AA Inc. says AA principles are not binding for them

complete German document / ganzes Dokument auf Deutsch PDF 3,7MB

Retyped Copy

Remarks in [parenthesis] are added by the translator for better understanding.

To: District Court Frankfurt

-3. Civil Chamber-

60256 Frankfurt am Main [Germany]

March 18, 1999
In the law suit

Anonyme Alkoholiker Interessengemeinschaft e.V. [Anonymous Alcoholics Interest Society Inc.]


1. M. and Mr. Jürgen Lauer

-2-03 0 9/99-

the plaintiffs reply to the defendants writings as follows:


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Plaintiff asks understanding that he could not submit this reply in time. His attorneys received defendants writings of Feb 18th on Feb 23. The other part was received on March 1st. Both parts of the writings including extensive attachments had to be translated into English. They could be reviewed by the party [sic] and the required information regarding the defendants' writings be gathered from the [plaintiff] only then.


What the defendants write is mostly wrong. Moreover it is confusing, giving us a hardship to reply on that [crap].

1. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit in the name of AAWS, Inc. An appropriate empowerment [Grant of Authority] from this incorporation of January 27th, 1999 was meanwhile submitted to the court. Plaintiff's legal interest in the lawsuit was explained in the accusation.

AAWS, Inc. Is a membership corporation under the Law of the State New York. A copy of the notarized "Certificate of Foundation" of Oct 29th, 1962 is hereby submitted as attachment K29. This corporation has been invariably maintained as a legal entity since that time. [Compare with AA Tradition Five: Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose -- that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.] It is legally represented by its President Greg Muth.

Evidence: deposition of Attorney Michael Alexander, 195 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10007-3189, hereby appointed as witness

Attorney Alexander has been an advisor for said corporation since 1951 [how could he advise them in 1951, when they were founded end of 1962 ???] and was also involved in the foundation procedures of the corporation in its present form of 1962. The publishing agreement, attached as K12, between author [??!]Bill Wilson and AAWS, Inc. Of April 29, 1963 has thus already been entered into by the very corporation that directed the plaintiff to bring this lawsuit. This corporation [AAWS] according to attachment K10


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is also the publisher of the work in dispute "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS". Publishers name is printed as usual on dust jacket, title page back title page. Because the name of the real author is not shown or printed anywhere therein a guess has to be made according to §10/2 German Copyright Act and Section 15 of Revised Berne Convention. [It basically says there: In case author's name is unknown it is generally assumed that publishers of the volume in question own the copyright, but only until evidence to the contrary is offered.]

2. The [two] defendants say it was inappropriate for plaintiff and/or AAWS, Inc. to instigate litigation [bring lawsuits] at all. In saying so they refer to so-called Tradition Ten, which says that anonymous alcoholics [sic] shall not take positions regarding AA matters in the public.

[Plaintiff's attorneys either do not understand tradition ten, or they intentionally offer a wrong interpretation here in order to confuse the court. They do so while AA's 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts are part of the corporate bylaws of the AA General Service Board Inc. and AAWS, Inc.

The correct version is: Ten -- No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues -- particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. / Short form: 10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Refer also to AA Concept XII, Warranty Five:

"We felt that the existence of these legal remedies might prove to be a great deterrent? But after several years of deliberation, our General Service Conference decided against such a course. The dramatic story of this debate and its conclusion may be found in our history book "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age." Those early Conferences believed that the power to sue would be a dangerous thing for us to possess.

It was recognized that a public lawsuit is a public controversy, something in which our Tradition says we may not engage. (emphasis by translator) To make our legal position secure, it would have been necessary to incorporate our whole Fellowship, and no one wished to see our spiritual way of life incorporated. It seemed certain that we could confidently trust A.A. opinion, public opinion, and God Himself to take care of Alcoholics Anonymous in this respect.]

According to the corporate bylaws of both AAWS, Inc. and the plaintiff it is not forbidden to bring law suits. Even if there were such rule it would not be legally sufficient. Corporations sometimes must bring law suits. AAWS, Inc. again and again instigates litigation in order to protect the copyrights held in trust by them, and thereby in order to protect its riches. For example: The work in dispute "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS" was defended by means of very expensive lawsuits [instigated by AAWS] both in Mexico and Canada.

Evidence: George Dorsey, already appointed as witness

This "commandment" to refrain from all public statements does therefore not apply to the service organizations of Alcoholics Anonymous, which are organized as legal entities, it ["commandment" to refrain from all public statements] applies solely to the anonymous alcoholics [sic] as a whole who surrender to this treatment method [sic]. [Hereby AAWS and German GSO state in a legal document they are neither willing nor able to comply with AA's spiritual principles, especially tradition eight, nine and ten. They enforce organization, conduct professionalism, deny responsibility to those they (allegedly) serve, reveal the identity of members in public controversy and force them to play the role of witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants. By doing so they also abandon the principle of anonymity at all, which is the spiritual foundation of all AA traditions. Please check with: 8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. 9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.]

