Re: Shareware and Freeware

From: Harold P. Scanlin (
Date: Wed Apr 01 1998 - 13:04:58 EST

I wish to call to the attention of those on the b-greek list that the
"freeware" version of NA27/GNT4 offered at the website and on
their CD-ROM "The SWORD Project" was done without the permission of the
copyright holder, the German Bible Society and the United Bible Societies.

The Bible Societies share a desire to disseminate the Scriptures as widely
as possible in both ancient texts and translations. It is toward that end
that copyright protection offers two important benefits towards the
fulfillment of our mission.

First, the Bible Societies, which are all non-profit organizations, have
invested substantial funds in the development of quality texts, based on
widely accepted scholarship. Copyright protection offers a means to
recover some of these development costs and to reinvest money in ongoing
research. Unauthorized distribution dries up at least one channel of

Second, the Bible Societies are vitally interested in maintaining, to the
extent possible, the accuracy of its texts, both printed and electronic.
Licensed vendors play an important part in maintaining a high level of
accuracy. To cite just one example, GRAMCORD has invested time and money
in correcting and upgrading their electronic texts to conform to the latest
printed editions.

A few additional comments may be in order:

The version of NA27/GNT4 offered on the website is not labeled as to its
copyright status nor the "pedigree" of the file. There exist a number of
electronic versions of the Nestle-Aland/UBS Greek texts which are actually
earlier editions or are known not to be of the highest quality. It is also
important to keep in mind that NA27 and GNT4 are not, in fact, identical in
all respects. While the text itself is identical, there are a few
differences in paragraphing, punctuation, and capitalization.

A text file on the crosswire website, entitled "Purpose Statement," and
another readme file (nu27u4.txt), may mislead people into thinking that our
texts have been offered with our permission and are included in the terms
of the "Open Software Project." While the GPL approach to software
distribution is an interesting concept, one must take care that material
which is already subject to "copyright" cannot be incorporated into a
"copyleft" program without the express written permission of the copyright

Harold P. Scanlin
United Bible Societies
1865 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

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