Reprint permission when quoting CAL

The responses to the following questions come from Ric B, Chief Executive at the World Service Office. Page references are to the World Service Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual.

RE: Question regarding reprint permission when quoting CAL in newsletters and on “love gifts”

The WSO was asked at the 2006 WSC to send a copy of questions it receives from Conference members and our responses to all Conference members so that they can share leadership by responding to recurring questions in their Areas. The WSO believes that the following question and our response might be one of those topics.

Question: I was recently told that I need written reprint permission from the WSO to include quotations from CAL in our newsletter and on “love gifts” for the World Service Conference. Is this true, and if so why? If it is, how do I go about this?

Answer: Our literature is written from the contributions of our members. While it is our fellowship’s literature, it legally belongs to Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. This is the organization that our cofounders, Lois W. and Anne B., acting for our fellowship, created to service and protect our groups, in accordance with Tradition Nine. As it states on page 96 of the 2006-2009 Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual (P-24/27), the World Service Conference has authorized the World Service Office to be the sole publishing agency for the fellowship worldwide. It also states, “Permission to reprint extensively from our publications is not granted in the United States and Canada to any individuals, within or outside of our membership, or to any outside agency.”

By following copyright laws—and requesting others to do so—we safeguard our identity as a fellowship. Copyrights are a way to assure that what we pass on is an accurate representation of our program. If we do not protect our fellowship in this way, we leave the door open for distortion or dilution. By requiring permission to reprint, we can verify the accuracy of our literature, as well as the context in which it will be used. Without it, misquotes or quotations placed out of context could give the wrong impression about our program—to our members as well as the rest of the world.

Although substantial portions of our Conference Approved Literature cannot be reprinted within our service structure, permission can be given to reprint brief excerpts, according to page 97 of the Manual. These reprints are limited in both the length of the quotation (usually a couple sentences to a paragraph) and the number of quotations (usually not more than one or two excerpts).

To obtain this permission, you need to complete a Request Permission to Reprint form. You can download this form from the Members’ Web site, www.al-anon.org/members (under “Forms” in the menu on the left side of the main page). Each request received at the World Service Office is evaluated on its merits and the circumstances. You need to receive permission prior to printing, and we ask that you allow at least three weeks for us to process your request. If reprint permission is granted, the appropriate credit line must accompany the excerpt.

Some Areas submit requests for the use of CAL quotations in the development of Area calendars or other fundraisers. These are usually approved if the quotations are brief and limited to one per page. However, long series of quotations are not considered “limited excerpts.”

Written permission is not required if members want to photocopy one or two pages of Conference Approved Literature (or The Forum) for use in discussion at an Al-Anon/Alateen meeting, provided it is for a one-time use, the photocopy is limited to what can be reasonably discussed within one meeting, only enough copies are made for those attending that meeting, and the material is not for sale or being distributed beyond the group or for further study after that meeting. We do ask that the following credit line is included on the copies: “From ___________, copyright 20__, by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.”

Some members prefer to type out a series of quotations from our literature to pass around for discussion at a meeting. This is acceptable if it is for one-time use only, limited to one side of one page, and includes the proper credit line. However, experience has shown that this practice increases the margin of error for misspellings and typographical errors. It is preferable to pass around a book (or books) with quotations flagged for reading. This method also helps increase member awareness of where to find such written help.

Handout packets or booklets do not qualify for requests for written reprint permission— or for the exception. They are basically collections of various Forum articles or pages/chapters from our literature, whether on a particular subject (e.g.: Detachment, Step Four, Parents of Alcoholics, etc.) or the Forum/CAL sharings from members of a particular Area or country. Such handouts often end up being copied further and distributed widely, developing a life of their own. In effect, they become new, unauthorized pieces of literature.

As mentioned, our Conference has designated the WSO as the sole publisher of Al-Anon literature. As it states on page 95 of the "2006- 2009 Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual," "Traditions are violated when a group, Information Service (Intergroup), or any other service arm publishes its own literature...." You can find more information about reprinting CAL on the Members’ site in the “Copyright/reprint Information” section under “Publications.”

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