Therefore it should be clearly distinguished between the -few- members of the incorporated entities (AAWS, Inc. has 21 registered members and the plaintiff has 36 members only) and the giant number of AA's, who seek help because of their alcohol addiction. In Germany currently are about 2,500 groups in existence. Assumed one group has an average of 50 members then there are 125,000 AA's only. In the U.S. AA membership is in the millions. [Mere wishful thinking for the sake of plaintiff's grandiosity, in truth there are around 1800 meetings that take place every week. Some groups hold one meeting a week, some hold seven meetings a week. Many AA's attend more than one meeting. German meetings are no way attended by an average of 50 people. Five or maximum eleven are more realistic, though some big meetings exist. This makes for ten or twenty thousand AA's in Germany. This number is backed up by recent group surveys, but ignored by the plaintiff.]

Moreover, in their legal writings defendants' description of the plaintiff's role within the AA movement is wrong.


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Plaintiff can not be compared with any other AA group. He is the official representative of Alcoholics Anonymous in Germany. [More truthful would have been: the official representative of AAWS, Inc.] In this role he is obliged to fulfill certain tasks, to organize Alcoholics Anonymous in Germany [tradition 9 outdated !!], to sell AA literature [professionalism, tradition 8 outdated !!], to prepare and carry out so-called General Service Conferences, which make binding decisions [binding for whom? In the past AAWS/GSO did/does not comply with conference suggestions anyhow].

Without such special creatures in regard of organization and legal autonomy, as the plaintiff or AAWS, Inc., the system would not work.

Evidence: George Dorsey, already appointed as witness

3. Defendants were also wrong when they said the bylaws of the plaintiff would contain a regulation that info material and selected literature has to be distributed free of charge. Such regulation simply does not exist. [Plaintiff's bylaws are filed at Munich court Amtsgericht, Infanteriestrasse 5, 80315, Vereinsregister VR 9405, Telefax ++49 89 5597-3560, for public inspection. One paragraph in Section 2 on page 2 reads: Der Vereinszweck wird auch dadurch verwirklicht, daß insbesondere bei den öffentlichen Informationsmeetings Informationsmaterial und ausgewählte Literatur kostenlos verteilt werden. Translation: The purpose of the corporation is carried out by free-of-charge-distribution of info material and selected literature, especially during (public) information meetings.]

The numbers mentioned by the defendants on page three of their writings of February 18th, 1999 apply to the sales [turnover] of the plaintiff's General Service Office in Munich only. In fact much more literature is distributed free of charge, because the main distribution area [whatever that is] is not the incorporation's General Service Office, but [the main distribution area] is in the 2,500 groups in Germany.

Evidence: Mrs. Maximiliane Kowalczuk, plaintiff's employee, hereby appointed as witness

It therefore also wrong to say plaintiff was upset about the defendants, because they were distributing free literature. The plaintiff, respectively AAWS,Inc. is only disturbes as far as literature is concerned which is copyright protected and official service organizations have decided to let nobody else distribute [these books].

Moreover nobody has claimed defendant one would act upon low or bad motives or in order to make a buck. [Nobody?? In fact such character assassination was widely spread around by plaintiff's employees to the groups.] Hence, his conduct can


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be looked at as "professional" in the sense of § 108 a German Copyright Act. The High court of Frankfurt has expressed such opinion in a finding according to attachment K17.

4. The defendants have expressed various opinions regarding the English original and the German edition of the book in dispute "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS", which altogether are wrong.

It is agreed [by the plaintiff] that the German version of said book was changed again and again and differently translated. It is also true that plaintiff has decided to issue a new translation in 1996. However plaintiff is unable to confirm that there was so much changed as the defendants say. Plaintiff does not know where defendants got their statistics from. He does not know. Therefore he denies those numbers. Such facts do not contribute to this lawsuit anyhow. Changes to the original English text were last time made in 1939 and by the author himself. [Not true. A)Changes were made after 1939 too. B)Such changes were not made by the real authors nor by Bill Wilson, such changes were made by staff people at Works Publishing, Inc., a stock company]

5. Defendants have said during this lawsuit 400 copies of the English book had been distributed [AA Comes of Age pg. 167] without copyright notice prior to its publication as a [normally printed] book in 1939. Plaintiff denies this because he is unaware of that. He does not know.
[When these words were written to the court on March 18th, AAWS Inc. had already instructed their lawyers to work out an analysis and legal opinion using said quote from AA Comes of Age. Thus they were well aware and of course knew about this publication. See ../aaws/cynthia.pdf of April 1st for surprising details.]

