Saw this NY Times story on how copyright free Scripture helped with the innovation of Bible apps for mobile devices. Thought people here would find it interesting....
App Puts the Bible in 100 Million Palms
" ...He made YouVersion available in 2008, as the first Bible in Apple’s App Store. That early release contained only a few translations, like the King James Version, mostly in the public domain. When he began trying to persuade traditional Bible publishers to enter licensing arrangements with him, he encountered suspicion.
“People would say: ‘If people read it on YouVersion and they’re not paying anything for it, what’s going to happen to my pew Bibles?’ ” said Mr. Dennis of Crossway. “‘What’s going to happen to the thinline Bible that people carry to church....?’”
Here is an older 2011 quote from a blog that highlights two interesting things, one: how crowdsourced Bible translations can work for additional non-english languages...They mention an organization I had not heard of called The Seed Company, that seems to spearhead new language translations of the Bible... (I'd wonder if a good modern OEB would aid in translations to other modern languages, might be worth outreach to them or groups like them) and secondly the value of crowdsourcing in general....
Historically, scripture translation has been done by trained professionals. Involvement of supporters has therefore been limited to financial contributions. Give money, the strategy goes, and we will produce the translation. That’s not to say that Bible translations are being done through the tedious work of lone individuals- it’s a group effort. For every target language, translation efforts depend on a network of nationals, scholars, researchers, linguists, and writers to do the job. The Seed Company uses modern technology and its OurWord translation software (see video embedded in The Seed Company’s home page) to facilitate communication between translators and consultants.
As large and dynamic as these teams can be, I say they’re not large and dynamic enough. I would open them up to public participation; crowdsource the work....
The Seed Company should set up a wiki site that allows everyone from amateur linguists to phililogy students to national believers to aid in the translation of the scriptures. As with Wikipedia, users could write, edit, and maintain accurate translations of passages and books of the Bible in every available language. The source could always be available online to anyone who wanted to participate. The works-in-progress would provide tangible projects for churches to take on. Rather than holding potentially supportive churches at a “pray, give, or go” arm’s length, open source scripture translation would invite people in to direct and tangible involvement. Churches could support individual translations and help recruit native speakers to assist with the work.
Sure, there are concerns and objections (mostly on the part of professional translators)- can we trust the translation of the public? Of unbelievers? What about militant atheists who want to vandalize the project? How can we guarantee the accuracy and integrity of a translation done by strangers? What about the languages of isolated tribes who don’t have computers or internet access?
Well, for starters, technology can make this work. Version and editions tracking can make managing such a project viable. Those nationals who are currently regarded as “translators” would become editors. Their job would be to review and approve editions and proposed changes. Users could flag questionable or unhelpful translation wherever they run into it, and links could provide alternate translations. Source material could be viewed parallel to the target translation, and reference material could be easily accessed. All of this can be done on a text-based website designed to work on mobile phones.
At the very least, a raw translation can serve as rough drafts for professional translators rather than having them start from scratch. It would be the ultimate in accountability, as translation progress would be publicly visible. It would build community among participants, instill a sense of ownership, and give churches practical handles for supporting churches.
Crowdsourcing would greatly accelerate scripture translation."
Also this excellent blog post:
A strong blog post on the importance of an open freely translatable version of Scripture for innovative use, and for translation into other languages....
Great post, thanks.
It should be noted that the author is the person behind the trailbreaking World English Bible (WEB).
On 04/09/2013, at 11:57 AM, Timchambers [via Open English Bible] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Also this excellent blog post:
One other new (to me) effort at more free copyright translation of the New Testament is from the Eastern Orthodox Church.
They seem to have created their own new translation of the NT, known as the EOB (Eastern Orthodox Bible) translated in 2011, and done by the Orthodox community.
"The New Testament (completed and available) is based on the official ecclesiastical text published in 1904 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (again documenting all significant variants to the Critical Text, Majority Text and Textus Receptus). It also provides extensive footnotes and Appendices dealing with significant verses such as Matthew 16:18; John 1:1,18; John 15:26. The Patriarchal text was selected on Mount Athos from among a large number of reliable ecclesiastical manuscripts and appears to be identical or similar to Minuscule 1495 (KR subgroup).
The main purpose of the EOB is to provide an accurate and easy-to-read English text of the Holy Scriptures that is suitable for use by Orthodox Christian communities and individuals, while providing an outstanding text for scholars.
Because it is controlled and updated within the Orthodox community, it is independent from non-Orthodox commercial publishers and can benefit from constant input from Eastern Orthodox scholars and theologians."
And they don't list exact details on the copyright, but they do say this:
"The EOB can is can be freely obtained in PDF format upon request by individuals and parishes and to be printed for the use of individuals and parishes. The PDF may not be posted to distributed by anyone on the Internet without permission.
Only commercial printing is held as a restricted right.
Intellectual property applies to the EOB text, logo, artwork and web site; but these can be reproduced and cited for information purposes."
It also seems to be available on Amazon in print versions, partly browse-able online here:
Maybe we should reach out to them to be sure they know the OEB is available and Creative Commons so it could help them in their work?
For all questions and suggestions, feel free to contact:
Rev. Pr. Laurent Cleenewerck, Editor
And one more new (to me) public domain translation of the NT, this time from a Catholic tradition.
Beginning on March 14th of 2004, I worked nearly every day for just over five years to translate the entire Clementine Vulgate Bible from Latin into English. The translation was completed on March 28th of 2009. I have placed this translation of the Bible in the public domain; it has no copyrights and no restrictions (other than the restrictions imposed by the eternal moral law). The translation is called the Catholic Public Domain Version (CPDV).
