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"Copyright" status of Authorized (KJV) Bible in GB




It is common knowledge that the KJV Bible is in the public domain in most countries. It is also frequently reported that the KJV is "copyrighted" in England and other parts of Great Britain. I propose to document the best sources I can find for the legal status of reproduction rights in Great Britain.

In summary, the KJV Bible is technically not under copyright protection at all, but King James and all successors to the throne of England have reserved a royal right to determine who may print the Bible and on what terms. At the moment there is a legal document called a "letters patent" issued to Cambridge University Press, giving them the exclusive right to print the Bible and/or license others to do so. In other parts of Great Britain, other organizations may have that right.

From Cambridge, http://www.cambridge.org/bibles/about/rights-and-permissions/

Quote:
Rights in The Authorized Version of the Bible (King James Bible) in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown and administered by the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.


Apparently Cambridge is willing to allow copies of the KJV at no charge, but require that an accurate text be used.

The 1998 law on copyright apparently preserved the royal prerogative for the KJV, while eliminating all other exceptions to modern limited-term copyrights (except perhaps for the play, Peter Pan).

I intend to add further documentation to this post. Anyone is welcome to propose reliable references in the comments.



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