Document 3 in Aid of
OIF's Copyright Claims
page is part
of the historical background relating to "What Is an
Osho?", a slick, sannyas-paradigm-shifting policy paper written by
and circulated in 1998. A deconstruction of Amrito's paper is presented
on this site, introduced here. A
large subset of the
background addresses various aspects of OIF's claimed right
to control Osho's legacy, particularly regarding the legal muscle of
copyright and trademark. This
page discusses the third document OIF is using to justify their
copyright claims and makes clear its inadequacies and limitations. It
is sourced from Osho
Friends International. For more legal pages, see OFI or Legal
Document 3: An
agreement dated 1981 allegedly
between Rajneesh Foundation in India and Chidvilas Rajneesh Meditation
Center [RFI] in the US. The text on this page plus images of
all the pages of the document can be found at the OFI link above.
For the other docs, see here.
The third document OIF relies on completely contradicts the second and
is not credible for several reasons. Document 3 purports to be a
transfer of copyright from RF in India to RFI in the US, dated April 1,
1981. We don't know if originals of this document are available. It
appears to be signed by Yogend??? Manu? on behalf of Rajneesh
Foundation and Asha Sipus on behalf of Chidvilas.
This document specifically claims (in the introduction) to transfer
rights that RF got from Osho through Document 1. As we've already seen,
RF did not get any copyright ownership through the 1978 document
(assuming the 1978 document is valid). At most RF got a conditional
exclusive right to publish eight works. Document 3 says in the first
The Foundation [RF] assigns to Chidvilas [later RFI] all the
Foundation's right, title, and interest in all existing and future
works of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh…
This means that RF gave RFI what it got from Osho and nothing more. In
this third document RF claims it has copyrights, but that assertion
means nothing. RF has only what Osho gave it (if anything). If you loan
me your car and I go around telling people it's my new car, that
doesn't make it so. I have only the rights in the car that you gave me.
The same is true here. RF could have given RFI only what Osho gave RF.
Assuming both Documents 1 and 3 are authentic, that would be a
conditional exclusive license to publish at most eight works.
This third document is questionable for several reasons. The first is
that it completely contradicts the document allegedly signed by Osho in
1981 (Document 2). The 1981 Osho document claims that Osho still owns
the copyrights and has the power to license publishing rights to
RFI. This would only be possible under the 1978 document if Osho
had already ended the license to RF. If Osho had ended the license to
RF before April 1, 1981, RF had nothing at all to transfer to RFI on
The 1981 RF document (document 3), on the other hand, claims that RF
owns the present and future copyrights and has the power to assign
those rights to RFI in 1981. This claim and the claim of Osho to own
His copyrights in 1981 can't both be true, and it's unlikely that these
documents would have been drafted in this contradictory way if they
were drafted at the same time.
The dates on the documents claim that they were both signed on the same
day, April 1, 1981, while Osho and Manu were in India and Asha was in
New Jersey, which is pretty much logistically impossible, given the
technology available in 1981. It's much more credible that the 1981
Osho document (document 2) was created (whether or not actually signed
by Osho) and circulated in 1981.
At some point someone may have realized that having Osho sign (or
purporting to have Him sign) two versions of the same "assignment"
document would prove that the documents were not assignments at all,
but licenses. If document 2 was already in circulation, the only hope
was to create a second alleged assignment from RF and date it the same
day as the first 1981 document, in the hope of confusing things.
This ploy might save face a bit, but it can't be legally effective. The
language of the 1978 document is still clearly the language of a
license, not an assignment of copyright ownership, and no claims by RF
to own a copyright could change that. RF couldn't have transferred
copyrights in 1981 because it didn't get copyrights in 1978. At most RF
got a license to publish eight works, and the purported 1981 Osho
document (if authentic) indicated that Osho believed He had ended that
license prior to April 1981.
There's also another suspicious aspect to the 1981 RF document
(document 3). It tries to incorporate the alleged 1981 Osho document
(document 2) into document 3 by
claiming document 2 is an attachment to document 3:
There are several problems with this. First, the 1981 Osho document
(document 2) isn't a declaration agreeing to an assignment by RF. It
purports to be a license from Osho, who clearly believes He still owns
the rights to His work. Second, Osho would only be licensing to RFI if
He thought the license with RF was already ended. Third, if Osho had
really assigned ownership of all copyrights to RF in 1978, He wouldn't
need to agree to the assignment. He would only need to agree if RF was
assigning rights under a license. A licensor (the person granting a
license) has a right to prevent a licensee (the one receiving the
license) from transferring the license to someone else without
permission. So, the inclusion of permission from Osho is an indication
that RF knew it could only transfer rights (if any) under a license.