6. Defendants deny Bill Wilson's authorship. According to their allegations this book was not written by a single man, but written by up to 100 co-authors. These writings of the defendants are untrue. This was already proven in a parallel lawsuit. Because of that plaintiff limits himself to some brief and essential explanations.


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Bill Wilson has registered his work [his protected intellectual property] with the Copyright Office in Washington using his own name. A copy of this registration of April 10th, 1939 is submitted as attachment

Bill Wilson has entered into several agreements with AAWS, Inc. and their predecessors regarding his work. The most recent publishing agreement is dated April 29, 1963 and was already submitted to the. Plaintiff adds more such legal agreements as attachments K31 of October 1st, 1942 and K 32 of June 20th ,1940.

There follow attachments K 33 "Lois Remembers" by Bill Wilson's wife, K34 financial statement of Works Publishing Inc. of June 30, 1940, and K35 a copy of a letter from Frank B. Amos of January 6, 1939.

All three attachments confirm Bill Wilson's authorship. Moreover plaintiff submits attachment 36, which are other publications that his authorship evident. Eventually plaintiff points to the fact that the lawyer of AAWS, Inc., Michael Alexander, who was already appointed as witness, never ever during his 40 years of business heard anything to the extent as if Bill Wilson nwas not the author of the book. This witness has expert knowledge, because of his close business connections with AAWS, Inc. He is also one of the few people, who was personally aquainted with Bill Wilson and knew him very well, because he had often to do with him. In his talks with the author himself [Michael AlK30exander allegedly would deposit, which is doubtful] there was never any suspicion about his authorship.

Evidence: Mr. Michael Alexander, already appointed as witness

b) Plaintiff has pointed out in his lawsuit that the book is written in a uniform style, in a interesting manner and unique language from the first until the last page.


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Therefore it is simply impossible that 100 different people were involved in writing the 11 chapters. This will be confirmed by any scientist with language skills.

Evidence: expert witness

c) Defendants, in their denial of Bill Wilson's authorship, refer to a deposition of Mrs. Sue Smith Windows. This eyewitness allegedly shall be able to confirm that other persons than Bill Wilson have written the work. This eyewitness in not trustworthy, because she has published a book about the development of AA herself some years ago. Therein she drew a different story about [Bill's] authorship, and at that time in line with the truth. Some quotes from said book "Children of the Healer" along with a German translation of the regarding passages into German language are hereby submitted as attachment K 37 and K38.

Plaintiff assumes that the 81 year old lady went nuts and is confused about the facts. As she relates in her own book parts of said [literary] work indeed were established at the kitchen table of her parents. But these parts are not in dispute in this law suit. Those parts are the so-called "Personal Stories" and have nothing to do with Bill Wilson's text.

d) In this matter defendants say: the plaintiff himself would publish newsletters (attachment B6) where authorship said to have originated from 100 different people. The exact wording of the newsletter, which has already been submitted to the court, does not support such interpretation. The regarding sentence goes:


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"In early 1939 our fellowship had about 100 sober alcoholics. They decided to publish a book that would contain those principles and experiences that derived from their trial and error approach, when they tried to help other alcoholics."

This description is perfectly true. The decision to publish a book was not made by Bill Wilson alone, but he wrote it.

e) Plaintiff does not know what the defendants have submitted as their attachments B3, B4 and B5. Plaintiff insists that this is no way a text handwritten by Bill Wilson or that it is even his draft. Plaintiff also denies that it was typewritten by AA secretary Ruth Hock.

f) Plaintiff does not know who Joe Worth might be. Also AAWS, Inc. does not have a clue who is behind this name. It is therefore insisted to be untrue that alleged person even existed or that such person had anything to do with the writing of Bill Wilson's work.

g ) Those people, appointed as witness by the defendants, [Ernest] Kurtz, [Mitchell] Klein and [Fran] Hartigan are unable to contribute anything for clarification of the facts. Because they were not present when the book was written and the were not personally aquainted with Bill Wilson. This is also true for the last witness, Hartigan, who never was a private secretary of Bill Wilson himself. He only helped set up a foundation [Stepping Stones] after the death of his wife. Witness Klein is not a historical scientist, he is merely pretty interested in history. Witness Kurtz derives his knowledge mostly from his research in AAWS, Inc. archives. Evident documents that would contradict Bill Wilson's authorship were not found there and have not been submitted to the court by the defendants.


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Plaintiff once more points out, that AAWS, Inc. being the original publisher of the English edition, can refer to the legal suspicion of German Copyright Act § 10 As. 2 UrhG, because the work was published without author's name on it. ........ [translators note: there are some more pages, currently too much for me. To be continued ... perhaps later....]