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harold & martha sherman
Articles and controversies
pdfForum Data and Apocrypha
Appendix of The Sherman Diaries, Vol. 2
The Forumites
compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfHow the Papers Came Through
Chapter 8 of Sherman Diaries, Vol. 2
The 1942 Petition
Presented to Dr. Sadler by 48 Forumites
pdfForum Days
from How I Found the Urantia Book
533 Diversey Parkway
compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfChildhood at the Forum
by Mark Kulieke (SGH, August 1993)
pdf"I Remember the Forum"
Early HIFTUB stories with pictures
pdf"Until We Meet Again"
Compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfPlan for the Urantia Book Revelation
by Carolyn B. Kendall 
Major Growth Steps in the Urantia Movement by Meredith Sprunger
How I Found the Urantia Book
Compiled by Saskia Praamsma
My Own HIFTUB Story
by Saskia Praamsma
The Split - A Blessing in Disguise
by Saskia Praamsma
What is the IUA?
Descriptions from two official sources
No Urantia Church - Not Yet!
by Saskia Praamsma
onlineA History of the Urantia Papers
by Larry Mullins
Open Letter to Larry Mullins
from Niann Emerson Chase (2003)
Three Histories
by Matthew Rapaport
pdfSeparate Publishing of Part IV
Is Harry McMullan breaking copyright laws?
pdfThe Jesus-A New Revelation Debate
Readers' pro and con viewpoints
A Box of Chocolates
by Phil Geiger
The Value of an Accurate History
by Saskia Praamsma
Harry J. Loose
Mysterious Forumite and Sherman mentor
Harold and Martha Sherman
and their relation to the Urantia work
Part One: Book Publishing
Sherman's 1942 suggestions for Dr. Sadler
Part Two: Organizations
Sherman's 1942 suggestions for Dr. Sadler
The ARA Messages (1941-42)
Sherman's TA communications
"Pipeline to God"—Chapter V of How To Know What to Believe by Harold Sherman
onlineRebuttal to "Pipeline to God"
Clyde Bedell's lengthy response
onlineResponse, "Pipeline"/HTKWTB
Meredith Sprunger's comments 
Editor's Note for Sherman Diaries
Saskia Praamsma
The Sherman Diaries
Editors, Saskia Praamsma, Matthew Block
pdf Letter from Ingo Swann
Friend of the Shermans shows appreciation
pdf Editorial, The Sherman Diaries
Review by Larry Mullins
Postscript to Urantia, The Great Cult Mystery Martin Gardner, 2008
Translation histories  
[English] The Italian Translation Project
[Italian] La Storia de Il Libro di Urantia
pdfJ.J. Benitez: J.J. The Baptist?
by Rosey Lieske and Olga Lopez
pdf Translations 2010
Urantia Foundation News
Coming soon  

The Litigation Legacy of the Urantia Book
by Phil Geiger

The true perspective of any reality problem—human or divine, terrestrial or cosmic— can be had only by the full and unprejudiced study and correlation of three phases of universe reality: origin, history, and destiny. The proper understanding of these three experiential realities affords the basis for a wise estimate of the current status. [19:1:6]



THE QUEST FOR ORIGINS seems to be a genetic feature of the human psyche. “Where do I come from?” is one of the perennial questions of human philosophy. “Where do the Urantia Papers come from” has been a persistent question among readers and skeptics as well.

A number of efforts were made to address the unfailing natural human curiosity about the creation of the papers, beginning with an unsigned, unpublished “History ” attributed, at least in part, to Dr. Sadler (1960); and most recently, Mullins and Sprunger’s excellent A History of the Urantia Papers (2000).

However, there is a relatively new player in the game that is the focus of this essay- the courts. In deciding challenges to Urantia Foundation’s copyright claims, the courts have acted as magnets for information about the book’s origins. (The aforementioned “History”, in a version compiled by Marian Rowley in 1960, became part of the public record as a result of its inclusion in the Maaherra litigation.)

Information admitted in court is done in accordance with rules of evidence, including sworn testimony. Thus to outsiders, the legal record carries a presumption of authority that contrasts with the clubby apocrypha acceptable to the first two generations of Urantia Book readers.

