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Copyright and Religion:

Copyright maven Bill Patry has posts about this interesting subject, here and here.

Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
My view of this area is colored, as is many, by the Scientology litigations awhile back. There, the question was not whether L. Ron had had a copyright in the works, but rather how far could his church enforce those copyrights to stifle dissent. I think the reason that I still have a bad taste in my mouth as to them is that it appeared to me that there was a lot of discovery abuse going on, where they were using discovery in one case, ostensibly to look for their sacred scriptures on a critic's hard drive. But then, they looked at that critic's email and address book to find out their next targets.

I did find the point that the C/R office attempts to distinguish between someone transcribing writings by a devinity, versus divinely inspired writings. The first would not be subject to copyright because: a) the author isn't human, and b) the scribe isn't (supposedly) adding original expression. The later would be, just as a translation would be.
8.10.2005 3:39pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Let me try that again. I need to start using your preview option.

My view of this area is colored, as are those of many, by the Scientology litigations awhile back. There, the question was not whether L. Ron had had a copyright in the works, but rather how far could his church enforce those copyrights to stifle dissent. I think the reason that I still have a bad taste in my mouth as to Scientology and copyright is that it appeared to me that they were engaged in massive discovery abuse, where they were using discovery in one case after another against their critics ostensibly to look for their sacred scriptures on the critics' hard drives. But then, they looked at the critics' email and address book, while they were at it, to find out their next targets to sue. The sanctions imposed seemed to always be too little, and too late to deter them.

I did find interesting the point that the C/R office attempts to distinguish between someone transcribing writings by a devinity, versus divinely inspired writings. The first would not be subject to copyright because: a) the author isn't human, and b) the scribe isn't (supposedly) adding original expression. The later would be, just as a translation would be.
8.10.2005 3:48pm
Syd (mail):
I think in the case of a woman who wanted to copyright a work dictated to her by Jesus (via Jesus's directive), the problem would be (1) Jesus is beyond the jurisdiction of the law, and (2) the copyright has already expired since he has been beyond this mortal plane for 1970 years at least.
8.10.2005 7:43pm