[sword-devel] Legal ?

The Schmidts sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 22:06:02 -0500

Hello everyone,
   I'd just like to take a couple of lines to clear up a bit of confusion.  I
went and checked both the International Bible Society and Zondervan websites, and
in a few short minutes found out the following facts.  1)The International Bible
Society is the owner of the copyright for the NIV, NOT ZONDERVAN.  2)However,
Zondervan has the _exclusive_ license to distribute the NIV in North America.

That might seem like a rather meaningless distinction to you, but consider this.
First, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. does not own the NIV (wow, thank goodness; I
was a little worried there when I read someone's post stating that he owned the
NIV ;-)
Secondly, for our European users, they will have to get the NIV through whoever
is the licensee in Europe, not Zondervan.  Thus, if we managed to somehow get a
sub-license from Zondervan, we could still only, afaik, ianal, distribute it
legally to ppl in North America.
However, sad as I am to say it, I doubt we could ever get a license from

However, all this discussion got me to thinking about something. . . Is Crosswire
a legally incorporated entity?  If we were ever to try to get some sort of
permission from a copyright holder to re-distribute their texts, they would
probably want the agreement signed by a corporation of some sort, as opposed to
being signed by Troy ;-)  Should crosswire consider some sort of XFree86 style
incorporation and membership?  This would help also from a legal standpoint, as
it would strenghten any arguments y'all might like to make that for, say, a given
text you are only distributing it "internally" for developement purposes.  Also,
it would give a solid count of "official" developers.  E.g. Zondervan probably
wouldn't want to spend the money necessary for a lawsuit (though I could be wrong
here) if we could prove that it was only "distributed" to (out of the air) 20
developers, because the legal fees would amount to way more than what they lost.
And, maybe MPJ or someone else could give more concrete numbers, but I don't
think any court would give huge punitive damages for such a small distribution,
would they?  Of course at this point I'm stretching the point here, and we want
to avoid being in court at all, but my point is, wouldn't incorporation give us a
little more concrete place to work from, legally?

Jeff Schmidt