View Full Version : BibleWorks and TLG

Michael Hanel
09-18-2004, 10:00 AM
Since I know there are smarter people than I out there in the realm of copyright laws can someone tell me if there are any issues with using TLG to get a Greek text and then do the necessary changes to it so that it can be imported into BibleWorks? For instance if I grabbed Eusebius' Church History from TLG and converted it, is it legal for others to use that? My instinct thinks it's okay (I thought Accordance had some module/patch or something that was able to do something just like this), but it seems altogether too straightforward, so I know there must be a complication. :)

Mike Hanel
MDiv Student Concordia Seminary
MA Classics Student Washington University

09-18-2004, 10:53 AM
Hi Mike,

I figured I'd respond, since I have looked into this in the past with the folks at BibleWorks...

I would advise against distributing the file, TLG holds the content of their CD's very tightly. In fact, if you look at the user agreement, you actually don't "own" the CD. You are technically only allowed to use the CD for a few years. Here's a quote from their website:
The TLGŪ Digital Library is available to individuals and institutions (either online or in CD ROM) on the basis of a five-year license agreement. At the end of the license period, users may elect to cancel their subscription or renew it. CD ROM users who cancel their subscription must return their disk to the Project (cited on 9.17.04 from http://www.tlg.uci.edu/lic.html).

This being said, I know that the folks at BibleWorks tried extensively to get TLG to allow BibleWorks to "read" the CD in a way similar to Accordance, but the folks at TLG said no.

Though I strongly disagree with TLG's policy of claiming copyright to ancient texts belonging to all of Western Culture (even if digitized at great cost), given the user agreement that accompanies the texts, such a text cannot be distributed (see the single user agreement: http://www.tlg.uci.edu/i&i.html).


Michael Hanel
09-18-2004, 11:09 AM
Well I agree with you about the copyright licensing being a mess. From the link you listed the only thing I thought was possible relevant was this section: Examples of uses which are not permitted are the publication of a Greek text from materials supplied by TLG if such text does not reflect the addition of significant value by the editor, or the production of scholarly tools which consist primarily of a mechanical, electronic, or other similar rearrangement of text and are intended for commercial publication and distribution. Aren't you adding significant value to it by making it able to be compiled and later in the future adding morph codes and such? As much as I like TLG (only because they're the only resource out there that has all the Greek available at the tip of one's fingers), they don't even make their material readily accessible since it's in a format that requires another program just to be able to read and use functionally what you already paid for. I certainly don't want to get BW or anyone else in copyright limbo, but as you said, it's hard to believe how far their licensing can effectively extend without negating functional use of their program...

sometimes copyright laws help students/scholars, other times they're way too frustrating :confused:


Roy Ciampa
09-19-2004, 10:50 PM

I think there are several relevant parts of the agreement that make it quite clear it would not be acceptable to take a whole text and import it into BibleWorks. The whole gist of what you can and cannot do with TLG is that you can use their material to carry out your personal research but you cannot copy whole texts or make it available to others. Some of the key portions are cited (and highlighted) below.

"Licensee may not download entire texts or make back-up or archival copies of the Licensed Materials."

"'Permitted use' shall include all processing, investigation, and analysis of Licensed Materials, provided such processing is not undertaken for purposes of producing a commercially published document which includes extensive portions of the Licensed Materials or which reproduces all or part of the Licensed Materials in a form differing from the original form primarily as a result of mechanical, electronic, or other manipulation."

"Examples of permitted use are the following: searches for words and phrases; statistical analysis; the production of indices and concordances when such indices and concordances are intended for use as intermediate tools by the scholar or scholarly team engaged in research into the data and are not intended for wider distribution."

"Licensee shall not modify, manipulate, or create a derivative work of the Licensed Materials without the prior written permission of TLG."

"Licensee shall not be permitted to make copies of all or part of the Licensed Materials or download (i.e., transfer by electronic or other means to other data storage media or similar devices) any portion of the TLG materials for purposes other than those that are incidental to licensee's temporary research activities."

"All prohibitions and restrictions upon the use of Licensed Materials enunciated in this agreement apply equally to reformatted versions of the Licensed Materials whose data format has been modified to permit analysis on other data processing systems, and such restrictions and prohibitions apply to the Licensed Materials regardless."

09-20-2004, 03:28 PM
"Licensee may not download entire texts or make back-up or archival copies of the Licensed Materials."

I believe that there is case law that make this particular exemption invalid. The courts (and I am doing this from memory) that if you are provided electronic media that back-up copies are permited up US copyright law.


Michael Hanel
09-22-2004, 05:16 PM
This is now probably veering off-topic. The way I see it as relevant is because I'm trying to figure out how more Greek texts that are relevant to the Bible/early church can be incorporated....

Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly then, but who effectively has the copyright of ancient texts? The owner of the manuscript? My thought is that Greek texts on Perseus are public domain (while the translations might not be if they're not old enough). I honestly haven't investigated this to figure it out and since my way sounds too easy, again maybe someone can provide clarification....


09-22-2004, 08:35 PM
...who effectively has the copyright of ancient texts? The owner of the manuscript?Some would say that the moment one "digitizes" a text, that enough work has been done with the text to give the "digitizer" the copyright to the digitized text. This is the stance that TLG takes.

As far as using Perseus' material. Perhaps it would be worth shooting an email to them to ask for permission to compile their texts into a BW database. Given that they have enabled folks to use the text off of the web for free, I would be confident that they would allow you to use their texts. It could easily be interpreted as presumptuous and perhaps illegal, however, to use the texts and distribute them without asking permission.


Joe Fleener
09-22-2004, 08:42 PM
Jim is correct. TLG (and others) claim that they own the copyright to their digital version of the text. They of course, are not claiming to own the copyright to the actual text, but to their digital version.

Therefore, to take their digital version and use it without permission would violate their copyright from their perspective.

Now, the bottom line is that this is a bit difficult to pin down. The courts have not caught up with the digital age and the jury is still out on whether these claims are valid.

However, it seems best to stay above reproach and look for alternatives. I would agree that Perseus would be a very good alternative.

Michael Hanel
09-22-2004, 10:47 PM
Herein lies the catch from my view. I don't necessarily know of an easy way to go from a text in Perseus to a format for Bibleworks (I mean there's no simple way, you'd have to cut and paste a bunch of times and then format it correctly, change fonts where necessary etc). In other words, that they digitized it may make it MORE available, it did save some time in typing the whole thing in, but it would still be a rather laborious process to do this.

In any event, I am hoping there's some way to get some other Greek texts in BW, if anyone has any better avenues, I'm all ears, this just seemed the one most apparent to me.

(I emailed the webmaster at Perseus to ask about this)