Many of the General Conference talks are copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve (a copyright and licensing entity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). We are using the talks in this corpus under what is called "Fair Use", and (as is discussed below) this relies on providing access only through the web interface. We cannot redistribute any of the 10,000 talks in the corpus in full-text format (i.e. the entire talk) or we would jeopardize our legal status. Sorry -- no exceptions -- to anyone, at any time, or for any reason. Many of these talks are available, however, from other sites on the Web.

The following are the four criteria used to determine whether materials fall under the provisions of the Fair Use Law. As can be seen, by allowing people to search the talks only via this web interface, we are within the scope of the Fair Use Law.


What favors Fair Use status

Corpus of LDS General Conference Talks

The amount and substantiality of the portion made available

Very small portions of the original text, rather than full-text access

Under no circumstances whatsoever do end users at our site have access to entire talks, unlike other sites like (see links to talks here and here). All access is via the web interface, and the vast majority of what users see are simply charts and tables showing the frequency of words or phrases in different parts of the corpus. Access to small portions of the original text is more of an "afterthought", rather than the central feature of the interface.

Access to actual portions of the original text is limited to very short "Keyword in Context" displays, where users see just a handful of words to the left and the right of the word(s) searched for. In addition, all access is logged, and users can only perform a limited number of searches per day. As a result, it would be difficult for end users to re-create even one paragraph from the original text, and it would be virtually impossible to re-create an entire page of text, much less one entire talk.

This "snippet defense" (which relies on limited access to the original text via small snippets from the web interface) is the same one used by Google Books for its use of millions of copyrighted materials. In addition, we have consulted two lawyers who specialize in Internet copyright law (names available upon request). They have both stated that because of our limited access to end users, as well as our status with regards to the other three factors shown here, we are clearly in accord with the provisions of the Fair Use statute.

The purpose and character of the use

Academic, non-commercial

Our use of the texts is strictly for academic research, and is purely non-commercial.

The nature of the copyrighted work

Non-creative works

There are no creative works (e.g. works of fiction) in the corpus, but rather these are talks dealing with LDS doctrine and practice.

The effect of the use upon the potential market

Little or no effect on the copyright holder

Of course the General Conference talks do not generate revenue, so this is probably not much of an issue. Nevertheless, we note that because of the very limited access via our web interface (see the first item above), it is extremely unlikely that anyone would use this corpus as a "substitute" for other access to the original texts. Other sources make these texts available as "complete articles", which are meant to be read in their entirety. That is completely impossible with our interface.

Access to the texts via our interface, as compared to access via other sources, serves two completely different audiences. Our interface is designed for people who want to see the frequency of words, phrases, collocates, etc. over time, and it is (purposely) completely and wholly inadequate for anyone who wishes to read the entire text of an article.