This post was originally a comment on my previous post about copyright. I have decided to make it a separate post because of its importance, and have added the last part, after the quote.
Stan Gundry of Zondervan, in his own comment on a post which is mostly written by him, while not entirely agreeing with me on these issues, confirms that the critical text of the Greek New Testament, and the Hebrew Bible, is not protected by copyright in the USA:
I am not a copyright attorney myself, but I have had lengthy phone conversations with a lawyer who is credited with being the best in the USA. Here’s the deal, at least according to USA copyright law. Ancient texts such as those we are dealing with in the OT (Hebrew/Aramaic) and NT (Greek) are in the public domain and are not protected by copyright. In fact (and this is controversial), even the critical texts as reconstructed by textual critics cannot be protected by enforceable copyrights.
This is indeed good news. It means that, at least in the USA, the German Bible Study does not have a leg to stand on to in its refusal to allow MorphGNT and Re:Greek to use the UBS Greek New Testament text.
I am tempted to compare this issue with the attempts, which backfired, of Mark Brewer to stifle debate about the former SPCK bookshops – a saga which is continuing, and still being documented by Phil Groom. The comparison is not entirely fair because the German Bible Society has not taken the same kind of active role that Mark Brewer took in demanding that material was removed from the Internet. Nevertheless I think they will find, just as Mark Brewer did, that their restrictions on the availability of their text will backfire on them.
I have a complete electronic copy of the UBS Greek New Testament 4th edition text. I will not publish it myself not least because the copyright position here in the UK is not as clear as in the USA. But I see no reason not to provide this text to people in the USA for them to use as they please.