Legal actions and expenses

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In the pie-chart-type graph that was attached to the fund raising letter sent out in November, we provided a breakdown of our expenses. Certainly, money is necessary to print and sell The Urantia Book and to pay for personnel and building expenses. Also, money is necessary for legal expenses, although the reasons for this may not be as readily apparent.

One of the two concordant objects of the Declaration of Trust, which is both the philosophical and legal document which governs the Urantia Foundation, is to “...perpetually preserve inviolate the text of The Urantia Book...”. The means of protecting the text is copyright law and so we are prepared and feel duty bound to legally oppose any person or group who threatens the textual integrity of the Book--especially during these early years in the life of The Urantia Book, When the copyright to The Urantia Book expires, how will a person know if they are getting the original text of the Book “inviolate"? The answer is that our text will be identifiable from other versions by carrying the identifying registered mark Urantia and/or the Concentric-Circles Symbol. To fulfill the objective of protecting the"text and assuring future generations of obtaining an original version, we believe we must protect the copyright and our registered trademarks and service marks.

Although we take this responsibility with the utmost sincerity and dedication, legal action is taken only after careful consideration and upon advice of legal counsel. In reviewing our 30-year history (as of January 11, 1980), we have taken an infringer of the copyright or the marks to court on only seven occasions. All other infringers have ceased their activity through our efforts to dissuade them in a friendly and co-operative manner or, when that fails, by the certainty of litigation.

To date, our efforts have stopped people from illegally photocopying the French translation of The Urantia Book and selling it in twelve volumes for $250.00 per set; we have stopped another group from using the word URANTIAN as part of the title of their organization and from reproducing and distributing portions of the teachings confusingly intermixed with ideas not expressed in The Urantia Book; we have stopped challenges to the very existence of the copyright to The Urantia Book which, if we had been unsuccessful, would have opened the door to any opportunist, no matter how well motivated he might claim to be, to profit from and exploit the teachings-even to discredit them--as be so chooses; we have stopped a person from giving lectures and distributing printed material that incorporated the teachings with his own ideas in an often indistinguishable and confusing manner; we are still in the process of litigating a disagreement with a translator of the Book who attempted to repudiate the clear obligations of his contract, which among other things, dealt with maintaining the integrity of the teachings; we have stopped unaffiliated persons or groups from using the word URANTIA, such as Urantia Trading Company, Massage Parlor, Cocktail Lounge, and Music Company. This is not an exhaustive list.

In addition, legal expenses entail the registration of our trademarks and service marks in foreign countries as a protective method as the Book becomes better known worldwide. Also, those situations which are settled without litigation may still require legal opinion and thus much of the money is spent getting sound legal advice in the hope of avoiding litigation or, where litigation is necessary, to be sure we have as strong a position as possible.

No matter how distasteful it may be to you and to us to have to deal with legal problems, we believe it would be more distasteful to see these teachings adulterated and pirated by other persons and being ultimately destroyed. On Havana, individuals are self-governed by sincere and spiritual motivations and are seasoned with millions of years of experience and training. Although it is a tempting and certainly much easier choice to follow the suggestions of those idealists who advocate no controls, we believe such action would be a spiritually one-eyed view which, without the other eye on a more realistic and practical point of view, cannot produce the depth of insight and resultant wisdom we are searching for as our guide. We seek your help and co-operation in this challenging and necessary task in the knowledge that despite these preservative actions, the positive work of the international spread of the unadulterated teachings of The Urantia Book continues unabated enriching and ennobling the lives of many.

Foundation Info

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Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
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