Subj: Information about the Foundation's current copyright litigations from FACIM
Date: 2/10/00 8:53:00 AM Central Standard Time
From: email@example.com (FACIM Correspondent)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Whitmore)
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FOUNDATION'S CURRENT COPYRIGHT LITIGATIONS
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
In response to the distortions and misinformation being circulated around
the Internet, as well as in other publications, regarding the three lawsuits
with which we are currently involved, we offer the following facts. We are
not attempting a comprehensive presentation of these litigations, but simply
addressing the more egregious misrepresentations that have been made.
1) We do not regard ourselves as being involved in a "copyright
controversy." The copyright is established by law, and our policies merely
seek to uphold standard copyright law. We have consistently invited authors
to consult with us about copyright and trademark issues and we have granted
permission for many publications, both on the Internet and in hard copy,
which contain material quoted from the Course. In addition, we have granted
copyright permission to many authors who do not agree with our teachings
about the Course, and we have been and remain flexible in our approach. It
is not our intention, nor would it be consistent with copyright law, to
suppress scholarship, discussion or opinion, no matter how divergent from
our own views.
2) Endeavor Academy has flagrantly violated copyright law and continues to
do so. Endeavor has copied substantial portions of the Course and rearranged
it in the pamphlets that they distribute without any comment or discussion
of their own. The lawsuit instituted against them by Penguin Books, and
later joined by the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) and the Foundation for
A Course in Miracles (FACIM), was in response to Endeavor's ongoing
refusals, despite our repeated requests prior to the suit, to cooperate in
adhering to copyright law.
Neither FACIM, FIP or Penguin has ever been accused of using delay as a
tactic in the Endeavor lawsuit, nor has there ever been any threat, attempt
or motion to charge us with contempt of court. In fact, Endeavor has used
delay to prolong the case, allowing time for continuing and very extensive
copyright infringement. In addition, we believe Endeavor has orchestrated a
campaign using misinformation to discredit both FIP and FACIM, as well as
individuals associated with the Foundations, particularly Kenneth.
The issue of Course "authorship" was invented by Endeavor as a defense
against charges of copyright infringement. Allegations that Kenneth has been
lying about this matter in his court testimony are simply not true. Excerpts
taken out of context from that testimony itself are not sufficient to
understand what he has taught for over twenty years, or his testimony. The
legal issues relate to statutory copyright law and "legal" authorship,
not -- as Endeavor and others seek to portray -- matters of faith, or the
spiritual source of A Course in Miracles. To understand this question of
Jesus and the authorship of A Course in Miracles, interested persons are
invited to read chapter 17 in Absence from Felicity (published in 1991),
which contains Kenneth's convictions, the expressions of which have
certainly evolved, but have never changed.
3) The Circle of Atonement brought legal action against both Foundations
(not the other way around). There had been a long history between the
Foundations and the Circle, including the Circle's requests to obtain
"special" copyright permission. When such special permission was not
granted, the Circle continued to publish materials the Foundations believed
to contain excessive quotations - well beyond fair use - along with the
publication of derivative works. In this context, our attorneys finally
issued a cease and desist letter to ask the Circle to stop further
infringing activity. The Circle of Atonement responded by filing a lawsuit.
As for Robert Perry's recent manuscript, which was submitted to us for
copyright approval, it was not approved because it contained an excessive
amount of quotations from A Course in Miracles. There is nothing prohibiting
Mr. Perry from publishing his book after revising it to comply with standard
copyright procedures. Instead of responding by asking for suggestions about
how his book might be revised so as to obtain permission to quote from the
Course, the Circle filed the lawsuit and Mr. Perry has engaged in a highly
public, "open challenge" in his newsletter and on the Internet about
copyright matters. We do not now, and never have forbidden Mr. Perry, or
anyone else from the Circle of Atonement, from discussing ideas or concepts
about A Course in Miracles, nor to teach his or its own understanding of
what the Course says. All allegations to the contrary are false.
4) It was announced in early 1999 that the copyright and trademarks for the
Course had been transferred to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. Mr.
Ryan Rothgeb received a letter of information about the copyright, which
invited cooperation, but he never contacted the Foundation's Director of
Publications to request permission, nor did he make any constructive attempt
to bring his Web site into compliance with our copyright policies, which are
not intended to be as restrictive as has been portrayed. It was only after
Mr. Rothgeb established a download site for giving away the electronic
version of the Course and supplementary pamphlets that action was taken,
under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to remove the
download site and personal Web site from the Internet. The lawsuit was
initiated as required under the law, and as a final recourse, when Mr.
Rothgeb misrepresented the truth, continued to announce a download site, and
refused to remove infringing material from his Web site.
Moreover, Mr. Rothgeb is not being sued for $11,300,000, as he has claimed.
In cases of copyright infringement, the plaintiff must assert a request for
damages in the complaint. Our complaint quotes the copyright statute, which
provides maximum statutory damages of $20,000 per infringed work, or
$100,000 per infringed work if the infringements are "willful."
We hope the foregoing information will help to clarify the facts regarding
the copyright litigation that has been misrepresented on the Internet. We
have previously issued a statement regarding the early unpublished
manuscript of Helen Schucman termed the "Hugh Lynn Version."
-----------transmitted by FACIM Correspondent -------------------
FACIM Correspondent is a volunteer agency providing Internet and Web
services for the Foundation for " A Course In Miracles"(r). The Foundation
is directly accessible by phone (607-498-4116), FAX (607-498-5325) or
conventional mail: 1275 Tennanah Lake Rd, Roscoe, NY 12776-5905. The
Foundation is eager to cooperate with you in resolving any copyright, trade
and service mark issues and you are encouraged to contact them.