Subject: Spokeswoman gives Scientology position Date: Fri, 24 Feb 95 15:19:47 -0500 GLENDA
Subject: Spokeswoman gives Scientology position
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 95 15:19:47 -0500
Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
Wednesday February 24, 1995
Spokeswoman offers Scientoology position
In its editorial on Tuesday, the Glendale News-Press
described the Internet as a "vast ocean of free-speech and
free-flowing ideas that reaches worldwide..."
The potential of the Internet to link individuals from
all corners of the world and so unify a variety of diverse
cultures and nationalities makes it a priceless resource in
improving understanding between peoples, no matter their
ethnic background, or experience.
But the News-Press editorial failed to appreciate that
the freedom provided by the Internet is also open to abuse,
and unless the laws of the land are applied on the Internet
as well as off it, we will have not global freedom of
expression but cyber-terrorism. Anarchy will be the result
of a few dishonest individuals being allowed to treat the law
That is why, on Monday, February 14, law enforcement
officers, enforcing a federal court order obtained by the
Church of Scientology, raided the Glendale, California
residence of Dennis Erlich. They seized computer software
and other materials Erlich had used to make illegal posting
of copyrighted religious materials on the Internet.
Erlich has been making his opinions known for years
both on and off the Internet, and we have not interfered no
matter how unfair or self-serving his statements and postings
However, action became necessary when Erlich turned
this freedom into rampant unlawful conduct. Numerous
attempts had been made by the Church's lawyers to persuade
Erlich to halt his repeated unauthorized postings of the
Church's religious scriptures, which went way beyond the
concept of "fair use" and constituted violation of copyright
law. Erlich not only refused, but boasted on the Internet
that he would continue his infringements and that "[n]o local
government or court in the US has the power to tell me
It was because the federal judge was presented actual
evidence of his unlawful conduct, as well as proof of the
Church's copyright ownership that he ordered the seizure. It
was conducted precisely according to the terms of the court
order and the law. As a result of Mr. Erlich's
belligerence, local Glendale police were asked to assist in
carrying out the court's order. A photographer was present
to help document the seizure and thus avoid the usual false
claims of copyright thieves that their houses were damaged
during the search.
At a hearing on Tuesday, February 21, the judge asked
to be provided with additional details of Erlich's copyright
abuses and theft of trade secrets. Also, he ordered the
temporary restraining order against Erlich to remain in place
until he can formulate an injunction based on the specific
information he has asked for.
Erlich has all along attempted to misdirect and
misinform the media about the steps the Church has taken to
protect its copyrights, and so divert attention from his own
unlawful actions. He has spread polemic messages about the
Church and its parishioners over the Internet -- a
"smokescreen" to divert attention away from his illegal
He has also tried to misrepresent the matter as an
issue of free speech. Again, a smokescreen.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to steal.
We have an information super highway. Erlich and his
cronies make it evident that there have to be traffic rules
and there has to be a highway patrol to police them.
Religious belief and practice is as much a freedom in
this country as freedom of expression and it must be
respected. Scientology is an American religion, recognized
by the U.S. government and the IRS, that has helped millions
of people to achieve increased awareness and ability as
spiritual beings. All the actions by the Church to protect
its rights are taken to preserve the integrity of its
religious teachings so that individuals may continue to
benefit from them into the future.
The Internet brings freedom, and with that comes
responsibility. It is an invaluable resource and by all
means should be used for free discussion and information
exchange, but not to violate the rights of others.
If individuals like Erlich are allowed to continue
breaking the law, then the greater the likelihood that
Internet freedoms will be abridged by additional government
regulations, thus curtailing everyone's freedoms.
Karin Pouw is Public Relations Director of the Church
of Scientology International, the mother church of the
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank