Copyright Question / Answer

By E. Pereira

There has been an issue in prior years with copyright challenges involving Alexander Scourby's King James Bible narration. Most folks do not know that Alexander Scoourby's King James Bible narration was initially sponsored by the American Bible Society as a project for the blind.

It is our belief that Alexander Scourby's work is in the public domain because the copyright expired in 2009. Alexander Scourby's Bible was completed in 1953. The copyright law that governed Scourby's work gave an initial 28 years of copyright protection to be followed by an additional 28 years if the copyright was renewed. That totals 56 years. Since the work was completed in 1953, if you add 56 years to that date, the copyright expired sometime in 2009. The provision in the law that applies to works created before January 1, 1978 applies in this case. Here is a synopsis of that law from the Legal Beagle website located at: http://legalbeagle.com/5057842-copyright-laws-audio.html

Copyright Duration

Copyright does not last forever and upon copyright expiration, works become part of the public domain. They are free for anyone to use without permission. The copyright law [U.S.A.] was revised in 1976; the revisions became effective in 1978. Any works created on or after January 1, 1978, is protected from the moment of completion and remain protected by copyright for 50 years after the creator's death. Works created before 1978 but not published or registered until after that date receive the same protection. If it is a "work made for hire," it is protected for 75 years from the original publication date or for 100 years from its creation, whichever is shorter. Under previous law, copyright duration was 28 years with the option to renew the protection for an additional 28 years for a 56-year total. Some works fell into public domain after 28 years because they were not renewed. The copyright expiration for works created prior to 1978 was set for 75 from the date of creation, publication or registration.

Scourby produced another recording of the King James Bible for The Episcopal Radio and TV Foundation (ERTF) in 1972 on the condition that they would only be used in the Episcopal Community and only for non-profit purposes. That edition is still under copyright. Ours is not that edition.

Furthermore, we do not sell, charge for or advertise anything in our website. We are strictly non-profit. We also prohibit the use of any of our materials in projects that will be sold for profit. Our goal is to supply a service, to provide a Bible, free of charge, to English speaking people all over the world, especially those who obviously cannot afford to buy one.

Isaiah 55:10-11: For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.


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