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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,sci.psychology Path:!!hookup!!uunet!!!!!strnlght From: (David Sternlight) Subject: Article on the CoS Raid (Glendale News-Press) Message-ID: Reply-To: (David Sternlight) Organization: DSI/USCRPAC References: <> Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 22:10:41 GMT Lines: 248 Sender: Xref: alt.activism:85892 alt.censorship:39599 alt.conspiracy:78937 alt.mindcontrol:2089 alt.recovery.religion:2862 alt.religion.christian:19478 alt.society.civil-liberty:26887 alt.society.mental-health:501 news.admin.misc:32934 sci.psychology:36399 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Forwarded with permission: From: steven.rosenberg Date: Wed, 15 Feb 95 12:02:17 -0800 Subject: Cos story To: Per your request, here is a copy of the Glendale News-Press article on the Scientology raid (the word "raid" came from the church's press release). As stated at the end of the article, permission to publish electronically on the Internet is granted by the Glendale News-Press. Scientologists raid house, seize files Sect wants Glendale man booted off info highway By Elyssa Getreu and Steven Rosenberg Glendale News-Press Representatives of the Church of Scientology and its attorney raided a Glendale man's home Monday to seize what they claim are cop's teachings. Armed with a civil writ of seizure issued by a Federal Court judge, a group of Scientologists, their attorney, private security officers and a Glendale police officer entered the home of Glendale resident Dennis Erlich, 48, at 7:30 a.m. The group, which included a computer expert from the Church of Scientology, proceeded to copy and delete thousands of pages worth of material from Erlich's home computer and seize 365 computer floppy disks and dozens of Scientology books. A former Scientology minister, Erlich is now an active critic of the movement, deeming it a cult group. The controversy erupted in recent months on the Internet's alt.religion.scientology group, part of a worldwide computer bulletin board, when Erlich began posting material on the network that Scientology lawyer Thomas Small believes to be copyrighted by the church. Most of Erlich's messages consisted of quotes from Scientology teachings along with his critique of the material. The messages are read by tens of thousands of computer users who have access to the alt.religion.scientology group on the Internet's USENET system, which also include subscribers to the America Online, Prodigy and Compuserve networks. Due to Erlich's alleged broadcasting of copyrighted material, Small and members of his law firm have been pressuring Internet service providers to kick the Glendale man off of the information superhighway by terminating his computer account. Along with the writ of seizure issued on Friday by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, Erlich was served with a lawsuit by two Scientology organizations, the Religious Technology Center and Bridge Publications, ordering him to cease his Internet activities and seeking $100,000 in damages. Church attorney Helena Kobrin said Erlich knowingly disobeyed copyright law by posting the Scientology material on the Internet. `He was informed he was violating the law and refused to do anything about it,'' Kobrin said. `This could have been handled without a seizure, but he brought this upon himself by his deliberate disregard of the law,'' she said. Erlich claims he has a right to distribute the material as a former Scientology minister. Kobrin countered Erlich's claim, saying that right is reserved by the church itself. `He may at one time have been a minister, but he hasn't been a church member for at least 15 years and the materials that he has been posting are confidential . . . they can only be gotten through theft or misappropriation,'' Kobrin said. Erlich claims the information he was quoting in his USENET messages was already present in the Internet system, posted by an anonymous source. `I'm just reposting what was already on there,'' Erlich said. `I'm posting these so that people are warned (about Scientology).'' Erlich also questioned the legality of the search and seizure which was conducted by members of the church without a U.S. marshal present. Erlich also points to the typed writ of seizure, which was altered in pen to allow `other law enforcement officers'' instead of the federal marshals to conduct the search as one of the questionable aspects of the action. Besides the GPD officer, the Scientology representatives were accompanied by two off-duty Inglewood police officers working for the private security firm RJS Consultants. `I know my rights have been violated,'' Erlich said. `I've never been raped, but I imagine this is what is feels like -- my house has been broken into and everything was examined,'' he said. Erlich said the hard disk drive on his computer and his Microsoft Windows operating system were not functioning after the