FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA

Urantia FOUNDATION, an Illinois charitable trust



MICHAEL FOUNDATION, INC., a foreign corporation.
















No. CIV 99-2062 PHX RGS





I.                      INTRODUCTION

This action stems from the publication by Michael Foundation, Inc (“Michael Foundation”) of a book entitled Jesus - A New Revelation (“JANR”).  Urantia Foundation claims that JANR infringes the copyright to The Urantia Book.  This matter is currently before the court upon the Petition for Order to Show Cause filed by Urantia Foundation.  Presently at issue is only whether to grant a preliminary injunction, not the case on the merits for any permanent injunction.

Urantia Foundation is not entitled to a preliminary injunction because it cannot establish that it is likely to prevail on the merits, that it will be irreparably harmed without an injunction, that the balance of hardships tips strongly in its favor, or that the public interest is advanced by granting an injunction in its favor.  Accordingly, Michael Foundation submits that Urantia Foundation’s petition should be denied.

. . .

II.                     STATEMENT OF FACTS 

In the 1920s and 1930s, a Chicago psychiatrist named Dr. William Sadler came to believe that he was able to communicate with spiritual beings through one of his patients, who remained anonymous.  Dr. Sadler assembled a group of individuals to share his experience with this patient.  That group was the first to receive papers that became known as “the Urantia papers.”  In the months and years that followed the initial contact, a group was formed to study the papers.  The precise way that the Urantia papers came into being is unknown.  However both parties to this case are on record as believing that the Urantia papers were not written, compiled, or edited by any human author.

The first students of the papers eventually contracted to have printing plates manufactured to facilitate the publication of The Urantia Book.  The printing plates were donated to Urantia Foundation in 1950, the year it was founded.  In 1955, the Urantia Foundation published The Urantia Book, which, apart from a Table of Contents, contained the identical words in the identical order which had been revealed by the spiritual beings as the Urantia papers.  The Urantia Book is divided into four parts, none of which were authored by human beings.  After publication of the book in 1955, Urantia Foundation filed a copyright claim for The Urantia Book, claiming to be the author of the papers.  Urantia Foundation renewed this copyright claim in 1983, but then describing itself as the proprietor of a work-for-hire. 

III.                    ARGUMENT

A.        Michael Foundation is entitled to reasonable discovery before a hearing on injunctive relief.

Michael Foundation should be permitted to conduct reasonable discovery before a preliminary injunction hearing takes place.  No discovery has yet been conducted in this case, and Michael Foundation will need to obtain discovery in order to have a full and fair opportunity to respond to Urantia Foundation’s request for a preliminary injunction.  Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal, 13 F.3d 1313, 1326 (9th Cir. 1994); San Francisco-Oakland Guild v. Kennedy, 412 F.2d 541, 546 (9th Cir. 1969). 

Since practically all of the documents related to the issues about the creation of the book are in the possession of Urantia Foundation and most of the persons with knowledge pertinent to these issues are former or present trustees, officials, or employees of Urantia Foundation, a reasonable time for discovery is critical for Michael Foundation to effectively present its arguments in opposition to a preliminary injunction.  Michael Foundation must have a reasonable opportunity to obtain documents and review them before conducting depositions.[1]

B.        Urantia Foundation is not entitled to preliminary injunctive relief.

The traditional equitable criteria for granting a preliminary injunction are familiar and well established.  A plaintiff must demonstrate (1) a strong likelihood of success on merits; (2) the possibility of irreparable injury to the plaintiff if injunctive relief is not granted; (3) a balance of hardships favoring the plaintiff; and (4) equitable relief does not impinge upon the public interest.  Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 167 F.3d 1228, 1234 (9th Cir. 1999). 

In order to meet its burden, the plaintiff must show either “(1) a combination of probable success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable injury or (2) that serious questions are raised and the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor.” Id.  In a copyright infringement case, a showing of reasonable likelihood of success on the merits raises a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm.  Triad Sys. Corp. v. Southeastern Express Co., 64 F.3d 1330, 1335 (9th Cir. 1995).  That presumption can be rebutted in a number of ways here applicable to defeat plaintiff's claim, including a showing of undue delay on the part of the plaintiff in seeking injunctive relief, Richard Feiner & Co. v. Turner Entertainment Co., 98 F.3d 33, 35 (2nd Cir. 1996); where the harm to the plaintiff is de minimus, Cadence Design Sys., Inc. v. Avant! Corp., 125 F.3d 824, 829 (9th Cir. 1997); or where the plaintiff is not marketing the copyrighted material, Marisa Christina, Inc. v. Bernard Chaus, Inc., 808 F. Supp. 356, 360 (S.D.N.Y. 1992). 

