Two rival churches whose beliefs are based on the teachings of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda must go to trial to determine whether one owns copyrights in Yogananda’s works that it can assert against the other in an infringement suit, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled March 23 (Self-Realization Fellow-ship Church v. Ananda Church of Self-Realization, 9th Cir., No. 97-17407, 3/23/00).
Yogananda, a monk of the Swami order, founded the Self-Realization Fellowship Church in 1935 after arriving in California from India. He took a vow of poverty and, also in 1935, assigned all of his possessions to SRF. Yogananda served as SRF’s president and as a member of its board of directors.
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