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Scientologists Force Comment Off Slashdot 499

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-guess-it-was-inevitable dept.
Last Saturday a comment was posted here by an anonymous reader that contained text that was copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. They have since followed the DMCA and demanded that we remove the comment. While Slashdot is an open forum and we encourage free discussion and sharing of ideas, our lawyers have advised us that, considering all the details of this case, the comment should come down. Read on to understand what this means.

This is the first time since we instituted our moderation system that a comment has had to be removed because of its content, and believe me nobody is more broken hearted about it than me. It's a bad precedent, and a blow for the freedom of speech that we all share in this forum. But this simply doesn't look like a case we can win. Our lawyers tell us that it appears to be a violation of Copyright law, and under the terms of the DMCA, we must remove it. Else we risk legal action that would at best be expensive, and potentially cause Slashdot to go down temporarily or even permanently. At the worst, court orders could jeporadize your privacy, and we would be helpless to stop it.

We need to choose our battles and this isn't one we want to have. We want Slashdot to be a forum where you can say what's in your heart, but we simply can't defend an anonymous poster who violates copyright law. Keep that in mind when you post in both this discussion, and in others in the future. Post your ideas. Post your thoughts. And most of all, post your links. We need to play by the rules or it's game over.

Now there is the matter of this specific comment. It contained a text called "OT III", part of what is known as the Fishman Affidavit. This text is Copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. In compliance with the DMCA, we are removing it from Slashdot. In its place we are putting non-copyrighted text: Links to websites about the church of Scientology, as well as links to how you can contact your congressman about the DMCA. Thanks a lot to Jamie for putting this together.

First of all, we would like to point out that the text of OT III is available at many other places on the web. To many to list here in fact. Instead, try a Google search on "OT III" and "Fishman", which as of this writing (March 2001) returns over 250 pages. A broader search on AltaVista returns over 2,000 webpages.

Operating in the jurisdiction of the Dutch courts, Karin Spaink's Fishman Affidavit webpage has fended off two lawsuits from Scientology, one in 1996 and one in 1999. The latter suit, according to the page, is still being appealed. >From the link listed just above, you can click through to the Fishman Affidavit, which contains links to not only to an annotated copy of OT III, but to the documents on the other OT levels as well, number one through the disputed number eight.

If you would like a plain English explanation of OT III, see OT III Rewritten For Beginners, by Jon Atack. Its author is a former Scientologist who himself completed level OT III. The webpage contains nothing copyrighted by a Scientology organization. It is an explanation of what OT III says and what that means, along with commentary by the author. Jon Atack is also the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, which is a history of Scientology from before its founding to after L. Ron Hubbard's death. At the above link, you can either purchase it, or read it in its entirety online.

If you are interested in Scientology, you will want to visit Operation Clambake, at xenu.net. It seems to be the most important central resource for information on the organization.

You may also want to visit the Lisa McPherson Memorial Page, which claims that "Lisa died needlessly at the hands of Scientology." Her case is truly a tragic one and she deserves to be remembered. The site has a great deal of information on her death. Related is The Lisa McPherson Trust, which has not only information about Lisa, but a very large archive of interviews, court transcripts, news reports, testimonials, and videos about Scientology.

Here's a Slashdot story last year on eBay removing auctions for e-meters based on the Church of Scientology DMCA copyright allegations, which is odd because Copyright law doesn't cover a physical device.

If there's anything else about Scientology you want to know, you will want to see AltReligionScientology.org, which contains a huge list of links to all the sites I don't have room to list here.

The DMCA is actually five separate modifications to copyright law. Its Title I is known for providing legal protection for "technological measures" (typically encryption) which prevent copying; this is the part that empowered the MPAA to sue over DeCSS, to name the best-known example.

That's not the part that concerns us here; Title II is its other major modification of copyright law and that's what we're dealing with. Title II created 17 U.S.C. Section 512, and we're specifically looking at our liability under paragraphs (c)(1)(A), which says we have to act "expeditiously to remove or disable access to the [infringing] material." Here's the U.S. Copyright Office's 18-page summary of the DMCA as a whole. If 18 pages is too long for you, here's the American Library Association's much quicker summary

Here's a list of resources on the DMCA, including the DMCA itself in PDF format. The EFF page on the DCMA seems to relate mostly to Title I, the anti-encryption-circumvention portion, but it's too good not to mention anyway.

Don't know who your Congressperson or Senators are? That's OK, now's as good a time as any to learn. Finding your Senators is easy, just go to Senate.gov. To find your Representative, you just need your zip code. You can use the form on the website to write them if you're lazy, but if you want your message to have more impact, print it out and send it in a real envelope. Anything's better than nothing, though.

