Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

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Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:26 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:To clarify my reference to "AA literature" and "conference approved literature", my definition is any literature that is copyrighted by A.A. World Services, Inc.

As a personal definition, that is perfectly fine.

ezdzit247 wrote:...no AA group or individual member can legally publish their own literature and call it "AA literature". To do so would infringe on AA's trademark and would be illegal.

That would be true only if anyone anywhere either reprinted or re-published any already-copyrighted literature from any source, A.A. or not, but anything *new* that is published by any A.A. group is "A.A. literature" by simple default...and a query to G.S.O. would quickly confirm that. Then in a court of law, "conference-approved" would not even be considered in relation to what either is or is not "A.A. Literature" and the copyright of any piece of new "A.A. Literature" published by any A.A. group would automatically belong to its author unless re-assigned such as when contributing something to The Grapevine for publication. However, that does not mean any A.A. group could also add any existing AAWS trademark or copyrighted material to its own "A.A. Literature" without first obtaining permission.

"A.A. Literature" originates from A.A. members and nowhere else, and then "conference-approved" simply means all A.A. groups have agreed to order AAWS to publish it.

Here are some related links:

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/intellect ... y-policies

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/fair-use-policy
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:13 pm

I chose the legal definition as my "personal definition".


General Service Board Report -2004 -- Challenge to AA Unity and Legacy

Chronology of the German Lawsuit - Addendum to: Alcoholics Anonymous -
Our Name and Our Message

In 1993, an individual living in Germany communicated with the General
Service Offices in both Germany and Canada/US that he intended to
publish his German translation of Alcoholics Anonymous [1]. He was
advised that the copyright on the AA Big Book remained in effect in
Germany, and that the German General Service Board held the license to
publish/distribute the approved German translation of Alcoholics
Anonymous.

Despite the best efforts of the German Board, as well as many
communications from our Board, the man published and distributed his
German translation of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Board of AA in Germany
consulted with their General Service Conference, and retained legal
counsel to explain to the individual the seriousness of publishing "AA
literature" that had not been considered or approved by a
representative group conscience or Conference, and was not authorized
by an AA board licensed for that purpose.


Every possible means of communication was utilized to explain to the
individual the seriousness of continued distribution of literature
without authorization. We began to hear from AA members and groups who
were concerned with the man's efforts to gain support for his
enterprise. He appeared at AA events, often without invitation, and
encouraged concern and unrest among AA's.

Coincidentally, Directors serving on the AA World Services, Inc. Board
reported to the 44th General Service Conference (1994) that, "The
position of the AAWS Board is to avoid litigation whenever possible.
If it were decided to prohibit all litigation respecting identifying
marks and copyrights, such action could have the effect of abandoning
the AA name and copyrights forever, along with the integrity of our
message and our identity." The resolution was discussed during that
Conference and, on occasion, in succeeding Conferences. Boards,
management and staff furnished background on the subject to interested
AA members, groups and/or service bodies.

1994-1996, the individual distributing unauthorized "AA" literature
traveled to Mexico several times, where he met with a small, but vocal
group of AA members who were challenging licenses to publish approved
translations of AA literature granted to the General Service Board of
AA in Mexico (Central Mexicana).

November 1996, the individual distributing translations of "AA"
literature without authorization, came to New York City and asked to
meet with the General Manager [2] of our General Service Office. The
General Manager and a Staff member met with the German visitor, who
was accompanied by two friends from Germany.

During the lengthy meeting, the General Manager carefully explained
the obligations and responsibilities of AAWS to AA as a whole, that
is, to assure the integrity of our printed message, including doing so
through approved translations licensed to boards elected to serve AA
in other lands-one board per country or language. The individual
described his objections to the approved German translation of AA's
Big Book, and he was encouraged to express his concerns to members of
the General Service Conference of AA in Germany [3].

Early in 1997, the Manager of Sweden's General Service Office called
our GSO to ask for an explanation and assistance regarding
"Swedish-language Big Books" delivered to local groups without notice
or explanation; AA in Sweden was confronted by a dilemma created from
outside the country. It was determined that the Swedish books were
printed in Germany by the same individual publishing and distributing
the unauthorized German translation of the Big Book, who also operated
a mail order book business.

Soon thereafter, we learned that the man had shipped an unauthorized
translation of the Finnish-language Big Book to groups in Finland.
Additionally, he began distribution of his translation of the Big Book
in Hebrew, again without permission or the consent of local AA groups
and/or service centers.

