Ownership of the copyright of the word "permaculture"

International permaculture convergence Croatia 2005 with Bill Mollison and david Holmgren

Internation Permaculture Convergence, Croatia, 2005
Foreground:  Andrew Langford, David Holmgren, Ali Sharif and Bill Mollison, Photo by Angus Soutar

  The word Permaculture was defined and copyrighted by publications in the Organic Gardening  and  Farming  Society’s  newsletter  in  Hobart,  Tasmania  in  1975.  The  word itself was coined by Bill Mollison, as no succinct word or publication had previously been  applied  to  whole  system  design.    

In  1978,  the  publication  of  Permaculture  One established the first book on conscious design of whole landscapes, and again established the word  Permaculture  as  unique.    Ownership  of  the  copyright  is  equally  invested  (by  Bill Mollison) in the Permaculture Institutes and its graduates from a Certificated Permaculture Course.  It cannot be given away except to graduates.

Copyright was deliberately sought, and the unique name coined so that this system of education could not be pre-empted by existing institutions or government agencies, but belongs to certificated individuals and Permaculture Institutes (as corporate bodies).  The intention of the copyright is to keep the educational area (with its considerable goodwill) to those who know what a Permaculture course consists of!  No person who is not a course graduate can use this name for profit; all normal uses for purposes of reviews, discussion, news  items  and  so  on  is  permitted,  and  graduates  (but  only  graduates)  of  courses  can register for-profit enterprises or corporations using this name.

Likewise,  Permaculture  graduates  who  are  appointed  to  or  who  belong  to  other teaching  institutions  can  teach  courses;  that  institution  itself,  however,  cannot  use  the name for profit, or for raising funds, if its directors are not graduates, nor should any such directors be appointed to Permaculture Institutes or their boards.

Non profit Permaculture associations freely use the name, as can any association of people with a common interest in Permaculture, but not for paid or certificated courses.

Where  non  certificated  teachers  offer  paid  courses  on  Permaculture  they  have  been successfully challenged by several graduates, but also invited to attend a full course and to later  continue  their  teaching.  Such  pirate  courses  have  been  found  to  be  more  akin  to organic  farming  or  ‘new  age’  mysticism  than  applied  design,  so  that  the  necessity  for copyright  has  been  validated.    This  publication  also  clearly  delineates  the  controls  we must demand for higher degrees, and gives additional facilitation to our graduates by the establishment  of  a  College  of  Graduates;  in  effect,  a  professional  association  of experienced people.