Copyright

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Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:34 pm

Hi,
what if someone scanned and distributed freely the published work of a non-profit publishing company, without asking permission to reproduce this work.
lets say it is the Visudhimagga and the Buddhist Publication Societys edition.
would this be legal?
would this reproduction be stealing?
and as such be breaking the 2nd precept found in Theravada Buddhism?
or would this be providing the gift of Dhamma freely? dhamma has several meanings from truth to teachings but both of these can be used here, and thinking of the Dhammapada verse the gift of Dhamma excels all gifts.

I have asked this on yahoo! answers so it is a straight cut and paste. as some may remember a while ago I did share a link to the Visudhimagga from a russian site as I thought (mistakenly) that this was a legal reproduction, but what is everyones thoughts on this? is it legal or is it illegal and breaking the 2nd precept?
is it appropriate for such work to have a copyright? and what does the Vinaya say on this issue or does the vinaya have an equivelent?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:50 pm

If it is a straight copy and paste of a copyrighted material, it would definitely violate the copyright. If it is a scan and distribution of copyrighted material without permission, it would also violate the copyright. But if it is from a non-profit company that freely gives permission for scanning and copying, then no violation.

For Dhamma materials, it is best to spread and offer the Dhamma to all. But we also need to abide by current laws. Since this is the 21st century where the internet rules, my personal view is that people need to lighten-up more and allow copying and distribution of their materials that they have online. If they don't want that, then they should not put it online in the first place. It is sort of like running across a football field nude and then complaining when the news broadcasts it on the television for the whole world to see.

But scanning a book that is not online right now, would probably be crossing that line, since it is not made readily accessible by choice of the author and / or publisher.
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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:07 am

the Visudhimagga isn't available online (with permission) it is a scanned document turned into a pdf then hosted online.
although I believe they are making it available next year at some point, but it is at present not available via them online only copies of the book.

Personally I feel it is ok to distribute stuff freely online so long as propper permission is obtained, if it isn't available via the author or publisher for free distribution then there is a problem.

but I came accross (from the same source) a link to a PTS Abhidhamma book which had been scanned and made into a pdf so asked PTS about it and they said it was illegal (another link was dubious).
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:29 am

Perhaps these posts by Venerable Nyanatusita might be of relevance here, especially for those who wish to partake this time around:

...
As regards the question why the Path of Purification is not put online for free: It will be put online as a PDF for free on the BPS website and the Access to Insight website. Hopefully somewhere next year when the newly typeset and slightly revised printed edition will be put out.
Those who quickly scan in books and put them online as PDFs such as the Russian who scanned in the latest edition of the Path of Purification (1991) and put it online without having asked for permission to the BPS (Manapa gives the link) don't realize the huge amount of work it is to proofread, format and typeset a book, especially a large and complicated book like the Path of Purification with its many headings and styles, etc. They also don't realize the cost of printing and distributing the book and the cost of maintaining an non profit publishing organization such as the BPS.

The Path of Purification printed in by the Corporate Foundation of the Buddha in Taiwan, to which one of the posts in this forum refers, is a photocopy edition done without the permission of the BPS. The Corporate Foundation of the Buddha is careless with respects copyrights and has photocopy-reprinted several BPS books such as the Great Discourse of Causation by Ven. Bodhi without seeking permission to the BPS.
The BPS is generally lenient in giving permission to reprint its books and regularly gives permission to organizations in Malaysia and Singapore to reprint books for free distribution. The BPS is also making all of its Wheel Publications and some other books available online on its website (http://www.bps.lk/onlinelibrary.asp), a project which I have been organizing and which takes a lot of work. Many BPS books are also viewable on Google Books. The problem with putting larger books online is that it takes a lot of work and funds to produce them and there is the concern that organizations such as the Corporate Foundation will use the online digital files to reproduce the books without asking permission and that the BPS and its distributors in the US and Europe end up with stocks of books which can not be sold because everybody has already got the free books from our Mahayana friends in Taiwan. Another problem with making books available online for free is that everybody starts to copy it to their own websites with little effort, and sometimes without properly acknowledging the source website.
I hope to find some kind of middle way between making Dhamma books available online for free and on the other hand keeping the BPS going as an organization dedicated to publishing Dhamma books.

