Trial information update June 8, 2001
Dear Friends;The Judge’s opinion denying Urantia Foundation’s motion for summary judgment on copyright arrived a couple of hours ago. It turned out not to be merely a one page “Motion granted/denied” as expected but was 40 pages long!
Judge West made three findings that help us a lot:
UF cannot argue that The Urantia Book is a joint work.
Michael/McMullan are not precluded from bringing this case by licensee estoppal. (UF argued that because Asoka Foundation had sought UF’s permission to publish 21 Steps, and because I had acknowledged UF’s copyright in conjunction with giving them the Key Word Index, Michael/McMullan were estopped from arguing that UF copyright was invalid.)
UF cannot argue that the addition of Bill Sadler’s Tables of Contents is a significant enough addition to transform The Urantia Book into a composite work.
UF’s principal benefit was that the judge dismissed our argument that UF should not be allowed to argue differently that it did in the Burton case namely, that the patient was the author. (This isn’t too major a loss, however, because the evidence of what UF said hasn't gone away; only UF is not foreclosed from arguing otherwise.)
These are first impressions. We will digest the Court’s ruling over the weekend to see how it impacts our plan for the trial. It does appear, however, that we gained many times more in the copyright sphere than we lost yesterday in the trademark area.
More when it happens,