1.         Urantia Foundation is not likely to succeed on the merits.

The principal issues of this case are the validity and extent of the copyright claimed by Urantia Foundation with respect to Part IV of The Urantia Book.  Urantia Foundation relies heavily upon the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Urantia Found. v. Maaherra, 114 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 1997), to establish the validity of its copyright.  As discussed below, however, the Ninth Circuit’s holding was based on facts which were assumed in the Maaherra case, but are disputed in this case.  Additionally the fact that Maaherra copied the entire Urantia Book and Michael Foundation uses only Part IV makes this case sufficiently different from Maaherra because the Ninth Circuit’s decision was expressly  founded on the fact that Maaherra copied the book in its entirety.  The Ninth Circuit held that the revelations themselves outside the context of the book, such as the contents of JANR,  are not copyrightable. 

a.         Part IV of The Urantia Book is not copyrightable as either a work for hire or a composite work.

The copyright claimed by Urantia Foundation for The Urantia Book was originally filed, and subsequently renewed as a work-for-hire; however, an employment relationship must exist at the time that the work is created in order for it to be a work for hire.  See Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 961; Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239, 248-49 (1903); Lin-Brook Builders Hardware v. Gertler, 352 F.2d 298, 300 (9th Cir. 1965).  Urantia Foundation does not claim, nor for obvious reasons could it prove, that an employment relationship existed between Urantia Foundation and the spiritual authors of The Urantia Book.  In fact, the Ninth Circuit found in the Maaherra case that no such employment relationship existed. Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 961. There are no additional facts or contentions in this case that should lead this court to alter that ruling. 

The copyright claimed by Urantia Foundation was upheld by the Ninth Circuit on the grounds that Urantia Foundation was entitled to claim copyright protection as a “proprietor of a composite work for The Urantia Book as a whole.”  Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 961.  The Copyright Act does not define “composite work,” however the definition is generally accepted to be the same as a compilation.  The court in Cadence Indus. Corp. v. Ringer, 450 F. Supp. 59, 63 (S.D.N.Y. 1978), cited the Compendium of Copyright Practices published by the Copyright Office, which noted, “Generally, a composite work is an original publication relating to a variety of subjects, to which a number of different authors have contributed distinguishable selections.”  This definition is essentially equivalent to the definition of compilation found in 17 U.S.C. § 101, which states that a compilation is “a work formed by the collection and assembling of pre-existing materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.”

Essential to the definition of a composite work is that the creator started with certain “building blocks” consisting of original works.  The author of a composite work is not entitled, merely because he compiled the composite work, to claim copyright as to the original works – the building blocks with which the compiler started.  Although the proprietor of a composite work can claim copyright for the entire work, only the creator of an original work may claim a copyright as to those works apart from the compilation.  As the court in Bartock v. Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., 523 F.2d 941, 948 (2nd Cir. 1975), observed, “contributors can renew individual contributions, raising the question whether the proprietor in the event of such an individual renewal has a right to renew such works, a question in grave doubt.” Urantia Foundation could not, therefore, obtain or renew a copyright for the individual papers which together form The Urantia Book

Furthermore, for a work to be copyrightable as a composite work, each contribution must be independently copyrightable.  Markham v. A.E. Borden Co., 206 F.2d 199, 201 (1st Cir 1953).  The parts of The Urantia Book which were created by spiritual beings are not copyrightable. Copyright law is designed to protect original works of authorship, and authorship is a “distinctly human activity.”–1 Nimmer on Copyrights, § 2.09(F), n. 63 (emphasis added).  The Ninth Circuit emphasized this principle in the Maaherra case.  “We agree with Maaherra, however, that it is not creations of divine beings that the copyright laws were intended to protect, and in this case some element of human creativity must have occurred in order for the Book to be copyrightable.”  Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 958. 

The Ninth Circuit based its finding that The Urantia Book was copyrightable as a composite work[2] on the fact that Ms. Maaherra did not dispute the manner in which the Urantia papers came into being or the role that Dr. Sadler and others had in its creation. Michael Foundation, however, disputes the Urantia Foundation’s current story of the creation of the Urantia papers.  Based on this factual dispute and the fact that Michael Foundation, unlike Maaherra, printed only a particular religious revelation as opposed to the whole book,  this court can apply the Ninth Circuit’s determination that a revelation outside the context of the entire book is not copyrightable.