When you write, you'll want to write something they'll read. Here are the ACLU's tips for writing to your Congressperson or Senators.

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Scientologists Force Comment Off Slashdot

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    and Scumsucking pinheads. Only in the US would you find some hazy non-thought induced cult pushing everyone around under the guise of religion. I hate to say it, but the Germans called this one right when they kicked the lying shits out of their country. Fuck 'em. I say burn them to the ground. It ain't religion, it's a pyramid scheme. Scooter Bugdrill, hater of cults.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "See, for instance, Demon, a UK ISP, who, on removing some Usenet posts for reasons of illegality, were held liable for every single post on their service, since they had become publishers in the eyes of tha law. "

    This isnt true. This happened outside court, and did not set a precedent. It was a private agreement.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First off IANAL and IANAS (I am not a Scientologist). From the little I know about Scientology I think they believe there are 75 million year old souls trapped in our bodies. Suppose someone posts the text again with a username. Let the Scientologists go after the poster. The poster says it wasn't him, but one of the trapped souls who posted it. Let the courts decide on that! Scientology gets to make a choice over whether their beliefs are bunk or the text remains on Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:23AM (#359432)
    While Scientology has succeeded in removing a small article posted by a Slashdot user, they have gained now full exposure with a dozen links to anti-Scientology sites, to annotated versions of the OT texts and other things the "church" spends millions of dollars to fight against.

    The only winners here are the lawyers (once again).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:42AM (#359433)
    I know I'll get flamed for this, so I'm posting anonymously. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I feel I might.

    First off, I'd like to congratulate Slashdot for providing thoughtful feedback to the community on this important issue. I'd also like to thank them for slagging Scientology as I agree with claims depicting it as dangerous and sinister. In my opinion it is all of that and more.

    My reason, however, for saying that Scientology isn't so bad is based on comparison with other religions. Sure, you posted a link to a site about a girl who was killed by the Scientologists...but what if the Catholic church had been the ones using the DMCA to repress content here? I can't imagine where to begin to discuss the number of people who have died at their hands. How many hits do you get on google when you search for the crusades? How about the 100 years war?

    And I don't just object to catholicism. All forms of Christianity have their body count. How many died at the Salem witch trials? How many died in the holocaust?

    Christianity isn't the only culprit. How many have died in Israel in the past year alone?

    Religion kills. Period. It is a sickness and the cause of more misery and murder committed by man against man than any other human intellectual construct in history.

    So, if we're going to slag the Scientologists for being kooks, we might want to remember that the majority of America believes they can talk to an invisible man every Sunday. Pretty kooky if you ask me.

    Again, if I have offended anyone, I apologize. Please appreciate, however, that if you support a forum of free speech (in the spirit of Slashdot), then you have to put up with opinions like mine too.
  • I find this very worrying for Slashdot. They should have resisted *all* impulses to tamper with the site.

    Common Carrier status is given to organisations that are not responsible for the data that they carry, such as telephone companies and postal companies. We have had good reason to believe that Slashdot falls into this categorie.

    However, as sson as editors tamper with posts, the site no longer has common carrier status, and is therefore vulnerable to being sued by any organisation that does not like what we, the readers, post here.

    They may already have done this by allowing Michael to tamper with posts, something he has done many times in the past, but even then they should have held sway and not deleted, IMO.

    Now that they have deleted a post, how can they be said to have common carrier status? IMO, they cannot - editorial control has been exerted, for all to see. It is called a slippery slope.

    I think that this is because the commercial bigwigs at VALinux care not for principles. I think Taco was leaned on by those above him.

    Suppose this had happened at kuro5hin. Would the posts have been deleted? I don't think so.

    This is just a symptom of slashdot having become a commercial institution. It no longer cares, when it comes down to the bottom line, about the principles upon which it was founded.
    --

  • Kuro5hin is only sponsored by VALinux. VALinux have no say over what happens there. As to the ownership, ambitious plans have been mooted to make it community owned, which would make it even more entitled to common carrier status. The fact that all the articles are written by the readers helps it in this regard also.
    --
  • My problem is that they have set a precedent. As soon as they delete posts, they are open for all time to any corporation that wishes to sue them. To keep common carrier status, you must *never* tamper with posts on your site.

    By hueing closely to this ideal, you cannot be touched in the law. It is a basic principle.
    --

  • by euroderf (47) <a@b.c> on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:54AM (#359438) Journal
    The paper clearly states that in order for Napster to be sued, the following clause had to be proved:

    Right and Ability to Control: Napster has the ability to control the infringing activity of its users because it retains the right to block a user

    Nothe that Napster retained the right to tamper with what its users were doing, and to block them. Furthermore:

    In order to prove a contributory infringement claim, a copyright owner must establish the following elements: (1) some act of direct infringement (by end-users, for example); (2) that the defendant knew or should have known of the defendant of the direct infringement; and (3) that the defendant materially contributed to the direct infringement.

