Defending the Copyright and Trademarks

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In 1993, Thomas A. Kendall, a former Trustee of Urantia Foundation, who served on the Board for almost 21 years, delivered a talk on the copyright and trademarks. He has given us permission to print the following excerpt.

“...It is also apparent that the name was to be owned and managed by a legal entity--URANTIA Foundation. 'URANTIA' was not to be 'pre-empted' by individuals for personal or commercial purposes, nor by groups not related to The Urantia Book. 'URANTIA' is a material symbol; not a spiritual symbol. While 'Urantia' is the name of our planet, it is also used in the title of a book and in the name of organizations-all material designations, hence, legally protectable. The concentric circles symbol is also owned by Urantia Foundation. The Trustees decided to register and protect it along with the name URANTIA.

“... The Foundation was established in 1950 under a Declaration of Trust The concordant object in the trust documentis to maintain the text of The Urantia Book inviolate. A copyright is the means to accomplish this task.

“In 1980, the Federal District Court in Michigan ruled that the Foundation's claim to copyright of The Urantia Book was valid. The declared intent of the infringer in filing suit was to get the copyright annulled to the end that NO ONE would own the rights to the book.

“Throughout the 20 years I served on the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation, every lawyer we consulted was a specialist in the field of copyright or mark law, and none ever raised a question about the copyrightability of The Urantia Book. We were completely forthcoming and shared everything we knew about the origin of the book. The Trustees did not conspire to hoodwink the copyright office in the renewal of the copyright in 1983. No reputable attorney colluded with the Foundation to perpetrate a fraud....

“Do not lightly dismiss the importance of copyright. The Contact Commissioners were warned that the greatest danger to the revelation would be in the first 50 to 100 years. If the copyright were lost and the book fell into the public domain, the book could be dismembered. It could be chopped up into 197 pamphlets; 'embarrassing' portions excised; 'difficult stuff' omitted; outdated scientific material updated with new theories; artwork, charts and footnotes inserted; an introduction and commentary included in the text. Simplified versions would proliferate. None of these was the intent of the revelators, and in fart, some were specifically proscribed. The book was intended to be an integrated whole, published without distracting contrivances.

“The only way a challenge to the integrity of the text can be met is through aggressive action by the owner of the copyright. An 'interested party' cannot launch a suit to defend a book that has no copyright.

“We live short lives, literally small time segments. The Urantia Book's teachings are meant for many decades, even a thousand years; who can say precisely? The book's mission transcends individual lives, world trends and events. These teachings need an environment of stability, not constant battles for control or influence.

“Many people in the readership believe that the pending suit will invalidate the copyright. I suppose that anytime you face a judge or jury your rights are in jeopardy. However, I believe that the revelators must have had solid reasons for the creation of a Foundation which would maintain the text inviolate. I hope the judge will rule in favor of the copyright.”

The current Trustees continue the commitment of their predecessors in defending the copyright and trademarks as part of their trust to protect inviolate the text of The Urantia Book.

Foundation Info

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