By summer 1997, AAWS determined that the General Service Board of AA
in Russia was able to begin publication and distribution of AA
literature in Russian-a huge step forward for the AA Fellowship in
Russia. [4] AAWS' Publications Director, accompanied by a Staff
member, traveled to Moscow in August 1997, for the express purpose of
conveying AAWS' license to the Russian Board to permit them to publish
and distribute the approved translation of the Russian-language Big
Book.

While in Moscow, the Publications Director and Staff member were
invited to participate in the 10th Anniversary Celebration of AA in
Russia. The individual printing AA literature without permission was
present; he attempted a confrontation with our representatives, who
declined to participate.

By October 1997, the General Service Board of AA in Russia was ready
to print and distribute 2,000 Russian Big Books. The Russian Board
contacted AAWS to express deep concern that someone had printed 50,000
copies of an unapproved translation of the Russian Big Book for
distribution in Russia and elsewhere. Quickly, it was learned that the
same individual who distributed unauthorized "AA literature" in other
countries had expanded distribution of "free" Big Books to Russia.
Catalogs describing the man's mail order book business, and offering
"AA literature" for sale, began appearing in mail directed to local
Russian AA groups.

Every effort urging the man to cease activities that fomented disunity
and disrupted Twelfth Step work supported by recognized AA service
centers was refused or ignored.

Up to this point, we had been confronted by only two situations of
copyright infringement that could not be resolved through
communication and negotiation. Those two instances directly abridged
licenses granted to the General Service Boards of AA in Mexico and
Germany, established service entities that possessed the resources to
protect our copyright(s) and their license.

AA in Finland, Russia, Sweden and Israel were not prepared to deal
with the assault on AA unity and services, as well as their licenses
to publish granted by AAWS.

The General Service Board of AA in Germany continued communications or
negotiations with the individual without resolution. In May 1997, the
German Board, with the knowledge of their General Service Conference,
filed a complaint with a German Court citing the defendant's illegal
activities, and, filed a separate request that the Court order the
defendant to cease and desist his activities. Those filings addressed
illegal publications of AA literature that abridged licenses granted
to the German Board.

Throughout, AAWS, our General Service Board, and the AA Grapevine
Board were informed of repeated efforts to reason with the individual.
In November 1997, Trustees of our General Service Board convened a
solemn session attended by Directors of the AAWS and Grapevine Boards,
and GSO and Grapevine staffs. The meeting was called to consider
unanimous resolutions adopted by AA World Services, Inc. on October
30, 1997:

Resolved: That the AAWS Board recognizes its responsibility to
preserve and protect the copyrights held in trust for all of AA, both
here in US/Canada, and through-out the world. The AAWS Board further
recognizes that unchallenged infringement of our copyrighted
literature seriously impacts the future growth of AA overseas."

"Following adoption of the above resolution, the AAWS Board authorized
management, working with the board's legal advisor, the Chairpersons
of AAWS and General Service Boards, and such other persons as the
respective chairs might assign, to take such appropriate action,
including legal action, as may be necessary to meet the challenge."

The General Service Board endorsed both resolutions with complete
unanimity.

When all avenues of reason and/or negotiation had been exhausted, AA
World Services initiated legal proceedings in Germany that sought to
prevent further publication and distribution of unauthorized AA
literature. We prayed that the man would cease activities that
fomented misunderstanding and disunity.

The General Service Board explained the developments to the 48th
General Service Conference (1998). That practice was continued during
each succeeding General Service Conference, when the Chairman of the
General Service Board updated Conference members on progress of the
German Court's considerations. Throughout, Trustees and Directors were
kept informed. Past Chairmen of our Board, Jim Estelle and Gary Glynn,
provided guidance and insight; and, we continued to benefit by Past
Chairman Michael Alexander's wisdom and vast experience.

May 1999, the German Court of Common Pleas ruled for the plaintiffs,
the German Board and AAWS, finding that the defendant did not have
rights to publish German translations of the pamphlets "Too Young?"
and "It Happened to Alice," and the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The
following month, June 1999, the defendant appealed the Court's ruling
as it applied to the book Alcoholics Anonymous and Bill W's authorship
of the Big Book5, thus forcing a process that absorbed energy and
resources over four more years.

In October 2003, the Court of Appeals in Frankfurt decided matters in
favor of AA, represented by the German General Service Board and AAWS.
The defendant's claims were not allowed, and the Court required that
he cease producing/distributing Conference-approved books and
pamphlets in any language. The Court affirmed the validity of
copyrights held in trust by AAWS, and recognized Bill W. as author of
Alcoholics Anonymous, AA's Basic Text.

The Court ordered the defendant to turn over all "AA" books and
pamphlets that he printed and/or held as inventory; and, to provide
details on the reach and extent of his distribution system. The Court
decreed that the defendant must reimburse AAWS and AA in Germany for
legal expenses, including attorney fees.

Early in 2004, we and the German General Service Board offered the
defendant an opportunity to forgo reimbursement of legal costs and
fees provided the defendant does not publish or distribute
Conference-approved literature in any language or country, now or in
the future, and accepts all other stipulations in the Court's order.

The defendant has not responded to our offer. Therefore, we have asked
that remedies stipulated in the Court's final order of October 2003 be
fulfilled by the defendant.

While these matters were before the Court, we were constrained from
discussing relevant details. We promised past and present members of
the General Service Conference that we would report more fully when
the matter was concluded. Legal fees and related expenses over the
seven year period, 1998-2004, totaled $227,707.

Trustees, AAWS and Grapevine Directors have no sense of victory or
accomplishment. Throughout, we have applied ourselves to the
principles handed down to us and to you. We recognized and faced our
responsibilities to protect the integrity of Conference-approved
literature, and the AA message of hope handed down by Dr. Bob, Bill W.
and the early members.
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:40 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:I chose the legal definition...

...of what? I know you love to hide behind mere rhetoric and so on and can seldom put forth a legitimate argument, but please say precisely what you are trying to say or convey. If the term "A.A. Literature" is a trademark of some kind or whatever and I have just violated some law by posting it here, please show that to me and I will immediately change my ways.

A.A. Literature comes only from A.A. members, "conference-approved" simply means A.A. groups have ordered AAWS to publish it and then AAWS holds the copyright on that A.A. Literature authored by A.A. members. However, any A.A. group can publish its own A.A. Literature without asking other groups to join in ordering AAWS to publish it and without violating anything whatsoever...and that is absolute fact.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:08 pm

leejosepho wrote: A.A. Literature comes only from A.A. members, "conference-approved" simply means A.A. groups have ordered AAWS to publish it and then AAWS holds the copyright on that A.A. Literature authored by A.A. members. However, any A.A. group can publish its own A.A. Literature without asking other groups to join in ordering AAWS to publish it and without violating anything whatsoever...and that is absolute fact.


AAWS is not tasked with taking publication "orders" from individual AA members or groups. The 2004 General Service Board Report I posted clearly states AAWS's mandate is to preserve and protect AA's legacy for now and future generations of AA members.
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:40 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:AAWS is not tasked with taking publication "orders" from individual AA members or groups. The 2004 General Service Board Report I posted clearly states AAWS's mandate is to preserve and protect AA's legacy for now and future generations of AA members.

AAWS gets its marching orders from A.A. groups as a singular whole, and part of those are related to certain, unavoidable legal matters of money, property and prestige as you have just essentially mentioned.

I happen to have a line-by-line comparison I made many years ago between our Basic Text and its first draft as a study tool for looking at the changes made prior to the publication of our book, it contains no commentary (nothing of any significance written by me) and was printed and distributed by A.A. members (primarily myself) with no objection -- we did not even need to ask permission -- from AAWS:

"...we would have no objection to the production of a few copies of such a work." (February 23, 1987, letter on file)

I would never ask you or anyone else to call that work "A.A. Literature", but that is still exactly what it is.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:27 pm

More forum discussions on this topic:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=900

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9660
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:41 am

ezdzit247 wrote:More forum discussions on this topic:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=900

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9660

Nothing there speaks about whether or not something printed by an A.A. group is "A.A. Literature", but I did find this that expresses at least the essence of an underlying principle:

"Our group conscience voted to acknowledge when reading from non-conf stuff that it is non-conf although group approved."

Each group decides the matter for itself even if you and I might each vehemently disagree with their decision.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby Brock » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:56 am

More forum discussions on this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=900
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9660

How I wish this were true, the other people are in fact having a discussion, and this was how the forums operated up to the recent past, where people said things like this from the link provided -
this is an un-ending argument- i first heard it in the early 80's...

i agree with Paige- and where i live i have seen Tradition 4 prevail- and AA has not been harmed one bit- we have grown stronger- each group makes it's own decisions …

Yes people agreeing with one another, lots of contributions from lots of different members, what a thing. Now we have legal opinion and grand standing, and far fewer members getting involved, our forums are suffering lately from topics started with lecturing to others in mind. Looking down the list of active topics we have a few that might interest the visiting alcoholic or new person seeking information, like 'not counting the days,' having trouble second time around,' and 'looking forward to a sober November.' Other than that a list of topics which seem designed to divide and conquer, and very few members getting a look in.

