One of my standard “pampagising” (to-wake-up) questions in midway copyright discussion of media law class:
Me: O, sinong may copyright ng Bible? (ok, who owns the copyright to the Bible?)
(class laughs. Sometimes, a student or two will pose an equivalent answer.)
Student: Ma’am… si Moses?
Me: … Hindi naman siya nagsulat ng tablets, di ba. (did he write the tablets– he didn’t, right?) Kumidlat nga eh. (there was thunder and lightning) (class laughs) . Who authored the Genesis?
Me: Pa’no mo isa-cite ang author? (how will you cite the author?)
xxx xxx xxx xxx
(… the answer is, every version of the Bible has a publisher who has a copyright over their published version (the versions may differ in translations, phrasing, etc.); for citations, the publisher is cited. But the content itself, in the sense that it cannot be appropriated by any individual, is already in the public domain and does not have anyone’s copyright, except, as stated, as specific versions by publishers. ).