Copyright Update

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In 1950, five years before the publication of The URANTIA Book, the URANTIA Foundation was created by an instrument of trust. The Declaration of Trust Creating URANTIA Foundation established that:

"It shall be the primary duty of the Trustees to perpetually preserve inviolate the text of The URANTIA Book....

"It shall be the duty of the Trustees to retain absolute and unconditional control of all plates and other media for the printing and reproduction of The URANTIA Book and any translation thereof...."

In order to carry out these duties, the early Trustees obtained domestic and international copyrights in The URANTIA Book, and they registered the Concentric-Circles Symbol as a service mark. Later, the Trustees registered the circles and the words "Urantia" and "Urantian" as trademarks and collective membership marks. Today, as was true in 1955 when The URANTIA Book was published, registered marks--be they service marks, trademarks, or collective membership marks--are the primary means of maintaining a distinct public identity. And copyright is the primary means of protecting a text.

In 1991, we informed readers of a copyright infringement case in which an individual deliberately violated the Foundation's copyright in The URANTIA Book. This individual admitted infringing the copyright but then countersued the Foundation, claiming that the Foundation's ownership of the copyright and its ownership of the marks were not valid. The Foundation's ownership of the registered marks has remained intact. However, in October 1995, a federal district court judge entered a judgment that the Foundation's copyright was invalid. The Foundation has appealed this decision, and three judges of a higher court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will rule on the case sometime this year, possibly by the end of this summer. In spite of fact that the case is on appeal, there are groups publishing The URANTIA Book before the appellate court has even heard the case.

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