Still quite angry about the actions of the German Bible Society in claiming copyright of the work of the apostles. I’ve been looking around the web for comment.
The best comment I have seen is that the text can only be copyright if the scholars who produced it did their work badly. Their intention was NOT to create an “original creative work”!
If the German Bible Society believes that it is not issuing the work of the apostles, but of Mr. Aland — to the extent that it is an original, creative work — and that no-one else has the work of the apostles, then I would like to see them say so!
But the most interesting comment was by Stan Gundry of Zondervan, here.
I am not a copyright attorney myself, but I have had lengthy phone conversations with a lawyer who is credited with being the best in the USA. Here’s the deal, at least according to USA copyright law. Ancient texts such as those we are dealing with in the OT (Hebrew/Aramaic) and NT (Greek) are in the public domain and are not protected by copyright. In fact (and this is controversial), even the critical texts as reconstructed by textual critics cannot be protected by enforceable copyrights. The textual critical apparatus has a somewhat better claim to copyright, but to the extent that such an apparatus is a catalog of information, my sources tell me that any claim to an enforceable copyright is weakened. “Sweat equity” in the recreation of ancient texts is not sufficient to establish copyright. It takes sweat equity to create a phone book, but you cannot copyright a phone book. This is not something that the United Bible Society or the German Bible Society wants to hear or agrees to, this is what our lawyer consultants have told us.
Peter Kirk has two posts full of common sense on this also. Among other things he points out that the Germans have not actually issued take-down demands, and we shouldn’t act as if they have until they do.