A.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.
Licensing Policy

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.”
Reprint Policy

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 ippolicy@aa.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.


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Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Publishing Department Licensing & Translation Process

Our process takes much care. It is essential that we follow our long-established, thorough procedure of licensing and translation, which includes our obtaining independent reviews of every translation, to ensure the accuracy of all translations. This is of foremost importance, as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S.) holds the copyrights for our literature in trust for the worldwide A.A. Fellowship.

We encourage and uphold the principles of Group Conscience and Unity as we set about our translation and licensing endeavors.

A.A.W.S. has a legal, moral, and spiritual responsibility to maintain the integrity of the A.A. message in all translations of A.A. literature.

Our collective commitment to the accurate translation of A.A.W.S. material provides all of us the opportunity to work together in unity to protect and share the spiritual core of A.A.’s message as we fulfill our primary purpose.


Our process includes these necessary stages of licensing and translation review:


A Literature Committee or G.S.B. may decide by group conscience that they would like to translate an item or items of A.A.-Conference-approved and copyrighted literature. The chair of the committee or a designated trusted servant / point person may contact the Licensing Manager in the A.A.W.S., Inc., Publishing Department to express the need for a new or revised translation and to request permission to translate the item(s).

For countries still evolving their service structure, and thereby without a recognized General Service Board (G.S.B.) in place:

A “Request for Permission to Translate A.A.W.S. Copyrighted Work” will be sent by the Licensing Manager to the requestor, to be completed in duplicate and returned.

Also, an “Assignment of Copyright – Translator” agreement will be issued, to be signed by all parties who will work on the translation.


For countries with an established structure and recognized General Service Board (G.S.B.):

A “License to General Service Board of said country to Translate Copyrighted Work” will be issued from the A.A.W.S. Publishing Department’s Licensing Manager, to be completed and returned in duplicate in hard copies to the A.A.W.S. office.

Also, these agreements will be sent to the G.S.B., to be completed, signed and returned, as instructed:

Assignment of Copyright - General Service Board Assignment of Copyright – Translator(s)


The local literature committee may submit a few translated chapters of the A.A. book or pages of a pamphlet to our publishing department along with the completed Assignment of Copyright - General Service Board and Assignment of Copyright – Translator forms. We will send out the translated text sample to an independent translation-evaluation service, to be checked against the English edition for accuracy and integrity.

For the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, our policy is to ask for Chapter 5, which includes the Twelve Steps, to be undertaken first by a translation team and to be submitted to us first, possibly with one or two other chapters, prior to any further translation being completed.

When our department receives a report from our independent translation-evaluation service, the professional assessment of the proposed translation will be returned to the local literature / translation committee point person, along with any suggestions for improvement.

Important: Translated text must be submitted to us in a digital text format, in order to facilitate the review and editing process.

Also, please note: When a project is deemed complete by a literature committee and thereby ready for a final review, the translation should be contained in one file only, not divided up among discrete chapter or piecemeal files.

This process of translation and review may take much time and care. Some translations of the Big Book, for example, have taken several years of diligent translation, editing, and polishing from start to finish.


Once an acceptable version of the translation is received by our publishing department, and has received a favorable independent translation-evaluation review, a license agreement will be issued.

1. For countries with an established structure and recognized General Service Board (G.S.B.):

A “License to Reproduce and Distribute Translated Copyrighted Work” in said country will be issued. This agreement will include the exact wording of the copyright notice to be included in the printed item.

[Note: “License to Post A.A.W.S., Inc.-Copyrighted Work” on an official website is handled via separate license.]

2. For countries without G.S.B.s:

An “Authorization to Print” letter agreement will be issued to a local designated printer for a one-time-only printing of a specified number of copies.


A.A.W.S., Inc., in care of our publishing department, should be sent three (3) copies of the licensed work when it is printed. Copies of the master digital files used for printing must also be sent to the Licensing Manager, to be housed in our Production Department archives.

For queries and requests about translation and licensing; obtaining permissions to translate or retranslate A.A. literature, to renew licenses, to post translated literature on websites, etc., please contact: translationsandlicensing@aa.org


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