Foundation/Fellowship Dialogue Update

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As promised in the last issue of Newsflash, we reprint below in their entirety the most recent correspondence in the continuing dialogue between Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship regarding the Fellowship's copyright and trademark infringements.

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September 12, 2000

The Fellowship
Attention: The Fellowship's Foundation Relations Committee
Avi Dogim, President
Steve Dreier, Secretary
Marvin Gawryn
Marilynn Kulieke
Dan Massey
529 West Wrightwood Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Dear Avi, Steve, Marvin, Marilynn, and Dan:

A smaller, lighter, less expensive book; more translations published; more translations in progress; the book on audio cassette tape; the book on CD-ROM; distribution of the book through large national and international distributors; generous gift book programs for libraries, prisons, and those unable to afford books both here and abroad; cooperation with the Fellowship regarding referral of new readers; liberal permission to quote policies; liberal policies permitting personal use of the marks; meetings with readers; the inclusion of two members of the Fellowship's Executive Committee on the Foundation's Board of Trustees—these and other actions on the part of Urantia Foundation, we hoped, would help to unify and stabilize the community of readers of The Urantia Book in general and the Fellowship and Foundation's relations in particular.

Notwithstanding that we see many IUA and Fellowship groups working together locally, we observe less progress toward unity by the Fellowship's leaders. Specifically, the Fellowship's Web site still contains numerous infringements of the Foundation's copyright and marks in addition to a considerable and expanding quantity of “anti-Foundation information,” as a former member of the Fellowship's Executive Committee recently put it. This latter fact is particularly disappointing given that the Trustees and a delegation of Fellowship representatives agreed on January 11, 1997, that the leaders and staffs of the two organizations would not speak disparagingly in public about the other organization and its leaders.

When the Fellowship put the English text of The Urantia Book on its Web site without the knowledge or consent of Urantia Foundation, we tried to work with you by offering the Fellowship a license. ln response to the Fellowship's continued infringements of the copyright and trademarks, Urantia Foundation has engaged in discussions with Fellowship officers for over three years in an effort to reach agreements which would render the Fellowship's Web site legal and infringement free. Our desire has been to amicably address the copyright and trademark issues so that the Fellowship can continue its work without interfering with the duties entrusted to Urantia Foundation “to perpetually preserve inviolate the text of The Urantia Book” and “to retain the absolute and unconditional control of ... the printing and reproduction of The Urantia Book and any translation thereof.” Whether or not you agree with the methods employed by the Trustees in carrying out this part of our trust, we request your respect and cooperation, as we endeavor to respect your efforts and to cooperate with you. After all, the Fellowship and the Foundation share common goals:

2.1. PRINCIPAL OBJECT [of Urantia Foundation]: The object for which this Foundation is created is the promotion, improvement, and expansion among the peoples of the world of the comprehension and understanding of Cosmology and the relation of the planet on which we live to the Universe, of the genesis and destiny of Man and his relation to God, and of the true teachings of Jesus Christ; and for the inculcation and encouragement of the realization and appreciation of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man—in order to increase and enhance the comfort, happiness, and well being of Man, as an individual and as a member of society, through the fostering of a religion, a philosophy, and a cosmology which are commensurate with Man's intellectual and cultural development. (Declaration of Trust Creating Urantia Foundation, Jan. 11, 1950.)

Of course, these goals were later incorporated into the Constitution of the Fellowship:

The purposes of THE FELLOWSHIP are the study and dissemination of the teachings of THE URANTIA BOOK; the promotion, improvement, and expansion among the peoples of the world of the comprehension and understanding of Cosmology and the relation of the planet on which we live to the Universe, of the genesis and destiny of Man and his relation to God, and of the teachings of Jesus; and the inculcation and encouragement of the realization and appreciation of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man—in order to increase and enhance the comfort, happiness, and well-being of Man, as an individual and as a member of society, by fostering a religion, a philosophy, and a cosmology which are commensurate with Man's intellectual and cultural development, through the medium of fraternal association, ever obedient and subservient to the laws of this country and of all countries wherein THE FELLOWSHIP may extend.

