ISKCON–Copyrighting and Trademarking HARE KRISHNA!!!
The Sankirtana Movement is not my invention. So how can it be copyrighted?
Letter to: Dinesh (by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami) New Vrindaban 10 June, 1969
My Dear Dinesh,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated June, 6, 1969 and the copy of the agreement which you sent. The first thing is that I have already given you my word, so there is no need of an agreement with me. My word is final agreement, but if you want it for business reasons, I have no objections to sign it. But the wordings are not always clear. Another thing is although I have brought this Sankirtana Movement to the Western World we cannot make it copyrighted. The Sankirtana Movement is not my invention. So how can it be copyrighted? Besides that, as you will find in the album of my previous recording, the chanting of Hare Krishna is going on since time immemorial. So Hare Krishna cannot be copyrighted, although the tune in which I sing with my disciples, that may be made copyrighted. I have no objection to sign this agreement, but don’t be misled that the chanting of Hare Krishna or Lord Caitanya’s Movement can be made copyrighted.
There are some points in the contract which are not very clear, so you may explain them to me further by post. The points are as follows: ”ISKCON shall have the sole and exclusive right and authority to collect preserve and distribute all tangible expressions of said sound vibrations.” ”Said sound vibrations shall be fixed in a tangible form solely by ISKCON” ”ISKCON shall have the exclusive right to any existing sound recordings contained in any medium of fixation that have been previously recorded by the SWAMI” ”ISKCON shall have the sole and exclusive right to use the name and likeness of the SWAMI for all purposes and activities encompassed by this agreement.”
So upon hearing from you on these points I shall send you back the agreement duly signed by me. I am very much encouraged by the statement of your letter, but I must let you know the pros and cons of this agreement.
Please convey my blessings to Krishna Devi. I hope this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami