[sword-devel] Announcing Sword++

DM Smith dmsmith at crosswire.org
Mon Sep 26 14:10:46 MST 2016


Many of our copyrighted modules are licensed only to CrossWire for their distribution. This has nothing to do with GPL or other software licenses. When we negotiate for rights we try to be clear that CrossWire's software libraries (SWORD and JSword) are used by many front-ends on many platforms and that they are licensing their modules for all front-ends based upon that software. We’ve tried to maintain the modules' confs to help in distinguishing between these modules and others.

A fork of the CrossWire library (SWORD or JSword) may or may not be seen by the copyright holders to be mechanism of distribution and access that they are willing to license their work. I know of one publisher of a popular module in particular that would not.

Troy is suggesting a cooperative way forward.

In His Service,

DM Smith

> On Sep 26, 2016, at 2:30 PM, Jaak Ristioja <jaak at ristioja.ee> wrote:
> Thank you, Troy!
> On 26.09.2016 20:29, Troy A. Griffitts wrote:
>> I can foresee a few problems for Bibletime not basing development on
>> libsword, one primarily being that the software will need to discern the
>> distribution rights of the module repository, if you still plan to point
>> Bibletime to CrossWire to obtain modules.  I'd like to support you the
>> best we can and that probably means that we need to release a lower
>> level bundle of possibly C-only code which can access our binary format
>> and let you base your development on that.  This will still, in name,
>> allow you to say you are using the SWORD library and still have legal
>> access to modules which have distribution rights granted to CrossWire. 
>> We should spend the time to do this for you; otherwise, your software
>> will need to be aware of which modules are freely distributable and you
>> are certainly welcome to have your users download those from our server.
> Can you please elaborate more on these restrictions, please? I'm no
> lawyer and I'm a bit confused. Because on one hand, the software is
> licensed under the GNU GPL2, which means that anyone can modify and
> build upon it, rename it etc etc, and IMHO there is not much Crosswire
> can do to prevent anyone from doing so, except perhaps when you release
> the software under some other license and implement some form of DRM
> (but I guess you need the consent of all developers who have contributed
> GPL-2 code to the code?). Factually, the distribution point of the
> modules seems to be the web server, which you control anyway. So as far
> as I know, one can download the modules using a web browser. I don't
> understand how anyone outside of Crosswire is legally bound to "using
> the SWORD library" for that. But if that still holds, I don't think one
> could bar anyone from calling Sword++ a patched version of the SWORD
> library. I guess distros may also be using patched versions of SWORD.
> Many blessings,
> J
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