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Demand Letter To BBT Int'l - by Gupta das (Joseph Fedorowsky)

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:

Joseph Fedorowsky
(aka Gupta das)

Joseph Fedorowsky & Associates
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 there is no licensing scenario which would be acceptable or workable. It is also clear that my clients view this case as a spiritually unique situation in which a substantive reformation in the Hare Krishna Movement must take place. In fact, my clients believe that we are all standing at a crossroad at which we must 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' independent choices have been to deny the very existence of Srila Prabhupada's original trust, to deny that Srila Prabhupada's disciple and personally appointed trustee of that trust, Karandhar, had any legal authority to act as an agent to transfer His copyrights to His trust, to deny Hansadutta's lifetime appointment as a hand-picked trustee of the original trust, and to sue and threaten to sue devotees around the world for trying to print, publish and distribute Srila Prabhupada's Vani outside the bureaucratic labyrinth of BBTI policy. What's more, your clients' have also offensively and brazenly argued 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 the principle of arsa-prayoga ["Even if the authorized acaryas would make a mistake, it would not be changed. In this way the acaryas are honored." Srila Prabhupada], wholesale posthumous editing changes to Srila Prabhupada's Vani is the institutional norm (company men call it "responsible publishing") as is the placing of narrow, artificial restrictions on the distribution and sale of His Books. In this way, the Accuracy and Availability of Srila Prabhupada's Books have been severely compromised 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, basic reformation in ISKCON must be initiated as there is simply no use and no benefit in allowing the delusion to remain that the copyrights to Srila Prabhupada's Books are held within the offensive and restrictive ecclesiastical control of members of a private holding corporation.

The alternative to the following proposal is to accept the legal consequences which flow from the arguments already made and evidence already presented by both of you, and your clients, which evidence fully supports a public domain status for the Books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami 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 persons whom Srila Prabhupada personally placed on the BBT and who still desire to serve in that 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 of a date certain. That the office of the EC of the GBC be abolished.

(4) That an entirely new GBC ("First Reformed") be elected, each GBC member 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 of representative GBC elections. I have not included details of the format of those proposed rules in this letter.

(7) That "qualified devotee voter(s)" shall consist of all of the 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 18 years who were initiated by a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at least one (1) month prior to the date of this letter.

(8) That the First Reformed GBC shall consist of twelve devotees who shall each serve an initial three year term. (DOM 7/28/70)

(9) That a GBC Election Committee be established for the purpose of administering the voting process according to guidelines approved by the BBT Trustees and shall be composed of Akruranatha, Amarendra, Balavanta, Gupta and Sesa. The BBTI shall fund the Election Committee with a to be determined 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," including that of the Temple President, until the First Reformed GBC meets and implements further policy changes.

(11) That the BBTI pay the costs and fees incurred in defending the Singapore suit and this state trust case.

My clients are resolved not to allow parochial domination of the Hare Krishna Movement to further trivialize the Legacy of His Divine Grace. I can also assure you both that substantial legal research has already been undertaken on the public domain issue, the results of which make it abundantly clear that your clients cannot confirm a chain of ownership theory which places the copyrights of Srila Prabhupada's Books into a private holding corporation while concurrently maintaining the legal integrity of pre-1978 copyright notices consistent with copyright law applicable for that time period.

At the end of the litigation day, Srila Prabhupada's Vani will not be owned, controlled or restricted by a concocted, private holding company which you both support. Srila Prabhupada's Vani will either be formally protected in the precise way that He actually wanted by those particular devotees He personally chose, or, Srila Prabhupada's Vani will be placed in a position which best reflects His desire to selflessly benedict the largest number of fallen conditioned souls.

Due to the severe time restraints now facing the parties in the state trust case, should there be no response at all to this letter within ten (10) days, I will assume that your clients have rejected this approach to resolution and I and associate counsel will have no choice but to pursue the necessary legal action consistent with the views expressed in this letter.

With regards,
Joseph Fedorowsky


Please also see: Court case Iskcon-LI vs. Iskcon-GBC  - documentation demand of BBT accounts  -  BBTi stolen copyrights -