There is a Hebrew prayer book published known as Tehillas Hashem which has collections based on passages of the Talmud [printed more than a thousand years ago so in the public domain] as well as Biblical verses [also in the public domain], and certain other public domain sources.

The only thing is that it's hard to find actual public domain copies from the original sources, but, considering that the format in which its written, including the order of the above passages, is not copywritten [I have confirmed this], then if I were to theoretically type it out on my own, and give the original sources [from public domain works] as notes, would it be legal for me to sell it, even though its already published under other companies?

If not would there be anything I should change to do this?

1 Answer 1


You'd think this would be a simple question. Some textual object that was put together a hundred years ago or so would be in the public domain, but that isn't necessarily the object you have in your hands. The difference between the two might just be graphic (typeface, line breaks), but it could be content (including pointing i.e. niqqud). Ancient texts often require skillful and artistic reconstruction. So the answer depends on whether or not that version includes protected content, and you can avoid that protected content.

  • Interesting, thanks for the answer, but imagine if I were to look only in the original sources, and by hand, manually retype the individual section from each of the primary sources, add my own english commentary in between lines or on the side etc., and create an entirely new layout that has never before been published, would that be ok? Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 6:42
  • Isn't the whole point of the "skilful reconstruction" not to be artistic, but rather to produce as authentic a copy as possible?
    – grovkin
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 13:19
  • As long as you get the point about recensions vs. printings, and the text you use is an out-of-copyright edition, that should be okay. E.g. use the Bomberg Talmud
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 16:24
  • @user6726 what about bible [hebrew] verses from wikisource Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 2:00
  • I played chase-a-source for a few links and could not find a purportedly public domain Hebrew version. The problem is that a "Hebrew Bible" could be an English translation of the Tanakh. But I'm sure that an original Masoretic Text must be out there. For example originalbibles.com/masoretic-hebrew-bible-1894, but that's not a promise.
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 2:32

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