Unauthorized Translations

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Urantia Foundation has been working for more than six years on a quality Korean translation. This translation has been completed and was recently introduced at the Seoul International Book Fair.

In addition to the team of translators which has been working cooperatively with the Foundation on this Korean translation, there was, for several years, another Korean translation effort, sponsored by the New York Society of the Fellowship. However, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Foundation's copyright in The Urantia Book to be valid, a Trustee was assured by a leader of the Fellowship and the Society in question, that the New York Society was no longer pursuing either a Korean or a Russian translation. The Trustees and staff of Urantia Foundation were pleased and hopeful upon receiving this news.

The Russian translation was completed in 1997. To date over one thousand copies have been sold or given to grateful students in countries under the former Soviet domination.

A few weeks ago a representative of the New York Society of the Fellowship caned one of the Trustees of the Foundation, soliciting him personally for financial contributions for their Korean and Russian translations. We found this to be curious, and upon further investigation, it was confirmed by a Fellowship officer, a member of the New York Society, that the translating activity had never stopped.

It is argued by some that alternate translation efforts, which are not authorized by Urantia Foundation, are justified because they fall into the category of secondary works, thereby assisting readers in their study of the book. We disagree. The Foundation's translation policies have been carefully constructed whereby a system of checks and balances has evolved, which, we believe, results in the best possible translations.

The Foundation endeavors, in cooperation with qualified translators, to ensure that true and beautiful translations, in the highest possible language of the culture, are done and delivered to truth seekers around the world. Anyone wishing to assist in the translation project is considered, but the text is never made public until it has been carefully reviewed and finally approved. We do not wish to deliver a partial, incomplete version of the fifth epochal revelation to the public. Duplication of translations are both unnecessary and unwise. It would be irresponsible and unfair to our non-English speaking brothers and sisters to inflict confusion upon their study groups by giving them different texts to study.

In 1997, after the Foundation's ownership of the copyright was validated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, representatives of the Fellowship's leadership made the following proposal:

  1. Urantia Foundation shall not sue the Fellowship for damages in connection with the Fellowship's having published The Urantia Book. (The Foundation could possibly have sought damages for as much as $150,000.)
  2. Urantia Foundation shall allow the Fellowship to keep half of their unsold books (stickers with the Foundation's name and address to be placed over the Fellowship's name and address).
  3. The Fellowship shall make a $10,000 contribution to the Foundation's Translation Fund.

The Trustees agreed to all of these proposals, adding that the Fellowship could keep all of its unsold books and do with them whatever they pleased, provided that the books not be sold and not have the Foundation's name in them.

In return, the Trustees asked for one thing. They requested that the Fellowship act cooperatively with, or at least not antagonistically toward, the Foundation. Specifically, the Trustees requested that the leadership of the Fellowship not publicly speak disparagingly about the Foundation, the Trustees, the Foundation staff, or the leadership of the International Urantia Association. The representatives of the Fellowship's leadership agreed to the Trustees' request. Has the Fellowship kept its agreement? You be the judge.

  1. One or more of the Fellowship's affiliate Societies, or one or more of its members are currently sponsoring translations into Spanish, Portuguese, German, Serbo-Croatian, Russian, and Korean. Except for the Serbo-Croatian translation, all of these translations have either been published by the Foundation, will soon be published, or will be published in a few years.
  2. The Fellowship has illegally displayed portions of the above translations on its website, notwithstanding that the Foundation has of fered to license the Fellowship to display the Foundation's translations on its website. Such unauthorized display of unauthorized translations (or authorized translations) is illegal. It is an infringement of the Foundation's copyright in The Urantia Book.
  3. Mr. Harry McMullan III, a General Councilor, a member of the Fellowship's Executive Committee as well as its Treasurer, and the owner and chairman of Alliance Steel Company, published Part IV of The Urantia Book. One of the Trustees, an old and dear friend of Mr. McMullan's, as well as other individuals, repeatedly appealed to Mr: McMullan not to pursue this illegal and unauthorized publication. Sources close to Mr. McMullan infonn us that he would invite a lawsuit from the Foundation, and that he would expend millions of his personal fortune to break the Foundation's ownership of the copyright in Part IV-and thereby drive Part IV of The Urantia Book into the public domain.

Have the leaders of the Fellowship kept their agreement with the Foundation to act cooperatively with, or at least not antagonistically toward, the Foundation? Have they kept their agreement not to speak publicly disparagingly about the Foundation? Is the leadership of the Fellowship or are certain leaders of the Fellowship breaking the law? The Fellowship and every Fellowship Society pledges "obedience and subservience to the laws of this country and all countries wherein they extend."

We have reason to believe that there has been a well planned strategy among certain members of the Fellowship, some of whom are on the General Council and Executive Committee, to entice Urantia Foundation back into court with another copyright challenge. Apart from Mr. McMullan's repeated statements that he would invite a lawsuit from the Foundation in an effort to break the Foundation's ownership of the copyright in Part IV, he has printed, in the front of his illegal publication of Part IV of The Urantia Book, the following: "All proceeds from book sales are dedicated to the continued availability of this work in Engiish and, as soon as possible, other languages." (our emphasis.) This indicates that the continuation of work on unauthorized translations by other Fellowship related people or groups is with the expectation that the Foundation will lose its copyright. This is quite disturbing in the light of recent attempts to bring unity and cooperation back into the Urantia community.

May we all follow the Master's example, which the book describes on page 1580, paragraph 4:

In his personal life he was always duly observant of all civil laws and regulations ....

And then there are the Master's never-to-beforgotten words:

"Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's and to God the things which are God's."

We ask that you join us to bring unity and stabilization to the movement. We ask that you join us to end conflicts within the movement by encouraging all readers to obey the law. We desire that all of us may focus on dissemination, not on litigation. Here's what you can do:

  1. Inform the General Council of the Fellowship and the governing boards of its Societies that you think they should take a strong position in opposition to unauthorized translations and publications of The Urantia Book or parts of The Urantia Book. Infonn leaders of the Fellowship to refrain from enabling or encouraging their fellow leaders in engaging in these unlawful acts.
  2. Discourage people from buying illegal and unauthorized translations of The Urantia Book.
  3. Refuse to contribute money to any translation not sponsored by the Urantia Foundation.
  4. Contribute money to translations sponsored by the Urantia Foundation.

Foundation Info

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