[sword-devel] Legal ?

Brandon Staggs sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 09:05:49 -1000

I must disagree here. It is (USB4) merely a collection of copies of Greek
texts (bad ones at that, but that is a different topic entirely). There is
no unique material. They could copyright their apparatus, but the texts
should not be -- and even if they COULD be, they are doing a disservice in
claiming the copyright. If it is supposed to be God's word, what business do
they have in limiting your use of it?

English translations are even worse. Copyright law is clear here: if one
translates a work from Spanish to English, the copyright still belongs to
the Spanish holder of the text, and the English publisher does not have the
right to use the text without permission. When the NIV was translated, they
translated from public domain texts (perhaps with the exception of where
they decided on the UBS4). Technically it should still be a public domain

But the real kicker is that the NIV was originally done with DONATIONS from
Churches throughout the U.S. So the Christian community PAID for the
translation work -- ye they are continually charged for it over and over
again, when they have to pay $10-20 to use it in their Bible software, when
there is absolutely NO cost to the original publisher for such use.

Bottom line is: If you think a text is God's word (and whether or not it is
is a different topic), then man has no business pretending to own it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a KJV man. But look at our friend MPJ
here -- I respect what he is doing. He knows the need for God's word to be
free and unrestricted. While I may disagree with his decisions in some cases
(1Jo 5:6,7, for example), I would NEVER doubt his intentions and heart on
the matter.

When it comes to the NIV, that is not the case. And if you look at who
"owns" the text (FOX! Come on. FOX!), you should too.

The only need for the NIV and NASB is a commerical one. A free project has
no need, since there ARE viable alternatives for those who seek such texts.
Besides, Zondervan will want 10,000 up front in advance royalties, IF you
can get them to change their mind (they have stated that they are not going
to license their text for any more software projects). Who around here has
that kind of cash, when MPJ's WEB is a better translation anyway?


----- Original Message -----
From: A. Brent Hudson <revbrent@primeline.net>
To: <sword-devel@crosswire.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 5:35 AM
Subject: Re: [sword-devel] Legal ?

> Since the UBS4/NA27 is an eclectic text I believe its copyright is
> easily defensible.  There is no Greek manuscript in existence that
> matches the UBS text, it is the result of thousands of hours of
> studying manuscript evidence and debating that evidence in committee.
>  Once you read the UBS Textual Commentary you get an idea of just how
> much work went into forming the UBS4/NA27 text.
> As someone who has paid a tremendous amount of money for my 12 years
> of University education in Biblical Studies, I must defend these
> scholars' right to protect their textual work.  The fact is, there
> are very few people who have the training to do the work of the UBS
> committee.  Since the Greek text is the backbone of all NT
> translations there would not even be an NIV to copyright if not for
> the work of Metzger, Black, Aland and company.  Surely the USB4/NA27
> has a defensible copyright.
> Brent