My purpose here is not to rehash the legal arguments involved in over two decades of UF copyright litigation; but to explore their legacy on the Urantia movement, and to assess their potential for shaping perceptions about the superhuman authorship of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.  

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

If mind cannot fathom conclusions, if it cannot penetrate to true origins, then will such mind unfailingly postulate conclusions and invent origins that it may have a means of logical thought within the frame of these mind_created postulates. [TUB 115:1:1]

As the Urantia movement fractures along the legal fault lines of copyright and trademark law; as multiple publishers enter the market to print the full text, raw and annotated; as derivative works appear dealing with everything from the Papers’ origins to scholarly studies of its human source materials (some of which cast doubts upon the revelation’s very authenticity), a new generation of potential readers, believers and critics will naturally turn to the legal record for whatever clues it can provide about the book’s origins.

The question of superhuman authorship has always been an issue of personal belief, and for those already convinced that the Urantia Book is divinely authored (or author-ized), legal conclusions about the book’s author(s) hardly matter.

But the bar of entry for new readers is already high given the book’s sheer size, complexity, and the plethora of other “inspired” books now available in the marketplace. And the age of the internet poses additional challenges.

Previous generations of book consumers that confined their browsing to the aisles of brick and mortar buildings were largely insulated from controversies surrounding individual books. But in the age of the internet ‘browsing’ takes on another dimension. Search engines fielding inquiries about “Urantia” are just as likely to return ‘hits’ referencing lawsuits as information about the book itself.

For instance, one inquiry returns a page in which the Maaherra suit shares the limelight with a case decided under the Witchcraft Act of 1735; a case where the court ruled, as a matter of law, that a house was haunted and that the buyer was able to rescind his purchase contract; and litigation where J.Z. Knight claimed that a rival psychic was interfering with her own contacts with Ramtha the Atlantean Sage, and infringing her copyright and trademarks in Ramtha merchandising. [1]

Another site, servicing the Vietnamese community, contains a page entitled “IF GOD SPEAKS TO YOU, YOU GET THE COPYRIGHT”:

“There is a religion based on the Urantia Papers. You may or may not have heard of it, but it exists. The Urantia Papers are published by a charitable trust named, appropriately, the Urantia Foundation. Members of this religion believe that non_human ‘celestial beings’ delivered their teachings through a patient of a Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. Sadler.” [2]

(Hmmm. A new religion mediated by a psychiatric patient in alleged contact with superhuman beings. Sounds interesting.)

Another site has a legal analysis of the Maaherra case by attorney Neal Smith entitled: “WHO OWNS THE RIGHTS TO WORKS OF CELESTIAL BEINGS?” [3] (see excerpt under the Maaherra case below.)

Then there are sites maintained by Urantia Foundation (UF), The Urantia Book Fellowship (UBF), and individual readers like Norm Du Val [4] and Mark Turin [5]. Once the Michael appellate decision is published, we can expect additional web pages to spring up as well.

Compared to printed works, the internet provides accessability and ease of search that places hard copy publications, and their greater in-depth analysis, at a competitive disadvantage.

Slippery Slope

In choosing to employ copyright law to fulfill its DOT derived duty to keep the text of TUB inviolate (the Declaration of Trust never mentions the word ‘copyright’), UF has found itself propounding various human authorship theories, as secular law demands. (See comments at [6])

The attenuation of celestial authorship began immediately upon the registration of the initial copyright. Copyright is only given to human authors, not celestial ones. No human authorship- no copyright.

Here begins the change in grade, the first descent on the slippery slope of human contamination. After taking that first step, the landscape changes continually as different courts survey the facts and stipulations presented. The three major cases dealing with the copyright are as follows.

The Burton Case (1980)  

Early Forum member Bob Burton challenged UF’s copyright claim, specifically its registration statement that it was the book’s author. The judge ruled (all underlined emphases mine):

“The facts are essentially undisputed....The book at the time was in typed manuscript form. Dr. Sadler explained to his guests that the book had been written by one of his patients while in an unconscious or semi-conscious state and that the patient claimed to have no memory of having written the book.”

Sounds like a channeled work produced by a “patient” in trance, using automatic writing.

“Dr. Sadler claimed, and both parties to this action apparently believe, that the book was written down as the result of divine or spiritual inspiration.”

