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Is it legal to quote Bible verses

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:45 pm
by Halie0201
I have a Facebook account and started to post messages on the Facebook from 3 years ago. I usually posted some Chinese Bible verses(Not very long, just a few verses) on the Facebook and sometimes I will reply others' questions with a few Bible verses. Recently I learnt that the Chinese Bible is copyrighted and anyone who quotes the verses should give credit to the author... I just post the Bible verses for my personal use and sometimes quote some Bible verses to discuss questions with my Facebook friends. Is it illegal if I just keep the verses there? Or do I have to delete all these verses? Eagerly looking forward your help!!

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:44 am
by AndyJ
Hi Halie,
I don't think you have done anything seriously wrong. If the Chinese version of the Bible which you quoted from is just a straight translation of an English (or other Western) language version, then it is the translator(s) who may hold the copyright, although possibly this was transferred to the publisher as part of the publishing agreement. I imagine that the publisher is/was a bible missionary society or the like. I would also expect that, like most Western bibles, there are in fact several different versions which have been published at different times over the years by different publishers, and so it may be hard for anyone to say exactly which one you have quoted from. Do you know when your bible was published, as it may be out of copyright by now?
Under UK law you can quote from sources such as this as part of the fair dealing exceptions (section 30(1ZA)), and although technically you should name the author/translator, the law does permit a citation to be omitted if it is impractical to provide
one. Since you can't go back and amend the Facebook entries, I think that will suffice.