Subject: Spokeswoman gives Scientology position Date: Fri, 24 Feb 95 15:19:47 -0500 GLENDA

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Path:!!!!!usenet From: Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Spokeswoman gives Scientology position Date: Fri, 24 Feb 95 15:19:47 -0500 Organization: Delphi ( email, 800-695-4005 voice) Lines: 113 Message-ID: NNTP-Posting-Host: GLENDALE NEWS-PRESS Wednesday February 24, 1995 Spokeswoman offers Scientoology position Karin Pouw 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 with contempt. 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 were. 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 otherwise." 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 activities. 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 Scientology religion. -------------------


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