From: "Susan Kimsey"
To : "Golden Gate Circle"
Subject: Fw: [tml] Re: Harry McMullan
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 12:32:38 -0800

This is a letter from Fred Harris, a long-time UB reader, and an attorney in Tallahassee, Fla. It concerns the letter recently sent from Tonia Baney about Harry McMullan's publication of the Jesus Papers. I thought you might find it interesting.

Love, Susan

-----Original Message-----
Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 11:24 AM

Subject: [tml] Re: Harry McMullan

Dear all,

     While I dislike becoming embroiled in this controversy, as I believe
that it distracts us from what is most important at this time, I feel a
desire to say a few quick things.  I won't post on this topic again, so
delete now if you don't want to hear my views.

     First, the Urantia movement needs to coalesce into a more spiritually
based movement and away from the legalistic and intellectual movement that it
has been historically.  This is already happening at the grass roots level
and the leadership will soon have to follow.

      Secondly, I (and many people that I speak to) see much of this as
simply a karmic consequence that is now coming full circle on the Urantia
Foundation.  The letters that I have received lately from the UF almost
mirrored letters I received from the CUBS folks when they complained about
the UF during the litigation between them.  So, in one sense, I view this as
merely cosmic payback.  If it only affected the UF I would support seeing the
full consequences of its prior actions coming home to roost.  However, it
affects too many other people and engenders way too much animosity to be
beneficial, even as a lesson for improperly structured organizations.

     Third, the Foundation has expressed its legitimate interest in
maintaining its right to control the translations.  In this area I believe it
is beneficial to have all efforts funneled through a single organization and
I feel that the Foundation has done a good job generally with this task.  I
don't otherwise see the need for the continued copyright for the UF.  In
fact, if the UF didn't have the copyright as a control device, it would have
to be subject to the market demands for quality, price and innovation.  That
can't be bad.  It has already resulted in an electronic version with a search
engine and a smaller version of the UB. 

     Fourth, it is my opinion (after a significant amount of legal research)
that the Foundation, should it decide to litigate with the Michael
Foundation, will more likely than not lose the case.  Frankly, the
Foundation's copyright sustained a much greater hit in the Maaherra
litigation than the UF is willing to admit and, with a concerted discovery
effort, a well financed legal battle defending against the Foundation's
lawsuit will probably be successful.  Even so, the money, energy and angst
that is expended in the process makes it a difficult and uncertain campaign
for both sides in any event.

     Fifth, I don't know about other people, but for me this lawsuit would be
a lot less objectionable if there was a groundswell of contributions to fund
this litigation (instead of being funded by one or two wealthy individuals),
but we all know that many people won't contribute to the Foundation because
of the (a) distaste for its prior policies (now much improved) and (b) the
concern that the money could be used to pay for litigation.  I know that I
don't contribute to it for those reasons, but I would if it would stop this
litigious activity.  This has no doubt significantly impacted the ability of
the Foundation to raise money for its legitimate projects.  I also think
about all the good the money could be spent on if it wasn't expended on

     Sixth, there are ways to solve this problem without the litigation - the
most obvious of which is for the UF to issue an irrevocable public license
allowing anyone to use the text and the trademarks without restriction -
except for the translations, which rights could be retained.  This is a very
easy solution, but it requires the UF to let go of its perceived control in
the other areas.  I'm sure that there are other ways to settle this as well. 
I don't know how much effort has gone into an attempt to mediate these
issues, but perhaps more should be done in this area.

      I hope that the trustees will carefully consider the options available
for the Urantia Foundation and will weigh the risks and costs of their
decision as any business person would do.  If they choose litigation, then be
assured that in the end the cost will not be worth the price.  Isn't it time
to be over with this mess?

                                              Lighten Life
                                  You may say, I'm a dreamer
                                   But I'm not the only one
                                           -john lennon-