Copyright

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Cittasanto
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Re: Copyright

Post by 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.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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BudSas
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Re: Copyright

Post by 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.

BDS

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Cittasanto
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Re: Copyright

Post by 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/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, 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/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; & Michael Kewley http://www.puredhamma.org/index.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

Mawkish1983
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Re: Copyright

Post by 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

Post by 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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Cittasanto
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Re: Copyright

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:37 pm

it has been claimed that editors will edit in line with cost effectiveness, and I think this may be true in some cases, but I think with Dhamma Material such as the Tipitaka or commentaries are concerned it would be a case of readability, even A2I has suttas with lots of repetition edited and cost isn't really a problem for them, low overheads etc.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

BudSas
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Re: Copyright

Post by BudSas » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:18 am

mikenz66 wrote: 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.
How's about Ven Chin-kung's Buddha Educational Foundation in Taiwan ( http://www.budaedu.org/en/introduce/ )? In the past 25 years, they have been printing a large numbers of Dhamma books in many languages for free distribution worldwide, with good quality printing. What is their financial model?

Although there have been concerns/complaints on their violation of copyright, I sincerely admire their dedicated Dhamma work; and I for one, have been on the receiving end, benefitting many free good Dhamma books from them.

There are also other smaller groups (susch as in Malaysia, Singapore) which print and distribute free copies of Dhamma books, and rely on generous donations from Buddhist readers.

BDS

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Re: Copyright

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:31 am

Greetings BudSas,
BudSas wrote:What is their financial model?
Chinese people scared of the hell realms? :shrug:

It's worth noting though that this is the organisation responsible for the unauthorised duplications of Visuddhimagga without BPS permission.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Copyright

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:26 am

Hi BudSas,
BudSas wrote: How's about Ven Chin-kung's Buddha Educational Foundation in Taiwan ( http://www.budaedu.org/en/introduce/ )? In the past 25 years, they have been printing a large numbers of Dhamma books in many languages for free distribution worldwide, with good quality printing. What is their financial model?
Donations, as you say.
BudSas wrote: Although there have been concerns/complaints on their violation of copyright, I sincerely admire their dedicated Dhamma work; and I for one, have been on the receiving end, benefitting many free good Dhamma books from them.
I have too.
BudSas wrote: There are also other smaller groups (susch as in Malaysia, Singapore) which print and distribute free copies of Dhamma books, and rely on generous donations from Buddhist readers.
And I have books from those organisations. However, all of the organisations you mention have limited print runs, so many of the books are unavailable, even if you were willing to pay for them.

Also, they have not produced anything that compares with the modern translations from PTS, BPS, Wisdom, etc. The books I have appear to be mostly material that was previously published elsewhere or is produced from electronic copy produced elsewhere (e.g. Ven Thanissaro's Wings for Awakening).

As others have said, taking existing copy and printing it is not particularly difficult or expensive. Producing the copy in the first place is the difficult bit. One might argue that Bhikkhu Bodhi could have done what Ven Thanissaro has done, and simply produce the electronic copy and rely on the donation-supported printers to distribute it. And perhaps someone will do that in the future. However, though I am grateful for books such as "Wings to Awakening", the production quality is not great, and for a major reference such as the Nikaya volumes, which I expect to use heavily for many years, I'd rather have something well printed and well bound.
Having said that, I'd really like a proper searchable PDF (not a scan) of those books to aid searching...

Metta
Mike

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Re: Copyright

Post by Cittasanto » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:34 pm

It is worth noting that BPS do grant permission when asked, allot of things are available on google books etc for free and with permission.
If these free distributors done their own work there wouldn't be a problem, but they don't they rely on others doing it for them then making cheep reproductions.

personally I would sooner pay for a texts and support those doing the work than get a poor reproduction photocopy.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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poto
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Re: Copyright

Post by poto » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:19 pm

mikenz66 wrote: Having said that, I'd really like a proper searchable PDF (not a scan) of those books to aid searching...
There are PDF to text conversion programs, but sometimes the output can be pretty bad. Of course, if you only need a basic search functionality, a crude text conversion might work for that.
"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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Chula
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Re: Copyright

Post by Chula » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:08 am

Hi,

I'd like to be clear - I highly admire what BPS and PTS are doing currently and the Western Buddhist world owes a lot to them for making the Dhamma available. My choice of words was quite poor in this case and likely misunderstood. My point was more relating to the current internet landscape and the future. I think you would agree that although nothing is "free" in the economic sense of the word, dāna by definition is supposed to be a gift with no strings attached. Although relying on donations to support printing and distributing is probably not the best way to make the texts widely available commercially, it would be the method most in line with the teachings themselves.

