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German court copyrights 'Jesus messages'

Julie Colthorpe · 15 May 2014, 11:56

Published: 15 May 2014 11:56 GMT+02:00

A verdict released by the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt (OLG) on Wednesday decided for a US claimant called the Foundation for Inner Peace. It sued a German foundation for copyright infringement after they published passages of text from a book called A Course in Miracles.

The book is a series of spiritual messages and teachings which the author claims are from Jesus and were recorded and published by Helen Schucman, an American professor of psychiatry.

Schucman began recording the text in the 1960s and during her lifetime stated that the text, a series of messages, came directly to her from Jesus in her dreams.

A Course in Miracles is under copyright protection, but quotes from the certain sections such as the “Workbook for Students” and the “Manual for Teachers” are in the public domain and can be quoted without authorization.

The German foundation took passages from the book and justified their actions on the reasoning that Schucman herself claimed not to be the author or the messages, and that the text was a result of the dictations she received from Jesus.

The defendant argued that Schucman played the role of assistant or typist in the development of the text without any room for personal creative leeway.

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However, the Foundation for Inner Peace refused to accept this.

The court saw it as a breach of copyright law arguing that divine inspiration is legally attributable to their human recipient. 

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Julie Colthorpe (julie.colthorpe@thelocal.com)

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