(Tim) Here's a post that should be read by everyone who cares about getting old books written by fathers in the faith the broadest possible distribution around the world. To summarize: Christian corporations that claim copyright for old books in the public domain that they have digitized, formatted, and distributed electronically are making false claims. And if they threaten legal action against fellow believers who reproduce those digital copies, their threats have no legal merit; but more, their threats are contrary to Scripture:
Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? (1 Corinthians 6:7)
Yes, it's a long read (and don't miss the comments), but it's quite interesting to find out what copyright law really says about works in the public domain.
This is a crucial matter. The church around the world would be well-served by the free electronic distribution of works in the public domain that really are vastly superior in scholarship and doctrine than most of the stuff being churned out today by evangelical corporations owned by, for instance, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (Zondervan).