Case 14: The Case (and Counter-Case) of the Contested Copy

But this case is, at least in part, about Durenmar denying access to the library:

I outlined that part that seems abusive from Durenmar. I am not saying that Durenmar should provide free access for study and copying. Some books might be considered too valuable (although if they are so valuable, why should only a single copy be kept?). I'm just saying that denying a covenant any possibility of copying some of those books is abusing their position as keepers of Hermetic knowledge.

I would move to have the librarian stand before Grand Tribunal (if he is not already a representative) to answer some questions about said denial of copying rights. (This should not be a problem, as Grand Tribunal is held at Durenmar.)

I second the motion.

Durenmar brings charges of Deprivation of magical power because Leczyca traded their book. As I said, by exclusion of other possibilities (Tabanus did a fairly good job of this), there's fairly strong evidence the source of the leak is the mysterious Boris ex Miscellanea. Basically, Durenmar points out that Leczyca gained a lot of vis and other "magical power" (books, enchantments etc.) from trading the book, and suggest that this magical power is rightfully theirs. In fact, they suggest that since Leczyca traded the book "on the cheap" (as it's often the case with stolen goods) the amount of magical power of which they were deprived is significantly larger than that gained by Leczyca (which is still a queen of vis!).

Durenmar also brings vague charges of scrying against Leczyca. While they say it in far more dignified words, basically they can't think of a way Boris could have accomplished their mischief mundanely, so they imply he obtained the information (the contents of the book) by magical means. And since Leczyca was obviously (according to Durenmat) in league with Boris -- or Boris was even their agent -- the charge of scrying is extended against Leczyca.

Exactly. Leczyca's argument really has two levels.

The basic one is that any book written by a magus of Bonisagus should be shared. This is not controversial at all.

But Leczyca is trying to press also for a more wide-ranging ruling: that any book obtained by a magus of Bonisagus, even if written by a non-Bonisagus, should fall under the sharing Oath -- after all a magus of Bonisagus swears to share "all he may find in his quest for knowledge and power", not just what he himself invents. And since Durenmar is the Domus Magna of Bonisagus with a large number of Bonisagus magi who all share the library and have free access to it, any book held by Durenmar should be considered held by a Bonisagus. This could probably be debated.

Covenants states that there's a ruling recognizing the legality of Cow and Calf in Hibernia, that has not been "ratified" by the Grand Tribunal. But it also states that Cow and Calf is very common. So I take this to mean that, although Cow and Calf is widespread, its legality has only been challenged at a local Tribunal (and it was upheld there).

This is quite different from saying that you can't impose it in a Tribunal until that Tribunal, or the Grand Tribunal, allows it. Since Cow and Calf is just another sales clause, by default the involved parties have to stick with it. However, a Tribunal could rule that such agreements are invalid, and not binding to any party entering them. No one has ever challenged the validity of Cow and Calf at the Grand Tribunal yet. This could be a good time for interested parties to discuss the issue!

At least, this is my interpretation!

Some advise to both, after all; the Bonisagi must share Knowlodge but any guests must follow the respect and the rules of the Covenant.

Mario Ex Miscellanea say and sit - Mario Ex Miscellanea se sienta tras hablar.

Halancar has already replied to these -- I agree. Durenmar basically has provided copies of their tractatus and summae as gifts or as part of agreements with other covenants in the past. But there's no clear "procedure". If you want a copy, or you want to copy, you have to ask, and may receive a big fat no. Durenmar does not state it so bluntly. Basically, they say that they are overworked, that some of the texts are very delicate and Durenmar only allows handling by their personnel as a precautionary measure, that they do not want corrupted or incomplete versions to be circulated so, again, they screen the copying process, that there's a lot of demand so there are obviously long queueing times etc. etc.

Leczyca denies having any magus ex Miscellanea named "Boris" (or anything similar) as a member or agent. They are very quick to point out, however, that this is not really the point. Even if one of their agents had obtained the book, by whatever means, it would still not be scrying or deprivation of magical power -- so there's no reason to ask them to reveal the details of their network of agents.

The animosity between Rhine and Novgorod is well documented in GotF, too.

Let us ask the question to the Leczyca magi in another way:

"Do you know or have traded with the being known as Boris ex Miscellanea when he was visiting Durenmar? Did you obtain the knowledge inside the book in question from him?"

Not that it matters a lot to me. Our covenant got one of the traded copies after all and we at Lumen Septentrionalis are very happy with the trade. However it might be important to other people. I for one think that Durenmar shouild be a central repositor of the knowledge of the ooH. And I also think that their access policy should be much more open. Our covenant is more than willing to finance the creation of a second Mystical tower if that is the issue.

Andrus of Bonisagus, librarian of Durenmar, bows to the audience. He casts worried glances at his mater Murion, the leader of Durenmar, Prima of Bonisagus and thus Praeco of the Tribunal. He says that he'll happily respond to the Tribunal's inquiries, but that he must point out that the facts under discussion took place before he became the librarian. Occultes of Bonisagus was librarian at that time.

Magi familiar with Bonisagus or Rhine politics recall that Occultes, who is the head of the Linden Gild, was a strong candidate for Primus when Avarret, the former Primus, died. But Avarret disliked Occultes' research into non-hermetic magic, and thus not only releaved him of his post as librarian, but also elevated as the next Prima Murion who, albeit probably a less brilliant researcher than Occultes, shared Avarret's political views and his antipathy for Occultes. Thus, Murion can probably manipulate events nicely here. Should Occultes make a successful defense, Durenmar is safe. If not, well, she'll be very happy to use him as a scapegoat.

Assuming Occultes is asked to stand before the assembled Tribunal, he does so, his eyes sparkling with intelligence. "Many years have passed, sodales, but I shall strive to answer to your questions to the best of my ability."

The magi of Leczyca point out that even the scrupolous Tabanus of Guernicus has not been able to identify who this mysterious Boris may be. He could just be an invention of Durenmar! But again, they steadfastedly refuse to discuss their network of agents unless the Tribunal rules that obtaining and sharing the information contained in a Bonisagus's Branch of the Arts is scrying or deprivation of magical power.

Fair enough. Sodales, I take back my question and go back to read my brand new copy of this branch of the arts.

I would also like to point out that deprivation of magical power only applies to what you have or what you have been entitled to have by the tribunal (read: regular vis income). You are NOT entitled to potential rents that you failed to earn yourself if somebody else earns them. Those are not protected by the Oath. Cow and calf could apply, but it is unclear that we are in front of such a case, or that the book is protected by that kind of agreement in the first place (or that a Bonisagus could use that condition at all on Hermetic books) so this is not the case at hand really.

I call for a vote of acquittal for Leczyca and a vote to be decided at the next grand tribunal about how to open Durenmar's library to general use. A central benefit of the order, and a great place for research, open to all members of our august Order. I am sure our wise and noble sodales of Bonisagus will agree that getting everything that is published (not just the bonnie stuff) for an openiong up of their library would be good for all.

In modern jurisprudence, this issue would probably not be ripe, and would be remanded to the lesser courts with some instructions. I can see that happening here.

What needs to be answered: who made the copy and from what book. Is the author, or the seller of this book to Leczyca/Boris if not the author, alive? Was this Durenmar's book? Did they authorize a copy? If they did authorize the copy, did they then have the rights to authorize the copy?

The claims against each covenant may fall apart, if Durenmar is unable to sell copies of the book, they really can't be faulted for charging a nominal fee to provide access to works in its library.

There's too much grey area in this case, very little in the way of hard facts for me to set my teeth into. I can't build a legal theory of the case, because, IMO, there is very little in the way of underlying law, so essentially the Grand Tribunal is being asked to make new law. Which is not an insignificant task in and of itself.

Are they ? The book in question was written by a Bonisagus to begin with, so they are only saying that any book from a Bonisagus which is stored in the Great Library should be part of the sharing Oath; which, since magi ex Bonisagus traditionally consider that sending a copy of their work to that library to fulfill that part of the Oath, is certainly reasonable.

True, they extended the argument to all books held in the library, but this smells more like an initial and deliberately extreme position from which they can back down to the 'compromise' they wanted all along, and appear reasonable. Well, at least a little reasonable...

Actually, a number of magi experienced in Tribunal politics and Hermetic Law see it in a slightly different light.
Leczyca seems fairly confident of winning this case, because of the Bonisagus Oath; but from this relatively safe starting point they are trying to win even more, and wrestle a more general ruling from the Tribunal, that will give them (and effectively every other covenant in the Order) much wider access to books: the entire Great Library, rather than just the Bonisagus authorship.

A question for Occultes and Andrus in turn: What would it take to bring the Library of Durenmar up to scratch as a means of disseminating magical knowledge throughout the Order?

Occultes flashes a grin and says "Ah, sodalis, I'm afraid that I can answer questions about the past, but not about the present or future. Andrus is the librarian now, and has been for many years. Only he can answer you on this issue."

Andrus clears his throat, casting one more alarmed look at Murion -- who, incidentally, looks displeased at the question.

"Sodales, I am not completely clear what "up to scratch" means, but the Great Library is already a beacon of light for the dissemination of magical knowledge throughout the Order. Our collection is the greatest in the Order; we are, in fact, the only covenant trying to maintain a copy of every (worthy) text ever written. Magi come from the furthest reaches of the world to visit us -- we have more than a dozen as guests even now. And our scriptorium is constantly working to produce more copies for our sodales.

This is a truly titanic task, and I can testify that from the inside it looks even more titanic than from the outside. Even though we gladly dedicate our lives to it -- for such is our oath -- I admit it strains our resources, and any offer of help, vis, or texts we do not have are greatly appreciated.

I would point out, however, that unlike what our accusers say, we never request payment, save a symbolic reimbursement for the costs of hospitality and/or scribing. All we ask is that, should someone benefit from the knowledge of the Library, that someone should add to the knowledge of the Library, for the benefit of the Order rather than that of Durenmar. And even then, we often assist our sodales even when they cannot contribute. For example, a group of newly gauntleted magi who set up a new covenant in the Rhine a few decades ago received copies of numerous priceless texts as gifts, and unrestricted access to our library for their spring years. Of course, resources being scarce as they are, we have to strike a fine balance between being fair to all, and privileging those who help us provide even better service to the rest of the Order."

Barnabus of Bonisagus (who must be visiting from Stonehenge: probably here to consult the library in the interest of his own research) humbly asks permission as a very junior Bonisagus to speak:

"Sodales, I don't know if it will help your deliberations or not but I think I may have worked out how the copying was done."

"It occurred to me when the warding against memory-enhancing spells was mentioned that these merely enhance abilities or duplicate capabilities that are entirely natural. That is to say that a person with a good enough memory could read the text, retain the text and copy it out later. Without the aid of magic of any kind."

"I can tell that some of you do not credit that it could be done but I have come across people with quite phenomenal memories. Monks in chuch scriptoria who can retain and copy quite prodigious amounts of text, some without any form of understanding of what they copy but with a perfect visual memory."

"If one were to find such a person the copying of this one valuable text would seem simplicity itself. Of course, if that person were not a magus of the Order and if one were to pass him off as such.... Tell me, learned Quaesitores, would that be a crime? Low or High?"

The old Euboleus of Guernicus responds in a raspy voice: "To answer your question, aiding someone to pass himself for a magus of the Order is no crime in itself, unless by doing so one commits another crime. For example, should a magus have someone else impersonate one of our bethren, and in that guise interfere with mundanes or molest the faeries bringing their wrath upon us, that would certainly be a crime. Similarly, assisting someone with magic to pass himself for a magus is a crime if the disguise allows the impostor to gain otherwise unavailable information on the affairs of our bethren -- it would count as scrying."

"That said, yours is an interesting theory consistent with the facts we observed, and it may mean Leczyca did not scry (if its magi did not aid Boris magically) -- but it does not solve the other legal conundrums we are facing: did Leczyca or Durennmar deprive the other covenant of magical power?"

Barnabus stands again.

"I see. I thank you for that clarification of the Code. In that case I am willing to say, absent any positive proof that scrying was used, that there is no offence here. What Leczyca has done has not deprived Durenmar or any of its magi of magical power for the knowledge that was contained in the copied work was already freely available (limited only by the practicalities of a physically finite library) to the Order at large. Such is the nature of the promise given by all followers of Bonisagus."

"Leczyca may have by their act deprived Durenmar of some small fraction of political power but that is not against the Code. I would vote to dismiss the initial case against Leczyca."

"As to the counter-case, alleging (if I understand correctly and I'm sure my colleagues will correct me if I am wrong) that Durenmar was putting artificial difficulties in the way of their gaining access to written works, I have yet to hear enough details of the charge to form an opinion. Perhaps they could tell us more."