sword-text-kjv - King James Version and Royal Letters Patent
debian-legal has reviewed this topic before. You can read it in
Some of the links there have rotted, but it seemed clearly not
Wikipedia asserts that the KJV is still copyrighted in England.
I think Wikipedia is incomplete at best. Yet again, it does not
seem possible to verify a Wikipedia assertion from evidence
cited in its article. The discussion link on the article
expresses doubt and many of the people discussing it use
"letters patent/copyright" which seems confused to me.
It is my present understanding that the royal letters patent
control printing, not copyright, which did not exist here when
this started. This "orthogonality" or "independence" is
mentioned in articles, including some you can find online like
Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom..., by J.A.L. Sterling.
Lionel Elie Mamane cited the 1998 Copyright Act, which surprised
me because I've not heard of it. Which country is it for?
I haven't yet found anything credibly showing extension of the
prerogative to electronic distribution, or more generally to
become a Crown copyright. I don't think we generally grant
the monarchy new prerogatives these days and "The Crown cannot
invent new prerogative powers" (2002-03 Public Admin. Select
Comm. Press Notice 19).
The act currently in force in England is the Copyright Designs
and Patents Act 1988 as amended. If the KJV were covered by
Crown Copyright, wouldn't that have expired after 125 years? I
think the letters patent and royal prerogative are the problem.
So, it's not a problem to *distribute* the KJV in England, as
far as I can see, but it seems you're not free to print it here.
The same may be true of some other Commonwealth countries,
as listed in s.3 and notes of Sterling above.
Hope that helps,
MJ Ray - personal email, see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Work: http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ irc.oftc.net/slef Jabber/SIP ask