It must be remembered that the claim of copyright infringement in this case concerns the verbatim copying of the entire Urantia Book, including the selection and arrangement of the revelations into the Papers that comprise the Book.  This case does not concern the use of a single “revelation” outside the context of the Book, which for the purposes of this case, would be analogous to a “fact” and which, of course, would not be copyrightable.

Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 959, citing Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv.Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 347 (1991). 

Michael Foundation used only Part IV of The Urantia Book when creating JANR.  Part IV was received from the divine authors as a single revelation in precisely the form it appears in JANR, and is therefore not copyrightable.  Urantia Foundation attempts to contradict this conclusion by citing to a document entitled, “History of the Urantia Movement” allegedly authored by Dr. William Sadler.[3]  This document describes a process by which Dr. Sadler and others allegedly submitted questions in response to which the Urantia papers were authored and delivered by spiritual beings.  The Ninth Circuit held in Maaherra that, under the agreed-upon facts, there was enough human creativity to make the book as a whole copyrightable.  Maaherra, 114 F.3d at 959.[4]   However, the Urantia Foundation’s own document titled “The History of the Urantia Movement,” explains why Part IV was not part of the process on which the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion was based:

What has just been recorded refers more particularly to Parts I, II, and III of The Urantia Book.  Part IV - The Jesus Papers - had a different origin.  They were produced by a midwayer commission and were completed one year later than the other Papers.  The first three parts were completed and certified to us in A.D. 1934.  The Jesus Papers were not so delivered to us until 1935.[5]

Moreover, even if Part IV had been part of a question and answer process, which is disputed, something more is required in order to claim a copyright.  In Ashton-Tate Corp. v. Ross, 916 F.2d 516 (9th Cir. 1990), the court held that the copyright claimant was not a joint author of a computer program merely because he contributed ideas and guidance in developing the program.  Likewise in S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081 (9th Cir. 1989), the court rejected a copyright claim by Payday, a purported joint author for a computer program where Payday’s employees had simply described their needs to the programmers by telling them what tasks the software was to perform and how it was to sort data.

Urantia Foundation claims to own a copyright because certain unnamed individuals presented some unknown questions and received papers from divine beings.  Not unlike Payday, Urantia Foundation contends that these questions had some effect on the papers.  However, whatever rights a questioner may have in the questions, he has no right to the answers given by another party.  Even aside from the issue of whether these question-asking individuals were Urantia Foundation’s legal predecessors in interest, Michael Foundation does not contest any claim to copyright by Urantia Foundation in the questions that might have asked, but Urantia Foundation has no legitimate basis to attempt to copyright the answers, particularly if given by non-humans.  As a further weakening of plaintiff’s claim, Michael Foundation anticipates that Urantia Foundation will not be able to identify any the questions asked, the order in which they were asked, the identity of the questioner, or any evidence showing that those askers of questions conveyed to Urantia Foundation even any rights they might have had in the questions asked.

b.         Urantia Foundation cannot prove that it is the owner of the copyright

Urantia Foundation does not now claim that it wrote the papers which were assembled into The Urantia Book.  It can, therefore, at most claim a copyright as a proprietor.  However, a proprietor is the equivalent of an assignee and must trace its title back to the author.  Quinn-Brown Publ’g Corp. v. Chilton Co., 15 F. Supp. 213, 214 (S.D.N.Y. 1936); Public Ledger v. N. Y. Times, 275 F. 562 (S.D.N.Y. 1921).  Urantia Foundation claims that because it received possession of the printing plates made from the original manuscript, it can assert the copyright.  However, the transfer of the printing plates from Dr. Sadler and his group to Urantia Foundation is not sufficient to show ownership of the copyright because Urantia Foundation cannot show that Dr. Sadler or any other person who signed the trust document had any right to the common law copyright in the original papers.  As demonstrated above, the works of nonhuman authors are not protected by the copyright law, and therefore, the divine beings could not have possessed a common law copyright–and even if they could, there is no evidence that they transferred such rights to anyone. 

Even if the first human being to control the papers (Dr. Sadler’s patient) had obtained a valid claim to a copyright, a valid transfer of those rights to Urantia Foundation never occurred.  Only the transfer of a manuscript with the intention of passing title to the copyright establishes an implied transfer of a common law copyright.  Atlantic Monthly Co. v. Post Pub. Co., 27 F.2d 556 (D. Mass. 1928).  The delivery of physical property – such as printing plates -- does not give rise to an inference that the ownership of the intangible intellectual property contained in the document was transferred as well. See 17 U.S.C. § 27 (“the copyright is distinct from the property and the material object copyrighted, and the sale or conveyance . . . of the material object shall not of itself constitute transfer of copyright”).

