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rjbs (4671)

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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Wednesday September 07, 2005
09:43 PM

defending copyright on the bible

[ #26638 ]

A few weeks ago, I got an email asking about my RSS feeds for the daily bible reading provided by the USCCB. (The USCCB is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.) I said that I hadn't heard back from the USCCB since I last tried to contact them in June and they stopped returning my emails (though they seemed to be interested in providing RSS).

My correspondent thanked me for the copy of the ad hoc Perl script I've been using to make my own RSS feed, and then pointed me at a podcast of the daily readings. How neat!

As of today, though, the feed has been suspended, possibly temporarily. Apparently the USCCB has asked them to stop so they can review copyright permissions on the Catholic lectionary being read. The USCCB wants to restrict access to the Gospel, apparently.

I'm just so angry about this! Whom is the USCCB helping by acting this way? I think I'll send them a letter and see if I can't find out. Perhaps I'll talk to Father Bobbin, too. If all else fails, maybe I'll go on the trip to the National Shrine just so's I can wreck the place up while they're sleeping, Nixon style.

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  • I hate situations like this. Copyright on the Bible was controversial the first time it happened (some time around 1901, with the American Standard Version). Somewhere along the line, we rolled over and accepted it.

    Then I grew up and started questioning everything, and decided I couldn't agree with that policy. I follow it, because it is the law, though if a soul hangs in the balance, I'm going to flagrantly disregard it, and with pleasure. (Of course, I don't agree with copyright at all, any more.)

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Heh, thanks. Actually, the guy has said he'll switch to another translation soon, if he has to... which he probably will.

      Dear USCCB: Thanks for the bushel. It hides that lantern really well.
      • Heh. I like that comment. :)

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • The people who make the NASB are constantly trying to put out the best version of the Bible they can, in many languages. That requires money. Without the royalties, they will have not enough to do the work they want to do.

      If there were not many good and freely available version of the Bible, that would be one thing. But that's not the case. Yes, it's annoying, but I have no problem with it.
  • I guess you're interested in a catholic bible. but if any translation will do, it looks as though despite the standard copyright the NIV folks grok the net [] as a distribution medium pretty well. they even already have an rss feed [].
    • While I am not a proponent of "there is only one version" of the Bible I do believe that a believer should be careful on the translation he or she uses. The NIV is good for getting a good idea about what is being said because it is a paraphrase but the KJV, NKJV or NASB are closer to the original manuscripts.


  • Imagine if the current copyright term of life of author + 70 years was fully retroactive. Then we could all litigate whether Moses or God was the Author....