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DOCUMENT TITLE: ASSIGNMENT
SUBJECT: Purportedly assignment of copyrights for "Board Policy Letters" and "Board Technical Bulletins" from Church of Scientology of California (CSC) to L. Ron Hubbard, but apparently transferring all copyrights from CSC to L. Ron Hubbard (and therefore to his estate).
PARTIES: Ostensibly CSC and L. Ron Hubbard, but only "signatory" is "Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology of California," with no names of any individuals.
BACKGROUND AND NOTES
L. Ron Hubbard, by blanket assignment in two 1958 Policy Letters, assigned all of his trademarks and copyrights into perpetuity to HCO, which was, itself, a part of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International, Inc. (HASI, Inc., or HASI).
HCO was transferred to The Church of Scientology of California (CSC), which itself came to be owned by HASI. (Please see our chart of these corporate and intellectual propery relationships.) CSC then apparently became successor to HASI when HASI's corporate status was revoked in 1977.
In the 4 May 1978 copyright Assignment reproduced below, CSC appears to be transferring to "L. Ron Hubbard" copyrights in only certain types of issues known as "Board Policy Letters" and "Board Technical Bulletins" (BPLs and BTBs), items not authored by L. Ron Hubbard but by others.
But why would CSC be transferring any copyrights at all to "L. Ron Hubbard," when L. Ron Hubbard had long before assigned, into perpetuity, all Dianetics and Scientology copyrights to HCO? HCO, at the time of this 1978 Assignment is a part of CSC. The question becomes even more curious when a careful reading of the precise wording of the document below reveals that, while purporting to transfer only the other-authored BTBs and BPLs, the Assignment in fact appears to be tranferring all copyrights back to L. Ron Hubbard. That rather deceptive language begins in the last paragraph below that starts with the word "WHEREAS" (we've highlighted the specific passages in bold).
This interpretation is leant further consideration by the selected usage in the document of the very broad terms "letters" and "bulletins" rather than the much more specific "Policy Letters" and "Technical Bulletins." The word "letter" and its plural "letters" is a vastly broad catch-all for "written or printed communications," and connotes literary works. The word "bulletin" is also broad, encompassing periodicals of unspecified nature. And one definition of "bulletin" is "A brief report, especially an official statement on a matter of public interest issued for immediate publication or broadcast." This could very well be interpreted to include the recorded lectures of L. Ron Hubbard. So one interpretation of the document below is that the two carefully selected words in combination could embrace everything that L. Ron Hubbard ever produced: non-fiction books, fiction books, magazines, newsletters, all public recorded lectures, policy letters, technical bulletins, Professional Auditor's Bulletins, articles, Flag Orders, etc.
The document appears to have been executed unilaterally by the unidentified "Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology of California," with no indication of execution or involvement by L. Ron Hubbard. But in an assignment, only the "assignor" need execute the document, which could have worked to the advantage of anyone having an ulterior motive for transferring all the copyrights into L. Ron Hubbard's estate. And as will be seen in later documents, there was at least $25 million worth of motivation.
This 1978 Assignment was drafted and executed when Norton Karno--ostensibly L. Ron Hubbard's business partner and attorney--was deeply involved with CSC and the Guardian's Office, and while Stephen Lenske and Sherman Lenske were both working in the office of Mr. Karno, handling L. Ron Hubbard's "business interests." Both of the Lenske brothers are currently Special Directors of CST, who is the primary beneficiary of the rights transferred in this 4 May 1978 legal document, exactly as described in the last paragraph of this document. And in fact, even more curiously, without such transfer, CST could never have received ownership of the copyrights, because they were transferred to CST by order of IRS from "Author's Family Trust-B," CST being the primary beneficiary of L. Ron Hubbard's estate.
This document was filed with the court in litigation between Grady Ward and the Religious Technology Center (RTC) in 1997. Scanned and posted to alt.religion.scientology by Keith Henson in message <hkhensonE9sFxr.EKE@netcom.com>
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
WHEREAS the Church of Scientology of California (hereinafter referred to as "the Church") has authored certain materials know as "Board Policy Letters" and "Board Technical Bulletins" (hereinafter referred to as "Letters" and Bulletins" respectfully); and
WHEREAS, the Church will as it may deem desirous and/or necessary, continue to author such Letters and Bul- letins; and
WHEREAS, the church does enjoy, pursuant to Title 17 of the U.S. Code and the laws of the United states, the rights and privileges of copyright for such Letters and Bulletins provide by the aforesaid Title and laws, and as the author of such Letters and Bulletins is inherently vested with such right and privileges; and
WHEREAS, the entirety of such Letters and Bulletins concern the administration of the affairs of the Church and, as duly adopted by their respective Boards of Dir- ectors, all other Churches of Scientology, as well as matters of ecclesiastic policy, religious doctrine, and the procedures and particulars of the administration and application of the religions of Scientology to parishion- ers of the Church and the community; and
WHEREAS, L. Ron Hubbard (hereinafter referred to as "Mr. Hubbard") is the sole and exclusive originator of the basic tenets and doctrine upon which the religion of Scientology is founded, the basic procedures applied by the Church in the application of the religion of Scientology to its parishioners, and has as well origin- ated, as an individual and by himself, the basic principles and policies pursuant to which the Church, as a duly adopted by its Board of Directors, conducts its administrative affairs; and
WHEREAS, the religious tenets, doctrines and procedures, as well as the administrative principles and polices originated by Mr. Hubbard are contained in the published writings of Mr. Hubbard, the rights and privileges of the laws of the United States, for such writings being the exclusive property of Mr. Hubbard; and
WHEREAS, it is envisioned that through his continued research and study into the spiritual nature of Man, and related and other areas of research and study, Mr. Hubbard will continue to author writings relevant and of impor- tence to the religion of Scientology and the Church; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Hubbard has previously assigned to the Church and through it to other Churchs of Scientology the right to use and to publish and distribute his writings and such writing, relevant to the religion of Scientology and to the Church, as he may in the future author;
NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises above the Church does hereby assign and transfer to Mr. Hubbard the entirety of its copyrights for the above referenced Letters and Bulletins, as follows:
1. That this assignment and transfer shall apply to all Letters and Bulletins that may currently exist as well as all such Letter and Bulletins as may be in the future authored by the Church.
2. Said assignment and transfer is total and complete, and Mr. Hubbard is hereby granted the full and exclusive rights and powers of the proprietor of the copyrights for all Letters and Bulletins as may now exist or may in the future be authored by the Church; except that the Church shall retain the right to take such legal actions, including the filing of suit, as it may deem necessary for the protection of such Letters and Bulletins, including but not limited to, actions for infringment of the copyrights for such Letter and Bulletins provided, that the forgoing shall in no wise prohibit or otherwise place any limitation upon Mr. Hubbard's rights as the sole and exclusive proprietor of the copyright for such Letters and Bulletins, to take such legal actions as he may deem necessary to the protection of such copyrights.
3. This assignment and the transfer shall be binding upon the Church, and in the event of the dissolution of the corporation shall be binding upon the Church's heirs, successors, legatees and assigns.
4. In the event of Mr. Hubbard's demise, this assignment and transfer shall vest, in its entirety, in his successors, assigns, heirs, and legalees [sic: "legatees"].
SIGNED this 4th day of May, 1978
by the Board of Directors of the
Church of Scientology of California
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