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Copyright on the Dhamma - Dhamma Wheel

Copyright on the Dhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Maarten2
Posts: 21
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Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:24 pm

Hi,

I just stumbled upon this discussion board and have been reading though some posts here. I must say I am impressed by the quality of the discussion.

I also read the discussion regarding copyright and the second precept. This made we wonder about a related question: How is it possible the translations of Buddhist texts are copyrighted material?

For instance the translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi costs $59.85 on Amazon (that is actually a special offer, the list price is $95) and even the kindle edition, an ebook that costs the publisher nothing to print, of the same book costs $48.29. I believe that the Dhamma should be free to read for everyone, and not only an elite who can afford to pay for it.

Even the material that is spread free of charge on accesstoinsight.org does not allow to publish a modified version; for example to correct mistakes or to translate it languages other than English. See also this blog post by Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu: .

English is the world's most spoken language. I feel that if a good English public domain translation of the suttas, would help the spread and the understanding of the Dhamma.

Does anybody know why Wisdom Publications (a non-profit) does not release it's translations as public domain (I assume they are the copyright holder)? Do other people also feel as strongly about this as I do? Maybe it would be possible to start an appeal to Wisdom Publications to release it into the public domain. It think it would also be beneficial for them in the long term (both kammawise and financially). If they are not willing to do so, maybe they would be willing to sell it and a fund could be started to buy-out the copyright for it.

With metta
May you all become enlightened.

plwk
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby plwk » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:40 pm

If these homegrown discussions are of any assistance...

Maarten2
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:21 pm

Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:57 pm

I have skimmed those discussions, but I hope you understand that I could not read every post. Could you be so kind and point me to specific answers to my question? Note that it is not an inquiry about copyright law or morality, but more about whether there is a chance that the copyright holders of those translations would release them in the public domain, either in exchange for money or good kamma.
May you all become enlightened.

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Hanzze
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Location: Cambodia

Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:39 pm

Maarten2,

there are many who do not much respect what was taught, even they live from it, to say putting "higher proposes" over the teachings themselves (virtue). The thing is, one does not need to take part on it. But as long as one is in a ordinary mundane circle, money or other back-gifts are well used to keep dept and gratitude balanced. Sometimes payment is also a first step to teach gratitude, thinking on the countless Dhamma-vampiers who would never have the idea to pay something back, who would grow heavier and heavier till they are pulled down by their dept. So there are also those adequate to mundane ways, who sell paper, something we can look at and touch.

It's always important to see things from one's own intention and Dhamma does not carry any rights (like in this case: "I have the right to get Dhamma" or "Dhamma must be free"). If your situation gives you access to given Dhamma or not, depends also on your own merits. That is why practice starts with Dana. Not only to learn letting go of possession, but also to make the possibility for being able to receive bigger.

To understand the way it was thought of the Buddha (a wheel out of worldly dept) this two essays are very useful:




Thing's one really owns, one would not sell, because he would know that they are not buy-able and to cheat (or in-honest livelihood) is far away of his intention.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:47 pm

And also much "stolen", so it's always good to take only what is freely given. *smile*
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

santa100
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby santa100 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:50 pm

Well, I'll take some kammic stone for the sake of many poor people who can't afford the books then... :tongue:

Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:55 pm

Megaupload.com has been seized by the FBI.
May you all become enlightened.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:00 pm


santa100
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby santa100 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:14 pm

Maarten2 wrote:
"Megaupload.com has been seized by the FBI"

That's too bad. Anyway, www.accesstoinsight.org should have a majority of the suttas. For those that it misses, try http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page for the rest of them. Enjoy..

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:20 pm


Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:25 pm

May you all become enlightened.

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daverupa
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:32 pm

Last edited by daverupa on Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:34 pm


Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:35 pm

May you all become enlightened.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:38 pm


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:38 pm

Not for profit organisations like the BPS and Wisdom Books still have to pay staff, printing costs, etc.

Even those of us who don't have high overheads have other reasons for wanting to control the redistribution of our work. In my case, it is because if I find errors, I can update them at any time — I don't want old copies of my work with errors floating about in cyber-space. If the books and fonts are freely available from my site, then people can get the most recent editions from there.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:41 pm

For those who want to support the Buddhist publication Society, you can .
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:12 pm

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Hanzze
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:31 pm

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

santa100
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby santa100 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:41 pm

Sure, Verse 166: "For the sake of another's benefit, however great it may be, do not neglect one's own (moral) benefit. Clearly perceiving one's own benefit one should make every effort to attain it." clearly did not tell one to forsake others just for the sake of oneself either..


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