THE TIMES OF INDIA, MUMBAI, 3 August, 2000
By Abhay Vaidya
The Times of India News Service
PUNE: Attempts by the New York-based Osho International to exercise exclusive copyright-control over the name “Osho”, his books, audio-tapes, meditations and websites have suffered a major setback with the Minneapolis-based National Arbitration Forum rejecting the transfer of the domain name Oshoworld.com.
The forum, which handles disputes relating to domain registration on the Internet, has upheld the rights of the New Delhi-based Osho Dhyan Mandir over the domain registration Oshoworld.com
The ruling comes as a major setback to the New York-based Osho International which has sought trademark protection over the name “Osho” and has obtained international copyrights over Osho’s books and audiotapes.
Inner circle member Swami Satya Vedant at the Pune Commune declined to offer any reaction to the ruling.
The activities of the swanky Pune-based Osho Commune International are currently being controlled by the New York-based body which serves as the international publishing headquarters and administrator for the Zurich-based Osho International Foundation.
These trademark and copyright attempts have split Osho’s followers with one section accusing the ruling faction of seeking to commercialise Osho’s works.
Former Osho commune spokesman Chaitanya Keerti, who led the fight against the ruling faction of the Pune-based Osho Commune International, described the Minneapolis ruling as significant.
“This judgment means that Osho Centre leaders around the world can now carry on without any worry or fear from self-appointed dictators who claim to own everything related to Osho,” Keerti said.
“Osho is free and eternally fresh breeze and we should make sure that this breeze is not poisoned by any toxic elements. Osho’s vision cannot be fettered, traded or imprisoned by a few unaccounted purposes,” he said in a press statement.
He said that the crucial judgment was delivered on Tuesday by M. Kelly Tillery, arbitrator of the National Arbitration Forum in Minneapolis, USA. It disallowed the transfer of Oshoworld.com to the New York-based Osho International Foundation from Osho Dhyan Mandir in New Delhi.
“The decision means we should build up more pressure on these people who have usurped Osho’s legacy away from Pune and force them to return it to its source which is Pune, the global capital of Osho’s spiritual movement,” he said.
Swami Keerti said that all Osho centers around the world should now demand full accountability and transparency in managing the affairs of the Pune Commune “instead of a few running it like a personal fiefdom and taking arbitrary decisions.”