Friday, February 12, 2010

Intellectual Property theft committed by Peter Heehs

from     RY Deshpande
to         Tusar Mohapatra ,
Anurag Banerjee ,
Sarani Mondal
date      12 February 2010 14:27
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gitanjali J B
Date: 11 February 2010 23:32
Subject: Engagement with Columbia University Press Regarding Withdrawal of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo"
To: Manoj Das Gupta

Shri Manoj Das Gupta,
Managing Trustee
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Pondicherry 605002

Subject: Engagement with Columbia University Press Regarding Withdrawal of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo"

Dear Manoj Da,

1. This is to inform you that we are engaged with Columbia University Press (CUP) regarding the withdrawal of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" from all channels of sales and distribution.

2. CUP has been informed of the alleged Intellectual Property theft committed by Peter Heehs as also of his alleged Violations of the Copyright Agreement with Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (SAAT).

3. Further, it has also been conveyed to CUP that Peter Heehs is not the Founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives as has been asserted by him to CUP.

4. All necessary and relevant documentation/ correspondence/ SAAT letters/ circulars/ agreement copies have been furnished to CUP for their evaluation and assessment.

5. A copy of one of our letters to CUP in this context is attached herewith for your information and necessary action.

Kind regards,
Gitanjali JB          Letter to CUP 2.2.2010.pdf 166K   View   Download  

[Attached letter to Columbia University Press] 
Clare Wellnitz
Publishing Director
Director of Subsidiary Rights and Contracts
Columbia University Press
61 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023

2 February 2010
Dear Clare,
Sub: Copyright Violations and Impersonation by Peter Heehs author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindopublished by Columbia University Press
  1. Our letter to Mr. James D. Jordan, Director dated 21.1.2010
  2. Your email dated 1.2.2010

1. Thank you so very much for your email dated 1.2.2010.
2. As already conveyed in our previous letter, the matter relates to The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (TLOSA) authored by Peter Heehs (PH) and published by Columbia University Press (CUP) in 2008, and specifically deals with: a) proscription of TLOSA in India by the Government of India, b) deliberate and malicious distortion of facts in TLOSA, c) Copyright Violation by Peter Heehs, d) Intellectual Property (IP) theft by Peter Heehs, e) impersonation by Peter Heehs as Founder of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives.
3. Sri Aurobindo, whose biography TLOSA masquerades as, is a national hero here in India and a global spiritual icon. A prominent leader of the Indian freedom movement, Sri Aurobindo has remained a source of great inspiration to millions of people in India and the world. There are thousands of schools, streets, libraries and other major institutions named after him across the country, and his life-sized statue occupies pride of place at the Indian National Parliament.
4. The issues of immediate relevance to CUP are categorised as under:
A. Proscription of TLOSA by the Government of India
The accompanying documentation shows you that TLOSA is proscribed by the Government of India and by the Courts after due verification of its content, primarily on the grounds of distortions of facts intended to hurt the religious sentiments of the people of India. This is the reason why Penguin Books India was barred from bringing out the Indian edition of TLOSA, and they must have informed you of the same. (Refer documents #1, 2, 3, 4.) You may also have been informed that Google, Flipkart, A1Books, etc, among others have already withdrawn access to TLOSA and all sales of TLOSA within the territory of India based on the Government and Court orders. (Refer document #12.)
B. Deliberate and malicious distortion of facts in TLOSA
This point is placed here only for your reference, so that you may know the harmful intentions of Peter Heehs in distorting the facts regarding Sri Aurobindo's life and consequently the explosive character of the present situation. This was fully taken into cognisance by relevant academicians and advisors to the Government of India, in taking decision to proscribe the book. (Refer documents #2, 4.)
C. Copyright Violation
The publication of the book involves multiple violations of copyright on the part of Peter Heehs. As the accompanying documentation will show you, Peter Heehs has given CUP more rights than he has himself acquired from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. He has also failed to comply with CUP's requirements for its authors to get appropriate permissions from copyright holders and owners of unpublished text. (Refer documents #5, 6, 7, 8, 9.)
D. Intellectual Property Theft
The content of the book also involves multiple Intellectual Property violations, as documented in the attachments. PH has claimed ownership of the entire research database of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives developed over 40 years involving several million dollars worth of investment. The names that Peter Heehs thanks are his colleagues, and as their letter to the Ashram Trust shows, they have taken the matter seriously and have placed this theft by Peter Heehs on record. (Refer documents #5, 6, 7, 8, 9.)
E. Impersonation by Peter Heehs as Founder of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives
The letter of the Ashram Trust declares unequivocally that Peter Heehs is not the founder of the Archives as he has claimed to CUP to be and which false assertion CUP has widely publicised in promoting the book. (Refer document #8.) Attached also are the order copy and the arrest warrant issued by Barbil Court in connection with the criminal case against Peter Heehs regarding his impersonation. (Refer documents #10, 11.) Also a letter from PH to the Ashram Trust in which he declares that he never wrote to CUP to claim himself Founder of the Archives, and that a sub-editor of CUP wrote this on his own! (Refer document #13.)In this connection, you may also note that there is a pending non-bailable warrant of arrest out against PH within India. (Refer document #11.)
5. In view of the above, we would be greatly indebted if CUP takes immediate and necessary steps to halt publication, sales and distribution of the book TLOSA, given the fraud and misrepresentation being perpetrated by Peter Heehs and the anguish that this book is causing to millions of devotees of Sri Aurobindo all over the world.
6. We are confident that CUP will be sensitive and responsive to the feelings and sentiments of millions of Indians for whom CUP has always been a standard bearer of the highest levels of integrity in the publishing business.
7. We would be obliged to receive an acknowledgement of this letter, and hope to hear from you at the earliest.
Gitanjali J B

List of Attachments (all files in PDF format, and numbered as below):

  1. High Court of Orissa order dated 4.11.2008 proscribing the book in the territory of India.
  2. Gazette Notification of the State Government of Orissa dated 9.4.2009 proscribing the book in the territory of India.
  3. Two letters from the Ministry of Home, Government of India.
  4. Three letters from Government Intelligence departments.
  5. Letter of Pranab Bhattacharya, Director of Physical Education, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, dated 5.8.2009 with legal opinion of Copyright Violation and Intellectual Property theft.
  6. Letter of researchers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives (Peter Heehs' erstwhile colleagues) dated 20.9.2008 regarding theft of intellectual property / research database by Peter Heehs.
  7. Letter of Peter Heehs to Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust dated September 2008 confirming copyright violation.
  8. Letter of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust dated 11.11.2008 regarding disciplinary action taken against Peter Heehs and his impersonation as founder of Archives.
  9. Notice of expulsion of Peter Heehs by Pranab Bhattacharya dated 30.10.2008.
  10. Barbil Court order relating to issue of non-bailable warrant of arrest of Peter Heehs in the case of impersonation as Founder of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, dated 8.5.2009.
  11. Non-bailable warrant of arrest against Peter Heehs in the case of impersonation dated x.5.2009.
  12. Letters from Google, Flipkart, A1Books, major online content provides for India, confirming action taken to withdraw TLOSA.
  13. Letter of Peter Heehs to Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust of 2008 claiming that he never told CUP that he is the Founder of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives.

1 comment:

  1. bijan ghosh advocate supreme court3:40 PM, February 12, 2010

    This man, Peter is the same person, who is the master mind in mutilating Savitri, the mantra of Supramental Transformation, then also this Manoj and company sailed together in the same boat. Devotees through out the world should join together with Gitanjali to fight for Truth