We respectfully request once again that the leadership of the Fellowship take positive action to correct the legal infringements that have repeatedly been discussed. You have had adequate time to respond to our requests and to those of the team that we appointed to work with you concerning these matters. We have been told that you have recently added some additional infringing material to your Web site. This is discouraging given the seriousness of this matter, given the delicate and sensitive nature of the relations between the Fellowship and the Foundation, and given the January 11, I997, and October 3, 1997, Fellowship-Foundation agreements to be respectful and cooperative.

Regarding a meeting between the Board of Trustees and the Fellowship's Foundation Relations Committee, we encourage such a meeting as a means to discuss matters of mutual interest and especially as a means to effect unification and stabilization of our young movement. As for our willingness to discuss legal issues with your committee, we feel more comfortable leaving that duty to our carefully chosen team comprised of Trustee Georges Michelson-Dupont; Seppo Kanerva, the international head of the IUA and the Manager of Translations; Tonia Baney, the Foundation's Executive Director; Nancy Shaffer, a member of the Coordinating Committee and the Millennium Initiative Committee; and Steve Hill, an intellectual properties lawyer.

Avi, when you and Marvin met with Tonia, Georges, and Seppo in New York, you said that your negotiating team has been empowered to make decisions binding on the Fellowship. We hope that you choose, by October 1, to have a legal and infringement-free Web site. You and your team now have the power to make the decision to end trademark and copyright disputes between our organizations. Your decision could lay the groundwork and set the example for peace and cooperation in our young movement.

We reiterate that we would gladly meet with the Fellowship, but we would not want to do so without including our IDA brothers and sisters, whose organization, like yours, is so dedicated to the study and spread of the teachings of the Book. As Trustees, we are more concerned with publishing, translating, and protecting the text. To be productive, any meeting with a membership organization such as the Fellowship must include representatives from the organization that works interdependently with Urantia Foundation toward the goals set forth in the Declaration of Trust. We are sure you understand. For practical as well as political reasons, we must include representatives from IUA. Excluding them would be insensitive on our part, to say the least. If you feel more comfortable, you may want to expand your team to, say, ten persons.

Perhaps one day, there will be a unification of the membership organizations dedicated to the dissemination of the teachings. If this is the will of our Father, may we pray and strive for such a day.

Sincerely,

The Trustees of Urantia Foundation
Kwan Choi, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Gard Jameson, Richard Keeler, Mo Siegel

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September 21, 2000

The Trustees
Urantia Foundation
533 Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614

Gentlemen:

Our committee has been appointed by the Executive Committee of The Urantia Book Fellowship, as directed by the General Council, and in response to a resolution of the 2000 Triennial Delegate Assembly, with full authority to address and to resolve any and all aspects of Fellowship-Foundation relationships.

We have reviewed the numerous complaints presented to our initial team at their 8 April meeting with Mr. Michelson-Dupont's team among ourselves, with the General Council, and with counsel. On the basis of these discussions, we are pleased to offer the following concessions to Urantia Foundation in resolution of the issues presented at that time. These offers include both actions our counsel has advised us need to be taken, direction from the General Council, and other actions we feel are in the best interests of harmony and unity within the Urantia movement and the community of Urantian believers.

  1. We offer to maintain current modifications of the Table of Contents to Part IV on our website to address the Michelson-Dupont team's initially expressed concerns. (We have been advised in Ms. Shaffer's letter that these changes are satisfactory.)

  2. We offer to make changes in notices of copyright claims on our website and other explanatory material to make clear that, to the extent any copyright exists to the Fellowship in the paper-section-paragraph reference system, or in any of the formatting conventions used, or in any hyperlinked references in any of the files of any translation, printing, or edition of the text of The Urantia Book appearing on our website, we place it in the public domain and do not claim copyright. We intend by this to accord to Urantia Foundation and all others equal rights to use this material.

  3. We offer to assure that all downloadable files of the text of The Urantia Book on our website contain appropriate notice of Urantia Foundation copyright claims.

