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Newsgroups: alt.activism,alt.censorship,alt.conspiracy,,,alt.mindcontrol,alt.recovery.religion,alt.religion.christian,alt.society.civil-liberty,alt.society.mental-health,,,,,news.admin.misc,alt.religion.scientology Path:!!hookup!news.Direct.CA!!!!swrinde!!decwrl!netcomsv!!!user From: (David Sternlight) Subject: CoS and the Internet (Glendale News-Press) Message-ID: Sender: Organization: USCRPAC/DSI X-Newsreader: Value-Added NewsWatcher 2.0b24.0+ References: <> Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 22:58:36 GMT Lines: 95 Xref: alt.activism:86835 alt.censorship:40169 alt.conspiracy:79855 alt.mindcontrol:2184 alt.recovery.religion:3127 alt.religion.christian:20276 alt.society.civil-liberty:27256 alt.society.mental-health:591 news.admin.misc:33716 alt.religion.scientology:35406 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- The following editorial appeared in the Glendale News-Press on Feb. 21, 1995. Rights to post on the Internet granted by the News-Press: Scientology places legal roadblock on info highway The Church of Scientology's latest legal attack has led the lawsuit-happy religious group onto the information superhighway in another attempt to silence its critics. This time the church is focusing on Glendale resident Dennis Erlich, a former Scientology minister who is now a vocal critic of the movement begun in the 1950s by science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard with the book ``Dianetics.'' Many of the church's critics have told the News-Press that they are the subjects of continued harassment campaigns by Scientologists. Beginning with threats to cease the free-speech activities frowned on by the church, persistence on the critics' part is often met with a lawsuit. In many cases, the church doesn't aim to win the suits so much as to continue the legal action until the defendant acquiesces due to financial exhaustion, critics say. This most recent case has followed the same pattern, this time with a futuristic twist because all of the illegal activity alleged in the lawsuit filed by Scientology organizations has happened on the Internet. Briefly, the church has accused Erlich of posting copyrighted Scientology material on the Internet. The attorneys filing the suit are treating it like a standard copyright infringement case, and used that portion of the law to justify a raid on Erlich's home during which they copied and deleted hundreds of files from his home computer and seized a number of computer floppy disks and Scientology books. While the lawsuit focuses on the premise that Erlich rebroadcast via computer the copyrighted texts of Scientology, members of the religion are really more worried about his comments on the texts as they appear in the Internet's USENET newsgroup [b]alt.religion.scientology. [l] A vast ocean of free-speech and free-flowing ideas that reaches worldwide, the Internet offers anyone the ability to spread their direct and unfiltered opinion to tens or hundreds of thousands of people interested in similar topics. As a primarily ``do-it-yourself'' medium, USENET, a giant and virtual global bulletin board of information and ideas ranges across the ideologic spectrum from reasoned dialog to outright hyperbole. That's what you get from freedom to the nth degree. Erlich thinks that, as an ordained minister (though ``excommunicated'' from Scientology), he has the right to convey his ideas on the religion to anybody who'll listen. Ironically, since church members have tried to throw him off of the Internet and have even attempted to electronically remove alt.religion.scientology entirely, interest and readership of the newsgroup has grown. Some estimate that more than 100,000 read the messages. Furthermore, Erlich claims the material which the church says is copyrighted has already been posted on the Internet. And he doesn't think that something seen as religious scripture can be so controlled. Scientologists and their attorneys disagree and have taken the battle to the Federal District Court in San Jose. Erlich, and by extension his Internet provider, Van Nuys computer bulletin board owner Tom Klemesrud and also by extension his Internet provider, Netcom On-Line Services, will defend their position in court beginning with a hearing today. Whatever the outcome, this case has the potential to set a precedent in copyright law, freedom of speech and how discussion is conducted in cyberspace. Perhaps the Scientologists have a chance to win, but a victory for them means only one thing -- they will have succeeded not in protecting their copyrighted information, but in silencing those who attempt to criticize the church's methods and practices. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 iQCVAwUBL0pv60wgH+NYrQ81AQGPhgP/ccOPjjAYwHhRMbmF8YZBnihkxZ5cWze0 yRI9/zWY9CMB9L/qWv6Lcg3ZsHuqSmKAWpBEciymGU2TTKD+/kjRklDlyvXCVCSa fJwiOVa4S0kaWprzqUvolDk8d/jck4q/9NrTBUKOdfTM+RJjDSyau37UU7HF1Rrn oPFltTJ4lGI= =XP9T -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- -------------------


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