On March 11, 2003, the majority of a three-judge panel of the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the jury's verdict in the case of Michael Foundation, Inc. v. Urantia Foundation. They held that the jury had sufficient evidence on which to base its decision that The Urantia Book is neither a "composite work" nor a "commissioned work," and that Urantia Foundation was, therefore, not entitled to a renewal of the U.S. copyright in The Urantia Book.
One of the judges filed a dissenting opinion indicating that in his view, "the district court erred in denying Urantia Foundation's motion for judgment n.o.v." In his opinion, "Urantia Foundation's renewal copyright is valid and enforceable as a matter of law."
The appellate decision affects only the United States renewal copyright in the English text of The Urantia Book. Urantia Foundation will continue to display a copy-right notice in the English book in order to preserve its international copyrights. In addition, all of the translations have separate copyrights that remain valid in the United States and internationally.
Although Michael Foundation, Inc. also had contested two of Urantia Foundation's trademarks, the district court granted summary judgment prior to trial upholding the validity of the trademarks "Urantia" and "Urantian" to identify the publications and services of Urantia Foundation.
Urantia Foundation has sought to make the most of this period of full worldwide copyright protection for the English text in order to carry out the mandates of The Declaration of Trust Creating Urantia Foundation: to exercise control over the printing and reproduction of The Urantia Book and all translations thereof.
The U.S. renewal copyright would have provided protection through the year 2050 during which to develop a solid base of readers of the inviolate text. and produce quality translations. As a public charitable trust, Urantia Foundation holds these rights in trust for the benefit of the peoples of our planet, now and in the future. This is a duty owed not only to current readers but those to come, as well as to those who may never glimpse its pages but in the future will benefit from its beneficial uplifting of planetary culture.
For these reasons, the Trustees are requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Although the Supreme Court accepts relatively few cases, we feel strongly that it is our duty to future generations to do everything within our power to preserve this revelation intact. We ask you all to join us in praying for the best outcome in the outworking of the plans for our world.
As the original publisher, Urantia Foundation has led efforts to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book to the world and to publish, translate, and protect the text. If U.S. copyright protection is not restored, these tasks become increasingly important, and we ask for the help of all who share our love for these inspiring teachings. Together, we can ensure that future generations will have access to an affordable and unadulterated Urantia Book. The Concentric- Circles Symbol and the words "Urantia" and "Urantian" will continue to identify Urantia Foundation's publications and services.
We thank the loyal and dedicated readers who have supported Urantia Foundation. You have blessed this work with your love of the book, your willingness to live its teachings, and your attention to the everyday tasks of disseminating the revelation. You have served on committees, staffed offices, answered phones, raised funds, facilitated study groups and conferences, attended book fairs, hauled and shipped books, called on bookstores and libraries, translated The Urantia Book and a multitude of other communications, and much more. You have generously given of your time and money to this noble cause. Thank you. You have been needed in the past, and you will be needed even more in the future. We look forward to the challenges of creating a bright future together.
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