Is The KJV Copyrighted?

Many people write in defense of the KJV. An often used argument is that the KJV doesn’t have a copyright so it is freely available to all people. These folks will often point out that in contrast, modern versions contain copyrights which limit their scope of reach and (as the argument goes) means that the authors of these copyrighted versions have less than honorable intent, desiring to limit it’s impact and profit from it. They argue that this gives a copyrighted work less credibility and as a result we aren’t able to fully trust it as we can the KJV which isn’t copyrighted.

First of all, a copyright bears no significance on the accuracy or inaccuracy of it, a copyright makes the work much more trustworthy in my opinion since it’s filtered through many different methods of oversight for accuracy and isn’t subjected to random changes.

Secondly, the KJV does actually have a copyright. Actually this is partially true. Technically in the US anything prior to 1922 is free of copyrights. This is simply because of the lack of copyright laws at that time. If that were the only issue then the KJV would not have a copyright. The problem, however, is that the KJV is not a work produced by an American citizen. The KJV is actually copyrighted under the Crown Copyright of England therefore the copyright of the KJV falls under the jurisdiction of England. Since the Crown Copyright is a perpetual copyright it will never end. The US has agreed to honor copyright laws of other countries. As a result the KJV is actually copyrighted here in the US as well. It is rarely enforced simply because of logistical issues – its just not practical. But the KJV is under copyright here in the US.

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  1. I’m commenting here because there there is no ‘reply’ box on the article ’12 Contradictions Found in the KJV);

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