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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby clouds » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:51 am

Sharing what I do: I complicate the simplest things, I noticed that new comers also seem to be like that. Focus is probqbly important. So if I see anything other than the books published as conference approved, plus pamphlets that are conference approved, I don't attend those meetings.

I like to see the BB, the 12 x 12 and meeting lists in abundance plus maybe the pamphletwith questions about what an alcoholic is, so that the newcomers can be given the most important things we have to offer, the 12 steps.

Histories of AA, ODAT, all those can have a place for us, but its important to keep to our single purpose. we carry the message of how we recovered to the people who still suffer, its our primary purpose. Amazon can supply, in a few days any further reading. I enjoyed reading about the history of the 12 traditions very much. It gave me better sobriety to read about the forming of AA's traditions, but that doesnt trump that at groups I like to attend they keep the literature simple.
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:34 am

clouds wrote:Focus is probably important. So if I see anything other than the books published as conference approved, plus pamphlets that are conference approved, I don't attend those meetings.

While our group was doing an in-depth Big Book study, we were careful about our line-by-line comparison with its first draft never being regarded ahead of our book as it reads today. I do not recall any visitor ever questioning its presence at a meeting, but I can imagine we would have likely just set it aside for the evening if anyone had. While I was still attending face-to-face meetings, I used to look for Big Books and typically became quite wary whenever there were none to be found anywhere within sight! "Living Sober" is a piece of literature of no use at all as far as actual recovery is concerned, but at least it contains within it an "all groups agree" (conference-approved) disclaimer to that effect.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby clouds » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:01 am

Did you have a lot of people? Big Book studies I have joined ar usually small groups but really effective.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:15 am

clouds wrote:Did you have a lot of people? Big Book studies I have joined ar usually small groups but really effective.

That 6-month study (from the beginning through chapter four) took place at about the second-highest point of our group membership as far as numbers are concerned, and I would say we averaged around twenty people present at that time.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby PaigeB » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:38 am

leejosepho wrote:
ezdzit247 wrote:To clarify my reference to "AA literature" and "conference approved literature", my definition is any literature that is copyrighted by A.A. World Services, Inc.

As a personal definition, that is perfectly fine.

ezdzit247 wrote:...no AA group or individual member can legally publish their own literature and call it "AA literature". To do so would infringe on AA's trademark and would be illegal.

That would be true only if anyone anywhere either reprinted or re-published any already-copyrighted literature from any source, A.A. or not, but anything *new* that is published by any A.A. group is "A.A. literature" by simple default...and a query to G.S.O. would quickly confirm that. Then in a court of law, "conference-approved" would not even be considered in relation to what either is or is not "A.A. Literature" and the copyright of any piece of new "A.A. Literature" published by any A.A. group would automatically belong to its author unless re-assigned such as when contributing something to The Grapevine for publication. However, that does not mean any A.A. group could also add any existing AAWS trademark or copyrighted material to its own "A.A. Literature" without first obtaining permission.

"A.A. Literature" originates from A.A. members and nowhere else, and then "conference-approved" simply means all A.A. groups have agreed to order AAWS to publish it.

Here are some related links:

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/intellect ... y-policies

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/fair-use-policy

WTH Lee? you started a thread to quibble about this? You used a person's name & quote from another thread? I am not sure that is in keeping with good forum manners...

Like Brock said, it is just does not help the still suffering alkies. Those we turn away with such loud talk & posturing.
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby leejosepho » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:48 am

PaigeB wrote:WTH Lee? you started a thread to quibble about this?

Not at all, and bringing something from a five-page-locked thread is nothing new or unusual.

It is a simple fact that any A.A. group can originate and print its own "A.A. Literature", and making that known while addressing a contrary argument is why I started this thread in the Home Group section for the sake of any future group that might wonder about things in relation to "conference-approved".
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Clarifying "A.A. Literature" and "conference-approved"

Postby PaigeB » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:37 pm

I know you love to hide behind mere rhetoric and so on and can seldom put forth a legitimate argument, but please say precisely what you are trying to say or convey.

And this is nice? This is meant to help? No way man.
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