Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some person trying to get hold over OSHO thoughts

Things can be copyrighted, thoughts cannot ... they are not things of the marketplace."-Osho's comments on copyright, published in the journal Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi.
The Master's words. But who's listening? Ten years after Osho died, his commune in Koregaon Park in Pune is a changed place. The merriment and laughter that used to ring around the commune have now been replaced with a pregnant silence, full of suspicion and hatred. The reason: battlelines have been drawn and the Bhagwan's very legacy is being torn apart by a bitter power struggle to retain control over his teachings and meditation practices. Says Swami Ganja Vedant, an old hand at the ashram: "Greed is spreading like a terminal cancer all over the commue.
The main fight revolves around Osho's works -- his books, sermons, music, art, pictures and meditation techniques -- all worth millions of dollars. While the top leadership in the Osho Commune is trying to convert all of Osho's works into commodities in the market by patenting them and charging copyright, a rebel group led by disciples in Pune and supported by like-minded Oshoites all over the world is resisting this attempt at commercialisation. Though Oshoites claim that this battle has been going on for a while now, the latest flashpoint came a few months ago when strongly worded legal notices were sent out by the New York-based Osho International to a couple of senior disciples for publishing the godman's works. These notices claim that the Osho International Foundation (OIF) Zurich holds the copyright to Osho's works and that anyone publishing or reprinting any such material must pay royalty to the foundation. Even the US Government's trade and patent website lists the OIF Zurich as "the sole and registered owner of the copyright of all published and unpublished words and works of all various writing, music, art and other products created or otherwise associated with the author (Osho) ..."
Osho International (New York) has warned the disciples that if they continue to publish or reprint Osho's works, legal action would be initiated against them. Says Swami Ananda Sant, whose wife, Gatha, publishes Osho's works in France: "Earlier we used to receive Osho's blessings for spreading his message to the masses. Now we are being served with rude legal notices."
The move to slap a royalty on Osho's works has invited a lot of criticism in the Pune commune. But as is the usual practice, those who have questioned, criticised or shown any disagreement, have been asked to resign or have been banned from the commune. Says Ma Yoga Neelam, who had been Osho's personal secretary in India and was in charge of the Pune commune till she abruptly quit a year ago: "It is a very embarrassing and shameful thing because making money was never our prime objective." According to her, as far back as in 1997, Swami Prem Jayesh -- who is the chairperson of the 21-member Inner Circle appointed by Osho -- told her that he, along with a few Inner Circle members, intended to charge royalty on all of Osho's works. His exact words at that time, she says, were: "We are sitting on a gold mine. Why not ask them to pay?"
The legal notices have only served to bring the dissent out in the open. Today everybody in Koregaon Park is discussing the issue -- and the fall of what was once a great empire. At the height of Osho's popularity, the lavender cult spread across 80 countries with over 750 meditation centres all on prime real estate. After his death though, things started going awry because of an intense power struggle in the Inner Circle appointed by Osho himself. Some Inner Circle members led by the Canada-born Jayesh (formerly Michael O'Bryne), rebel Oshoites point out, have been trying to control all the fortunes of the commune. Since Osho died, 15 of the 21 original members of the Inner Circle have quit following differences with Jayesh.
Though the Inner Circle is supposed to be the highest decision-making body for Oshoites, the rebel group alleges that the power centre has now shifted to OIF Zurich. It seems OIF Zurich has appointed Osho International (New York) to charge royalty from publishers dealing with Osho's works. The rebels allege that the New York chapter is run by Jayesh's brother D'Arcy O'Bryne while the managing committee of OIF Zurich is filled with people close to him like Swami Amrito (formerly Dr George Meredith), who used to be Osho's personal physician, and India-born Mukesh Sarda. Interestingly, investigation by India Today revealed that Osho International (New York) was, in fact, just a trading name for a UK-registered company called Master Zones Ltd. However, when contacted, the management of the Osho commune in Pune was silent on Master Zones Ltd and its ownership.
The Osho management denies that Osho himself was against charging royalty on his works. Points out Swami Satya Vedant, one of the top leaders of the Pune Commune: "On Osho's directions, the copyrights have been protected by an international foundation for the past 20 years. As the owner, Osho assigned them to a foundation in the US while a resident there. He later transferred them to a trust based in Switzerland and directed that they remain there. The legal records of assignment of copyright are well documented and carry Osho's signature. Further, Osho had testified in a copyright infringement lawsuit in the US confirming his assignment."
However, the rebels insist that Osho never intended to commercialise or charge royalty on his works and meditation practices. Swami Tathgat, a former Inner Circle member, in fact refutes the fact that Osho transferred the copyright on all his works. He says, "Twenty years ago, Osho -- who was then called Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh -- was still in India. He left for the US only in May 1981. Besides, he was never a resident of the US." india today's investigation reveals that Osho had assigned his copyrights in 1972 to the Pune-based Rajneesh Foundation, the trust that ran the day-to-day affairs of the commune till Osho left for the US. Mumbai-based copyright and trademark registration firm R.K. Diwan & Company, which handled the registration work for Osho between 1973 and 1993, took care of the legalities of the transfer of copyright of all his works. The Rajneesh Foundation was run by a board of trustees that did not include Osho. Rebel Oshoites also have an interesting point to make: once Osho assigned the copyrights to the Rajneesh Foundation, he could not have transferred it to an international foundation or to a Switzerland-based trust. Says Mohan Diwan, proprietor of R. K. Diwan & Company: "Once Rajneesh assigned his rights to the Rajneesh Foundation, he no longer held any rights. It is an absolute and unconditional transfer." As per the Copyright Act, argue the rebels, the copyright should still be with the Rajneesh Foundation, which though non-functioning, still exists.
Many of the rebel Oshoites are outraged that India, Osho's homeland, has been completely sidelined by the "western" leadership that has injected a commercial agenda into the soul of the cult. In fact, on various chat sites on the Internet frequented by Oshoites, disciples have criticised this new "commercial viewpoint" of the organisation. Swami Keerti, a former spokesperson who left the commune last February, says, "We are very agitated about the secret shifting of the headquarters from Pune to the US. This, even though Osho had made his home in Pune." Some are even contemplating a public-interest litigation against the Jayesh coterie while others want the Indian Government to intervene. Says Swami Narenda, one of the rebel disciples: "Osho is not a fiefdom of Swami Jayesh and his coterie."
Though the Indian chapter has been given independent rights of functioning, the disgruntled disciples feel it is not enough. "It is merely an eyewash," charges Keerti. He explains that as of now, OIF India has only been given the Hindi rights to all of Osho's works, besides the royalty on the goods sold in India. The rest goes into the coffers of OIF Zurich.
The biggest weapon in the hands of the rebels is the claim that they are only following Osho's views on copyright. However, Ma Anando, who was once Osho's legal secretary, says that the godman was full of contradictions. The views he expressed on copyright to a particular person cannot be taken as the final word, she argues. Justifying the move by OIF Zurich to charge royalty, she says, "The aim is to protect these priceless works from being used in a distorted manner."
Whatever be the truth, one thing is clear: the tug of war to control Osho's legacy is likely to be a bitter one.