Regards,
Bhikkhu Nyanatusita
Editor
BPS


It is perhaps of interest to know that only in recent history, the last hundred years (after printing of books became common in Asia, etc), the Tipitaka has widely become available in its original language as well as in translation. The Pali Tipitaka was written down by monks in Sri Lanka in the 2 century BCE, before that it was only orally transmitted by monks (some laypeople would also have learnt some suttas by heart but this would be a minority). After the writing down of the Tipitaka monks copied the manuscripts, which is very time-consuming work. Laypeople generally had no access to the Tipitaka because most would not know Pali and there were no complete translations of the Tipitaka available, although there probably were (interlinear) translations of some individual suttas such as the Dhammacakkappavattana, etc. Especially Jataka story translations were popular. Laypeople could get copies of texts but they would have to pay a scribe to copy it, which would have been costly and time-consuming. Manuscript were precious and treasured sacred possessions, handled with great care and respect.
The Mahavamsa(the chronicle which describes how the deeds of kings affected Buddhism in Sri Lanka) mentions that some kings has the Tipitaka copied by scribes and would have festivals in honour of the manuscripts. Some gave copied manuscripts to the Sangha and some kings rewarded monks for copying manuscripts by giving land to them. For the great majority of laypeople the way to learn the Dhamma would be to come to the temple and listen to sermons given by monks. If they really wanted to learn more then they would normally have to become monks or nuns and stay in a monastery. So, the Tipitaka and other Pali texts were only accessible to an elite minority.
In contrast, nowadays, many people in developed countries are used to have immediate access to any information they want at any time and any place through the internet and other media. If they can't get what they want immediately then this leads to frustration and anger. It is good to reflect on how privileged and fortunate we are nowadays to have access to so many free and inexpensive resources. Many people in the past would envy us. Some might have wondered how we could handle such large amounts of information without becoming confused.
Bh Nt


Also here's a link to the previous discussions on the matter:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2306

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:39 am

Cheers Jack :twothumbsup:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby BudSas » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:05 am

The late Ven Abhinyana, an Australian monk, had the following declaration at his website:

"Since all the words we use come to us from other people, there is no copyright on any of my books. If anyone wishes to reprint anything from them, or even all, they may do so without permission; all I ask is that they do not copy wrong!"

see: http://www.abhinyana.com/

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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:04 am

BudSas wrote:The late Ven Abhinyana, an Australian monk, had the following declaration at his website:

"Since all the words we use come to us from other people, there is no copyright on any of my books. If anyone wishes to reprint anything from them, or even all, they may do so without permission; all I ask is that they do not copy wrong!"

see: http://www.abhinyana.com/

BDS

What about when it isn't with permission, such as with PTS books which are still legally theirs to control?
but I do like that decleration!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby poto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:47 pm

Personally, I think it would be nice if Buddhist texts were released under some sort of General Public License.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPL

That would probably help ease concerns that works might be significantly modified, while still allowing them to be distributed freely.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Copyright

Postby Chula » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:09 pm

I completely agree with this monk's statement.. At least when it comes to translations, the Pali source is non-commercial and offered freely so it doesn't make Dhamma sense to charge for it. It's true that printing books is expensive, but that's what the internet is for. IMO a Buddhist non-profit should make all their publications available online for free if they are really going by what the Dhamma teaches us. Reasons like "the printed books won't sell" sound quite hollow to be honest.

