Intellectual Property Policies
Approved by the A.A.W.S. Board January 27, 2005A.A.’s Copyrights
A.A.W.S. holds numerous copyrights in trust for A.A. as a whole in the many written works, videos, cassettes, CDs, and other materials produced and published by A.A.W.S. both in English, as well as in other languages.
Generally, A.A.W.S limits licensees for the publication and distribution of A.A. literature, to General Service Offices (G.S.O.s) in other countries and literature committees around the world. The “Current Conference Charter” provides guidance in the matter: “In countries where a General Service Structure exists, the United States/Canada Conference will delegate sole right to publish our Conference-approved literature to the General Service Board of the structure.”
Our reprint policy, however, is different from our licensing policy. As stated in The A.A. Service Manual: “Local A.A. publications are permitted to quote a phrase, sentence or brief paragraph excerpted from A.A. literature such as The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, The A.A. Service Manual and Conference-approved pamphlets without a prior, written request to do so…, (accompanied by a credit line (that) should read: Reprinted from (name of publication, page number), with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.)” Non-A.A. individuals and entities may not reprint A.A. copyrighted materials without prior approval granted pursuant to a written request. Please send your request to reprint A.A.W.S. material to firstname.lastname@example.org
Trademarks and Logos
A.A. World Services and the Grapevine have registered a number of trademarks and logos, and the guidelines for using them are based partly on legal considerations and partly on the nature of A.A.
The following is a complete list of registered trademarks and service marks that symbolize Alcoholics Anonymous, its work and its purpose: A.A.; Alcoholics Anonymous; The Big Book; Box 4-5-9; The Grapevine; A.A. Grapevine; GV; Box 1980, La Viña.
Use of these marks on goods or services that do not emanate from A.A.,and have not been approved by A.A., both infringes upon and dilutes A.A. marks, in legal terms. The resulting harm is that the marks and A.A. itself, since A.A. is what the marks symbolize, will come to be associated with a variety of products and services that are not part of A.A., and are not consistent with A.A.’s purpose. This will cause the marks to lose their meaning and significance as symbols of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A.A. Literature Translation Policy2011 AAWS/GSO Policy Re: Translations of A.A. Literature and Audio and Visual Formats Including Publication, Reproduction and Licensing Considerations:
I. General Considerations
A. A translation of copyrighted text constitutes a derivative work, and, as such, permission of the copyright owner is required prior to undertaking the translation.
B. The AAWS policy regarding licensing and publication of AA material is based on, and guided by, the provisions of the Current Conference Charter: “In countries where a General Service Structure exists, the United States/Canada Conference will delegate sole right to publish our Conference-approved literature to the general Service Board of that country.” Operating authority for translations is exercised by the GSO General Manager and Publications Director with regular reporting to the AAWS Board and to the World Service Meeting.”
C. AAWS had a policy of long-standing whereby, at the request of another General Service Structure, financial assistance for the publication of a piece of literature is provided, where appropriate (see “’Foreign Aid’---literature carries the message,” The Thirty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1984, pg 16-17). Historically such assistance had taken the following form: AAWS will advance the money for the publication of a particular piece of (usually, translated) literature. AAWS will retain title to the inventory, but the requesting Structure will be permitted to sell off the inventory, using a portion of the sale price to repay AAWS, and reserving a portion to finance the next printing of the piece.
In 1992, the Literature/Publishing Committee of the World Service Meeting reported that the committee had agreed that the International Literature Fund should be under the purview of the World Service Meeting Literature/Publishing Committee. The committee requested A.A. World Services (AAWS) to use these funds to offset their expenditures for foreign literature assistance as well as to reimburse other A.A. entities for similar expenses. Further, “AAWS should have the latitude to prioritize the use of these monies based on the need as expressed by each GSO and World Service delegate. While we recognize that these monies will not be set up in a separate fund for legal purposes, but will be included in the operating funds of AAWS, we ask that AAWS provide each World Service Meeting with an accounting of the receipts and disbursements of these monies.”
D. All translations shall be made from the most recent English language version of the work.
E. In order to be considered complete, all translations of Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book), regardless of how initiated, shall contain all of the front matter appearing in the U.S./Canada English language version, including The Doctor’s Opinion, and the Forewords and Preface; the basic text appearing on pages 1-164; and Dr. Bob’s Nightmare and the Appendices. Whether any other material which does not appear in the original will be permitted to be included in the translation shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. Permission to include such additional material, where the material is in conflict with the message conveyed by the Big Book, will not be granted.
A. Request For Permission To Translate
- When GSO receives a request from someone wishing to translate AA literature on his/her own initiative, the Publications Department will determine if there is an existing, authorized translation in the U.S. or overseas. If such a translation exists, the request will be denied. If a translation does not exist, the requesting party will be asked to translate some representative portions of the work (e.g., Chapter 5, plus an additional chapter or two in Alcoholics Anonymous), so that the translation might be reviewed by a professional translation service for its consistency with the original text. The requesting party will also be asked to defer further work until the sample has been checked, and will be advised that, in any case, in order to obtain permission to proceed with the translation, the copyright in the translation project would have to be assigned to AAWS.
- Once checked, and there has been agreement to assign the copyright to AAWS, the sample will be returned to the requesting party with either permission to proceed with the translation, or with recommendations for changes. In the latter case, the party will be requested to make further submissions until a satisfactory translation is achieved.
Upon receipt of an acceptable version of the translation, the general policies regarding possible licensing, publication, and distribution of the translation, will apply, including a determination regarding the applicability of overseas literature publication assistance.
If, after several submissions, the translator is unable to provide an acceptable translation, then the GSO General Manager and Publications Director in consultation with the International Staff Member will consider whether any further assistance can be given in the matter, will determine if there is a present, compelling need for the translation; and will further determine if the budget will accommodate the expense of a translation by AAWS. If the answer is “yes” to these questions, then the Publications Department will schedule the preparation of such a translation.
B. Request that GSO undertake a translation
- From time to time, GSO will receive a request that the GSO translate (usually, including a request to publish) a piece of literature. The GSO General Manager and Publications Director in consultation with the International Staff Member will determine if there is a present, compelling need for the translation; and will further determine if the budget will accommodate the expense of a translation by AAWS. If the answer is “yes” to both these questions, then the Publications Department will schedule the preparation of such a translation.
- The GSO General Manager and Publications Director in consultation with the International Staff Member may initiate or initiate upon the request of the General Service Board the development of a translation, within its own discretion. In the exercise of its discretion, all relevant factors, including need, cost, publication, pricing, distribution, and the applicability of overseas literature assistance, will be taken into consideration.
C. Translations Completed Without Prior GSO Permission
When GSO receives a translation of A.A. literature that was developed without prior permission, the Publications Department will determine whether an approved translation already exists in the U.S. or overseas. If such a translation exists, the party submitting the translation will be informed, and will be asked to refrain from any further activity regarding the translation. If a translation does not exist, the procedures set forth in Section II A. will be followed.
Revised by the A.A.W.S. Board March, 2011