[sword-devel] Dead Sea Scrolls copyright discussion

Andrew T. thulester at gmail.com
Mon Sep 10 06:15:14 MST 2018

 I welcome honest discussion about it, I thirst for honest discussion about
it, more than I thirst for censorship at least.  I have looked into the
copyright status of the DSS.  What you say is partially correct.  Each
separate manuscript’s translations (as found in Discoveries in Judean
Desert (DJD) or other sources) is held separately by DJD (or the other
sources) according to the copyright expressed in each of the publication
volumes.  This copyright has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Israel.

If you want details, here's a listing on a scroll by scroll basis:

For example, the Genesis scroll and the Isaiah scroll:
*1Q1 (1QGen) 1QGenesis* *ß*
D. Barthélemy, *Discoveries in the Judaean Desert I* (DJD I) (Oxford 1955),
49-50, pl. VIII.

*1QIsa 1QIsaiaha **ß*
M. Burrows (ed.) with the assistance of J. C. Trever and W. H. Brownlee, *The
Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery*, vol. I, pls. I-LIV.

Now there are other translations of these scrolls, the above two are the
most common and most widely used.  However, the textual content of the
scrolls themselves in Hebrew or paleo-Hebrew, being rote fact, is not

Facts such as the “Boston Celtics lost to the Toronto Raptors with a score
of 118-105” cannot be copyrighted, in Europe, N.America, or Russia.  Chess
games, and their movements cannot be copyrighted (there are cases of
copyright disputes over the publishing of chess games that have established
this).  The writing on the scrolls is factual, not the product of modern
scholarship.  So the text itself can be published, by anyone, for any
reason.  This is the publishing of fact.

If there is to be discussion about copyright and the DSS the case of
publishing original language copies, There should be no concern.  There are
publicly available copies of both manuscript images (can't use the images
themselves though, need to transcribe from the images) and there are
textual copies.

>From Peter's perspective, the issues surrounding the publication of the DSS
in translation, because it involves copyright needs to sorted out in a way
acceptable to this community.  I agree.  I would suggest taking exactly the
same approach as  Martin G. Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, Eugene Ulrich in their
book 'The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the
First Time into English".  This book is a derivative work, and Abegg, Flint
and Ulrich credit the translators and copyright holder's explicitly.

Therefore for this community's concern to be addressed, what's needed is
for Peter to understand on what basis Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich re-used the
copyrighted translations of others; what the constraints of publishing
derivative works are (possibly according to different jurisdictions); and
forge a way ahead, or not according to best judgement and community

As for me, so long as there is transparency in these discussions, respect,
due consideration and no bullying, of course Ill live within the standards
of the community.

On Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 9:06 AM Andrew T. <thulester at gmail.com> wrote:

> Please, be patient and civil in this discussion, appreciating that
> copyright and biblical texts are both important and that controversy
> abounds when discussing both.  Everyone's perspective is welcomed here:
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