Blogging, Copyright, and Bibles

Something’s been on my mind for a while, and I think it’s something for us bloggers to remember. It’s a little thing called copyright. We’ve got a really great group of bloggers here on WordPress. People who, from my experience, want to blog with integrity and respect for others. And we’re so grateful for this!

The little community we’re involved with here feels like an extended, wide-spread family. People from all parts of the USA, Great Britain, Singapore, Denmark, Italy, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, and Central Europe – just to name a few!

And I love how these bloggers ASK before reblogging things. And GIVE CREDIT when they use things.

Actually, I think any true and serious blogger would always strive to do so. We bloggers know, first-hand, the work and time involved in keeping a blog. And how much of hearts and souls we pour into them.

But I have noticed that we bloggers often forget to do this with the Bible.

Just as I did for a long time. Probably because we don’t think of the Bible in terms of copyright. After all, it’s GOD’S Word – and he owns it, right? Well, not exactly…We can’t just publish Bible verses at whim. Oops!

Other than Bibles in the Public Domain, all translations have their own copyrights. Sometimes these allow you to quote verses without permission. Although some don’t allow any at all without written permission.

True, it IS God’s Word, and no one else can own that, or take credit for it. But I learned that the translators and/or publishers do own the translation work! Bible translations have copyrights!

At first I thought, “That’s not fair! It’s God’s Word, not theirs!”

But what they own is the hard work and financial outlay that have gone into the translation work. And looking at that way, I can really understand. Someone put in a lot of hard work, and they deserve credit for it.

So I decided, “OK, I need to respect Bible copyright. It’s law, and it’s right to do so.” Then I went through and changed every verse, and posted a copyright notice in the sidebar. Even though the translation we use is in the Public Domain — because it still wasn’t my hard work that did it!!

The total verses we can quote varies from translation to translation. But probably the best way to learn is search on Bible Gateway, which has a lot of versions.

To find the right version just search for “bible gateway KJV (or whichever) bible. You’ll find great info on the version’s accuracy, translation philosophy, expression, simplicity, etc. Along with copyright information. But the safest way is to contact the publisher directly.

Of course, with Public Domain translations, we don’t have copyright worries.

But unfortunately, many of these use archaic language like: the King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, the Webster Bible, and the American Standard Version. The only modern Public Domain versions I found are the Bible in Basic English and the World English Bible.

Perhaps I err too much on the side of being over-cautious. But I would really hate getting sued for using Bible verses.

(Not that I’m sure any Bible publisher would sue – but they legally could.)

I mean what a contradiction in terms that would present! “Bible blogger sued for using Bible verses without permission.” How embarrassing! But you know, even without such risks, I just want to do right. Even with little things like quoting Bible verses!

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. (C.S. Lewis)

Had you ever thought about Bible copyrights and blogging? What do think about it?

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Sheila]

10 thoughts on “Blogging, Copyright, and Bibles

    1. Well, Torre, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who gets nervous about these things, lol! That’s why I wrote for official permission to use the ESV. Hope they grant it!

      But what makes me most nervous is just putting out Bible teaching at all! Even though we’ve been “in the ministry” 26 years, I still often think “Who am I to think I can teach anyone?” or “What if I get it all wrong?” Thankfully, the Lord reminds me that it all comes from him – and that if I try to remain true to him and the Scriptures, he’ll help me get it right. And even help me fix any mistakes! He is so good!! So need for nail biting, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You raise an important matter: abiding by copyright laws as bloggers. In the front of my NIV Bible, on the copyright page, the publishers have stated that non-salable media does NOT require a complete copyright notice; all that’s needed are the initials (NIV) at the end of each quotation. That’s easy enough to do! And that simple addition will acknowledge those who’ve worked so hard to provide us up-to-date translation and scholarship. (I, for one, need to do some backtracking to make sure I’ve complied!!) Thank you, Sheila, for drawing attention to copyright compliance. You’re right: it’s a matter of Christian integrity. Thank you also for becoming a follower of my blog. I pray you’ll find the posts meaningful!

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    1. Thanks Nancy. I’m not even sure what caused me to look into it. But I’m so glad I did, as I do just want to blog with integrity. Every translation has different policies, so it’s always best to research those. And yes, it doesn’t take a lot to do – just a moment of time! And yes, I love your posts! The are both meaningful and encouraging! Keep ’em coming!

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