seizure. During the search, about 100 files were deleted from his personal computer. `Scientology doesn't care about rights,'' said Erlich, a Glendale native. `When they find a critic, they go after them.'' According to Chahe Keuroghelian, spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, the patrol sergeant who assisted in executing the search said the writ of seizure appeared to be a valid document. Keuroghelian said the Glendale officer's role in the search was as `keeper of the peace.'' `Our officers are not there to act as judges,'' he said. Tom Klemesrud, who operates the local computer bulletin board system Erlich uses to access the Internet, also questioned the legality of Monday's search. Klemesrud and Netcom On-Line Communications Services Inc., which provides the connection between his bulletin board system and the Internet, have also been named in the lawsuit. Both Klemesrud and Netcom have been pressured by lawyers to drop Erlich from the Internet. `They refused to provide me with proof of copyright. If they had, I would have deleted (the material) and talked to Dennis (Erlich) about it,'' Klemesrud said. `Everything I've seen has been quotes coming from an anonymous source,'' Klemesrud said, `I never saw Dennis put on original material.'' `It's a stunning affront on First Amendment rights by a vile and dangerous cult masquerading as a religion,'' said Klemesrud, operator, or `sysop,'' of the Los Angeles Valley College Computer Bulletin Board System. `If they come to me, they'd better come with a federal marshal,'' Klemesrud said. Attorney Small declined to comment on whether Klemesrud will be served with a search warrant in the civil case. Small said Erlich's alleged infringment of copyright laws places the right to free and open discussion on the information superhighway in jeopardy. `Internet is an invaluable and open forum of free discussion and information exchange,'' Small said. `But with freedom comes responsibility.'' `The vast majority of those who use the Internet abide by the law and respect the rights of others,'' Small said. In support of their case, Small and Kobrin cite a 1994 injunction issued against Internet user Chad Scherman and the `Maphia'' bulletin board service after evidence showed that unauthorized program copies of Sega video games had been uploaded onto the system. Klemesrud, however, thinks the law is unclear regarding Erlich's text-only messages: `They're citing binary (program) file cases - - - this is an whole new realm in that it is text files and written ideas.'' Klemesrud's bulletin board receives 400 calls per day from its 800 active users, he said. It has been used by over 4,000 computer owners who can send and receive Internet E-mail and participate in about 900 USENET newsgroups, including alt.religion.scientology, through the system. The bulletin board, which began as a class project, is now maintained by Klemesrud as a hobby and is no longer affiliated with the community college. Among the bulletin board's users are a few anti-Scientology activists and about 50 Scientologists, Klemesrud estimates. A number of News-Press staff members also have accounts on the system. Klemesrud says Scientologists started cyberspace combat with Erlich's alt.religion.scientology messages by electronically cancelling them -- a technique that only works on certain portions of the Internet network. `This isn't childish hacking, this is a federal crime: U.S. Code 2701 -- interfering with data in storage,'' Klemesrud said. Klemesrud said that Netcom was instrumental in stopping the messages from being cancelled. He says Scientologists also tried to electronically remove the entire alt.religion.scientology group from the Internet, but were unsuccessful. `Their new strategy is going after each and every sysop who carries alt.religion.scientology,'' Klemesrud said. In a letter to plaintiff's attorney Kobrin, Netcom attorney Michael Sullivan said Netcom should not be held liable `to investigate each allegation of infringement by each subscriber to each of the bulletin boards that subscribe to its Internet access service.'' The Netcom attorney claims cutting off Klemesrud's access to its service is unreasonable because it would deprive all of the LAVC Bulletin Board's subscribers of access to the Internet. Sullivan said Netcom is prepared to defend its position in court. Erlich does not yet have an attorney. The parties to the suit are scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court in San Jose on Feb. 21. ***Permission to reprint this article on the Internet granted by the Glendale News-Press*** -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 iQCVAwUBL0J5Q0wgH+NYrQ81AQEB/wP9Hy2JOHp6+rnlmZvvn6955ZHHqqb9h2e3 t4XPfgu+7EXJMULp/4JdWPqXHbHEH325rHsR09J6lWZdg9uT9O1Huin5B9Jej0fY RyMyZaGKpi1llSVQRZL75iBe7mVbjBgncp+rgg0E+krMsGb4orcEGPmQY82fD81c MRCHfWa+u2Y= =SKB1 -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- -------------------


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