Clarification on issues regarding disputes over
the copyright of A Course in Miracles

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We are moving! As I will be emigrating to Australia in May 2004 I am taking the opportunity to merge my two websites into which will cover A Course in Miracles, healing, forgiveness, workshops and healer training. I am also starting a newsletter.

The latest information on the copyright issue is at my new web site

This web site will no longer be updated.

For the latest news on the copyright issue please go to:

A preliminary injunction has been issued against the New Christian Church of Full Endeavor and Endeavor Academy in September 2000 pursuant to the earlier decisions of Judge Sweet regarding the copyright lawsuit.

For more information on the disputes over the copyright of A Course in Miracles see the site map on Joe Jesseph's web site.

My own brief thoughts on one aspect of the current controversy are given below:

The following two statements are from the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM) at Temecula, USA.

Gloria Wapnick and Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
February 10, 2000

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." (see below)


The early draft of the Text which is being called the "Hugh Lynn Cayce Text" is an unpublished manuscript of Dr. Helen Schucman.  Dr. Helen Schucman provided this unpublished manuscript to Mr. Hugh Lynn Cayce in 1970, in confidence, so that he could provide his advice and comment about the work.
When Hugh Lynn Cayce died, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) held the HLC manuscript as an historical document in its archives.  It was never offered for public distribution as a document to be taken out of the library.  ARE has advised us that it did not permit anyone to copy the work.  Thus, in addition to the unlawful copying of the material in violation of copyright law, if the material was obtained from the ARE's archives, it was done so illegally.  However this manuscript was obtained, it has been copied without the permission of the copyright owner in violation of law.


Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
January, 2000

In light of the misinformation circulating about the early manuscript of "A Course in Miracles" -- referred to as the "Hugh Lynn Version" -- I believe clarification is required. Let me begin by presenting the facts that relate to the history of that early manuscript. I am here summarizing what I have already detailed in my book
"Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schulman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles," and in more succinct fashion in the preface to the pamphlet "Errata for the Second Edition of  A Course in Miracles."
Helen took down her internal dictation in stenographic notebooks, using her own version of shorthand, and dictated these notes to Bill. Helen intentionally omitted some material while dictating to Bill, who typed Helen's dictation. We later termed this the "Urtext," a word usually used to denote the original manuscript of a later published literary work. At that time, Helen and Bill were in occasional contact with Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of the renowned psychic Edgar Cayce, and President of the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. Helen valued his opinion and he was most interested in her work. For that reason, Helen shared the material with him to secure his advice and comments.
In 1972, Helen and Bill gave to Hugh Lynn a copy of what was then the completed manuscript. This is what has been called the "Hugh Lynn Version. "It was made clear to Hugh Lynn that Helen and Bill were providing these pages for his personal review and comments, and that the manuscript was *not* to be shared with others except for his son, Charles Thomas. Hugh Lynn died in 1983, but Charles Thomas Cayce, current President of the A.R.E., recalls conversations in which this point -- so central to Helen's feelings of privacy -- was understood by all parties involved.
After seeing some of the early and later chapters of the text, Hugh Lynn commented to Helen and Bill that he thought that perhaps more than one source was involved, presumably since the writing styles were so discrepant, especially when one compared the early scribing -- what now roughly constitutes the first four chapters of the text -- with what came later.
Hugh Lynn's observation goes to the heart of the matter of the editing, and how and why it proceeded. Again, "
Absence from Felicity" goes into this in more detail, so that interested readers may wish to consult it if they so choose. There are two relevant issues here, and they bear on what Helen and Bill (and later I) came to refer to as Helen's "scribal uncertainty" or "pedagogical caution" in introducing a thought system that was so alien to the world's thinking:
1) The early months of the dictation -- again, we are speaking of what are now roughly the first four chapters of the text -- were experienced by Helen as a dialogue or conversation between her and her inner Voice, which she identified as Jesus, in which the actual Course material itself was only *a portion* of the dictation. Personal material -- meant only for Helen and Bill -- was part of what she had written down, and it was her very specific guidance that this was not to be included in the published version. This personal material also included many references to psychologists and various psychological issues and subjects, which were also not meant for the public, but rather were to help Helen and Bill make the bridge between their psychological understanding and that of the Course.
2) In addition to the interspersal of the personal material and discussion of various psychological issues with the Course teaching, there is the issue of Helen's "scribal uncertainty" and pedagogical caution. These interferences certainly affected her writing during this period. I provided one such example in "Absence from Felicity," where the story of the so-called "celestial speed-up" message is recounted. This "explanation," which Helen never said came specifically from Jesus, but rather was "given" her, speaks of people losing more than they were gaining, necessitating a "celestial speed-up" in which certain people were being called back -- including Helen and Bill -- to lend their talents on behalf of the "plan."  Helen later insisted upon removing this inconsistent material.
Therefore, what was taken out of the original material was meant to be taken out by Helen, as instructed by her Voice, since it detracted from the actual teaching message of "A Course in Miracles," and could have seemed to contradict that message, thus confusing its students. Helen and Bill had removed most of this material by the time I saw the early manuscript.  However, Helen felt that additional material needed to be removed for the published edition. Helen made these deletions and changes and did not truly consider them to be important, as they were never meant to be part of the published Course.
Further, obvious editorial revisions were also necessary -- punctuation, paragraphing, capitalization, etc. -- all of which are documented in my book. I might also add that the editing that Helen and I completed was Helen's work. Any thought that it was I who did the editing could only be held by someone who clearly did not know Helen. As I have said many, many times, Helen was extraordinarily protective of "A Course in Miracles," and would not have allowed anything to be done with the material without her approval. Indeed, during our long period of editing, I functioned more or less as Helen's secretary, implementing the changes that she wished.
Again, anyone who knew Helen (and Bill), would appreciate the fact that "
A Course in Miracles," as it is published, reflects the guidance that she followed and then implemented. Therefore, readers of the published Course (especially now that the second edition includes the earlier inadvertent typing omissions) can rest assured that they have before them in the published edition the expression of what was given to Helen by her inner Voice, the true teachings of "A Course in Miracles."
In 1990, Louis Schulman, Helen's widowed husband, assigned to me and I then copyrighted The Unpublished Writings of Helen Schulman, which, among other things, included the notebooks and Urtext, as well as all subsequent revisions up to but not including the published version. This was done to protect Helen's frequently expressed wish for privacy, to which she zealously clung and with which Louis identified. Helen, Bill, and I felt that the long process of editing -- from notebook to publication -- did full justice to a public edition of "A Course in Miracles," while at the same time respecting Helen's and Bill's wish and inner guidance that the personal and other material not be included in the public version.
Therefore, even though Helen's guidance was to eliminate both the personal material and confusing language from the final edition, the published Course clearly is intended to be read and studied by all students of "A Course in Miracles." All of us at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles and Foundation for Inner Peace earnestly hope that Helen's fervent wish for privacy will be honored and respected by all Course students. This can only be accomplished if the early manuscript of "A Course in Miracles" remains unpublished.
In Summary:                                             

