Today I received an email from “Delphi Classics” asking if they could use the Eusebius translations from my website for an upcoming eBook of the works of Eusebius. These consist of translations now out of copyright, which I scanned, plus material that others sent me, and stuff that I commissioned myself. They’re not offering me money, of course.
It was bound to happen. Indeed it has probably happened already, without my knowledge. It’s a funny feeling, to think of someone else making money out of my hard work.
They’re not intending to contribute anything – they just see a commercial opportunity. Maybe they are right.
I have sent them an email of consent, all the same. The purpose of everything I do is to make stuff freely and widely available. If these people can get the works into the hands of more people, then this is well and good.
I do not believe that there is any real money in the fathers. I’ve never made a penny from what I do. I owe all my interest to the work of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, by Harry Plantinga, back in the day, who made the original Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers available to us all for nothing. I can hardly do otherwise.
Copyright can be a real obstacle. Long ago I used to be interested in a role-playing game called Empire of the Petal Throne. This never became very widely known. The author, M. A. R. Barker, was obsessed with control of the publishing rights. This concern came out all over the place; and I always felt that it must have limited the circulation of EPT material. I never wanted to do that.
So I’ve let them do what they want. I hope that they sell a shed-load of Eusebius books. Who knows who will read them and be inspired?
All the same, it’s still a funny feeling.