Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:




From discussion on Nonduality Salon

Tim Gerchmez:

If I ever wrote a complete spiritual book I would most
likely have it copyrighted just for the necessary protections such a thing
would bring in an item that people are paying money for.

Greg Goode:

I haven't checked every one of my books, but I think only U.G. Krishnamurti
publishes w/o copyright.

Tim Gerchmez:

I see no "sin" in copyrighting stuff that has nothing to do with
spirituality. But once the realm of spirituality is entered, things grow
fuzzy. If you are walking on Holy Ground, dare you copyright the words of

Copyrights restrict the duplication of a particular *expression* of a piece
of work. For example, a copyright couldn't prevent a book from being made
into a movie (unless the words "All Rights Reserved" are included along
with it, legally reserving ALL rights).

I take Samuel's position. All of my spiritual poetry and writings are free
and in the public domain, instantly.

Yet there is still the question of books. I feel that there's a place for
the copyrighting of "spiritual books," no matter if inspired or not. This
is to prevent unscrupulous individuals for claiming them as products of
their own egos, and abusing works meant for good... perhaps even using them
for "bad" purposes. If I ever wrote a complete spiritual book I would most
likely have it copyrighted just for the necessary protections such a thing
would bring in an item that people are paying money for. But it would
still belong to the world, just not "officially." Do you really think I
would sue if I wrote a spiritual book, and someone copied a chapter on
their website? Hah! I would thank them for spreading the word!


it's interesting, this discussion about copyright. I'm a composer myself, & a lot of my music
I couldn't have written if I had taken copyright laws seriously, because I simply wouldn't
have had the money to pay for all the quotes & samples. But when I radicalized this point of
view, it became impossible to take credit for my own creative endeavours - now it's all very
idealistic to say that it doesn't really matter through which individual certain things come
to existence (especially texts about 'spiritual matters'), but in the end this attitude has
harmed me, & made it impossible for a while to write music at all. How so? Because in the
world out there ('in here' ??) of buying & selling, people mistook this stance for not taking
myself seriously - now this could be a great mystical quality, but it doesn't really sell. I
realize now that what matters most is to take the loving way. If it is to protect (even if it
may be weakness to want to have your music out there) copyright is a great agreement.
On the other hand, if you're a copyright genius (like one I know working in advertisement) &
all you do is make other people's music yours to make money - I think that's called stealing,
& is ultimately not even a loving thing to do to yourself. To me that's like striving for
'enlightenment' by imitating just the moves & words of a saint - it will more often lead to
emptiness or even severe physical damage than towards anything remotely like 'enlightenment'.
What fun would there be in the world if we ALL got nailed to a cross?

Perhaps it is silly... but some how 'to me', there seems to be
a code of behavior which says, spiritual = share / secular = sell

Since we seem to have a discussion going here...
perhaps I should clarify a couple of points about
the original post and add a little more 'pee' to the pot.

The comments were only about *spiritual writing*,
and directed to those who appear to be scribing
'spiritual thought'... and then claiming *ownership*,
as if the thoughts... *belong* to 'them'.

The choice of the word 'souls' was strictly because
it is one syllable, alludes to 'the human lifeform', and comes
close to rhyming with 'proses' (a very loose rhyme to be sure,
but the one that 'popped' into mind at the time. :-)
No 'deeper' meaning was intended.

It just seems a bit 'unspiritual'... to expound 'Oneness'
and/or 'Nonduality' and/or 'Spirituality'... and then claim
*ownership* of the words used to express the thought.

From my 'odd point of view', it seems, that 'spiritual thought'
should be treated like pollen... and blown into the breeze.
Then left to "Do its thing,"... whatever that might be.

It is not my concern whether it pollinates a seed, is collected
by bees for food and ends up as excreta, or falls into the dirt
and becomes part of the fossil record of life on Earth.

Like I said... an 'odd point of view'.


Tim Gerchmez:

If the words are cloned, it is great. But if the words are
twisted and then claimed as one's own (or the original author's), a
pointing can be transformed into a superstitious lie by someone who is
ignorant, thus creating further ignorance (evil).

There has to be a balance somewhere. Thus, I believe that widely-published
spiritual books (and difficult translations of public domain documents from
Sanskrit), which would most likely be acquired by the ignorant and twisted
if they were completely free to spread around, should be copyrighted.
Anything else of a spiritual nature should be spread freely, purely "public

This is not to stop me from violating any copyright, if I feel that it will
not harm the author, myself or the reader(s). Copyright is a social
convention only, a secular law, not a spiritual law. Thus, if I see a few
chapters of a copyrighted version of the Ashtavakra Gita, for example, I
will republish these as I choose to do so. It's best to ask the permission
of the author first though, if possible. Many of the various swamis and
such that publish today's spiritual books (and their publishers) are freely
available for contact on the Internet through Email, or at least by telephone.