1) The early manuscript provided to Hugh Lynn Cayce was the incompletely edited combination of the notebooks, Urtext, Helen's first retyping, and the first complete draft (1972). 2) This manuscript was given to Hugh Lynn Cayce by Helen for comment only, with the understanding that it would not be shown to the general public. 3) After 1972, Helen, with my assistance as well as Bill's, personally revised the manuscript to ensure that the final (published) version of "A Course in Miracles" had eliminated:
a - personal guidance and information meant only for her and Bill b - contradictory or confusing metaphysical and psychological concepts that she had introduced, especially in the first four chapters of the text c - various other similar material, including awkward, confusing, or inconsistent language 4) At Louis Schucman's request, I copyrighted "The Unpublished Writings of Helen Schulman" in 1990..

In the fall of 2001 Ken Wapnick began a series of lectures commenting in depth on each chapter in the ACIM Text. In the initial lectures he explained the relationship between the early scribing found in the urtext and the first chapters of the published Course. See:

My own brief thoughts on one aspect of the current controversy are given below:

The Need to Protect the Course's Copyright

Whilst recently examining the various litigation material concerned with infringement of A Course in Miracles copyright by various parties, one aspect stood out as the most important and serious issue, namely the desire of some for cancellation of the copyright and trademark/service mark.

In contrast it was Jesus's express wish, to the amazement of Ken, Helen, Bill and Judith, that the Course be protected by copyright. At the time, they thought that there would be such little interest in the Course that copyrighting was not needed. Further, Jesus asked that the three volumes be not sold separately as the three books consisted of one unified thought system. It was also Jesus's wish that these four people hold the responsibility for maintaining the purity of Jesus's message.

Without the protection of the copyright and trademark it does not take much imagination to realise what could happen. Already there have appeared shortened versions of the Course. I have personally heard of tapes that state that the Course contains errors that need 'correcting'. This opens the door for different edited versions of the Course.

Then there is the question of the translations. I once had translated into English the first paragraph of page one of the Text from an unofficial translation. It began by saying "You must read this book". Goodness knows what other misrepresentations the translation contained.

Then we could see abridged versions of the Course and 'politically correct' editions with the masculine gospel language removed. In other words, the ego will attempt to 'improve' on the Course in all manner of ways. Perhaps a children's version will appear with all the metaphysics removed and all references to the murderous egos thought system. Next may come the trivial applications of the Course - quotes on biscuits perhaps?

The most important thing to arise from all this is that A Course in Miracles DOES need protection and thank God we have the Foundation for A Course In Miracles to do it. Future generations will look back with thanks to those who maintained the purity of the Course and saved it for them.

Michael Dawson 25/3/00

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