What happened in the controversy surrounding the Course's copyright?

To make a very long story short: Beginning in the early 1990's, the enforcement of the copyright of A Course in Miracles grew increasingly restrictive. This led to a number of lawsuits. One of these lawsuits was filed in 1996 by the copyright holders of A Course in Miracles (the Foundation for Inner Peace, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, and Penguin) against the First Christian Church of Full Endeavor (also known as Endeavor Academy). The plaintiffs contended that Endeavor had violated their copyright on the Course by publishing large portions of it without their consent; the defendants claimed that the copyright for A Course in Miracles was invalid.

After seven years, a verdict was rendered by Judge Robert Sweet of the Southern District Court of New York. On October 24, 2003, he ruled that the copyright of the First Edition of A Course in Miracles was invalid. The copyright holders were given a time period in which to appeal the decision if they wished, but they chose not to appeal. Finally, on May 28, 2004, the appeal period expired, and the copyright of the First Edition of A Course in Miracles was officially revoked for good. (The copyrights for the Second Edition and the "Clarification of Terms" remain legally valid.)

This account of what happened is, of course, only the barest of bare bones accounts. For more details about how the copyright controversy unfolded, read Rev. Tony Ponticello's article on this website entitled The Copyright Infrastructure. For Robert Perry's commentary on what the final verdict means for the future of the Course, read his article entitled And Now It Belongs to the World.

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