For example, there's a website that has the entire hebrew bible text online [and I assume the original hebrew letters [without translation] is public domain [correct me if I'm wrong]] but the website says at the bottom

כל הזכויות בטקסטים הספרותיים כפי שהם מופיעים באתר "ספרות הקודש" הן של מכון ממרא. החומר מופיע באתר סנונית על סמך רישיון מאת מכון ממרא ובאדיבותו הרבה. החיפוש באתר זה הוא בשיתוף מורפיקס

כל הזכויות שמורות © 2003-2009 (ראה תנאי שימוש)

{free translation}

all of the rights, in the books' texts, according to how they are published in [the website named] "holy books] belong to [the organization known as] "machon mamray". The material appears on the website "sniut" [the base domain] based on a license from "machon mamray", and by courtesy of it, much of the [content that is] searched in this website is in collaboration with [another company] "moorfeeks"

all rights reserved

the point is, they have sme kind of license for all of this text, and it says "all rights reserved", but the original hebrew text itself is [to the best of my knowledge] in the public domain, can I extract only the hebrew text itself and republish it with no issues?

  • 1
    There is no single Hebrew text. All extant versions are assembled from multiple prior source documents. Probably, all of the ultimate source documents are out of copyright. But the selection of which sources to use in which combinations when there are subtle variations between them might very well not be as ancient.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 21, 2021 at 0:22
  • @ohwilleke again, assuming I can check it that the website is no different than anything else that has existed for thousands of years, would I be able to republish it, and to what extent would it have to be "different"? Oct 21, 2021 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


Someone similar say

While it is quite true that no one can have a copyright that excludes all others from preparing their own unique copy of the Bible or other public domain works for copyright protection, our Bibles and other materials are not exactly like any others and are fully protected by copyright laws in all countries

So for example, I could theoretically take an ancient public-domain texts and republish it in some modified form. Copyright does not protect the original, but it does protect my modifications. To the extent that Mechon Mamre does include protected material (of their own creation), and Snunit redistributed that material with permission, Mechon Mamre might sue you for copyright infringement. Since they don't say what their creative contribution is, it's hard to evaluate the merits of their claim.

  • OK, if I could test it to ensure that all of the hebrew text has no additional modifications, would it be theretically legal to republish it? Oct 20, 2021 at 23:54
  • "Mechon Mamre might sue you for copyright infringement for violating the TOS." Do you mean "OR for violating the TOS". Copyright infringement does not depend on TOS and breach of contract does not depend upon copyright (unless you are saying that the TOS is a unilateral license to use the material subject to conditions).
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 21, 2021 at 0:21
  • 1
    "for" in the sense "because you", not "as a cause of legal action"
    – user6726
    Oct 21, 2021 at 0:31
  • @bluejayke if you could test it then you'd already have the public domain text in your possession
    – Tiger Guy
    Oct 21, 2021 at 17:54
  • @TigerGuy OK but the question is regarding republishing Oct 21, 2021 at 23:20

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