For many years now I’ve watched debates on sharia and copyright—and specifically copyright on works of `ilm al-din—go round and round with very little new progress made. This is, I suppose merely reflective of the same ground reality of near-universal disregard of copyright which shapes the general debate.

But what’s surprising is that some of what seems to draw the most ire from those in favor of protecting content creators’ investments is the habit—especially in the Arab world— of “unscrupulous” publishers reprinting the texts of critical editions prepared at great expense. We’ll ignore the fact that many critical editions are actually masters and doctoral theses. The simple, plain truth is that a critical edition of a public domain work (and it would be extremely rare to find a critical edition of a non-public domain work) is not a copyrightable work in itself. Frontmatter, footnotes and so on will be subject to copyright, but the text itself is merely a reproduction of something already free to all—no matter how much effort and cost was expended in preparing it. I suspect that even those footnotes which point out variations between manuscripts are also part of the public domain as they constitute facts, and one can not copyright a list of facts. Yes, a pdf of a scanned copy of a critical edition is probably a copyright violation, but printing a separate edition based on the text prepared by the editor should be perfectly legal. And unless the proponents of shar`i copyright—which in my opinion has no leg to stand on aside from local law—are willing to contend that the sharia’s protection of creator effort and intellectual property extends beyond what the relevant statutes and treaties require, it must be ceded that this action is entirely permissible.

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The Dawat-e Islami IT team has done something incredible in putting together their Fatawa Rizwiyya Sharif application. Unfortunately, this team seems to be an all Microsoft shop. We’ll make dua for them on that.

Meanwhile, there seems to have been a slight oversight in releasing the software. Insha’ Allah we can get them to devote a few minutes of tawajjuh to this and rebuild the executable they distribute.

The problem is this: the app depends on [something related to] the Jet DB Engine, which is not only deprecated, but does not run natively under 64 bit versions of Windows. This does not mean that the software cannot run under 64-bit OSes, but rather the OS needs to know to run it app as a 32-bit app. Unfortunately Visual Studio compiles apps by default as platform agnostic, and 64-bit users receive an error. IIRC the error is something like “Microsoft.Jet.OleDb.4.0 provider is not registered on the local machine.”

While we wait for a fixed version, there is a fix you can perform locally. To change the 32-bit execution flag, just run:

CoreFlags.exe FatawaeRazaviya.exe /32BIT+

(Determining the full path for each of these executables is left as an exercise for the reader.)

CoreFlags is a part of the .NET SDK. If this is not already installed, download the latest version of the installer. (You can use the “for Windows 7” version on Vista – and it will probably correspond to the version of .NET you have installed.) In the installer, you only need to check: Developer Tools > Windows Development Tools > .NET Development Tools.

sdk_install

After changing this one flag, the app will work beautifully, assuming you have taken the necessary language setup steps.

Allah reward Ala Hazrat رضی اللہ عنہ and Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Qadiri and all of those working for Dawat-e Islami, and especially the programmers and ulama who have taken part in this effort a thousand times for every click of every user, and 100,000 times for every time someone acts on a point learned from a work prepared or question answered using this software.

I’m not really a Windows or .NET person, so if I’ve made any mistake in my explanation, forgive me and correct me.

The AP government is trying to spread awareness of a fatwa from Deoband condemning power theft. Read the rest of this entry »

Eid and Execution

December 29, 2006

This official – quoted by the Times in their coverage of the chaos surrounding the plans for the execution – is undoubtedly right in emphasizing the value in doing this right. You’d think that would be a lesson everyone would have learned by now. (Not to mention that due process and the rule of law and so on are the most precious aspects of what America has to offer the world. :

An Iraqi official close to the negotiations expressed deep disappointment that, after years of forensic investigation, detailed litigation, and careful deliberation, the process could be compromised in the final hours by politically driven haste.

“According to the law, no execution can be carried out during the holidays” said another official, “After all the hard work we have done, why would we break the law and ruin what we have built?”

The Muslim holiday of Eid begins Saturday for Sunnis, and Sunday for Shiites, who now control the government.

Iraqi law seemed to indicate that executions were forbidden on the holiday.

What interests/frightens me, though, is the way the Times, and no doubt countless others, are reporting it, as if Sunnis and Shi`a celebrate Eid on different days, like Christmas in the Eastern and Western church. Actually, it break down that way, and the reason some “Sunnis” in Iraq might be celebrating Eid on Saturday is because they are trying to follow the Saudi-Wahhabi government which has a long standing policy of ensuring that both Eids and the Hajj (which is connected) are celebrated on a day when it would have been impossible to have Eid according to orthodox Sunni criteria. I know nothing of Shi`i fiqh and how they arrived at their conclusion, but it would almost certainly be the same – or a day later – had traditional Sunni fiqh (or any standards whatsoever) been applied to the situation in Iraq. Besides, orthodox Islam also says that Eid is when the government says it is. The Iraqi government is at least as legitimate as the Saudis – so if the hujjaj have to have their Eid on Saturday, then the Iraqi Wahhabis can grumble their way to the Eid grounds on Sunday. And, of course, the rest.

Iraq Prepares to Execute Hussein – New York Times

Some Moonsighting details.

Saudi Lawyer Takes On Religious Court System – washingtonpost.com