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Copyright on the Dhamma - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Copyright on the Dhamma

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

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:29 pm



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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mikenz66
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:24 pm

As I pointed out on one of those threads, the decision of how to manage one's organisation and intellectual property is a difficult one. Non-profit organisations, such as the Pali Text Society, Buddhist Publication Society, and Wisdom Publications, have been around for a long time. More than a century in the case of PTS. By careful management, and latterly by collaboration with Wisdom (Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations are also distributed by PTS) PTS has ensured that high-quality English translations of almost the entire Tipitika are available and accessible to all who wish to purchase them or have access to a good library. On-line resources such as Access to Insight are simply not in the same league either in quality or quantity.

Furthermore, the cost of the Wisdom Nikayas is actually rather small in comparison to the amount of use I've got out of them. I've spent hundreds of hours simply listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi's (free) lectures on the MN alone (while, of course, referring to the text).

While I applaud other methods of distribution, it is not clear to me that they would have sufficed to support such efforts as effectively over such a span of time. Research, translation, editing, and production are difficult and time-consuming. Moreover, keeping electronic resources safe is also not trivial. They have to updated in format every decade or so.

Ironically, publications that are produced for free are often more difficult to obtain than "commercial" volumes. More and more are available electronically, which does help, though, as noted above, it does not ensure lasting availability.

The Internet may well change the "business model" of the non-profits such as PTS, BPS, Wisdom, etc. BPS in particular has been starting to proved PDF's as well has hard copies (e.g. the Visuddhimagga), and perhaps others will follow. However, if I were running those organisations I would want to be careful not to lose what has been built over decades/centuries.

:anjali:
Mike

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Cittasanto
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:40 pm

:anjali: :goodpost: :anjali:

it is also worth noting that the quality of the publications we see usually requires professional assistance, and not all professionals are in a position, or have the inclination, to do things for free for such a scale.


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.

Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:35 pm

Thanks Mike and Banthe for your sincere answers to my question.

When I composed my original post, I was under the asumption that Wisdom Publications is basically a for-profit publisher, who takes a typesetted manustript and basically just prints it (I then looked them up and changed my post a little to indicate that they are a non-profit). I now see that I actually know little about what they, BPS and the PTS do.

I still believe that there is a good business case to be made for releasing the translations of the suttas under public domain or at least free of charge for non-commercial use. I think, I will let the issue rest, do some more research and then follow up on Cittasanto's suggestion and compose a letter to Bhikkhu Bodhi.
May you all become enlightened.

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mikenz66
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:44 pm


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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:33 am

Just that! *smile*


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

Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:52 am

Thanks for your reply, but I am afraid you miss my point somewhat. I also think it is legitimate to make a livelihood selling translations of the Pali Cannon, but it does not need to be protected by copyright for that. Take the Pali Cannon itself. It not protected by copyright (because it predated the concept of copyright), but it still gets sold in printed form by the PTS.
May you all become enlightened.

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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:22 am

Maarten2,

There is no business if there is no kind of protection, that goes hand in hand. So this or that. Both is nice but not possible. If you do not protect your business its gone, today faster as ever before. I guess this are the actual occupy spirits dreaming of a wonderland who create such ideas.

Actually I guess its better to turn to the direction Dhamma Dana, Dhamma does not have a wholesome base for business. But therefore one needs to learn gratitude first. The illusion of rights are working very efficient against gratitude, who ever claims right. The publisher as well as somebody thinking that he has a right on Dhamma.

If I don't like to give you something, what will you do? You can jump around what ever you like, there are no right but there are task to walk according to the natural law without violation it.

If some like to have to whole copyright of all Dhamma teachings of the Buddha, let him and wish him that he might find peace in this way.

Let them sell, wish them much success and also those who buy it. Its good to discover the own intentions. What does it change for you? Why do you lift up this topic?

Dhamma is about following tasks and watch for ones own responsibilities, it not about right. Rights are pretty trivial from a Dhamma view.
Just that! *smile*


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

Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:56 am

May you all become enlightened.

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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:54 pm

Just that! *smile*


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

Maarten2
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Maarten2 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:47 pm

Okay, I tried to compress my point of view into a single sentence:

It would be beneficial if there were a good English translation of the Pali Cannon (or parts therefore of) which may be reproduced with or without modification [1], with or without compensation [2], with or without attribution [3], commercially or non-commercially [4], so that more people can benefit from the Dhamma.

This is a cause that I could commit myself to, because I benefited from the Dhamma immensely already and fell other people should as well. Since English is not my native language, I can never accomplish this alone in this lifetime, so my only hope is to convince others.

That said, I try not to get attached to it and I am also aware that others might not assign this cause huge significance. Thanks to your replies, I can understand that people might even think that it is counterproductive, either for practical reasons (it might become more difficult to fund publishing projects, wrong translations might float around) or principle reasons (people would not assign the teaching huge value if they were available for free, people should not be able to earn money from the Dhamma/work of others, translators might not get proper attribution).


Footnotes:
[1] Such as alternative translations, corrections and using it as a basis for translations into other languages.
[2] This is actually the most significant point. Some people might not be able to pay for it. Others might not be willing to pay for it, e.g. because they are not Theravada Buddhists. Even in this case it might prevent misunderstanding of the Dhamma.
[3] This is the least important point, but I don't think attribution should be enforced legally. It might not always be practical.
[4] See my post above.
May you all become enlightened.

danieLion
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby danieLion » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Hi Maarten2,
FYI:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pali_Text_Society
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_P ... on_Society
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_Pub ... blications

Notice the title of the Main Page on this second link.

Further notice the GENEROUS spirit ALL these groups were founded on.

Also, none of them, including Bhikkhu Bodhi, claims to have copyrighted the Dhamma. AFAIK, most if not all of the canon can be obtained freely (whether it's "legal" or "illegal" I'll leave to you to decide), especially if you can read Pali.

I've seen Thanissaro anthologies for sale on Amazon when inside all his books is a "For Free Distribution Only" statement, and I've also found Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya translation free on the internet too.

When I hold my hard copy of BB's translations of the Samyutta or Majjhima in my hands and recall how much they cost, I can't help think, "What a great deal! How do they keep the cost so low?" It fills me with a sense of deep gratitude. The notes alone are worth what I paid for them.

When I was a Christian theologian (many, many years ago), I had a dozen or so free translations of the Bible. Free Bibles are abundant. But if I wanted a study Bible, that cost money, and when I wanted the study Bible that was the most literal translation but still intelligible to English readers (New American Standard), that cost even more money.

And don't get me started on the costs of running a Publications organization. I don't know if their financials are public, but I'd guess they're close to running at a deficit.

metta

danieLion
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby danieLion » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:02 pm


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Hanzze
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:15 am

Just that! *smile*


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

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yuttadhammo
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:12 am

Last edited by yuttadhammo on Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.




Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:20 am


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robertk
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby robertk » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:35 am

ZOLAG operate a good system. All their books are sold through amazon or wisdom (http://www.zolag.co.uk/) but they also put all their books on pdf for free download for those who don't need hardcopy. The hardcopies are also available for free at the Dhamma study and Supoort foundation in Thailand - if one has the energy to pick them up.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:39 am


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robertk
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby robertk » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:41 am

yes that is true!

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yuttadhammo
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Re: Copyright on the Dhamma

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:48 am





Upasampadā: 4 December, 2001


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