Also, I think there's a clear difference between buying a Dhamma book and supporting a monk with his requisites. The properly practicing monk gives his teachings freely - he (or she) does not withhold what he knows until he gets something in return. This has been the case since the time of the Buddha - otherwise people with lesser means would have very little chance of hearing the Dhamma. This relationship is important because the monk is forbidden from begging and is entirely dependent on the lay person's generosity for survival. Although this might seem an impossible ideal, from what I've read (monks dying of starvation due to lack of alms etc) this practice was strictly followed in the Theravada countries at least in the golden days.

Now, in the modern world, one of the main ways most of us "hear" the teachings is through reading the texts. Taking the same principle of dāna into account and considering the very low cost (ok, not costless - but I'm sure donations can handle this) of hosting a publication online, it would be the right thing to do for a Buddhist non-profit to make all their texts available online for free - for the benefit of all mankind.

Metta,
Chula
mikenz66 wrote: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.

Metta
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: Copyright

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:37 am

Hi Chula,
Chula wrote: Now, in the modern world, one of the main ways most of us "hear" the teachings is through reading the texts. Taking the same principle of dāna into account and considering the very low cost (ok, not costless - but I'm sure donations can handle this) of hosting a publication online, it would be the right thing to do for a Buddhist non-profit to make all their texts available online for free - for the benefit of all mankind.
The relationship between dana and Dhamma is complex and symbiotic. It's not simply a matter of "the right thing to do for a Buddhist non-profit". The teachings that I have received from monks (and lay teachers for that matter) is only possible because of lay supporters. No support, no teachers, no teachings. If Westerners want organisations to produce written Dhamma and distribute it freely via the Internet, etc, they are going to have to help to create and/or finance such organisations. Of course, many are already doing this, so it would be hard to argue that anyone with Internet access is short of material.

Metta
Mike

BudSas
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Re: Copyright

Post by BudSas » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:56 am

Hi,

Nowadays, with affordable and fast internet connection and with many Buddhist websites storing large number of Dhamma books, perhaps free distribution of books may not be as relevant as it used to be, when I first became interested in Buddhist study.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Dhamma materials on the Net were not widely available, I think those organisations involved in printing and distributing free Dhamma books did a great service to propagate the Dhamma to the world, especially to people of low income and those living in developing countries.

Having said that, I must also add that I have been subscribing to the BPS (Sri Lanka) as an Associate Member for more than 30 years and I wholeheartedly support their mission.

BDS

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Chula
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Re: Copyright

Post by Chula » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:00 pm

I was browsing the Buddhist Monastic Code by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch04.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) and came across his take on copyright infringement and stealing. He gives many good reasons why it really isn't stealing (in terms of the 2nd precept that is) - I agree and I think the below explanation covers it.

Infringement of copyright. The international standards for copyright advocated by UNESCO state that infringement of copyright is tantamount to theft. However, in practice, an accusation of copyright infringement is judged not as a case of theft but as one of "fair use," the issue being the extent to which a person in possession of an item may fairly copy that item for his/her own use or to give or sell to another person without compensating the copyright owner. Thus even a case of "unfair use" would not fulfill the factors of effort and object under this rule, in that — in creating a copy — one is not taking possession of an item that does not belong to one, and one is not depriving the owners of something already theirs. At most, the copyright owners might claim that they are being deprived of compensation owed to them, but as we have argued above, the principle of compensation owed does not rightly belong under this rule. In the terminology of the Canon, a case of unfair use would fall under either of two categories — acting for the non-gain of the copyright owners or wrong livelihood — categories that entail a dukkaṭa under the general rule against misbehavior (Cv.V.36). They would also make one eligible for a disciplinary transaction, such as reconciliation or banishment (see BMC2, Chapter 20), which the Community could impose if it saw the infringement as serious enough to merit such a punishment.
Manapa wrote: would this reproduction be stealing?
and as such be breaking the 2nd precept found in Theravada Buddhism?

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