The Book Cover and the Book Content I appreciate Nick's analysis of my post dealing with Eckankar's concern with Dave Rife posting the 1983 book cover of The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar on his website or, as it stands today, making a link to it on his home page. Very simply, let me restate in a nutshell what has transpired: A) The contents of The Making of a Spiritual Movement have been continually republished and circulated since 1978. There has never been a time in which the contents were out of circulation. Quite to the contrary, there have been numberable editions of it (some printings at 1000 copies; some printings less). B) The legal agreement that I signed with Eckankar states that I will not use their "Ek" symbol, as it was displayed on the 1983 edition, on future covers. C) "I" (and that "I" should be highlighted) have never used the symbol again, despite whatever questions, hesitations, or legal doubts I may have. Nor has Del Mar Press or MSAC or any "official" group which I have jurisdiction over utilized the disputed "Ek" trademark. D) I posted a number of chapters from the Making of a Spiritual Movement on the Alt.religion.eckankar group a couple of years back, I believe. I also have periodically re-posted certain sections. E) Dave Rife compiled some of these and I also sent him via e-mail some of the missing chapters. F) I gave "permission" not only to Dave Rife to utilize these materials, but I have always given "permission" to anyone anywhere and at anytime to utilize them. I may have a copyright on the book (which I do via the Library of Congress), but it is my strong opinion that anybody should be allowed to copy, to xerox, to excerpt any portion they wish. I only asked that the work be cited properly. G) However, I have never given permission to anyone to utilize the "1983" cover of the book. How could I? I don't even have a copy of it myself. H) Dave Rife and others know that I cannot "authorize" the use of that said cover. It is entirely their responsibility to use it or not use it. I) Now because I have given permission to Dave Rife (and countless others) to use the "contents" of the book does it then follow that I can withdraw permission of those "contents" when they utilize the 1983 cover? The answer is, of course, no. Why? Because they are two distinct matters and confusing the two is the job of sloppy lawyers. J) There is nothing more complicated to the issue. This is not a dispute between me and Eckankar over "trademarks." This is, rather, a dispute between Eckankar and its former followers. L) I will never withdraw "permission" to utilize the contents of the Making of a Spiritual Movement, as such, because it has been in the public domain now for some 18 years. Anyone should feel most free to copy or circulate it anyway they deem fit. I only ask that it be properly cited, so that interested individuals will at least know its genealogical history. Something I wish Twitchell would have done many years ago. M) Again, I appreciate Nick's commentary. But the issue for me is a dead one in that I have lived-up to my end of the bargain. If Eckankar wants to dispute that, if Eckankar wants to take this matter to court, well so be it. I am very comfortable with my legal position, so are my attorneys. Finally, it should be remembered that I contacted Dave Rife after Eckankar contacted me in order to "help" Eckankar out. I advised Gary and Eckankar that they would be quite silly in suing Rife over his home page use of the cover. Thus, in good faith I tried to see if the matter could be resolved. Rife's position is quite clear on this, from his previous postings. My only concern originally was to save Rife the legal hassles.... and Eckankar some bad publicity and further embarrassment. But after my last conversation with Gary (representing Eckankar's legal interests in this matter) it became clearer to me that Eckankar's demands are not only disputable, but quite ridiculous. Indeed, I am a bit tired of having to deal with a group with a history of plagiarism over a trademark issue..... It seems as if the blinders on reality are everywhere in Eckankar's legal team.... But maybe it is not their fault..... The founder was the king of copyright infringement. Let us now see what Eckankar does. Personally, I think they should lighten up.... especially when suing former members leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. I probably should add a note that people in Eckankar's camp seem to always forget. Remember my friend and classmate, Jim Peebles, was an "Eckist in good standing" when he wrote his "12" page term paper and got sued for 1 million dollars for giving a "xerox" copy of it to Ed Gruss at L.A. Baptist College.... That's what got the "fire" in my belly about doing more research on Eckankar. Why did they go after Peebles in the first place? Because I had cited a section from his term paper in my term paper.... And since what I said was well documented, they had to go after some young kid (he was 19, I think at the time) because he relied on "Eckists" for his information about Darwin Gross.... And we all know what happened to Gross..... I must confess that I have always found that episode in Eckankar's legal history a little bit more than disturbing.... I am amazed that it doesn't piss more people off..... Eckankar, again my advice is simple: Chant Hu, Don't Sue..... Keep the legal "knife" out of Rife. Or, isn't it "Gross", not subtle or causal, to spend thousands on this issue when you could feed hundreds of hungry people in the USA? Well, in any case, it should prove to be interesting. written in appreciation of Nick's commentary March 19, 1996 The Neural Surfer Home Page