A bit more benign, but not substantially different from tens of thousands of other inspired works.

“Legally, however, the source of the patient's inspiration is irrelevant.”

The Burton court found that UF’s copyright registration was  factually untrue (though not fatal to its ownership status), ruling that UF:

“...named itself as author even though it, of course, knew that it was not the author.” [7]

"If the plaintiff [UF]had simply listed the work as anonymous, the Copyright Office would have nevertheless issued the certificate.” [8]

The court concluded that the patient was the legal author and UF his legal assignee.

The Maaherra Case (1995)

In Maaherra, the appellate court rejected UF’s new claim that the book was a work for hire, and ruled instead that the UB was a composite work based on questions asked by the Forum, selected and arranged by the Contact Commission (CC).

“We hold that the human selection and arrangement of the revelations in this case could not have been so ‘mechanical or routine as to require no creativity whatsoever.’ “[9]

This conclusion runs directly counter to statements by individual contact commissioners, entered in the record, that they imparted absolutely none of the kind of “creativity” ascribed to them by the court, which didn’t even bother to cite or discuss the commissioners’ statements in its Opinion.

Referring to the artifice of finding commercially motivated human creativity in compiled works (which qualify as composite works, per Maaherra), Jane Ginsburg comments:

“Those courts that do admit low authorship compilations into the company of copyrightable works often swathe their determinations in the rhetoric of high authorship. Thus, many courts will strain to find (or will simply declare the existence of) ‘selection and arrangement’ in such patently nonselective and un ‘arranged’ compilations..." [10]

Intellectual property attorney Neil A. Smith echoes the sentiment: “Presumably this [Maaherra] court would look hard to find the human contribution in a computer's symphony.” [11]

It would seem that in the legal realm, the revelation isn’t the only fish out of water, that there exists a whole category of compiled works that fail the “human creativity” test as well.

Sadler’s oft-cited dictum "No questions--no papers” is a necessary, though not necessarily sufficient component of the required human creativity component of copyright law. See also  copyright authority David Nimmer’s comments at [12])

The Michael/McMullan Case (Decided June 2001)

Per UF’s stipulation (and consistent with its position in Burton), the patient was again identified as the author. UF also argued that the book was a composite work, based on the separate nature of the individual papers:

“McMullan’s testimony that he believes the book is a ‘unified work’ and the related ‘evidence’ of the religious beliefs of readers of The Urantia Book that the book should be viewed in a ‘unified’ manner cannot serve as the basis for the conclusion that the book is anything other than a collection of separate works produced over a span of several decades.”

Furthermore, UF stated that “the papers in TUB are not in the same order in which the papers were originally received and studied”; and claimed that “the CC demonstrated originality in their compilation.”

Proceeding along the same line of argument, UF also claimed:

“[T]he Contact Commission performed...selection, specifying that certain communications from the subject would be printed in TUB, while others would not.” [13]

Not content to stop there, UF resurrected its work for hire argument buried by both the district and appellate courts in Maaherra, claiming that the subject was either UF’s employee or its commissioned agent.

For his part, McMullan testified that the architecture of the JANR index provides sufficient connection to the rest of TUB to preserve its status as a unified work. Also, McMullan identified Dr. Sadler as a psychiatrist and the subject as a psychiatric patient, and implied that Sadler might have acted in an unethical manner towards his fiduciary charge.

(Compare McMullan’s description of Dr. Sadler, now a part of the permanent legal record, with his reputation among those who knew him. And the characterization ‘psychiatric patient’ with this profile of the subject by Emma Christensen: “His was an exemplary and inspiring life...” [14])

Michael Appeals Court Ruling (3/11/03)

Where the Maaherra Appeals Court ruled that the Contact Commission was the legal author of the Fifth Epochal Revelation because of its creative contributions, the Michael Appeals court informs the world that the book was initiated, channeled, and written by a psychiatric patient, all with the help of Dr. Sadler and his relatives:

In approximately 1900, an unknown patient ("the Conduit") sought psychiatric help from Dr. William Sadler. The Conduit behaved strangely in his sleep, and during sessions with the Conduit, Dr. Sadler became convinced that the Conduit was channeling "celestial personalities." At some point, the Conduit began presenting Dr. Sadler with handwritten "papers," purportedly consisting of the fruits of his communion with these celestial beings. Sometime later in the course of his treatment, Dr. Sadler opened up his sessions with the Conduit to a group of relatives that referred to itself as "The Contact Commission."