Here , waht is Osho Inc........

750 meditation centers across 80 countries, including 200 in India.

1,500 books published in 40 languages. 3.5 million copies sold last year.

» 400 tapes of music and sermons. 200,000 copies sold every year.

» 800 signature paintings.

» 10,000 exclusive photographs.

» Diamond robes and accessories, Rolls Royce fleet and properties

9 comments:

Keerti said...

Trade Marks of Osho and Meditations cancelled in USA.



PRESS RELEASE



In a strongly worded unanimous verdict by United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the United States government on 13 January 2009, has established that Osho and His works cannot be trademarked. In response to the opposition lodged by Osho Friends International (OFI) India, an association of Osho Meditation Centres and Osho lovers, against Osho International Foundation (OIF) Zurich, the USPTO, an agency of the US government ruled that Osho's name is used to describe the teachings and meditation techniques of the mystic Osho and the spiritual and meditative movement that grew up around him. Since "Osho" does not identify only one Osho group as the source, it cannot serve as a trade mark owned by Osho International Foundation. As a result defendant OIF can not foreclose others from utilising the term OSHO.



The Board has cancelled all trademark registrations and applications filed by the Zurich entity.



The Board, made it clear that no one can usurp control of religious teachings or a religious movement by claiming to own the name of the religious teacher. The Board stated, "Because the evidence of record shows that ( people) identify the term OSHO with a series of meditative and religious teachings, defendant ( Zurich entity) cannot monopolize such teachings by asserting trademark rights ."



Soon after "Osho", left His body in 1990 Osho International Foundation OIF Zurich, started to register the name OSHO and His Meditations as trade marks in USA, and attempted to hijack the legacy of the modern day mystic Osho . On the basis of these registrations the Zurich entity started to monopolise Osho and His heritage of meditations. The Zurich entity used these maneuvers to harass and force many centers around the world into restricting their work to spread Osho Consciousness and Vision.





In March 2000, a web site www.oshoworld.com dedicated to making the huge volume of Osho discourses freely available on the internet, was served with a notice and pulled down from the net. Relying upon their registrations of trademarks, the Zurich entity tried to force Osho Dhyan Mandir to abandon the domain name www.oshoworld.com and transfer its ownership to them. In its verdict on July 28, 2000 the National Arbitration Forum of USA decided in favor of Osho Dhyan Mandir and stated that :





"To grant ( OIF, Zurich's ) request for relief would be to permit virtual monopolization on the Internet by Complainant ( Zurich entity) of any domain name which includes the name of a great spiritual teacher and leader. While making no judgment on the relative merits or validity of the world's religions or spiritual movements or any leader thereof, this Arbitrator finds that permitting this would be as improper as doing the same with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Zorastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism or any of the several hundred other of the world's religions and/or spiritual movements."



When the Zurich entity continued to work towards legal ownership control of Osho movement and centers around the world Osho Friends decided in 2000 to file for cancellation of the said trademarks. Chicago law firm of DLF Piper Rudnick came forward with its whole hearted support to the Osho Friends, in the cause for freedom of spirituality and meditation.



During all his life, Osho was always very explicit that all sannyasins and all centers remain completely independent. The connection was always considered to be directly between Osho and individuals. Sannyasins and other lovers of Osho have always been a group of individuals engaged in their own individual understandings of religiousness rather than becoming followers of another organized religion. There has never been any legal connection, organization, or authority by any central organizational entity over others. This decision makes it clear that no one can usurp control of religious teachings or a religious movement by claiming to own the name of the religious leader. The universal decision stated that " because the evidence of record shows that (people) identify the term Osho with a series of meditative and religious teachings, defendant (Zurich entity) can not monopolise such teachings by asserting trademark rights."



Swami Chaitanya Keerti , editor of Osho World magazine stated that " Osho had repeatedly pointed out that His work was not His, but simply truth. No control of the people doing work in His name was necessary or desired." Clarifying on the need to have the trade marks cancelled and keep spirituality free for humanity he added " In fact, control was to be avoided at all costs. All centers were to be free of outside control forever. The current decision is a step in that direction."



Osho knowingly and willingly put His meditation techniques in the public domain decades ago by not only allowing, but encouraging, people to use His techniques and to teach them to others. Ma Prem Naina of Osho Friends informed that "disciples and friends all over the world are celebrating this verdict by USPTO . Osho wanted His meditation techniques made available to as many people as possible, and Osho's people took those techniques and spread them around the world. The trade marks were a hindrance for the free spread of meditation. Now it will be possible to benefit from Osho's meditations in USA.



As a result of the Board's decision, everyone who is legitimately conducting activities related to the work of Osho will be free to use "Osho" to describe those activities.



Osho says "Nobody is my follower. Nobody is going to be my successor. Each sannyasin is my representative. When I am dead, you all—individually—will have to represent me to the world. There is not going to be any pope. There is not going to be any shankaracharya. Each sannyasin, in his own capacity, has to represent me.

This has never happened—but it is going to happen! You are all my successors.

When I am dead, that simply means I have left this body and entered all the bodies of my people. I will be within you. I will be part of you."



For further information, please contact:

Swami Chaitanya Keerti

Osho World Foundation, New Delhi

contact@oshoworld.com

................................................................................................

"Things can be copyrighted, thoughts cannot be copyrighted, and certainly meditations cannot be copyrighted. They are not things of the marketplace. Nobody can monopolize anything. But perhaps the West cannot understand the difference between an objective commodity and an inner experience. For ten thousand years the East has been meditating and nobody has put trademarks upon meditations.

_Osho
Excerpted from: Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

………………………………………………………………………

playful said...

But did the seekers really win anything with decision on the lawsuit?

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