Alternatives to Obsidian for basic PKM (Craft? Ulysses?)

I used this script to download the Bible in Markdown from Bible Gateway. It requires some knowledge of the command line. I think you can download whatever translation you prefer, but I’m sure some are technically protected by copyright.

By analogy …

I will take my ice cream in the plain, no fat version and add my own flavors and embellishments. Now let me get back to figuring out again how to use the plug in that allows me to strip bark and where to find the supply of branches that have the spice I want so that I can have a dash of cinnamon flavor tonight. All will be perfect then.

I agree fully with the foundations for your three tenets. Some of us do however like not having to rediscover how good a reasonable quality french vanilla ice cream really is because following such tenets religiously forces us to roll our own ice cream from ice shavings.


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@Bmosbacker It looks like that script and this one are related. Selfire1’s README suggests that using it to grab the ESV is possibly problematic (though it’s available on the Bible Gateway).

It might be okay, given ESV’s copyright page, which seems to refer only to extensive quoting.

In any case, changing the translation is relatively simple, and if ESV turns out not to be okay, there are lots of others that are downloadable with the script.

I figured that might be the case. I have everything in digital form in the Logos platinum package, but I’d like a version in plain text or markdown if I can find it, i’m certainly happy to pay for it but I suspect providing it in text form would result in pirating and copyright violations.

Thanks, I only want to use it for personal use, and I would not be sharing it with anyone and, I’m certainly willing to pay for it. I’ll check this out, thanks.

Given that the Bible was probably written long enough ago so that it has passed into the public domain, what exactly does the ESV claim copyright to?

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No export tool is flawless. The more features the harder export becomes.

The baseline is plain text. With markdown that is pretty much what you have. The problem is that no-one wants just plain text, they want linking, formatting, tags and graphs. All those “extras” are harder to export and dependent on what features an app offers.

Nearly all apps will export the the text, possibly with some formatting, the rest depends on the export features of where you’re coming from and import features of where your moving the text too.

If all your files are plain text files anyway, and all apps export the text I don’t see what there is to lose in using a more fully featured app.

The problem I see with markdown apps are the endless threads of how to do “x” because plain text just doesn’t do it. Then there is the endless cobbling together of workflows and scripts and plugins. And all the “futzing” (thanks @Medievalist ) this requires to make it work.

Now with apps like Craft available, I just don’t see the point. I’m actually spending my time working on my text rather than thinking and researching how I can do “x” with it. I cannot tell you how much time this saves and brain stress this removes!

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The claim isn’t on the text, but on the translation.

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All this is true, but links to your daily notes are not preserved in a Craft export (which is a big deal for me), and sub-pages in Craft are part of the parent note in Markdown exports (not my mental framework for a sub-page).

I think Craft is great, but those two limitations embrace me from using it long-term. I wish I could!

Reading through their copyright gives me the impression that it’s fine; so long as you’re not re-publishing or even using it anywhere else.

Thanks. I’m not a lawyer, but that makes no sense to me. I get that it takes work to translate, but it sounds like I can take the work of others and through transforming it to another language then claim it as my own.

I know this is taking things way off topic, but if I run the Bible through Google translate, can I then copyright it? Could Google?

FWIW on this, I’m not a lawyer, but it helps me to think about it like movies:

Old classics like Nosferatu or It’s a Wonderful Life are often in the public domain, which means you could watch it for free. But what does that mean to you as a consumer?

Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Because the creative work (movie/Bible) is free, but you can’t just grab the negative (or original Aramaic/Hebrew/Greek texts) and play it (or read it) at your home. Not without special equipment (or education).

So you are dependent on third parties to transfer the film negative, clean it up, and colour grade it for your screen. (Or in the case of the Bible, literally translate it to English.)

In terms of films, let’s say a wonderful company like Criterion makes an exceptional transfer or your favourite public domain classic. They can charge you for their work, and you would pay. Their transfer is not in the public domain.

Similarly, a Bible translation is not free — you pay for the work of the translators.

You could, therefore, do exactly what you’re describing, if you had access to the original texts. But Google Translate would probably do a poor job, and nobody would pay for it. Similarly, you could scan the original negative of a public domain film (at tremendous expense) and colour grade it (at tremendous expense) and re-work the audio to modern standards (at tremendous expense), and give it away. (Unlikely.)

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Listen here: the nearest Dairy Queen is a 45 minute highway drive away, so this analogy hurts.

But it is a great analogy. Indeed, because that DQ is too far away for regular consumption, we’ve figured out how to make a decent blizzard at home. And for that, I am grateful that cookie dough and brownie bits are features that I don’t need to depend on Ice Cream LLC to mix for me!

You still don’t want to find any bugs, though.

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It depends on what you mean by Bible? Bible translations are somewhat more involved than google translate.

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To present a much easier to do counter example, could I take a photograph of an Ansel Adams image, colorize it, and then claim copyright over it?

I do not have the actual answer to this. If Ansel Adams’ image is in the public domain, then based on what I know about film transfers (which probably have whole different copyright laws), yes. But photography has always had very problematic copyright laws that seem extremely unclear to almost all parties involved, all the time.

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If you were to colorize a black and white image in the public domain, your copyright would only extend to the specific colorization work that you yourself did, not to the underlying image itself. Someone else could colorize the image in a different way and not run afoul of your copyright.

A colorized image is a derivative work for copyright purposes. (A derivative work is a modification of an original work.) Derivative works can be copyrighted, but the modifications have to be both substantial and original. A minimal, rote modification wouldn’t qualify, which probably rules out being able to copyright the version of War and Peace that Google translate might spit out.


You couldn’t run the original texts of the Bible through Google Translate because it does not support the original languages. In any case, even the concepts behind Biblical Hebrew are far removed from English or other modern languages. Translating a 3,500 year old document is very different to translating a menu in a French restaurant.

There is much scholarly endeavour in translating the Bible, with judgements being made on the correct words to offer accurate meaning. Bible translations vary from those that attempt word-for-word translation (eg., ESV) to those that try to better convey the thoughts of the original author in a way that makes sense today (eg., NLT).

In any case, translations of any public domain work are considered by law original works, the translators being authors, making careful judgements to protect the meaning and flow of the original work.


Unless you’re reading the Bible in manuscript (which is possible!), you’re using a translation. The Crown holds copyright on the Revised King James (his Majesty’s Stationary Office). The NIV and Jerusalem and ESV and RSV, and the various Catholic variants (Roman, American Roman, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodoxm Aremenian Orthodox . . . ) are all also protected by copyright.

Moreover, each translation has other stuff; notes, annotations, emendations, etc. so the editorial apparatus is covered by copyright, just like a recent edition of Shakespeare or Milton is covered by Copyright.

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If you find a digital source, write and ask, stipulating that it is for personal use, and will not be published or distributed.The Bible is one of the easiest things to get permission for. You might also look at the large academic text archives at Oxford and other universities, to see if they list it and what they ask regarding permissions and use.

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