Eck & Trademarks

Author: Professor Mike Mueckler
Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar
Publication date: March 1996

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

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Eckankar does not have a legal leg to stand on. Trademarks and copyrighted material can be used without permission for the purposes of critique, review, and scholarly analysis if they are properly cited. Also, it is clear that Lane's use of an altered form of their trademark on the cover was for the purpose of humor/criticism and could not possibly be mistaken for trademark piracy. This manner of expression is an integral part of the first amendment and has been strongly protected by the courts. The case would have been thrown out.

As far as the cover's appearance on the web is concerned, it should be self-evident that Lane cannot control what others do with a published book cover. The existing books with that cover were allowed to be sold. They are out there, and the author of a book is obviously NOT responsible for what someone chooses to do with a book they purchased. Any suggestion to the contrary is absurd.

What is so disturbing about this whole affair is that it is clear that eckankar's real target is Lane's written analysis of eckankar, not the book cover. An organization like eckankar only has to fear the truth, not fiction. Eckankar's actions confirm the truth contained in Lane's material.

I can only assume that the availability of Lane's scholarly analysis of eckankar has caused serious problems for the organization, otherwise they would not bother with it. I imagine it is rather uncomfortable for some poor chap answering the phones at eckankar, incorporated, to have to attempt to explain Twitchell's lying and plagiarism, the charges brought against the former Mahanta, Darwin Gross, and Lane's razor sharp analysis that proves Twitchell made-up the entire history of eckankar. Information that is ordinarily carefully kept hidden from members. Perhaps this information is finally reaching the grunts working in the international office for the first time, and it is reeking considerable havoc. The truth can do that.

Lastly, it is disturbing that a so-called spiritual organization shows so much concern about a trademark, a device used to distinguish and sell different brands of cola, toothpaste, and deoderant. The reason is obvious to those of us who are unfortunate enough to have once belonged to this troubled cult. Their only concern is the spiritual marketplace.

Mike Mueckler

Department of Cell Biology and Physiology
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO  63110

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.