In 1924, after approximately twenty years of treatment and generating "papers," the Conduit announced that he would compose The Urantia Book. He solicited questions from the Contact Commission to present to the celestial beings during his psychiatric sessions.

The Urantia Papers arose...out of the Conduit's psychiatric sessions with Dr. Sadler.

Through A Judicial Glass Darkly

The judges’ ruling in Maaherra points out another problem that  comes with dragging the revelation through an imperfect court system (a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get).

Civil courts are dominated by commercial concerns, invoking principles like ”interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat”_ such an interpretation is to be adopted that the thing may rather stand than fall. This gives rise to two presumptions with respect to copyright law: first, “Courts generally seek to preserve copyrights rather than invalidate them”; and second, information contained in a copyright registration is considered valid until proven otherwise [15].

This inherent commercial bias makes correcting misinformation embedded in the legal record extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming to correct. For instance, in evaluating the information contained in UF’s two copyright registrations, the courts have concluded that their claims were ‘simply’ false. Yet correcting that record took nearly two decades, at a cost of millions of dollars.

Legal Legerdemain

Another problem with the judicial system is the tactical games litigants play. For example, in an attempt to buttress its composite argument, UF (in its unanswerable Reply Brief) left the impression that McMullan claimed copyright in the text of JANR itself, when he explicitly claimed copyright only in the index he created and the book’s volume and cover design:

“Indeed, McMullan’s publication of only the final 76 papers as a separate work, under a notice of copyright asserted by Michael Foundation, confirms that parts of the book are separable and that the book’s components are separately copyrightable.” [16]

(Of course UF’s legal argument contradicts its public statements decrying the separate publication of Part IV [17].)

Additionally in Michael, UF claimed the book was authored in part by Bill Sadler Jr. and the CC. UF referred to Bill’s contribution as "the first sixty pages of the book", obscuring the fact that these sixty pages constituted the Table of Contents [18]. (The first six of the sixty pages are nothing more than the Paper titles and their corresponding sub-headings taken right from the text.)

More Cavities

Individual judges aren’t exactly free from bias, as the history of judicial activism shows. (For a lesson in same, just turn on CSPAN during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing considering nominations to the federal bench.)

Nor are judges immune from the desire for peer recognition in breaking new intellectual ground. Maaherra, for instance, was a case of first impression, hence precedent setting. [19]

Also, rules of evidence designed to eliminate prejudice to an individual litigant can prevent otherwise enlightening information from entering the public record. In the Michael case, Barbara Newsom’s testimony about Dr. Sadler’s journals and their purported reference to the contact personality’s intent was excluded on procedural grounds.

Devil In The Details

I despair at trying to present a coherent picture of UF’s various copyright/authorship theories due to its often contradictory throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. But then pounding the square peg of celestial authorship into the round hole of human copyright law is by nature problematic, even messy.

As the following parable by Ambrose Bierce suggests, the divide between divine intent and secular law can sometimes be wide and treacherous, if not in design and purpose, then often in result.

“Satan was being expelled from Heaven. As he passed through the Gates, he paused a moment in thought, turned to God and said, I hear a new creature called Man is soon to be created. This is true, God replied. He will need laws, said the Demon slyly, prompting God to indignantly exclaim, What! You, his appointed Enemy for all Time! You ask for the right to make his laws?  Oh, no! Satan replied, I ask only that he be allowed to make his own.  It was so granted.” -The Devil’s Dictionary

The Courts and the Cult of 533

Perhaps the greatest damage resulting from UF’s litigation wars is the negative impact they’ve had on the earliest efforts by the revelators to emphasize the teachings of the book over the teachings about the book. The revelators purportedly told the CC:

“At the time of the appearance of The Urantia Book, a solemn oath will be required of you to the end that you shall remain silent concerning aught you may chance to know about the origin of The Urantia Book throughout the remainder of your life.” [20]

Early Forum members were also required to take secrecy oaths, the first one circa 1925:

“We acknowledge our pledge of secrecy, renewing our promise not to discuss the Urantia Revelations or their subject matter with anyone save active Forum members, and to take no notes of such matter as is read or discussed at the public sessions, or make copies or notes of what we personally read.” [21]

This added to the already cultish atmosphere of 533, a modern day Delphi where the gods were known to speak. Early Forumites (“status personalities”) were thus in a position to dispense privileged esoteric information about the book’s origins to individuals whom they favored, a classic feature of cults.

