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Re: KJV Bible - Crown Copyright in UK [was: Bug#338077: ITP: sword-text-kvj -- King James Version with Strongs Numbers and Morphology]

On 11/8/05, Lionel Elie Mamane <lionel@mamane.lu> wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 08, 2005 at 06:03:45PM +0000, W. Borgert wrote:
> > On Tue, Nov 08, 2005 at 06:16:52PM +0100, Lionel Elie Mamane wrote:
> >> This makes the KJV of the bible non-free in GB and probably even
> >> illegal to distribute at all in GB, unless the Crown gives a blanket
> >> license for electronic distribution. Does it?
> > ...
> >> Please investigate this before uploading to Debian.
> > According to Christian belief, the bible is the "word of God".
> > According to Nietzsche (in 1882), "God is dead".  So the author of
> > the bible is dead since at least 120 years.  How can the copyright
> > still hold?
> Your argument is flawed: G-od is the direct author of the *original*
> version of *part* the Bible, namely the Pentateuch. The KJV is a
> derivative work made in the early 1600s.

And your argument is flawed.  God himself didn't directly author any
part of the Bible at all. ;-)  According to Christian doctrine, God
*inspired* various people to write the *entire Bible*.  According to
Jewish doctrine, the same holds true for the Torah.

The KJV of the Bible was originally released in 1611 under the
auspices of King James I (1566-1625, king 1603-1625).   While
purported to be a more or less direct translation, a strong case can
be made that the KJV is more "inspired by" the original texts and that
it is, indeed, a derived work.  ;-) However, the material from which
it is derived is not covered by any kind of copyright or license at
all, thus the KJV cannot be "licensed" under the same terms as the
"original texts from which it was drawn."

Regardless, religious belief and matters of faith have nothing to do
with copyright law and have no bearing on this discussion.  Assuming
that the KJV is, indeed, non-free in Great Britain, I can't imagine it
would be difficult to get permission from the crown to include it in
Debian. ;-)


"`The enemy we fight has no respect for human life or human rights.
They don't deserve our sympathy,' he said. `But this isn't about who
they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that
distinguish us from our enemies.' - Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona

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