The CPDV is public domain, and can be used on website, republished in print, and included in books and articles without restriction or royalties. The CPDV can even be edited and published as a revised or new edition, or it can be used as one of several texts in making a new translation. The Bible should not be treated as if it were the intellectual property of a corporation or a committee. But many modern translations bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties, so those who have control over the copyrights are not willing to release them into the public domain....
The CPDV has not been approved by any Bishops’ Conference or by the Holy See. However, neither has the translation been condemned or rebuked by the Church. To date, no Bishop or Bishops’ Conference has rendered any negative judgment, nor has the Holy See.
The Catholic Public Domain Version (CPDV) is intended to be an accurate, modern English, public domain version of the Bible, which is freely and widely available in electronic form, including over the internet. Please feel free to post this version for viewing, and to offer the files as a download, on your web site. The files are all public domain and free to download, use, and redistribute. However, you may not claim any copyright or other restriction on your posting of these files, even if you make some changes.
The CPDV is available online free at SacredBible.org
The copyright free CPDV, includes both old and new testaments:
This is an older post but a good one, on the value of open licensing of Bible translations:
"Yes, now is an exciting time for Christianity and Copyright, but there is still more progress to be made. On the whole, I'd like to see these efforts toward more permissive licensing and accessibility become more unified and standardized. To that end I have previously suggested that content publishers ought to use the already-established Creative Commons suite of licenses. There is no point in recreating the wheel, and I am skeptical that the terms of all these custom licenses are truly necessary. Using a standard group of easily-understood licenses makes it easier for people to understand how they can make use of the work....
I am quite optimistic about Christianity and Copyright. The current legacy of restrictive copyrights results mostly from publisher-financed translation and fear of change. Christians intrinsically agree that the Bible should be freely-licensed. The only reason restriction has been tolerated is to raise funds, but that is no longer necessary. We are at a temporary impasse, and I think the age of limited quotation to 250 verses will be only a brief memory in the history of the church.
There is yet a lot of work to do. Anyone can help out, by petitioning copyright holders to change their licenses, by licensing their own work permissively, and by participating in projects which make sharing of the scriptures easier. By creating new works and pressuring the rights holders of existing works to change their stance, it will not be long until there is a very fertile ecosystem of freely-licensed Bibles and other Christian works. That is a time to which I am looking forward."
This post was updated on .
I just emailed Nathan at his blog's email, to introduce him to the work here.
From another older blog post:
"Another practical problem that has arisen in the more permissively-licensed texts of late is the variety of license terms which have been applied to each work. For example, the SBLGNT, the Lexham English Bible, and the NET Bible each have (slightly) different terms which can make them confusing to work with. I would prefer that copyright holders use license families like Creative Commons, which are widely used and understood. Of course I do not want to diminish the contribution of these texts. Their licensing terms are absolutely a step in the right direction, but I think there is still room for improvement.
Restrictive copyright licenses make Bible texts difficult to use, especially in the digital age. If scholars would like their works to be useful, I encourage using a standard permissive license. This way the text can have the maximum benefit within the ministry of the church."
This is news on the ESV choosing to Freeze it's translation work and not publish any new updates to the ESV after this year. This seems like a pretty terrible idea. The English language will evolve and in a few years to a decade the words in English will have changed making their 2016 version just confusing.
But interest that this article shows why the KJV being free from Copyright, avoided this fate:
The English Standard Version (ESV) received its final update this summer, 17 years after it was first authorized by Crossway, its publisher.
The translation oversight committee changed just 52 words across 29 verses—out of more than 775,000 words across more than 31,000 verses—for the final “permanent text” edition. The board then voted, unanimously, to make the text “unchanged forever, in perpetuity.”
The ESV is following the example of a much older—and surprisingly popular—translation.
“The text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway—in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769),” Crossway stated on its website.
One difference: While the ESV copyright is held universally by Crossway, the KJV copyright held by the Crown of England is only valid in the United Kingdom. So modified versions of the KJV have been popping up in the United States and elsewhere for several hundred years.
This is reasonably old news, I am surprised that it took so long to make it into Christianity Today.
It has always seemed to me that the tradition of amending translations from time to time, aside from the obvious reasons for it needing to be done, is a convenient way for a publisher to hold onto/control it's copyright over the text. It seems reasonable to me to assume this decision is simply a business/publicity/promotion decision—that is, it makes them look like they are hoping to gain adoption from the KJV only crowd, and others that are uncomfortable with an “ever changing biblical text”. I don’t believe for one minute that Crossway won’t commission a new edition in the future, i.e. an NESV.
It also strikes me as a little presumptuous, i.e. how do they know new manuscript evidence won’t significant alter scholarship’s view on particular textual variants. (For example, I understand some new Mark fragments are expected to be published very soon.)
For what is really a fairly light revision of the RSV, the ESV has astoundingly good marketing.
I do understand the emotional pull of the KJV - a single shared translation binding us together. Its a beautiful vision. So many works of literature etc in English leverage a familiarity not only of the ideas of the Bible but of specific words. The phrase "the skin of our teeth” is not strictly speaking Biblical but an artefact of the KJV translation. But that universality was grounded in a state backed Established Church and a particular history and its not going to come again no matter how ‘permanent’ any modern translation declares itself to be.
I agree. While I infer that attempting to appeal to those particular markets may be their motive. I am not trying to suggest its a good one.
If if is not their motive, then what else could it be? i.e. They are hardly going to have decided "were bored of reformatting and reprinting this bible thing", nor is is reasonable to think they have decided "no new manuscripts will be found, so were done", nor have they decided "we don't think english will change enough that we would need to refresh our translation". :D
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