Simon Cozens, a missionary working in Japan has a nice little rant about the confusing license for use of the NET Bible. He finds the complexity of the license to be rage inducing (see his image above) and suggests as an alternative: the Creative Commons system. He laments the lack of any Bible translations available under Creative Commons. I know there is at least one: the Bíblia Livre. And the WEB Bible is public domain.
Simon says this is an example of “Why we don’t let Biblical scholars write licences.”
Let me just add that there isn’t a “one-size fits all” solution for Bible licenses. Some Bibles can and should be given away while others which have been produced at great financial expense need to recoup the investment.
What Bible translators and Bible societies need to consider is the effect of tying down translations with excessively restrictive licenses. In general I advocate giving away something. Whether that be an electronic only version, or part but not all of the translation. The NET Bible is available for free with limited notes as a SWORD module but their full notes are available online and also with the commercial version.
Several publishers have shown that giving away electronic versions actually increases their sales since it creates awareness, goodwill and eventually people want to buy a print copy.
Check out Simon’s post here: “Free” Bibles, which aren’t