  4. We offer to expand our website to present all Urantia Foundation's translations, printings, and editions of The Urantia Book, when available in usable digital form and subject to the availability of our volunteer staff to complete formatting for acceptable web presentation.

  5. We offer to continue our present practice of requiring all individuals accessing portions of our website containing independently translated portions of The Urantia Book to register and obtain a personal ID and password.

  6. We offer to assure that all translations of The Urantia Book on our website carry appropriate notices of Urantia Foundation copyright claims.

  7. We propose that, as part of this settlement, the Foundation will license the Fellowship to present the works of William S. Sadler on its website, in English and in translation to any other language, without restriction. In return, the Fellowship agrees to assert no copyright claim in the presentation of this material. or its original translations, to place any Fellowship copyright interests that may exist in the public domain, and to make the data files supporting the website presentation freely available to Urantia Foundation to use at it sees fit.

  8. We reiterate the apology to Urantia Foundation issued by our initial discussion team for our oversight m failing to include a proper notice of Urantia Foundation copyright claims in certain issues of the Fellowship Herald magazine. It is the policy of The Urantia Book Fellowship to place such a notice of the Foundation's copyright claims in all its publications. We have clearly communicated this policy to our Publications Committee, and do not anticipate further problems.

  9. We offer to retitle “The Illustrated Urantia Book” on our website as “Illustrations for The Urantia Book” or such other descriptive term as may be mutually acceptable and to maintain a notice of Urantia Foundation's copyright claims on these pages of our website.

  10. We offer to suspend solicitation of translators of The Urantia Book on our website until the Foundation's copyright claims lapse under applicable law or treaty.

  11. We offer to retain the current version of our hyperlink to Michael Foundation, which refers only to Mr. McMullan's Index, so long as the copyright status of Jesus: A New Revelation remains in litigation.

  12. We offer to place a disclaimer on any documents on our website considered anti-Foundation, which may be identified at a future time through discussion with Urantia Foundation Trustees.

  13. We offer to maintain and strengthen our current disclaimers of affiliation with Urantia Foundation, including but not limited to disclaimers related to our Urantianet service, to show the Trustees where these notices appear, and to make reasonable modification in their presentation, if deemed necessary.

  14. We offer to add to the page of our website that offers The Urantia Book for sale, a notice to the effect that the Fellowship is not currently a publisher or distributor of the book and that the book prices shown on our website are from vendors other than The Urantia Book Fellowship.

  15. We offer to delete the metatags “Foundation” and “International Association” from our website. We further offer to limit use of metatags “Urantia Foundation” and “International Urantia Association” to pages on which news or opinion is presented about those organizations.

  16. We offer to direct the RealName “Urantia” to a separate, anonymous website which offers the choice of a direct link to Urantia Foundation or to The Urantia Book Fellowship. We make this offer because it is our understanding that current RealNames policy precludes the transfer or re-registration of a word like “Urantia” as a RealName. We believe it is in the best interests of the Urantia movement as a whole to preserve this functionality and therefore offer to share it with Urantia Foundation.

  17. We offer to continue our current practice of not displaying Urantia Foundation's translator's agreement on our website.

We additionally offer to meet with the full Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation, with or without legal counsel to both parties present, to discuss these and other matters and to arrive at a final, absolute, and conclusive resolution of all issues raised by the Foundation. If this is not acceptable to the Trustees, we suggest selecting a mediator and participating in formal mediation.

We agree with the Trustees that the Fellowship and the Foundation share common goals and look forward to working together, with mutual cooperation and respect, towards these goals.

Sincerely,

The Foundation Negotiating Team of The Urantia Book Fellowship
Avi Dogim
Marvin Gawryn
David Kantor
Marilynn Kulieke
Dan Massey

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November 13, 2000

The Fellowship
529 Wrightwood Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Dear Avi, Marilyn, Marvin, David and Dan,

Thank you for your letter dated September 21, 2000, concerning copyright and trademark infringements on the Fellowship's Web site.

We want you to know that we value many of the Fellowship's efforts to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book. We would like to have a cooperative relationship with the Fellowship. We hope that you will take seriously our desire to promote improved relations, and that you will join us in this effort.

We have reviewed the offers made in your letter, and the Trustees and the Foundation's negotiating team have again reviewed the Fellowship's Web site. We cannot see that any meaningful changes have been made on the Fellowship's Web site to render it infringement free since the April 8, 2000 meeting between the Foundation's negotiating team and the Fellowship's first negotiating team. Our apparent failure to obtain your cooperation saddens us.

During the last few years, we have observed much healing between the Fellowship, the International Urantia Association, and the Urantia Foundation, particularly among individuals. Many of our brothers and sisters in the Fellowship are working cooperatively with the Foundation. We hope for such cooperation at all levels.

We would suggest the following:

  1. Steve Hill, the Foundation's intellectual properties legal counsel, and Ross Plourde, the Fellowship's legal counsel, will be discussing the alleged infringements on the Fellowship's Web site on Wednesday, December 13, 2001, in Oklahoma City.

    We suggest that Avi Dogim, President of the Fellowship, and Richard Keeler, President of Urantia Foundation, attend this meeting to observe, listen and learn from the discussion by legal counsel of the infringement issues. We suggest that Avi and that Richard each ask one other person to accompany them.

  2. We suggest that there be a meeting between the Executive Committee of the Fellowship and representatives of the Foundation. The Foundation's representatives would comprise the Trustees, the Foundation's negotiating team, and perhaps additional representatives from the International Urantia Association. The Fellowship would, of course, select its own representatives, but we would prefer to meet with the Fellowship's entire Executive Committee. However, if you choose to bring only your negotiating team we would encourage you also to bring your legal counsel so that there may be a clear discussion on all these matters.

    We suggest the meeting be in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, January 19 and 20, 2001. We sincerely hope that after two days, there will be a resolution of our differences concerning the Fellowship's Web site.

  3. We also suggest that a mediator, acceptable to both parties, be engaged.

We pray that we may find resolution to our differences, and that there be unity in our young movement and cooperation between our organizations.

Sincerely,

The Trustees of Urantia Foundation
The Negotiation Team

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November 20, 2000

Trustees
Urantia Foundation
533 Diversey Parkway
Chicago IL 60614

Dear Richard, Georges, Kwan, Gard and Mo,

Thank you for your letter of November 13.

We find it encouraging that you are willing to meet with representatives of the Fellowship to resolve the remaining web site related issues. We regret that you do not find the numerous changes we have made in response to your complaints meaningful. As you lmow, in addition to making those changes, we have also indicated to you our willingness to make additional changes as part of a final negotiated settlement between our two organizations. We hope to reach such a settlement in the near future.

We find your suggestion that Richard, Avi and others observe discussions between Steve Hill and Ross Plourde in Oklahoma City on December 13 puzzling, since it comes on the heels of conversations between Avi and both Richard and Gard on this subject. At the conclusion of these conversations, it was agreed that we allow the attorneys to hold their talks unencumbered by the presence of “observers.” We fully expect, as we know you do, that the attorneys will ably represent their respective clients' interests during their discussions and will subsequently make recommendations on the basis of which we may be able to move forward toward resolving our differences.

We look forward to meeting with you in order to reach a final settlement. We propose that our meeting be scheduled after the attorneys have had their discussions and have brought forward their recommendations. At that point, we will be in position to jointly draft an agenda and to determine specifically who should participate in the meeting.

Sincerely,

The Fellowship Negotiating Team
Avi Dogim, Chair
Marvin Gawryn
David Kantor
Marilynn Kulieke
Dan Massey

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Note: On December 13 legal counsel for The Fellowship and Urantia Foundation met in Oklahoma. Communications are continuing and it is our hope the Fellowship's Executive Committee will agree to meet with the Trustees and members of the negotiating team and the IUA in order to resolve these issues and move forward cooperatively toward our common goals.

Foundation Info

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