BudSas wrote:The late Ven Abhinyana, an Australian monk, had the following declaration at his website:

"Since all the words we use come to us from other people, there is no copyright on any of my books. If anyone wishes to reprint anything from them, or even all, they may do so without permission; all I ask is that they do not copy wrong!"

see: http://www.abhinyana.com/

BDS
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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:52 pm

Hi Chula,
have a look at the BPS website!
but do you are anyone have any answers to the op questions?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:00 pm

Greetings Chula,

We went through some of these issues on the other thread that was mentioned above:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2306&start=40#p32363

Remember that PTS and BPS are non-profit organisations that have been producing high-quality translations for over a century and half-century respectively, through many generations of printing and distribution technology. (I'm not sure how long Wisdom have been going but they are also non-profit and the recent Nanamoli/Bodhi and Bodhi translations seem to be joint Wisdom/PTS efforts). These publishers are obviously aware of modern developments of wide-spread internet access in the last decade or so, and their support model will presumably evolve (BPS has stated that they will make the Visuddhimagga available on the Internet next year - see the link above).

As I said on the other thread, if I were a trustee of one of these organisation I would want to ensure the continuation of the translation projects. PTS has almost all of the Vinaya, Nikayas and Abhidhamma available in English, (http://www.palitext.com/subpages/canon.htm) but translations of the Commentaries are sporadic (http://www.palitext.com/subpages/comm.htm) and I presume that PTS wants to finish that off over next few decades.

Meanwhile, if you can not afford the translations of the Nikayas from Wisdom/PTS, there is plenty available for free at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/index.html and http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/

Metta
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Re: Copyright

Postby Chula » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:43 pm

Hey Manapa,

I know that BPS has many publications available online for free - I was just pointing out that since putting them online is practically costless, it doesn't make sense that they only selectively make them available.

Ideally, Dhamma books should be available freely where the printing is handled by donation, which would be in keeping with the practice of generosity. Good examples are all of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's books which are available completely free.

About your question, unfortunately I think if you post copyrighted books online it would be illegal, and also technically breaking of a precept ("taking what is not given"). I completely understand the motivation though.

Manapa wrote:Hi Chula,
have a look at the BPS website!
but do you are anyone have any answers to the op questions?


mikenz66,
Thanks for your post. This doesn't have anything to do with affordability - it's really a matter of principle. I also am aware of the great work that BPS and PTS have been doing all these years. It's just that if they don't adapt their models to the times quickly it will seem like they're withholding the Dhamma for no good reason.

I'll go through the old thread too.

mikenz66 wrote:Greetings Chula,

We went through some of these issues on the other thread that was mentioned above:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... =40#p32363

Remember that PTS and BPS are non-profit organisations that have been producing high-quality translations for over a century and half-century respectively, through many generations of printing and distribution technology. (I'm not sure how long Wisdom have been going but they are also non-profit and the recent Nanamoli/Bodhi and Bodhi translations seem to be joint Wisdom/PTS efforts). These publishers are obviously aware of modern developments of wide-spread internet access in the last decade or so, and their support model will presumably evolve (BPS has stated that they will make the Visuddhimagga available on the Internet next year - see the link above).

As I said on the other thread, if I were a trustee of one of these organisation I would want to ensure the continuation of the translation projects. PTS has almost all of the Vinaya, Nikayas and Abhidhamma available in English, (http://www.palitext.com/subpages/canon.htm) but translations of the Commentaries are sporadic (http://www.palitext.com/subpages/comm.htm) and I presume that PTS wants to finish that off over next few decades.

Meanwhile, if you can not afford the translations of the Nikayas from Wisdom/PTS, there is plenty available for free at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/index.html and http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/

Metta
Mike


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Re: Copyright

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:00 pm

Hi Chula,
Chula wrote:Thanks for your post. This doesn't have anything to do with affordability - it's really a matter of principle. I also am aware of the great work that BPS and PTS have been doing all these years. It's just that if they don't adapt their models to the times quickly it will seem like they're withholding the Dhamma for no good reason.

Given the vast amount of "free" stuff out there I don't see why anyone should talk about non-profit publishers "withholding Dhamma". It's not trivial and certainly not zero cost to produce and host high-quality electronic copy. And it's not trivial to change your business model and make sure you can keep running the projects that you've got planned.