A renewal pledge was requested in 1955:

“I hereby reaffirm my pledge of secrecy regarding information imparted to me about the manner of receiving the subject matter of The Urantia Book, and the channel through which it came.” [22]

Channel? Audio messages from the revelators were believed by some to continue into the 1980s, long past the purported early ‘50s Now you are on your own message, with Emma “Christy” Christensen playing the role of the Pythian Priestess. (See also note at 4 for copyright implications.) As Matthew Rapaport writes: “Human or celestial, the channeling is what lent Christy her authority in the movement.” [23] Channeling is of course a major catalyst behind a new sub-group of the Urantia movement- the Teaching Mission.

Judging from two memos by Christy in the 1960s, at least some of the Forumites had a problem keeping their oaths:

“I feel that the time has come to remind the “old_timers” of this pledge of secrecy, and to strongly urge them not to discuss with newer members in the various groups, information imparted to them in the old days....The stories that are being told become so very garbled with the passing of time that they seem to have very little relation to the original version. I would appreciate it if you would read this memorandum to the old Forumites connected with your Society.” [24]

Whatever limited success these oaths had on keeping a lid on the secrecy coffin, litigation continues to pry it back open, re-animating the origins golem for additional walks around the block.

The Magical Masterful Mystery Tour

No cult can survive unless it embodies some masterful mystery and conceals some worthful unattainable. [TUB 87:7:3]

On balance, the revelators speak of cults favorably. Cults perform at least one critical function, serving as incubators for some central truth which they nurture for later dissemination. (Paul’s cult of Christianity being an obvious example.) Problems arise, however, when cults crystalize around ritual and fixity of belief; and/or maintain their sense of exclusivity.

An easy candidate for the “masterful mystery” at the center of the cult of 533 was the contact personality’s “liaison with the spiritual forces of the universe...under the overcontrol of an actual fragment of the very God of all creation__the Mystery Monitor” [TUB 111:2:9], further described as “one of the highly experienced Adjusters of his day and generation” [TUB 110:5:7]. The result was the Urantia Papers, the beautiful butterfly that emerged from the early days of the 533 cult cocoon.

(As for the “worthful unattainable”, even our successful post-fusion subinfinite penetration of the absolute [TUB 112:1:9] will likely leave understanding of the Mystery Monitor deliciously incomplete, yet eternally satisfying.)

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Impact on the Readership

A generation of litigation has probably cost something in the neighborhood of ten million dollars. The cost to the Urantia Movement as a whole is much harder to quantify. [25]

Apart from personal referrals, and recently, the internet, new readers looking for further information about the book and affiliated organizations have relied on contact information provided in the book itself. The proprietary control afforded to UF as copyright owner made it the exclusive recipient of such inquiries, which naturally lead to study group referrals, membership campaigns and fund-raising opportunities.

UF shared this information with the then Urantia Brotherhood until its dis-enfranchisement in 1990. The refusal to share this information after 1990 was largely responsible for UBF’s decision to print its own book(s) a decision that in turn has further exacerbated friction between UF and UBF and the readership community as a whole.

Another consequence has been competition for translation funds, leading to unnecessary duplication in some cases. (Where the quality of translations is an issue, competition can have a positive effect.) Taken together with money spent on litigation, the effect has been diversion of funds that could otherwise be spent on translations and community building.

No Fun In UF’s Funambulations

Despite its sometimes clever attempts to balance the human authorship requirements of copyright law while simultaneously acknowledging celestial authorship, UF’s high wire legal act is anything but assured.

Even if it prevails in its appeal of the Michael verdict, UF still has a rocky road ahead of it as it tries to put a legal lid on people’s natural enthusiasm for disseminating the Urantia Book, in whatever publishing packages they deem suitable to reach their intended audiences. 

