The following story appeared in the March 3 edition of the Glendale News-Press. Permission

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The following story appeared in the March 3 edition of the Glendale News-Press. Permission to distribute on the Internet granted by the News-Press: Scientologists claim critic violated order By Elyssa Getreu Glendale News-Press A Church of Scientology lawyer filed a motion to hold a Glendale man in contempt of court for allegedly violating a temporary restraining order forbidding him from posting copyrighted material on the Internet. The church is suing Glendale resident Dennis Erlich for $100,000 for posting portions of Scientology works on the Internet's alt.religion.scientology group. The religious group's lawyers believe the messages contain illegal postings of copyrighted materials of L. Ron Hubbard, the church's founder. Most of Erlich's messages on the worldwide computer bulletin board called USENET consisted of passages from Scientology teachings, along with his critique. A former Scientology minister, Erlich is now an active critic of the movement begun in the 1950s by science-fiction author Hubbard with the book ``Dianetics.'' Erlich deems the church a cult group. Federal District Judge Ronald M. Whyte issued a temporary restraining order restricting Erlich's activities on the Internet while the court case is pending. According to the restraining order, Erlich is allowed to continue posting messages critical of the church and can quote from church scriptures in the context of ``fair use.'' Copyright law permits the ``fair use'' publication of limited passages of protected materials for the purpose of comment. On Feb. 26, Erlich posted a message containing a lengthy lecture by Hubbard. According to Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin, the posting consisted of eight pages out of a 25-page transcript and 19 additional lines of language taken from a Scientology ``glossary.'' Kobrin said the posting violated the restraining order and filed a motion with Judge Whyte to hold Erlich in contempt of court. Kobrin said the posting was a clear violation of the restraining order. ``It wouldn't take a genius to figure out he violated it,'' she said. The civil contempt motion filed by Kobrin requests Erlich be booted off the information superhighway and made to pay for the church's legal fees. The church also has asked that Erlich's computer be seized. ``Erlich has proved he isn't going to stop,'' Kobrin said. Erlich said the posting is consistent with ``fair use,'' although he said he ``possibly forced an issue that didn't need to be forced.'' ``I don't think I did anything wrong, and the judge said I still had `fair use' rights. If I misunderstood those rights, I will have to face the consequences,'' Erlich said. At the conclusion of the posting, Erlich wrote: ``So if I am guilty of a copyright violation by making public, in this humorous way, words from a lecture of the source of Scientology that I studied as a minister of Scientology, Judge Whyte has a right to throw me in jail for contempt. ``However, I truly believe that I am not doing anything other than asserting my right to speak freely in public ~ a right which Judge Whyte's ruling, if I understand it correctly, did not alter at all.'' Judge Whyte could not be reached for comment. The judge is currently on vacation and will return Monday. He will then decide whether to set a hearing date for the motion, a court clerk said. In addition to Erlich, computer bulletin board operator Tom Klemesrud and Internet provider Netcom On-line Communications Services Inc., Erlich's links to cyberspace, were named in the lawsuit filed by two Scientology organizations. Armed with a civil writ of seizure issued by Whyte, a group of Scientologists, their lawyer, private security officers and a Glendale police officer searched Erlich's home Feb. 13 to seize what they claimed are copyrighted materials on the religious group's teachings. The group proceeded to copy and delete thousands of pages and seized 365 computer floppy disks and 29 Scientology books. At the preliminary court hearing, the judge gave the church until last Friday to provide a detailed list of the confiscated material and justification of the church's claim the material consists of copyrighted documents and trade secrets. After receiving the proof of copyright from the church, which is about four inches thick, Erlich said the material consisted of ``bogus claims of ownership and lots of mistakes.'' Erlich has been given until today to respond to the church documents. Erlich also said he plans to file a countersuit against the church for carrying out the search and seizure in an ``unlawful manner.'' ``My property, privacy and peace of mind were destroyed,'' Erlich said, claiming the church should have had the documentation prior to the seizure. Erlich has not decided if he will name the city of Glendale as a defendant in his suit due to police participation in the seizure. A status conference has tentatively been scheduled for June 9 and a trial date may be set at that time, Netcom's attorney told the News-Press.


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