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Computing (a UK weekly trade magazine)
9 March 1995 page 23
IT WORLD NEWS section
Scientology church copyright bid fails
The Church of Scientology has failed in its attempt to hold a
computer bulletin board service (BBS) provider and an Internet access
provider responsible for the public postings of a former
scientologist critical of the church.
A federal judge in San Jose refused to grant a preliminary injunction
to stop the companies from publishing any material which the church
claimed was copyrighted. The church alleged that former scientology
minister Dennis Erlich illegally posted copyrighted material and
revealed the church teachings, which it considers to be 'trade
US District Court Judge Ronald Whyte, while refusing to grant the
injunction, did agree to a restraining order to prevent Erlich from
publishing additional material.
But one of those named in the church's suit, San Jose based Netcom
On-Line Communication Services, said the outcome will be significant
for Internet providers. Warren Kaplin, executive vice president,
protested: 'We believe the involvement of our firm is inapplicable.'
Tom Klemesrud, a bulletin board operator in Los Angeles, and Netcom
were each served with a complaint and a request for a preliminary
injunction on 14 February. Judge Whyte has denied both requests.
Two other cases have been decided by federal courts on the matter of
copyright violations via online systems, but both involved BBS
operators and not Internet access providers. The court found in both
cases that the services had been aware of and actively invited the
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank