Why is the Fellowship Duplicating the Foundation's Efforts?
The URANTIA Foundation sold over 20,000 books in 1995, almost double the sales of any previous year. In the last three years, the Foundation has made available a Concordance, an Audio Version, and a Computer Version; has published two new translations and one revised translation; and has initiated seven new translations. When we asked several persons in positions of authority with The Fellowship why their organization was going to publish the book, they replied: The Fellowship wants its name in the front of the book in order to increase its membership.
The Fellowship Seeks to Enter the Case as an Opponent of the Copyright
The Fellowship notified the Foundation's lawyers that The Fellowship intends to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to file a brief in opposition to the URANTIA Foundation's efforts to retain ownership of the copyright.
The early custodians of The URANTIA Book said there would be much competition for control of The URANTIA Book, and it appears they were right.
As early as 1932, the early custodians of the book initiated correspondence with the United States Copyright Office in order to obtain a copyright which would "protect [the text] against infringement for an indefinite period." In 1950, the original plan for publishing, translating, and disseminating the book and its teachings was formalized with the creation of the URANTIA Foundation. This plan was activated in 1955 when the book was published. Domestic and international copyrights were obtained, and the copyright was renewed in 1983 in anticipation that it would not expire until 2030.
If the opponents of the Foundation succeed at invalidating the copyright, the original plan will have been aborted. Instead of unified growth and the building of a solid base of readers working together and fostering thousands of study groups throughout the world, we shall see divided groups of readers and a proliferation of organizations asserting themselves as the publisher of the "authentic" URANTIA Book. This divisiveness will not be attractive to new and future readers. The authors of the book tell us that "the non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom." (p. 2085) The parallel to the Urantia movement--and to what will happen if there is not unity within our young movement, if the copyright is lost, and if there are numerous publishers and translators of the book--should be apparent.
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