Document 4 in Aid of OIF's Copyright Claims

This page is part of the historical background relating to "What Is an Osho?", a slick, sannyas-paradigm-shifting policy paper written by Amrito 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 fourth 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 Main Page.

Document 4: An agreement dated 1985 allegedly between RFI and Rajneesh Foundation Europe (RFE) in Switzerland, which later became Osho International Foundation (OIF). 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.

Just over four years after the second and third documents were allegedly signed in 1981, the operations of RFI in Oregon came to a halt, and RFI purported to transfer the rights it received under the 1981 transfer from RF (document 3) to RFE [later OIF]. This document is dated November 23, 1985, and was signed by Ma Prem Arup (a/k/a Garimo, Maria Ackerman) and Ma Anand Suranga. It has been filed with the US Library of Congress and is a public record. We don't know if an original of this exists, but if it does, it's most likely authentic.

If this document can be authenticated, the question is what, if any, rights would it have transferred to OIF, Zurich? The answer is probably none at all. If the 1981 document allegedly signed by Osho could be authenticated, it might have granted RFI exclusive publishing rights in unidentified works, or in the eight works allegedly listed in the 1978 document.

Even if RFI did receive a license for exclusive publishing rights for some identifiable works from Osho (or in eight works), it had no legal right (under the law of Oregon) to transfer that license to OIF without Osho's permission and consent. There was no pretense of getting Osho's permission for the alleged 1985 transfer. It's not even clear if Osho ever knew about this alleged transfer. The failure of Osho to consent to this license transfer means that any transfer attempt would be invalid and ineffective. Without permission from Osho, no publishing license would have transferred to OIF.

If the alleged 1981 Osho document (document 2) can't be authenticated, then OIF would have to rely on the 1981 RF document (document 3). That would require proving that RF owned some rights it could transfer in 1981, which would mean authenticating the alleged 1978 license from Osho to RF. (Since no original is known to exist, this can't be done.) RF had nothing to transfer unless it can prove it owned something based on an authentic 1978 document. However, since the 1978 document was clearly a publishing license in at most eight works, and because there is no consent to a license transfer from Osho for the license for those eight works, document 3 would most likely have transferred nothing to RFI. That would mean that RFI had nothing to give to OIF in 1985.

If OIF can authenticate the documents allegedly signed by Osho, the most OIF could have gotten from the 1985 transfer from RFI was a conditional exclusive license to publish eight works. This is all OIF received because that's all Osho purportedly gave in 1978, and the whole claim is based on that first document. The 1985 document says that RFI will provide OIF with titles, but doesn't mention any proof of what titles Osho included or withheld from a publishing license during the years RFI might have held a license.