A look at the facts and options to impede OIF’s harassment tactics and threats.
On the occasion of this summer’s meditation retreats in the US facilitated by Arun from Osho Tapoban Centre in Nepal, a number of sannyasins, writers, artists, and filmmakers stepped forward and discussed the various ways they had been harassed by Osho International Foundation (OIF).
Osho-related videos have been yanked from YouTube, ebooks mentioning Osho taken down from various platforms, Facebook accounts closed, because OIF portrays itself to the media outlet companies that everything concerning the enlightened master Osho and related activities are under their total control and ownership. All this with apparently fabricated and false copyright and trademark claims for using video, audio, quotes, and photos of Osho (even public domain photos and artistically modified images of Osho) and, above all, even the mention or use of Osho’s name. A number of Osho disciples believe that OIF has violated their universal human rights as well as protected freedoms of religion and free speech.
Several people have asked OIF staff to provide legal certificates of copyright on specific items but have not received any proof to validate OIF’s claims to copyright. A few long-time sannyasins commented that many Osho photos and pieces of raw video footage were never actually copyrighted and therefore never transferred, with attending paperwork, from the originating photographers and videographers to OIF. Regarding the use of actual copyrighted material, especially with a momentous historical figure such as Osho, the Fair Use Doctrine may be of real significance among Osho’s people in the US. (The Fair Use Doctrine “Tips in favor of promoting the interests of the public,” according to attorney Sarah Hawkins – source: sarafhawkins.com.)
A group of sannyasins keeps an OIF Watch to document and archive illegal OIF abuses and Osho Tapoban launched a petition on avaaz.org to address these concerns and many more.
It’s important to counter OIF’s tactics by defending our right to expression in a written form. Otherwise, internet platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and ebook platforms will continue to believe OIF’s complaint and shut down the video or book in question. If Osho’s people express themselves in a unified voice for their right to express their love for Osho in all media they might be heard.
Letters expressing our opinion about OIF tactics could be sent to executive management of Apple iBooks, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, numerous ebook retailers worldwide including Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, OverDrive (world’s largest library ebook platform), Flipkart (India’s largest online bookseller), Baker & Taylor, Blio, Axis360, Inktera, Versent, WH Smith, FNAC, Livraria Cultura, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld, Indigo, Collins, Feltrinelli, Bol, Paper Plus, Play, Rakuten, Buy, as well as website hosts and major mobile app platforms, Atom/OPDS Catalog, and others.
One possibility for those who are being harassed is to get together and share the expenses for hiring a lawyer known in the tech industry to convey the legal situation to the tech giants in terms they will understand.
It is good to know our legal rights, to research our rights to use public domain photos, artistically modified photos, un-copyrighted photos, raw film and video footage, Osho’s name, Osho’s quotes, and other information in the public domain.
Regarding the legal outcome about any claim to an Osho trademark in the USA, these are the details: On October 30, 2008, the Osho International Foundation lost the trademark of the word ‘Osho’ with regard to meditations and related usages in the case against Osho Friends Foundation, which was fought in America.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a worldwide protection: “Freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Article 18 asserts: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Osho News Team