[b-hebrew] Dead Sea Scrolls

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Nov 9 22:26:23 EST 2006

On 11/9/06, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 09/11/2006 00:19, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> > On 11/8/06, kenneth greifer wrote:
> >
> >> I think this site is good for looking at the Dead Sea Scrolls .
> >> http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/qumdir.htm
> >>
> >
> > The question is: By what right does this Fred Miller have to:
> > 1) place photographs of the Isaiah (and other) scrolls on the
> > web?
> >
> By what right does anyone claim copyright on these scrolls
> and so the right to restrict public access to them?

This is really a ridiculous claim seeing as how the Israel
Museum obviously took it upon itself to place a very high
quality image online.  We have the scrolls published today
in various journals and books.  So no one today is trying to
restrict public access to the scrolls.

But then taking these and scanning them on a computer,
putting these online, and charging for their distribution
on a CD-ROM?  He even quotes a letter from the curator
of the Israel Museum on his site.  I doubt he approached
the curator saying, "Hi there, I wanted to place unauthorized
duplications of images of scrolls entrusted to your care.  Is
it alright if I note that my images are the best anyone can
ever make and that what you have is no longer readable?"
Rather, this approach and exchange with the curator must
have had some elements of deception on his part to
disguise his real intent in his question.

> > 2) use scholarship in his comments without even a footnote
> > or list of references for you to know who suggested a
> > particular idea originally, and then copyrighting all of these
> > comments as completely his own?
> He wrote this for a more popular audience for whom detailed references
> would not be appropriate, but it would have been good to see a general
> list of works cited. As for the copyright notice, it says nothing more
> than is anyway legally implicit.

Passing other scholars' work as your own is plaigarism.  It may
be legal, but not ethical.  If he places images of the scrolls, column by
column online, or even just transcriptions of column by column, he has
passed from writing for a more popular audience to writing for an audience
who deserves to know where he can look up various ideas that he

> > 3) sell both his comments and the photographs on a
> > CD-ROM for his own personal monetary gain?

> If you consider the amount of material on his CD, most of which is out
> of copyright because of its date, $24.95 would hardly seem to bring him
> significant gain.

It is still profit to be gained from using illegitimately, in
legal and ethical senses, the work of others.  How is it different from
me taking the recent Ugaritic books that Logos published, placing them
on a CD-ROM and distributing it for a "mere" $15 a piece, in the name
of not restricting access to scholarship and not claiming any "signficant"

Yitzhak Sapir

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