The trust document by which Urantia Foundation claims to have obtained possession and ownership of the printing plates in 1950 was executed only by the founding trustees of Urantia Foundation itself, and not by anyone purporting to be an author of the Urantia papers, and hence can carry no more presumption of validity of transfer of a copyright to them than would a deed or bill of sale signed only by the grantee.  Moreover, that trust document refers only to the right to print and reproduce, not to any intellectual property rights.  The owner of a copyright can transfer rights to another, but only by operation of law or through a writing signed by the owner.  17 U.S.C. § 204(a).  “Section 204(a)’s requirement is not unduly burdensome. . . . The rule is really quite simple:  If the copyright holder agrees to transfer ownership to another party, that party must get the copyright holder to sign a piece of paper saying so.”  Radio Television Espanola v. New World Entertainment, LTD, 183 F.3d 922, 927 (9th Cir. 1999).  Since the trust document which acknowledges the transfer of printing plates is silent about the intangible copyright, no copyright was ever transferred to Urantia Foundation.  Dr. Sadler and the other signatories to the trust document could not give Urantia Foundation more than they themselves had.  Since those signatories did not themselves have valid intellectual property rights to the Urantia papers, they could not assign any to Urantia Foundation.

c.         Urantia Foundation’s renewal of the copyright was invalid.

Because The Urantia Book was not a work-for-hire, Urantia Foundation’s 1983 renewal of the copyright is invalid even if, arguendo, Urantia Foundation originally had a valid copyright.[6]  Urantia Foundation’s current position that The Urantia Book is a composite work is inconsistent with copyright renewal documents it filed with the Copyright Office.  As the documents attached to Urantia Foundation’s complaint reveal, the only basis for the renewal of the copyright was as a “proprietor of copyright in a work made for hire.”  Urantia did not claim that The Urantia Book was a composite work.  In fact, in filing its renewal copyright, the attorney representing Urantia Foundation stated in an affidavit that “The Urantia Book is not a collective work.”  (Emphasis added.)

At the time of the renewal, the applicable Copyright Office regulation, 37 C.F.R. § 201.5(b)(2)(iv), provided:

Supplementary registration to correct a renewal claim or basis of a claim in a basic renewal registration may be made only if the Application For Supplementary Registration and Fee are received in the Copyright Office within the statutory time limits for renewal.  If the error or omission in a basic renewal registration is extremely minor, and does not involve the identity of the renewal claimant or the legal basis of the claim, supplementary registration may be made at any time.  Supplementary registration is not appropriate to add a renewal claimant.

Urantia Foundation never filed an application for supplementary registration with the Copyright Office.  Michael Foundation anticipates that the evidence will establish that any attempt to correct the basis of Urantia Foundation’s copyright claim would not be “extremely minor” and after 17 years, would hardly be timely.

2.         Urantia Foundation cannot demonstrate irreparable harm.

In its brief in support of the motion for a preliminary injunction, Urantia Foundation states that it will suffer irreparable harm without a preliminary injunction because sales of JANR could interfere with sales of The Urantia Book.  Urantia Foundation’s hypothetical claimed reduction in sales is insufficient proof of irreparable harm because Michael Foundation has voluntarily agreed to stop selling or distributing JANR until this case has been resolved.  See Exhibit A, letter detailing voluntary cessation.  There is, therefore, no chance that Urantia Foundation’s sales of The Urantia Book will be harmed in any way, much less irreparably, during the pendency of this lawsuit.  A preliminary injunction is designed only to preserve the status quo and to prevent irreparable loss before judgment.  Barahona-Gomez, 167 F.3d at 1234.  Additionally, The Urantia Book is available free of charge on several Internet sites, including that of Urantia Foundation.[7]  It is hardly consistent with Urantia Foundation’s claim that sales of JANR are causing irreparable harm when it itself is giving the text away for free to all comers over the Internet.

A preliminary injunction is designed only to protect against a “significant threat of irreparable injury.”  Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 725 (9th Cir. 1999).  When a party voluntarily stops the allegedly unlawful conduct, the party moving for injunctive relief must show that there is a “cognizable danger of recurrent violations, something more than mere possibility.”  U.S. v. W.T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 633 (1952); Milwaukee Police Assoc. v. Jones, 192 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir 1999).   Urantia Foundation has not made a showing of irreparable injury or even the threat of irreparable injury.  Michael Foundation has agreed to not resume sales or distribution without first giving Urantia Foundation a chance to file a motion for a preliminary injunction. See Exhibit A.

As Michael Foundation demonstrated in the preceding section, Urantia Foundation cannot show that it will likely succeed on the merits.  Urantia Foundation is, therefore, not entitled to a presumption of irreparable harm.  Even if Urantia Foundation was entitled to the presumption, the fact that JANR is no longer on the market rebuts that presumption.  In Marisa Christina, Inc. v. Bernard Chaus, Inc., 808 F. Supp. 356, 360 (S.D.N.Y. 1992), the court refused to grant a preliminary injunction in a copyright infringement case when the parties’ products were no longer in direct competition because one of the products was taken off the market.  The court described the preliminary injunction as an “extraordinary remedy that a court grants to prevent immediate and irreparable harm.” Id.  Since the products no longer competed in the market, the urgent need for protection was not present and the presumption of irreparable harm was effectively rebutted.  Id.   See also Cadence Design Sys., Inc. v. Avant! Corp., 125 F.3d 824, 828 (9th Cir. 1997); LucasArts Entertainment Co. v. Humongous Entertainment Co., 815 F. Supp. 332, 337 (N.D. Cal. 1993).  In this case, there is not an urgent need to stop the sales of JANR–sales and distribution are already stopped.  JANR and The Urantia Book no longer compete in the marketplace, if they ever did, and a preliminary injunction would achieve nothing.

Urantia Foundation is also not entitled to the presumption of irreparable harm because any harm it suffers or has suffered from the sales of JANR would be de minimus  in view of the fact that Urantia Foundation makes the entire book available for free on the Internet.  See Cadence Design Sys. v. Avant! Corp., 125 F.3d 824, 829 (9th Cir. 1997) (stating that the presumption of irreparable harm in a copyright infringement case can be rebutted by a showing that the plaintiff has not been harmed or that the harm is de minimus).  Certainly there can be no greater harm to the sales of a book than the ability of customers to get the book for free.

Urantia Foundation’s undue delay in bringing suit also rebuts the presumption of irreparable injury.  Even though Urantia Foundation admits in its brief that it knew Michael Foundation was publishing JANR as early as July 15, 1999, Urantia Foundation failed to file a suit requesting injunctive relief until November 22, 1999.  Moreover, Michael Foundation anticipates that the evidence will show that at least two of Urantia Foundation’s five trustees were fully aware of the impending publication of JANR as early as August 1996–almost three full years prior to its appearance.

The presumption may be rebutted, if the defendant is able to demonstrate the plaintiff delayed in bringing an action requesting preliminary relief.  An unreasonable delay suggests that the plaintiff may have acquiesced in the infringing activity, or that any harm suffered by the plaintiff is not so severe as to be “irreparable.”

Feiner, 98 F.3d at 34. 

Urantia Foundation’s delay is unreasonable given its assertion that sales of JANR could devastate sales of The Urantia Book so much during the pendency of the lawsuit that sales of JANR must be enjoined.  According to its brief in support of a  preliminary injunction, Urantia Foundation admits that it knew that Michael Foundation was marketing JANR, and Urantia Foundation had made the determination that it thought JANR infringed its copyright for The Urantia Book

This is not, therefore, a case where the plaintiff can explain its delay in bringing suit by showing that it was not aware that the allegedly infringing item was on the market.  As the Feiner court observed:  “This case differs from the usual one in which the plaintiff tries to explain its delay in seeking preliminary relief in a copyright case.  Ordinarily, the plaintiff has not seen the infringing material and is, thus unable to ascertain the extent of infringement.”  Feiner, 98 F.3d at 35.  In Feiner, the court refused to issue a preliminary injunction where the plaintiff knew that an infringing film was on the market, but failed to investigate whether the alleged infringer had properly renewed a license agreement.  “We note, however, that such a delay, unlike delay caused by ignorance of the very existence of the infringing material, is suggestive of a lack of irreparable harm.” Feiner, 98 F.3d at 35.  In this case, Urantia Foundation was well aware that JANR was on the market and, therefore, the Urantia Foundation’s delay in bringing suit rebuts any presumption of irreparable harm.


3.         Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor.

Urantia Foundation cannot show that the balance of hardships tips in its favor because it will suffer no harm during the pendency of this case whether or not the preliminary injunction is granted.  “To determine which way the balance of the hardships tips, a court must identify the possible harm caused by the preliminary injunction against the possibility of the harm caused by not issuing it.”  University of Haw. Prof’l Assembly v. Cayetano, 183 F.3d 1096, 1108 (9th Cir. 1999). 

