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Elmer Towns Modules

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 and running.

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.