From braintree!news.sprintlink.net!EU.net!sun4nl!xs4all!usenet Mon Oct 16 11:34:35 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Karin Spaink)
Subject: DUTCH action covered in Wall Street Journal Europe (10-10)
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 00:26:00 GMT
Organization: St. Passie Beheer
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.0.82
The Dutch action was covered in The Wall Street Journal Europe on
Tuesday, 10 oct. There is alas *no* mention of the fact that Fishman
is a court file; he whole thing is made to appear as a matter of
The article is on page four, in the section 'Rules of the Game. Focus
on law and regulation':
Scientology Case Could Set Precedent on the Internet
Bizarre legal dispute in the Netherlands could prove a test case for
clearing up some of the regulation confusion prevailing on the
Providers of commercial Internet services in Europe are watching
with keen interest as the Church of Scientology tries to stop a group
of Dutch companies from spreading some of its sacred texts, material
the church says is copyrighted. The Scientologists have already taken
successful action to stop unauthorized on-line dissemination of the
texts in the U.S. and Finland. But the Netherlands - a nation keen on
defending individual liberties such as freedom of speech - is fighting
As many as 60 people in the Netherlands, including a member of
parliament, have put up the Scientology document on their personal
'home page' on the Internet. The move follows legal action taken by
the Curch against XS4ALL, an Amsterdam-based Internet access provider.
Acting on a request by the Church of Scientology, a Dutch judge
last month seized computer equipment used by XS4ALL. The move was made
in a bid to force XS4ALL to shut down one of its customers who was
dissemminating the Scientology texts. The papers expound the
intergalactic origins of mankind according to science fiction author
L. Ron Hubbard.
'These are advanced materials' for the sole use of the initiated
'who've reached a higher degree of consciousness,' says a Curch of
Scientology spokeswoman in Amsterdam. 'They are copyrighted and
XS4ALL refused to comply with the church's request but the company's
customer eventually withdrew the material.
The church is now battling a raft of other Internet providers. One
of these is Planet Internet BV, a subsidiary of the national phone and
postal company Koninklijke PTT Telecom Nederland, beter known as KPN.
Planet Internet vows it won't cave in.
Lawyers and Internet specialists say this raises the question of
what exactly are the rights and obligations of an Internet access
Some argue that the access provider's role is akin to that of a
publisher, who controls what he chooses to publish and can be sued for
copyright infringement or libel. Others say the access provider should
be treated like a phone company, which can't control the conversations
it carries on its network.
The answer may lie somewhere in the middle. In France, firms that
provide services on the country's Minitel network - such as sex
chatlines - have agreed to exer some amount of censorship.
written by James Pressley and Martin Du Bois
- I write, therefore I am: