Endeavor Academy Explanation of Lawsuit

On June 6, 1996, Penguin Books USA, with the approval of President Judy Skutch-Whitson of the Foundation (FIP) and Kenneth Wapnick, Executive Committee member, brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Church and Endeavor Academy, it's ministerial teaching arm, alleging violations of the copyright on A Course in Miracles. The lawsuit asked for over 1 Million Dollars in damages. The copyright was allegedly owned by the Foundation for Inner Peace, Inc. and licensed to Penguin Books USA.

Church answered the Complaint, claiming among other things, that since,

the Author of A Course in Miracles is Jesus (identified as such by the scribe, Helen Schucman, by the Foundation to the world, and by himself in the Course specifically to you), and since
the United States Copyright Office says that words from a Divine Being cannot be copyrighted and Jesus is a Divine Being; and, applying the facts of this case to their statutes, rules and regulations,
Church asserts the copyright has been invalid from the beginning (Void ab Initio).
Until suit was brought against the Church, it was never our intent to challenge the copyright. In fact, Church told the Foundation that all it wants is to keep distributing, without charge, its pamphlets and other excerpted Course materials, while continuing to direct the public to buy the Course from the Foundation. Church has indicated its willingness for the Foundation to continue to publish it's numbered copyrighted version. This offer has been consistently rejected to date by FIP and by the Foundation for 'A Course in Miracles'. FACIM is now the new owner of the copyright and FACIM'S attorneys now handle the case on behalf of FIP and FACIM.

Indeed, the Church has publicly said: "We heartily endorse the necessity of maintaining through copyright the integrity of "A Course in Miracles." Church's purpose in the printing and free dissemination of Course materials is simply to follow the Author Jesus', directives, when he says:

"Child of God, my message is for you, to hear and give away as you answer the Holy Spirit within you."(Text V,ii),

"For this alone I need; that you will hear the words I speak, and give them to the world. You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands through which I save the world." (WB Review V), and,

"These words are sacred, for they are the words God gave in answer to the world you made. By them it disappears, and all things seen within its misty clouds and vaporous illusions vanish as these words are spoken. For they come from God."(WB Lesson 162).

In 1997, after the Church represented itself Pro Se for a year, the Court required Church to retain attorneys in order to continue the case. The Foundation then entered the case as a voluntary co-plaintiff in the face of a proposed Church motion to require their Joinder.

As of September 1998 and, following New York State approval effective February 1999, the Foundation transferred its copyright and trademarks in A Course in Miracles to the Foundation for 'A Course in Miracles' (FACIM). This sister organization to FIP now enters the case as a second co-plaintiff.

Interestingly, in 1996, Penguin asserted in its First Amended complaint, with FIP'S knowledge and consent, that Helen Schucman was the author of A Course in Miracles. In a 1998 Second Amended Complaint, FIP was added as co-plaintiff and additional trademark damages of 4 Million Dollars was also claimed. The new complaint makes no mention of authorship whatsoever, as plaintiffs assert only that FIP is sole "proprietor" of the copyright.

Discovery began in 1998, with several rounds of 1999 depositions. The Court held in 1998 that the Church had the right to examine Helen Schucman's shorthand notes, the original 1968-1972 manuscript, and all subsequent versions (the "Urtext", 2 retypings resulting in the 1973 Hugh Lynn Cayce version, the 1975 version, etc.). A first review by Church was carried out during the last week of April 1999. Discovery materials designated "Confidential" and/or "Attorneys Eyes Only" are governed by a Protective Order agreed to by all parties, the focus of which covers the original Course manuscripts and unpublished Helen Schucman autobiographies, all in the physical possession of Mr. Wapnick.


Clerk of Court and/or Docket Clerk
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007
re: Case # 96 Civ. 4126 (RWS).
Tel.: (212) 805-0150
Fax.: (212) 637-6244

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