,news.admin.misc,news.admin.policy Subject: Re: FWD: Letter from CoS [Church of Scientolog
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Newman)
Subject: Re: FWD: Letter from CoS [Church of Scientology] Lawyer
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 1995 06:58:34 GMT
Here is a response that I sent to the "Church"'s lawyer,
Helena Kobrin .
I also sent it to Andrew Kantor at Internet World , and
previously posted it to alt.religion.scientology:
In article <email@example.com>, Andrew Kantor
quotes a letter from Helena Kobrin, lawyer for the Church
> My clients' interest in the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup is
>similar. It is related to the use of a.r.s. as a forum for the repeated
>postings of copyrighted Church materials, including both published
>materials and unpublished, confidential materials, which are also
>judicially recognized as trade secrets.
The idea of "trade secrets" for a church is ludicrous to many
people, on and off the Net.
>However, in light of the refusal of these individuals
>to cease their actions [posting of allegedly copyrighted materials]
>voluntarily, and the frequent
>violations of my clients' property rights by anonymous posters, we have
>also been compelled to request cancellation of the newsgroup as a possible
>method of preventing such postings.
I see you used the term "cancellation" here.
Are you hereby admitting that you sent the forged "cancel" control
messages that have been coming from "netcom.com!robocanceller" over
the past month?
> In addition, "Scientology" is a federally registered trademark
>owned by RTC and licensed for use by CSI and other churches of
>Scientology. Its use in the Internet address of a.r.s. is a violation of
>RTC's trademark rights as well.
"22.214.171.124" is an Internet Protocol host address.
"firstname.lastname@example.org" is an Internet e-mail address.
"alt.religion.scientology" isn't an "Internet address" of any
kind. It is the name of a Usenet newsgroup, which is a distributed
bulletin board carried on tens of thousands of computers througout
the entire world. Many of these computers are not on the Internet at all.
Usenet newsgroups are organized by topic. "Scientology" is a valid topic
of discussion, just like "Intel" or "Apple" or "IBM" or "McDonald's" or
"Disney". All of these are trademarks, but all of them have their
senet newsgroup names serve exactly the same purpose as
library catalog subject headings. They are a way of organizing the
vast world of computer-mediated discussion into narrow topic
If I run a public library, do I need to get permission from your
church to use "Scientology" as a subject heading? Are you planning to
sue all of the following
- Harvard University (telnet hollis.harvard.edu)
- MIT (telnet library.mit.edu)
- the Boston Public Library (telnet mbln.bpl.org, login "library")
- the 25 member libraries of the Minuteman Library Network
(telnet mln.lib.ma.us, login "library")
- the Library of Congress (telnet locis.loc.gov)
- the Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
(telnet fscat.oclc.org -- you need an account to use it)
and every other library that uses "Scientology" as a subject heading
in their on-line or paper card catalog?
> Our request is not made for the purpose of stopping the
>discussions on a.r.s. Apart from trademark infringement, the sole reason
>for requesting a.r.s. be shut down is to put a stop to the unlawful
>postings of copyright and trade secret materials.
What makes you think that you can shut down a newsgroup whose
existence is controlled by tens of thousands of separate system
administrators throughout the world? And if you did manage to
do this, what makes you think this action would actually stop the
copyright infringements that you are complaining about? The
offending messages would simply move to a different Usenet newsgroup.
Ron Newman MIT Media Laboratory
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank