Copyright on the Dhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:57 am

yuttadhammo wrote:Armchair Buddhism strikes again... try visiting a Buddhist country, eh?
Interesting indulgence in a bit of ugly nastiness from you. But interestingly enough, you make my point:

    MMU in Bangkok sells the entire Tipitaka and commentaries (91 volumes) at cost with no copyright (more expensive to photocopy). MCU gives away DOC files of their version. learntipitaka.org has it all in zip format anyway for easy download. My teacher's monastery along gives away thousands of books on his birthday, hundreds on an ordinary day. The nissaya word-by-word-with-excrutiating-attention-to-detail Thai translation is available at cost, the Visuddhimagga Thai translation is available by donation, and that's just getting started in Thailand. Every large monastery that I've been to in Thailand has books either for free distribution or by donation, all sans-copyright. I would put the number of hard-copy books distributed at cost or less per day in Thailand alone at at least half a million - I obviously can't guess at the numbers on digital versions.
And such an endeavour requires a considerable amount of funding, which is far easier to accomplish in a country that is 95% Buddhist as opposed to a country where the Buddhists of all sects might be somewhere around a bit less than 1%.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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DarwidHalim
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:58 am

In the past, dhamma was also not free.

Just to get dhamma, you need to go so far. Xuanzhang traveled to India for 17 years.

Huike stand outside the cave under the snow for many days and cut his hand just to show his sincerity in learning Buddha dharma from Bodhidharma.

Actually now, you still can get it for free. You go to library and make a note. THis is what have been done in the past, isn't it? They wrote down the sutta.

There is always a cost, whether in terms of money or physical form or any other forms.

But it is still not impossible to get it for free by writing it down from library.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

Nyana
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:08 am

yuttadhammo wrote:On the Internet front, accesstoinsight.org itself offers everything for free as you are surely aware, as does Ven. Thanissaro himself (in hard copy). Metta.lk has English, Sinhala and Pali translations for free download. http://www.buddhanet.net/ offers PDF versions of so many different dhamma books, all for free. ancient-buddhist-texts.org offers both translations and Pali versions that exhibit a great attention to detail, all for free.

And as you know, ATI offers Ven. Ñāṇamoli's translation of The Path of Purification for free download. And BPS offers many free publications in their Online Library. All things considered, there is a significant number of Pāli texts freely available in English translation.

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yuttadhammo
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:21 am

Ñāṇa wrote:And as you know, ATI offers Ven. Ñāṇamoli's translation of The Path of Purification for free download. And BPS offers many free publications in their Online Library. All things considered, there is a significant number of Pāli texts freely available in English translation.

Yes, this is true... but it is more the copyright I was thinking of - the BPS's Path to Purification is copyrighted and copy-protected (you can't copy and paste text from it on Windows). They threatened to sue me simply for putting an unlocked version on my website.

tiltbillings wrote:Interesting indulgence in a bit of ugly nastiness from you. But interestingly enough, you make my point:

I apologize, you are right about the nastiness. I guess I was just responding to your "hand waving and huffing and puffing" - which is nastier?

tiltbillings wrote:And such an endeavour requires a considerable amount of funding, which is far easier to accomplish in a country that is 95% Buddhist as opposed to a country where the Buddhists of all sects might be somewhere around a bit less than 1%.

I disagree... the Path To Purification (the text in question in the link in the OP) was transcribed by Western volunteers at ATI, edited and formatted by Western volunteers at the BPS and then distributed on the Internet by ATI. Wisdom Publications translations of the suttas were translated by a Western monk who ostensibly doesn't need royalties to do his work.

If Buddhists in the West are capable of paying textbook prices for hardbound volumes, they are certainly capable of making them freely available online (or at cost offline) to people who are less affluent (i.e. most of the Buddhist world). At the very least, they could stop threatening to sue people who do.

If your argument is really that Buddhists in the West are just too poor to fund such an endeavour, then by all means, they should be sending their material to be printed in more affluent countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma.

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:48 am

yuttadhammo wrote:If Buddhists in the West are capable of paying textbook prices for hardbound volumes, they are certainly capable of making them freely available online (or at cost offline) to people who are less affluent (i.e. most of the Buddhist world). At the very least, they could stop threatening to sue people who do.

