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Motion for Permanent Injunction against Kristen Maaherra

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Motion for Permanent Injunction against Kristen Maaherra

As many of you may be aware, the Foundation decided not to sue Kristen Maaherra for damages in the aftermath of the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court decision, which ruled that the renewal of the Foundation's copyright in The Urantia Book was valid.

Although the Copyright Act clearly entitles the Foundation to recover substantial damages, the Foundation has decided to forego any request for damages, costs, or attorney's fees in order to impress upon the Court the priority and necessity of a permanent injunction against Maaherra barring her from further copying The Urantia Book.

Earlier this month, the Foundation lodged a motion that the court grant a permanent injunction against Kristen Maaherra. The following extract from the motion has caused various people to contact us asking for clarification:

The Foundation submits that the Court should permanently enjoin Maaherra by entering an Order that Kristen Maaherra and those in active concert or participation with her are enjoined from:

  1. Infringing plaintiffs copyright in The Urantia Book in any manner, including the creation or distribution of copies of electronic databases or computer disks. or compact discs containing the text of The Urantia Book;
  2. Encouraging others to infringe the copyright in The Urantia Book; and
  3. Assisting, siding. or abetting any person or business entity engaging in any of the activities prohibited in subparagraphs (1) - (2) above.

We have been told that the “concert/participation” language is standard traditional injunction language used so that the defeated party cannot circumvent an injunction by enlisting others to do the copying for them. If people are not acting in concert with the defendant or participating in acts of copyright infringement, then they have nothing to worry about. If they are, then they will be in violation of a court order if our motion for permanent injunction is successful.

This is not another “declaration of war,” as some Fellowship members have expressed, on anyone; rather it is a standard legal procedure dating back hundreds of years. In effect it will protect the Foundation from future violations of its copyright from the same individual.

The following quotes are from the “Statement of Facts” section of the Motion. These may help to shed some light on why the Foundation feels the need to request a permanent injunction against Maaherra.

Maaherra violated the Foundation copyright and has given the Court no reason to believe she will desist from future infringement. The Urantia Book holds great religious significance for Maaherra. Because of her religious beliefs, Maaherra feels that it is her duty to disseminate The Urantia Boole, regardless of the Foundation's copyright.

From the inception of this litigation, Maaherra has remained steadfast in her belief that it is God's will that she distribute The Urantia Book, and that she has done nothing wrong by following God's will. She continues to assert that there is a higher moral or religious law than man's secular law, and that she was not wrong in distributing the diskettes with the text of the Urantia Papers on them.

Accordingly, Maaherra is tempted to discard secular law when it comes into conflict with her strong religious convictions. For example, shortly after the Ninth Circuit declared the Foundation's copyright valid and enforceable, Maaherra authored a newsletter entitled “Lies Become Law” discussing Judge Schroeder's ruling in the Ninth Circuit Opinion. The newsletter characterized Schroeder's opinion as “an affront, a slap in the face, a travesty of justice, and an abridgement of my rights to my beliefs.” She goes on to say “that for Schroeder to say, I (Maaherra) and with me the thousands of religionists who also want the Urantia Papers in the public domain have no 'superior copyright interests' is another enormous slap in the face to religionists.”

An interesting wrinkle in these proceedings is Maaherra's testimony in her most recent deposition that her plans for developing any study aids or derivative works relating to The Urantia Book in the future depends on the scope of the injunction that this Court will give the Foundation. In her deposition, Maaherra stated as follows:

“Q. At this point in time, do you have any plans for developing any study aids or derivative works relating to The Urantia Book in the future?

A. It depends on the kind of injunction Urbom is going to come up with”

Despite the Ninth Circuit's ruling, she is currently in the process of preparing a CD-ROM version of The Urantia Book with the intent of distributing it to others.