Copyright and Religion
bortd at CSPS.COM
Mon Mar 15 18:09:58 PST 1999
Apropos of this discussion, there is an interesting copyright case
involving the Worldwide Church of God. I think it is pending in the Southern
District of California, but I'm not sure of that.
The Church apparently owns the copyrights to the writings of its late
founder. His successors, however, have changed the doctrine of the Church
somewhat, and have decided no longer to publish the founder's writings. A
former member of its clergy (who apparently was expelled from the Church for
adhering to its former ways) is continuing to follow the founder, and has
republished the founder's writings in bulk, listing the founder (rather than
the Church) as the copyright holder. The Church sued, and the former member
has defended on the basis that the writings are central to his (and his
followers') religion, and if the Church is not going to publish them, then he
has a First Amendment right to do so.
My understanding is that the trial court, on cross-motions for summary
judgment, has decided in favor of the former clergyman, but that the order is
still in the process of preparation.
If I get more specific information, I will pass it along.
Daniel C. Bort
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
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