 Urantia Foundation contends that it could suffer serious hardship if the court fails to enjoin sales of JANR because Michael Foundation would have the chance to sell tens of thousands of copies of JANR, making it impossible for Urantia Foundation to calculate loss or to collect and destroy copies of the book after a favorable judgment.  As evidenced by the attached affidavit of Harry McMullan, President of Michael Foundation, less than 2,600 copies of JANR have been sold or given away. See, Exhibit B, corrected Affidavit of Harry McMullan.  No additional sales or distribution will take place during the pendency of this lawsuit pursuant to Michael Foundation’s voluntary cessation.

Urantia Foundation does not, therefore, meet its burden to show that the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor.  “[A]t least a minimal tip in the balance of hardships must be found even when the strongest showing on the merits is made.”  Chalk v. U.S. District Court, 840 F.2d 701, 710 (9th Cir. 1988). 

4.         An injunction would not further the public interest.

Urantia Foundation cannot establish that a preliminary injunction against the sale of a religious text about the life of Jesus fervently held to be true by many thousands of Americans would advance the public interest.  In its brief in support of a preliminary injunction, Urantia Foundation argues only that an injunction serves the purpose of reinforcing the public policy underlying the Copyright Act.  A preliminary injunction, however, is designed to be an extraordinary remedy that a court grants only to prevent immediate and irreparable harm.  “Public policy does not advocate the liberal issuance of preliminary injunction in copyright infringement actions.”  Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc., 16 F.3d 1032, 1038 (9th Cir. 1994).  Additionally, it is not in the public interest for the court to enjoin the dissemination of a religious text.  The members of the public are best served when they have access to whatever religious texts they choose.  Thousands of Urantia believers sincerely and fervently believe that the Urantia Book is a divine revelation about the life of Jesus given by God to all the peoples of the earth.  Therefore, at least until the validity of Urantia Foundation’s copyright to Part IV is ruled on by the court, the public interest clearly favors not depriving these sincere religious believers of their primary means of promoting their religion.  Since Urantia Foundation has not even demonstrated any harm if the preliminary injunction is not granted, the court should not resort to such an extraordinary remedy simply for the purpose of reinforcing the policy behind the Copyright Act.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this 20th day of January, 2000.



Attorneys for Defendant

COPY of the foregoing delivered to the judge and mailed this 20th day of January, 2000, to:

Attorneys for Plaintiff


[1]While Urantia Foundation has suggested expedited discovery entailing three depositions per side, it has also insisted that Michael Foundation agree to a complicated and overly stringent protective agreement related to “confidential” documents.  Urantia Foundation’s proposed protective agreement is fifteen pages long and requires Michael Foundation to enter written agreements related to the use and disclosure of documents Urantia Foundation considers confidential with all witnesses it wants to depose. Michael Foundation cannot agree to enter such a restrictive protective agreement, and cannot complete discovery until any disputes regarding such an agreement are resolved.  

[2]In Maaherra, it was “assumed” that the book satisfied the definition of a “composite work.”  114 F.3d at 961.  Michael Foundation does not agree with this contention, and this issue will be litigated at trial.

[3]Michael Foundation disputes both the authenticity and the admissibility of this document.

[4]The Ninth Circuit never had to address the issue of how the Urantia Papers came into being because in her case Ms. Maaherra did not dispute Urantia Foundation’s version of the papers’ creation.  Michael Foundation strongly disputes those alleged facts, and Urantia Foundation will have to provide proof.  The Ninth Circuit’s determination of the issues, because it is based on an assumption of these unproven facts, is not binding in this case.

[5]Urantia Foundation’s current claim that human creativity contributed to the content or structure of The Urantia Book is belied by its public representations.  Urantia Foundation has, for example, often asserted the undiluted revelatory nature of the Urantia Book in its fund-raising solicitations.  Only in court does Urantia Foundation assert any human contribution.  For example, Emma Christensen, one of the five founding trustees, wrote thousands of letters containing unequivocal statements such as:

“I can categorically assure you that no humans decided the content of The Urantia Book."

"The Book is as the revelators gave it to us.”

“The Papers are based on no human authority.”

[6]A certificate of renewal does not create a presumption of copyright validity.  See Maaherra, 895 F. Supp. At 1351.

[7]The full text of the Urantia Book, including Part IV, is available online free of charge at,, and