are only two ways under copyright law, Crosswire can exercise rights over
copyrighted work:

1. Direct Ownership. Para 106 of of US Copyright law says that
the Copyright owner has exclusive rights over their wok, so Crosswire would
have to prove it were the Copyright Owner; or
2. Transfer and Licensing of rights. The Owner can transfer rights through
formal agreement specificaly expressing those rights (and ultimately
granted through a written instrument, signed by the grantor). This is
a license, or possibly exclusive license.  Under US law, exclusive
licenses must be recorded in the US Copyright office or exclusive license
is not valid (Para 408)

If Crosswire has been exclusively license then, it may establish a rule
only certain repositories may distribute modules, but the terms of this
license (with the Copyright owner) are not secret (and indeed a matter of
public record).
If Crosswire has not been exclusively licensed however, Crosswire has no
legal right to prohibit others from distributing modules it freely
distributes in a non-commercial manner (however much it rants and maligns

That means for there to be a *.crosswire.org 'rule' Crosswire's exclusive
license must be registered and public, or it lacks authority to assert
rights over text it doesn't own. People should not get upset when this rule
is not followed then.

(Don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the law)


On Thursday, January 10, 2013, David Blue wrote:

> Based on the*.crosswire.org rule I would say the best option when and if
> mirrors are needed is to have some sort of round robin dns that picks a
> mirror from an internal list the way microsoft.com or my Linux distro
> does download.opensuse.org for it's package repos. Sorry for the top post'
> Nic Carter <niccarter at mac.com> wrote:
>> Sent from my phone, hence this email may be short...
>> On 08/01/2013, at 8:51, Andrew Thule <thulester at gmail.com> wrote:
>> As long as Crosswire has policies in place govererning official mirrors there should no no worries mirrors are out of sync, in which case preferred mirror selection can be left to the user, and indeed mirror checking behaviour configurable.
>> Yup, policy is no mirrors at this point in time.
>> It is thought that there _may_ be room in the future for some, but these will be done from a *.crosswire.org domain so as to satisfy copyright requirements.
>> Easy :)
>> Thanks for your thoughts & I'm glad we can now put this discussion to rest. :)
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> --
> Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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