In addition to likely problems on the translations front, UF has never had to litigate fair use cases, a plethora of which can be expected as the book becomes more popular. (Being ‘an equitable rule of reason’, fair use is problematic, requiring a case by case analysis.) 

In any event, the copyright will expire sooner or later; sooner  if the challenge to the Scientologist driven Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act presently before the U.S. Supreme Court succeeds. [26]
rom Apotheosis to Apoptosis

Apoptosis is programmed cell death. Among other things, it is essential for embryonic development (for example, saving us from the embarrassment of being born with the webbing between our prenatal fingers). Apoptosis is responsible for the death of a trillion cells per day, making it possible for tissue repair and organ regeneration. It is nature’s version of the metaphysical algorithm- out with the old and in with the new. 
With UF’s sudden loss of the copyright, we might well be witnessing the equivalent of accelerated epochal apoptosis. Planetary changes from the collapse of communism to the digital revolution have radically altered the playing field, depriving it of its once rarified status as exclusive guardian of the Fifth Epochal Revelation, impelling a change in direction.

Even the Master had to change his original Son of Man paradigm in the face of the intransigent Messianic expectations of his day. Shift happens.

Marks of the Beast

UF still maintains copyright on individual translations, and proprietary trademark control over selected revealed symbols which it refers to as its “marks.” UF’s ownership of the terms “Urantia” and “Urantian” is predicated on its (animal origin) claims that it “coined”, a legal term meaning “made-up”, the terms, muddying their true origin. However, in the Michael case, UF is now apparently singing a different tune:

“33. UF President Richard Keeler has admitted that UF did not coin the terms. Keeler at 125_128, 135.” [27]

‘Copyright Estoppel’ and The Public Domain

It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong. - Abraham Lincoln

UF’s initial decision to utilize copyright law was based on the fear that the text would otherwise be corrupted, that copyright protection was needed until sufficient amounts of the original text were in circulation. This is no longer a problem, given the number of books now in print, and the ubiquitous nature of the internet, where authenticated (and encrypted) copies can be mirrored ad infinitum throughout the vast regions of cyberspace.

Placing TUB in the public domain can fundamentally alter the risk-reward ratio between protection and dissemination, enabling us to be more proactive and less reactive. In the Bono case, Intel Corporation filed an amicus brief that summarizes the benefits of the digitally enhanced public domain:

“Digital technologies make locating, expanding, and building on the creative works of those who went before easier and more promising than ever. The public domain also increases the likelihood of the preservation of materials that otherwise would be lost or forgotten...This is particularly true today, where digital computing, networking, and communication technologies allow each member of the public to become a custodian of information in the public domain, thereby increasing the likelihood that the information will not only be preserved, but also shared and built upon.

“The framers embraced the principle, long recognized by scholars and innovators, that in the march of human progress, the creative efforts of prior generations are a legacy to future generations.

“The Copyright Clause establishes the public domain as the means of transmitting this important legacy, and today's digital computing, networking, and communications technology provide historic opportunities to realize and further the framers' vision.” [28]


Regardless of whether UF wins the current battle over the copyright, it will ultimately lose the war. It will have to learn how to think outside the copyright box and live life in the public domain.

Even if UF temporarily maintains the copyright, alternatives exist to protect the text that don’t involve draining millions of dollars from badly needed dissemination projects, nor polarize the reader community, nor leave a confusing legal record that muddies the authorial waters.

Whatever the truth of the book’s origins, whatever the ultimate legacy of its legal history, its destiny is, and has always been, the public domain. [29]

[Presented by Philip Geiger, an Apprentice Agondontor on temporary assignment to Urantia.]
emailemail Phil    up

1.SPIRIT OF THE LAWS PART I. (cites omitted)
http://www.fidai.clara.net/thelegalbits.htm (expired)

