Conference-approved Literature

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles that hold our groups and society together.

Conference-approved Literature

Postby Dean C » Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:38 pm

Here are some things that are not Conference approved:

1. Grapevine (and its non-English counterparts).

2. Box 459

3. Guidelines (the "yellow sheets")

4. Workbooks (e.g. Archives, PI, CPC, TF and CF service committees)

5. Markings (the GSO Archives newsletter)

6. About AA (PI releases)

7. Directories

8. Advisory Actions of the General Service Conference of AA (M-39)

9. Final reports of the General Service Conference

10. Literature published by GSOs other than the US/Canada and AAWS

11. Final reports of the World Service Conference

12. Memento booklets from International Conventions

13. Literature catalogs and flyers (AAWS and Grapevine)

14. Non-English interpretations of books/pamphlets

15. Various and sundry GSO publications called “service pieces.”

The following is a piece of "service material" produced by the U.S./Canada General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous (#F-29). It's free and not copyrighted, meaning you're free to distribute it.

Service Material From G.S.O.

“Conference-approved”--What It Means to You

The term “Conference-approved” describes written or audiovisual material approved by the Conference for publication by G.S.O. This process assures that everything in such literature is in accord with A.A. principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the A.A. Fellowship.

The term has no relation to material not published by G.S.O. It does not imply Conference disapproval of other material about A.A. A great deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and A.A. does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or may not read.

Conference approval assures us that a piece of literature represents solid A.A. experience. Any Conference-approved booklet or pamphlet goes through a lengthy and painstaking process, during which a variety of A.A.s from all over the United States and Canada read and express opinions at every stage of production.

How To Tell What Is and What Is Not Conference-approved

Look for the statement on books, pamphlets and films:

“This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature”

All “A.A. Literature” Is Not Conference-approved

Central offices and intergroups do write and distribute pamphlets or booklets that are not Conference-approved. If such pieces meet the needs of the local membership, they may be legitimately classified as “A.A. literature.” There is no conflict between A.A. World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S. - publishers of Conference-approved literature), and central offices or intergroups - rather they complement each other. The Conference does not disapprove of such material.

G.S.O. does develop some literature that does not have to be approved by the Conference, such as service material, Guidelines and bulletins.

Available at Most A.A. Groups

Most local A.A. groups purchase and display a representative sampling of Conference-approved pamphlets, and usually carry a supply of hardcover books. Conference-approved literature may be available at central offices and intergroups, or it may be ordered directly from G.S.O. Groups normally offer pamphlets free of charge, and the books at cost.


Conference-approved literature is copyrighted with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. To insure the continued integrity of A.A. literature, and to make sure the A.A. recovery programs will not be distorted or diluted, permission to reprint must be obtained from A.A.W.S. in writing.

However, A.A. newsletters, bulletins, or meeting lists have blanket permission to use the material, providing proper credit is given to insure that the copyrights of A.A. literature are protected.

The A.A. Preamble is copyrighted by The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. (not by A.A. World Services). Beneath it, these words should appear:

Reprinted with permission of the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

The Steps and Traditions should be followed by these words:

Reprinted with Permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
"Whatever can be said can be said clearly."
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Re: Conference-approved Literature

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:20 pm

Since I get lazy with my thinking, as well as my posting on here, thought it would be a good reminder to ressurect some information about "Conference Approved".

I also am adding the Intellectual Property Policy from AA's website:

Intellectual Property Policies
Approved by the A.A.W.S. Board January 27, 2005

A.A.’s Copyrights
A.A.W.S. holds numerous copyrights in trust for A.A. as a whole in the many written works, videos, cassettes, CDs, and other materials produced and published by A.A.W.S. both in English, as well as in other languages.

Licensing Policy
Generally, A.A.W.S limits licensees for the publication and distribution of A.A. literature, to General Service Offices (G.S.O.s) in other countries and literature committees around the world. The “Current Conference Charter” provides guidance in the matter: “In countries where a General Service Structure exists, the United States/Canada Conference will delegate sole right to publish our Conference-approved literature to the General Service Board of the structure.”

Reprint Policy
Our reprint policy, however, is different from our licensing policy. As stated in The A.A. Service Manual: “Local A.A. publications are permitted to quote a phrase, sentence or brief paragraph excerpted from A.A. literature such as The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, The A.A. Service Manual and Conference-approved pamphlets without a prior, written request to do so…, (accompanied by a credit line (that) should read: Reprinted from (name of publication, page number), with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.)” Non-A.A. individuals and entities may not reprint A.A. copyrighted materials without prior approval granted pursuant to a written request. Please send your request to reprint A.A.W.S. material

Trademarks and Logos
A.A. World Services and the Grapevine have registered a number of trademarks and logos, and the guidelines for using them are based partly on legal considerations and partly on the nature of A.A.
The following is a complete list of registered trademarks and service marks that symbolize Alcoholics Anonymous, its work and its purpose: A.A.; Alcoholics Anonymous; The Big Book; Box 4-5-9; The Grapevine; A.A. Grapevine; GV; Box 1980, La Viña.

Use of these marks on goods or services that do not emanate from A.A.,and have not been approved by A.A., both infringes upon and dilutes A.A. marks, in legal terms. The resulting harm is that the marks and A.A. itself, since A.A. is what the marks symbolize, will come to be associated with a variety of products and services that are not part of A.A., and are not consistent with A.A.’s purpose. This will cause the marks to lose their meaning and significance as symbols of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thanks :)
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