Re: Crown copyright and bible-kjv
Thomas Thurman <email@example.com>:
> A question I'm curious about:
> /usr/doc/bible-kjv/copyright and /usr/doc/bible-kjv-text/copyright say:
> : The copyright for the King James Version text of the Bible is expired
> : since the translation was done in 1611 under King James the first of
> : Great Britain.
> Do we have anyone who can confirm that this is correct within the UK and
> generally within the Commonwealth? I've seen it claimed that the Crown
> Copyright on the text is perpetual (e.g. at , and at least one
> publisher of Bible software claims that they needed a licence to do
> so: ).
> And if this is incorrect, do we just go and ask the Crown Patentees for a
> licence to distribute, or move the package into another area, or what?
>  http://www.cni.org/Hforums/cni-copyright/1996-01/0829.html
>  http://www.explan.co.uk/bible/AV.html
I've heard about KJV's perpetual crown copyright from lots of sources,
so it's probably true. I've also heard lots of times that the text of
"Peter Pan" has exceptional perpetual copyright in the UK. See for
Once or twice I have heard that some special rule was invented for
images of Princess Diana, too.
You could probably get permission to distribute KJV with Debian, but
other people wouldn't have permission to distribute modified versions,
so it wouldn't be free in the UK. There is the general question of
what to do with stuff that is free almost everywhere. If some program
were free everywhere in the world except in the Vatican you would
probably want to put it in main anyway, but perhaps the UK is big
enough, and KJV is unimportant enough for Debian, that you prefer to
put it in non-free. It seems a bit arbitrary.
In any case, if you don't have permission, this might be illegal:
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