3. WHO OWNS THE RIGHTS TO WORKS OF CELESTIAL BEINGS?  Neil A. Smith, Esq, 1998. (Limbach & Limbach, an intellectual property firm, ceased operations 1/01/01)
6. The explicit authority usually given for UF’s copyright and trademark policies is a controversial 1942 ‘mandate’, which was unknown to even UF Trustee Tom Kendall until 1966, three years after he began his trusteeship. Beyond the usual question of authenticity associated with all the purported celestial messages (ordered destroyed by the revelators), this one suffers from other, serious problems. For a detailed discussion, see Mullins’ A HISTORY OF THE URANTIA PAPERS, Penumbra Press, 2000, pp. 280-285.
   Another document proffered in support of the theory that the Revelators approved copyrighting the text, including a renewal term, is a 1932 letter generally attributed to Wilfred Kellogg, written to the U.S. copyright office. As if mere contemporaneity somehow conferred the revelators’ intent.
  The letter is remarkable for another reason. It shows an apparent willingness to alter the text 28 years after the book’s initial publication:
“...after the expiration of the first twenty_eight years and the renewal period of twenty_eight years...it is desired to protect it against infringement for an indefinite period; if the changes I have suggested are not sufficient to provide copyright protection, how extensively would the text require rewriting in order to secure such protection?”
7. URANTIA FOUND v. BURTON, No. K 7S_255 CA 4 (United States District Court; W.D. Michigan. Dated August 27, 1980). Reported in Westlaw (1980 WL 1176. W.D. Mich.) http://www.ubook.org/legal/340.txt, and the U.S. Patent Quarterly, 210 U.S.P.Q. 217.
8. Ibid.
9. URANTIA FOUNDATION v. MAAHERRA, 895 F. Supp. 1328 (D. Ariz. 1995), rev'd, 114 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 1997) passim
12. In the Michael Reply brief, Nimmer comments on the Maaherra decision as follows:
“Even on its own terms, the Ninth Circuit erroneously treated TUB as a composite work based on unconscious category shifts. It first held that Sadler and his fellow Contact Commissioners engaged in authorship by selecting and arranging uncopyrightable revelations into TUB. It was that basis on which the circuit validated renewal by the proprietor of a composite work. Yet by rejecting the district court's focus on the various supernatural authors who contributed separate contributions, the panel eliminated the possibility of characterizing TUB as one "to which a number of different authors have contributed distinguishable selections." Indeed, by stitching numerous uncopyrightable components into a unified whole, the Contact Commissioners by definition did not individually create distinguishable selections. A prerequisite for treating the work as a composite was accordingly lacking under any theory.”
13. OPENING BRIEF OF APPELLANT (UF), MICHAEL FOUNDATION v URANTIA FOUNDATION, U.S. Court of Appeals For the Tenth Circuit, etc. Case Nos 01_6347 & 01_6348
14. THE PLAN FOR THE URANTIA BOOK REVELATION, by Carolyn B. Kendall, April, 1996. 


Michael Foundation v. Urantia Foundation, et al. Western District of Oklahoma. Case No. CIV-00-885-W.
19. Maaherra was the first case to address whether a work is a composite work as a matter of law for purposes of copyright renewal; and the only one to ever attribute creativity to a question and answer process under the 1909 law.  
21. HISTORY 2.
23.  THE BIRTH OF A DIVINE REVELATION By Ernest Moyer. A Review By Matthew Rapaport, June 2000.
25. Some consider the term “Urantia Movement” an oxymoron, given the sclerotic rate of growth in the two membership organizations.
In part, this a legacy of UF’s Slow Growth policy, identified as one of three guiding principles in its “SPECIAL REPORT TO READERS OF THE URANTIA BOOK”, April 1990, never repudiated.
“The Principle of Slow Growth is of great importance.” http://urantiabook.org/archive/history/doc214.htm
Slow growth is a virtual given when enforced by proprietary, state sanctioned copyright and trademark powers. The loss of the copyright increases the likelihood of greater public involvement as multiple publishers find new niches within which to distribute the book.
26. ERIC ELDRED, ET AL, v. JOHN D. ASHCROFT, No 01_618, U.S. Supreme Court, May 20, 2002.
29. The following message (
) was recently discovered marooned in an energy relay transmitter in the planetary communications circuit: “What a transcendent service if, by the termination of all future litigation and the placement of TUB in the public domain, this book should be recovered from the tomb of the UF’s proprietary control and be presented as the revelation to the planet that bears its name, and to all other religions!”