Whether or not I agree with you regarding what they should or shouldn't do, if the BPS or any other group creates a translation or commentary, it is theirs to give or not give, and the second precept clearly states that we should not take what is not given. Unless you're making the argument that a translation created through the sole effort of those at the BPS is somehow not their property, I can't imagine a justification for ever pirating such material.

I think the man who runs the store I work at should be far more generous with his money, but as long as he does not choose to give, then it's out of my hands. It's the same with the BPS; even if you think they should give it out for free, isn't piracy or other unlicensed distribution still a violation of the precepts?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:53 am

yuttadhammo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Interesting indulgence in a bit of ugly nastiness from you. But interestingly enough, you make my point:

I apologize, you are right about the nastiness. I guess I was just responding to your "hand waving and huffing and puffing" - which is nastier?
Your comment: SN i 162.

tiltbillings wrote:And such an endeavour requires a considerable amount of funding, which is far easier to accomplish in a country that is 95% Buddhist as opposed to a country where the Buddhists of all sects might be somewhere around a bit less than 1%.

I disagree... the Path To Purification (the text in question in the link in the OP) was transcribed by Western volunteers at ATI, edited and formatted by Western volunteers at the BPS and then distributed on the Internet by ATI. Wisdom Publications translations of the suttas were translated by a Western monk who ostensibly doesn't need royalties to do his work.

If Buddhists in the West are capable of paying textbook prices for hardbound volumes, they are certainly capable of making them freely available online (or at cost offline) to people who are less affluent (i.e. most of the Buddhist world). At the very least, they could stop threatening to sue people who do.

If your argument is really that Buddhists in the West are just too poor to fund such an endeavour, then by all means, they should be sending their material to be printed in more affluent countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma.
Thank you for sharing your opinion. The fact of the matter the millions of books given away every year in Buddhist countries reflects a fact that in Buddhist countries where 95+% are Buddhist there is a significant infrastructure and a support base for something like that as well as a vastly different merit seeking ethos than we have in the USA where less than 1% of the population are Buddhists and most of those are converts. It will take some time these things to change.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:43 am

Don't forget that the revegetation needs to be financed also at least. As long as we learn from it and change our ways, jet the wheel turns in the right direction...
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

Exactly
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Exactly » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:28 pm

I too find it strange that the dhamma is not free. I don't think Bhikkhu Bhodi took any money for translating the canon. And I think his intention was to spread the dhamma. Or am I wrong ? Does Bhikkhu Bhodi take % of sales ?

Caodemarte
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Caodemarte » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:54 pm

There is copyright on free dhamma publications and other to prevent others people copyrighting the text and then selling it (yes, this happens) and then suing the original author for using the material! It is also designed to stop people altering the text, passing it off as their own work, using the free material commercially, or other abuses.

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samseva
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby samseva » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:28 am

Exactly wrote:I too find it strange that the dhamma is not free. I don't think Bhikkhu Bhodi took any money for translating the canon. And I think his intention was to spread the dhamma. Or am I wrong ? Does Bhikkhu Bhodi take % of sales ?

Wisdom Publications needs to stay in business. If it doesn't make profit, it will close and other Dhamma publications won't become possible. Without copyright, anyone can take all of Bhikkhu Bodhi's work, print it out and sell it for half or a quarter of the price on Amazon.

Bhikkhu Bodhi isn't personally earning money off of this, since he can't according to the Vinaya. The purpose of profits is simply to funnel this money into even more projects and running the current things in place.

davidbrainerd
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby davidbrainerd » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:44 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Ironically, publications that are produced for free are often more difficult to obtain than "commercial" volumes.


As the saying goes, there's no free lunch. Just because it was free to you don't mean somebody didn't pay for it. A lot of this "free" material ends up out-of-print, therefore rare, and then people seeking it find what was originally "free" listed for like $400 on amazon or ebay used.

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mikenz66
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:24 am

davidbrainerd wrote:As the saying goes, there's no free lunch. Just because it was free to you don't mean somebody didn't pay for it. ...

Quite right. I should have said "produced for free distribution". Obviously someone paid for printing, mailing, and so on (in addition to the work involved in producing the document in the first place).

:anjali:
Mike


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