Demand Letter To BBT Int'l - by Gupta das
Demand Letter To BBT Int'l
USA VNN 09/18/1998-2244 - Following is a copy of a demand letter sent to BBT Int'l, Inc. and ISKCON of California, Inc. on Tuesday, 15 September 1998:
(aka Gupta das)
OXFORD LAW FIRM
Joseph Fedorowsky & Associates
5757 WEST CENTURY BOULEVARD, SUITE 700
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90045
TELEPHONE: (310) 645-9920 FAX: (310) 645-7444
September 15, 1998
Via Facsimile Only
David Liberman, Esq. (Amarendra das)
Adam Bernstein, Esq. (Akruranatha das)
Re: BBT-Int'l, Inc and ISKCON of Cal Inc vs. Hans Kary BC 017617
After meeting with my clients last week, it is now clear that thereis nolicensing scenario which would be acceptable or workable. It is also clearthat my clients view this case as a spiritually unique situation in which asubstantive reformation in the Hare Krishna Movement must take place. Infact, my clients believe that we are all standing at a crossroad at which wemust cooperatively do what is best for the Movement as a whole, otherwise,we must all deal with the consequences of our independent choices --whatever they may be.
Over the past years, it is indisputable that your clients' independentchoices have been to deny the very existence of Srila Prabhupada's originaltrust, to deny that Srila Prabhupada's disciple and personally appointedtrustee of that trust, Karandhar, had any legal authority to act as an agentto transfer His copyrights to His trust, to deny Hansadutta's lifetimeappointment as a hand-picked trustee of the original trust, and to sue andthreaten to sue devotees around the world for trying to print, publish anddistribute Srila Prabhupada's Vani outside the bureaucratic labyrinth ofBBTI policy. What's more, your clients' have also offensively and brazenlyargued that Srila Prabhupada Himself was a mere employee of ISKCON, Inc.,and of ISKCON of California, Inc.
Moreover, your clients have unilaterally decreed that, in spite of theprinciple of arsa-prayoga ["Even if the authorized acaryas would make amistake, it would not be changed. In this way the acaryas are honored."Srila Prabhupada], wholesale posthumous editing changes to SrilaPrabhupada's Vani is the institutional norm (company men call it"responsible publishing") as is the placing of narrow, artificialrestrictions on the distribution and sale of His Books. In this way, theAccuracy and Availability of Srila Prabhupada's Books have been severelycompromised and eclipsed throughout the world.
At bottom, gentlemen, the legal consequences of your clients'independent choices adds up to two words: public domain.
Accordingly, my clients believe that, one way or another, basicreformationin ISKCON must be initiated as there is simply no use and no benefit inallowing the delusion to remain that the copyrights to Srila Prabhupada'sBooks are held within the offensive and restrictive ecclesiastical controlof members of a private holding corporation.
The alternative to the following proposal is to accept the legalconsequences which flow from the arguments already made and evidence alreadypresented by both of you, and your clients, which evidence fully supports apublic domain status for the Books of His Divine Grace A. C. BhaktivedantaSwami Prabhupada.
The basic points are as follows:
(1) That the parties stipulate to revalidate the original May 29,1972,irrevocable California charitable trust ("BBT").
(2) That the Trustees of the BBT be confirmed as those personswhom SrilaPrabhupada personally placed on the BBT and who still desire to serve inthat capacity, i.e., William Berke, Hans Kary and William Ehrlichman.Kelly Gifford Smith shall also be offered a position.
(3) That all of the current members of the GBC and EC resign as ofa datecertain. That the office of the EC of the GBC be abolished.
(4) That an entirely new GBC ("First Reformed") be elected, each GBCmember by a vote of confidence carried by a majority (greater than fifty(50%) of all "qualified devotee voter(s)" as of a date certain.
(5) That a "GBC candidate" shall not include any present Guru,GBC member, ISKCON Minister or sannyasis.
(6) That official voting rules be established to meet the goal ofrepresentative GBC elections. I have not included details of the format ofthose proposed rules in this letter.
(7) That "qualified devotee voter(s)" shall consist of all ofthe following persons: (a) those devotees who were initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; and, (b) those persons over the age of 18years who were initiated by a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at least one (1) month prior to the date ofthis letter.
(8) That the First Reformed GBC shall consist of twelvedevotees who shalleach serve an initial three year term. (DOM 7/28/70)
(9) That a GBC Election Committee be established for the purpose ofadministering the voting process according to guidelines approved by the BBTTrustees and shall be composed of Akruranatha, Amarendra, Balavanta, Guptaand Sesa. The BBTI shall fund the Election Committee with a to bedetermined monetary grant which shall be used for direct out-of-pocket costs(no attorney's fees). Decisions of the GBC Election Committee shall be"unanimous less one" and shall be final and binding for all purposes.
(10) That all other official positions in ISKCON be "frozen,"includingthat of the Temple President, until the First Reformed GBC meets andimplements further policy changes.
(11) That the BBTI pay the costs and fees incurred in defending theSingapore suit and this state trust case.
My clients are resolved not to allow parochial domination of the HareKrishna Movement to further trivialize the Legacy of His Divine Grace. Ican also assure you both that substantial legal research has already beenundertaken on the public domain issue, the results of which make itabundantly clear that your clients cannot confirm a chain of ownershiptheory which places the copyrights of Srila Prabhupada's Books into aprivate holding corporation while concurrently maintaining the legalintegrity of pre-1978 copyright notices consistent with copyright lawapplicable for that time period.
At the end of the litigation day, Srila Prabhupada's Vani will not beowned, controlled or restricted by a concocted, private holding companywhich you both support. Srila Prabhupada's Vani will either be formallyprotected in the precise way that He actually wanted by those particulardevotees He personally chose, or, Srila Prabhupada's Vani will be placed ina position which best reflects His desire to selflessly benedict the largestnumber of fallen conditioned souls.
Due to the severe time restraints now facing the parties in thestate trustcase, should there be no response at all to this letter within ten (10)days, I will assume that your clients have rejected this approach toresolution and I and associate counsel will have no choice but to pursue thenecessary legal action consistent with the views expressed in this letter.