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I want to make an iOS app. In particular I wish to create a bible journaling app. A full bible, but with space to journal or draw in it. They are found in stores all over. It would be my own custom design, layout, etc, but I would be using an already published version of the Bible. I would want to charge a small price but it would be mainly for my artwork and time making the app and such. Can I do that or do I need to find a bible translation that is specifically out of copyright?
Asked on September 6, 2017 under Business Law, Kentucky
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
Your last line is the answer: you need an out-of-copyright version of the bible. Even works that have been around essentially forever (like the Bible) can be copyrighted in that a particular translation, version, arrangement, etc. can be copyright the publisher, translator, or editor who translated, modified, or edited it. If a version is copyrighted, you cannot use it without infringing copyright and therefore exposing yourself to liability (i.e. to being sued). But if you use an out-of-copyright version as your base, you can do this safely.