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Copyright Question

In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


>Subject: Copyright question

Hello,

I just purchased your ebooks. I know I will be blessed by your efforts and all the wonderful information provided. I did have a question that has always troubled me. Why do Christians copyright? First I want to say this is not an attack or a condemning question. I can only begin to understand what hard work went into this Bible. Yet, I often thought that the point of all believers is to spread Gods word. If quoting or sharing information to non believers that was copy-written was frowned upon or illegal, that would not be aiding the cause. What is your opinion? I know I would feel different if I had invested as much time as you have. Thanks in advance for your answer.

Lance
2/4/04<

Thanks for purchasing my books. As for your question, "the laborer is worthy of his pay" (Luke 10:7). If you knew how much time, effort, and money goes into writing, publishing, and promoting a book or a translation of the Bible, then you would understand the reason for the copyright. After all of that work, writers, translators, and publsihers deserve remuneration for their efforts. Moreover, if the books were not copyrighted, then nothing would stop someone from stealing someone else's books, putting his or her name on it, and profiting from someone else's labors, or worse, altering books or translations in a heretical manner.

Note: Below are related questions and answers from the "Frequently Asked Questions" chapter of the forthcoming new edition of the Companion Volume to the ALT:

Do you get a royalty from the ALT [Analytical-Literal Translation]? Is it not wrong to profit from a version of the Bible?

Yes, I get a royalty for each sale of any version of the ALT. But I have set the royalty relatively low so as to keep the cost of the book low. But I do have the right to receive compensation for the years I have spent translating and formatting the ALT text. Those who believe otherwise have no conception of the amount of labor that goes into producing a Bible version.

17Be letting the elders having ruled well be counted worthy of double honor, especially the ones laboring in word and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "You will not muzzle an ox treading out [grain]," and "The laborer [is] worthy of his pay."

Why is the ALT copyrighted?

Without a copyright, someone could "steal" the ALT, publish it under their own name and wrongly profit from my labors. Also, a copyright prevents someone from altering the ALT text and then trying to pass it off as the genuine text (p.22).


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