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There are several different ways to own a copyright for music. You can own the music composition, the lyrics, the performance contained in a recording, and the recording, and the recording. Several years after Osho left the body OIF came up with the idea of making all musicians who play in Pune sign over the rights in their compositions or they aren’t allowed to play. Only some of the composition rights appear to have been assigned to OIF, Zurich and some to OIF, India.

First, Rights in a composition are not sufficient to own rights in a recording or to have a legal right to duplicate and sell a recording. To sell a music product you have to have ownership or a license of all the copyrights involved, including the performance rights of all musicians on the recordings.

Second, contracts, such as assignments of copyrights, are only legally enforceable if there was what is called “consideration.” That means that the party receiving the benefit under the contract [OIF] gave something valuable in return. Since OIF, Zurich has no legal power to control who performs music in the Pune center, it gave nothing of value and assignments to OIF, Zurich would most likely not be enforceable if any musician wishes to revoke them.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that musicians received something of value from OIF, India. That would only be true if OIF, India, and not other entities, has the legal power to determine who performs music in Pune.

Finally, if assignments are gained by misrepresentation, then they aren’t enforceable and the artist can revoke them. For example, OIF, Zurich has told some people that they have already given ownership of artwork and music to “the foundation,” during the time in Pune I and II. OIF sometimes claims that these assignments have been “lost.” OIF further implies that these rights now belong to OIF, Zurich.

This representation is completely false. OIF, Zurich is a completely separate entity from any entity in Pune, and no entity in Pune has ever assigned any rights in music or artwork to OIF, Zurich. If any entity in Pune ever owned any such interest, it has absolutely nothing to do with OIF, Zurich. So, for example, if OIF, Zurich obtained an assignment of rights in music because OIF claimed it already owned those rights, that claim would be a misrepresentation. OIF, Zurich has never been assigned any rights from entities operating in Pune I and Pune II.

Further, if OIF only has the composition rights in music, but not the performance rights from all the performers or the recording rights, then OIF, Zurich has no legal right to produce or sell the music as a product.

OIF has also claimed the right to decide what music may be recorded in relation to Osho. As we discuss at length in the trademark articles, trademarks never have anything to do with an historical person, even if the trademark is the name of that historical person. People can record and sell music related to the person Osho in any way they want. No claim to own any trademarks has anything at all to do with it. Only a valid ownership of composition rights to music could be used to prevent that music from being recorded.

This dispute has centered around Amrito’s, and perhaps Jayesh’s, idea that devotion is unacceptable, even though Osho talked about devotion as a path. Amrito and others claim the right to decide, in the way of a hierarchical religion, what music is acceptable. This is wholly unfounded. People can play and record any kind of music they like in connection with the historical person Osho. No one can ever own an historical person or control how others relate to an historical person; that simply isn’t what a trademark is about.

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