Several years ago, I secured copyright permission from Dr. Towns to turn several
of his free online books into eSword modules. Because they are available only in
.pdf format, I did not have a good method of converting the text into something that
would work well with eSword (.rtf - or, “Rich Text Format,” in case you’re interested...).
So, although I had permission, I did not immediately go to work on the texts.
Fast forward three years: I am introduced to a free software package called “Calibre”.
Calibre is an e-book reading software program. It’s intended purpose is to read etexts
from many different providers all in one platform. One of the tools inside of Calibre
is .pdf conversion - and it converts to .rtf. Well, with that discovery, I was off
Last year (2012) I formatted a dozen of Dr. Towns’ modules for eSword. But there
was a quirk; when I asked for permission to convert Dr. Towns’ free online library
into modules, I inadvertently requested specific permission for eSword only (back
in 2009, I was a dedicated eSworder). And his permission specifically stated that
copyright permission was granted for eSword only.
Hmm. That created a problem. I now create modules for two software programs (eSword
and theWord); and - now I am a dedicated TW user. What to do? I probably could have
“stretched” the permission and distributed Towns’ modules for TW anyway; but I opted
not to do that. My solution, at the time, was to write a blog about how to convert
eSword modules for use with TW - and then hoped that the TW users would download
the eSword modules and do the conversion themselves.
Copyright law is not only complicated, it is convoluted. I do not pretend to be a
copyright lawyer, but I have done some study in this area. US courts have established
precedent that if you have a legal copy of something in one format, you are allowed
to make it in another. EXAMPLE: If you purchase a music CD, you are allowed to convert
the music on the CD to .mp3 format for personal use. So - I’ve come to a decision
that I hope will be a blessing to the TW user base here at DDT.
Starting in July, 2013, I’m going to make all of my Towns’ modules available for
use with theWord. Every module download will include the TW .gbk module; but it will
also include the eSword version. In this manner, I hope to uphold not only the letter
of the law, but the spirit of the law as well. TW users may either store the eSword
module on their computer - or simply just delete it.
Elmer Towns’ writings focus on that which is practical. The dozen modules I’ve converted
are excellent resources for conservative evangelicals. Those TW users who don’t have
them that are going to enjoy these modules very much.