[sword-devel] CrossWire mirroring

Mike Hart just_mike_y at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 12 11:28:10 MST 2013


The vocabulary is the issue here:

There are module repositories already in existence which contain data that is completely compatible with at least some Sword Project programs, but are not mirrors or even part of the the Sword Project.  I know of at least a little overlap between modules hosted on the crosswire.org site and one of these repositories (we'll call it "K"). 

This "K" repository doesn't claim to be a Crosswire mirror, nor is it listed in any front end (I know of), nor is does it appear on the list of Sword module repositories on the Crosswire website.  The liability for material posted at "K" is clearly separated from Crosswire, and nobody is complaining (publicly anyway.)  Whatever objectionable material, or legal tightrope, or personal decision that caused "K" to be removed from the list is not the point. "K" is a repository that works parallel to but is not part of the Sword Project or Crosswire Bible Society. In all but the Pocketsword program, importing the "K" repository into a sword front end is as easy as adding it to the list manually, and then it works fine. 

Your continued use of the word MIRROR implies a (spurious) legal claim that the legal authorization to distribute is pointed at and relies on the source of the mirror and not the host itself.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (ibiblio.org) maintains 'mirrors' of many linux distributions. I'm sure they claim to be legally innocent when presented with notification of infringement. And under present law, they are innocent  as long as they remove the content from further distribution.  I've seen content go missing from their site before, so I'm pretty sure they've experienced the phrase 'cease and desist' in their many years online. As long as a "mirror" complies in a timely manner to cease and desist notifications, any lawsuits or other legal actions for infringement pass upstream to the various distributions being mirrored: Red Had, or Ubuntu, etc.  

Recently, filesharing schemes have exploited this legal hand-off  by trying to claim to be "mirrors" of non-entities. That is, Bittorrents frequently point to IP's that don't exist or worse to innocent uninvolved parties as the original source for questionable material.  Legally each "mirror" isn't liable until they get a piece of paper, but with no 'source', the copyright owners are left filing a missing person report on the IP and proceeding to collect damages from "John Doe."  This loophole is bad enough that in many areas, local/state laws have been changed so there is very little protection for 'unaware copyright infringement,' but the precedent remains in many areas. The national SOPA/PIPA legislation considered last year was all about making "mirrors" fully liable for infringement, regardless of content knowledge. 

Using a Sword module within the license you received it under is certainly OK, and encouraged as you will read on the crosswire.org site.  However, If you setup a repository and 
claim in some way to be acting for or under the authorization of 
Crosswire or sword project, you could legally entangle the Crosswire 
Bible Society.  Doing a "mirror" (wget -m) on crosswire.org and publishing the resulting mirror without authorization would be fraudulent, and could cause legal consequences for yourself as well as Crosswire, since a clear rule of order within the Crosswire Bible Society seems somewhat chaotic, and proving authorized vs maverick activity might be tricky for the society, especially for a group with no budget facing a well funded legal team. While I'm very much a proponent of getting God's Word onto as many screens as possible, I'm also very aware of devious forces that can and will exploit  legal grey areas to cover or put out this Light.  

Bottom Line: Make all the personal use that your area allows.  Commercially re-release any module that you find allows for it.  Set up a password enabled site and only allow your "friends" to access it.  All these things are great, as long as you separate your activity legally from Crosswire. I haven't read any real argument in the recent chain against being involved in the Great Commision this way.  I think this desire is the core binding force that all of us who are on this list share. 

However, please don't "Mirror" and hide behind a legal loophole to give away the ESV next to some 'questionable' module that could (in the minds of someone at Crossways) cause harm to the image of the ESV, causing a Cease and Desist letter to crosswire and yourself. 
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