[sword-devel] Dead Sea Scrolls copyright discussion

Tom Sullivan info at beforgiven.info
Mon Sep 10 07:52:11 MST 2018


Thanks for your reply. Please excuse my ignorance: What is a "PD 
document"? Thanks.


Tom Sullivan
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On 09/10/2018 10:41 AM, Peter von Kaehne wrote:
> On Mon, 2018-09-10 at 09:54 -0400, Tom Sullivan wrote:
>> First, take Matthew Henry's or Calvin's commentaries. They are way
>> out
>> of copyright to say the least. Now some publishers may add OCR text,
>> comments, footnotes, etc. These are copyrightable. Am I correct in
>> thinking that the original text itself could be safely made into a
>> module? Surely I am, for these modules are out there. Or am I
>> missing
>> something?
> Yes, the original text can be made a module, any later edition not,
> unless it without addition or editing simply copies an older public
> domain edition.
> With this in mind we will e.g. publish critical editions of the NT from
> Westcott Hort, but not the newest Aland.
>> Secondly, there are those who publish images of old works and
>> manuscripts. They claim copyright to the images in some cases. At
>> the
>> same time, if one does not publish the image, but only the bare
>> original
>> text, which is not copyrightable, that should be OK for a module. Am
>> I
>> correct? I should note that I have seen many cases of republished
>> old
>> works that have a copyright label, but it seems to me that they
>> copyright can only apply to the modern additions.
> While pictures are copyrightable, I presume using the pictures to
> transcribe the bare text would make a PD document. Our WLC is something
> of that kind. Someone somewhere put fingers on keyboard and typed the
> bare text in.
>> Thirdly, [..]
>> In other words, even if a module maker has a
>> legal
>> right, it may not be worth the risk in the view of the Sword
>> community.
>> Am I correct in my impression that this is a factor?
> Yes, this is a risk and yes this risk makes us double cautious. In
> general Bible publishers are kind folk and do not like to sue, but of
> course they could. FWIW the last time I had to pull a text due to
> erroneous publication as public domain I was uploading within days a
> new module with footnotes, crossreferences and the like, significantly
> improved upon the prior one which was text only. The Bible society in
> question had coupled their request to pull the old module with an offer
> of an improved text. But we still do not want to risk this.
> Peter
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