I've put "free" in quotes above, because, really, it's not free. Someone has paid, in time and/or cash, for all of the "free" Dhamma that I (or you) have ever received. It's been like that since (and including) the time of the Buddha. I don't actually see much difference in principle between spending a few dollars to buy high-quality translations and giving support in the form of time, money, and food to my teachers.

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Re: Copyright

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:06 pm

Hi Chula
Chula wrote:I know that BPS has many publications available online for free - I was just pointing out that since putting them online is practically costless, it doesn't make sense that they only selectively make them available.

Its a mistake to assume that the only cost of publication is the printing. Having worked for one book publisher, the cost of printing as a total of all production costs was less than 10 percent.
Personally, i think its very important to support publishers of Dhamma Books by buying their publications when possible. By purchasing Dhamma Books one is indirectly funding important translation projects that will not only benefit us right now, but many others well into the futue.
And if one can't afford to purchase this or that Dhamma Book and it is not available online, then one can borrow (even if via inter-library loan) via the public library.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Copyright

Postby Zen » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:28 am

Any breach of copyright is illegal and is stealing. That's why we have copyright laws. These days everyone seems to make a lot of poor excuses about it, like if you don't want it stolen don't put it on the net, or it's not really hurting anyone, or it should be free... But the fact remains that taking and using anything that is not freely given is stealing.

I also think it is appropriate to have a copyright on the translated version of a text, because someone has taken the time and effort to translate the text therefore the translation is thier intellectual property. It doens't matter if the copyright holder intends to make a profit or distribute the work freely, they are entitled to control how that text is used.
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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:50 am

Zen wrote:Any breach of copyright is illegal and is stealing. That's why we have copyright laws. These days everyone seems to make a lot of poor excuses about it, like if you don't want it stolen don't put it on the net, or it's not really hurting anyone, or it should be free... But the fact remains that taking and using anything that is not freely given is stealing.

I also think it is appropriate to have a copyright on the translated version of a text, because someone has taken the time and effort to translate the text therefore the translation is thier intellectual property. It doens't matter if the copyright holder intends to make a profit or distribute the work freely, they are entitled to control how that text is used.


:anjali:
I agree though I do thing free distribution texts are also a necesity, but that is the author or publishers/holder of the rights option, and they can say there work or property can be used freely or not as they see fit.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby BudSas » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:07 am

Ben wrote:
Its a mistake to assume that the only cost of publication is the printing. Having worked for one book publisher, the cost of printing as a total of all production costs was less than 10 percent.



Alternatively -- to minimize costs of printing, distribution, overheads, etc -- I wonder if the authors/translators/publishers could operate on the basis similar to the "shareware" concept in computer software? They can make their material avalable on the internet and the readers would send donations to keep the work going.

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Re: Copyright

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:50 pm

some do, but is this feasable accross the board?

the ones that springs to mind is dhammafarer/piya tan http://sites.google.com/site/dharmafarer2/, and there are people who sell their books but teach all over the world via donations, a couple are christopher titmuss http://www.christophertitmuss.org/ & Michael Kewley http://www.puredhamma.org/index.php
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Copyright

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:42 pm

Ben wrote:And if one can't afford to purchase this or that Dhamma Book and it is not available online, then one can borrow (even if via inter-library loan) via the public library.

:thumbsup:
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Re: Copyright

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:22 pm

Hi BudSas,
BudSas wrote:
Ben wrote:Its a mistake to assume that the only cost of publication is the printing. Having worked for one book publisher, the cost of printing as a total of all production costs was less than 10 percent.

Alternatively -- to minimize costs of printing, distribution, overheads, etc -- I wonder if the authors/translators/publishers could operate on the basis similar to the "shareware" concept in computer software? They can make their material avalable on the internet and the readers would send donations to keep the work going.

Of course. That's exactly what is happening with sites like Access to Insight, and so on. Can it bring in enough money to finance an operation like PTS, BPS, or Wisdom? I don't know, I don't know their financial models.

In my opinion the "shareware" at Access to Insight, etc, is not yet as consistent and complete as the volumes from the traditional publishers. As Ben says, there are lots of costs involved in organising quality publishing.

Mike
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