Conference Presentations

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In the last few years, the number of conferences sponsored by Urantia Brotherhood, Societies, and study groups has rapidly increased.

As the pace of this activity began to quicken a few years ago, the Trustees searched for a way to provide as much liberty to speakers as possible and at the same time maintain protection of the copyright. We wanted to make it easy for speakers to use quotations if they wished.

We devised the advance permission forms with the help of legal counsel, permitting conference performers unlimited use of material from The Urantia Book in their presentations. Duplicate permission forms are sent to each person on the program along with an explanatory letter in advance of the conference. The speakers merely sign both copies, date them, and return them to Urantia Foundation. This is their permission to prepare and present their talk using material from The Urantia Book.

If a speaker also wishes to hand out written copies of the speech to those in attendance or send such copies out after the conference, this can be arranged. The speaker should send a written copy to Urantia Foundation for review and approval together with the number of copies desired, preferably six weeks in advance of the distribution date.

However, some speakers have raised the point that the quoting they expect to do in their presentation is fair use and that they therefore do not need permission and should not be required to sign advance permission forms or seek any other sort of approval. Fair use under copyright law permits limited use of copyrighted material if it is in accordance with the fair use guidelines mentioned in the copyright law. Perhaps a particular speaker's presentation is a fair use; others on the same program may not be fair use.

The question of whether a work falls within the category of fair use depends on many factors. The Trustees have the duty to determine whether the proposed use of material, in each case, is fair use; and to do that, we would have to ask the speakers to send us written copies of their speeches prior to the conference so that we could check them against the guidelines. This would be impractical since most speakers tend to finalize their talks only shortly before the meeting.

We are not trying to prevent anyone tram doing what he or she has a legal right to do, but we are trying to make things easier for everyone by not having to make a “fair use” detennination in each and every instance and at the same time prevent violation of the copyright.

The advance permission forms eliminate the need to determine fair use, make it unnecessary to submit talks in advance, allow maximum freedom to speakers and still provide protection for the copyright. This has proven to be an efficient, effective system. The Trustees appreciate the excellent co-operation we have enjoyed from conference speakers and organizers.

Foundation Info

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