    1&2 are fair enough, but 3? I don't think so.Also:

    In order to prove a vicarious infringement claim, a copyright owner must establish the following elements: (1) some act of direct infringement (by end-users, for example); (2) that the defendant had the right or ability to control the direct infringer; and (3) that the defendant derived a direct financial benefit from the direct infringement.

    The crucial point is number 2, Slashdot is perfectly free to sign off any 'rights' over what the posters here say

    The paper makes one thing shiningly clear: P2P Systems have 2 choices. They van choose between total anarchy, and total control. The problem for Napster is that it did not choose either, and retained some control, and more importantly the right to such control. If slashdot went down the anarchy route, and from reading the posts one would think it had, then it would have nothing to fear. This is about retaining the right, and also exercising it, to tamper with users posts.
    --

  • I agree with you quite completely, you make some good points. People have a tendancy to forget history very quickly; they're only concerned with the Evil Du Jour. Even then, we all like to ignore problems until they get so big that they impact our lives directly.

    It's sad though, that you feel the need to post anonymously just because you're posting something controversial. It's well thought out, and if handled properly (unlikely in this forum, I know), could result in an interesting debate.

    On the flip side though, this is one of the really interesting parts of the Internet, that you can make arguments in an open forum without risking personal persecution because of your beliefs.

    Cheers!

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"

  • The above quote from the DMCA seems to suggest that places like Slashdot can't be common carriers anymore.
  • by volsung (378)
    But the DMCA doesn't grant you the freedom to do that. That's the problem, and that's why you're going to see other discussion boards on the Internet get into real trouble.
  • Right. Not to be cynical, but I doubt there are many sponsors out there who are willing to burn lots of their cash defending the rights of their non-paying users in lawsuits that they will almost surely lose. (At least in the case of this incident.)

    Maybe the ACLU would be willing to run a discussion board with the side purpose of creating an incident that they could use as a test case for the DMCA. I would suggest the EFF, but I suspect they are already hemoraging cash over the DeCSS case. (You can, by the way, make a donation to the DeCSS defense fund if you want to help support them.)

  • Common carrier status might protect the people who give Slashdot its Internet connection and the owners of the network segments. However, Slashdot bears much more resemblence to a newspaper, magazine, or news program. Those types of organizations are not going to be protected, even if they decide to let people post whatever they wanted.
  • Even beyond that. Someone at Slashdot has the root password on the database box. As long as they have that, they have the power to remove posts, no matter what their policies might be.
  • Christian Scientists != Church of Scientology
  • Heck, if you were a Scientologist, would you post here? Regardless of what you might think of them, I don't think they're stupid enough to try and defend themselves in a forum where they will just get flamed into oblivion.
  • Yes, thankfully new Slashdot stories keep getting posted and forcefully retire the madness. It sort of puts the flame fest on hold until the next story comes out. For example, if you wait long enough, KDE vs. Gnome will come back around and the flaming will resume. In fact, I think almost every topic has a characteristic argument that resurfaces every time a story in that topic is posted:
    • Space: NASA vs. Private Space Corps, NASA vs. Feed the Children!
    • KDE and GNOME: KDE vs. GNOME
    • Microsoft: Microsoft vs. Linux
    • Patents: No more IP! vs. Shut up you theiving punks!
    • Mozilla: Yay Mozilla! vs. Mozilla sucks donkey parts!
    • Perl: Perl vs. Python
    I think after a while, you'll have seen every possible argument on Slashdot, and won't need to read the comments anymore. :)
  • It's not political speech because CoS is not the government. That is first and foremost what the First Amendment is there for: To protect you from your government. Back when it was written, governments were the most powerful entities on Earth (the Catholic church had long since retired from that title), and had been know to oppress their citizens quite regularly.

    The change now is that businesses (and CoS, whatever category you wish to put them in) now have the power to harass persons who wish to criticize them. The courts haven't stretched the First Amendment to cover that type of speech as fully as political speech. They've done something, but not enough, and that's why this is still legally shakey ground.

    On the flip side, businesses inhabit this netherworld between public agency and private entity. How much should you be allow to publicize about a business in the name of public discourse and criticism. I don't think we should be able to publish the Windows source code or the details of Intel's chip manufacturing process in order to critically analyze it. I'll agree that the CoS is using the laws in ways that were never intended, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should chuck the laws.

  • I think you're partially correct. This article [indiana.edu] gives a good history of the clear and present danger (CPD) test. The law which first inspired the CPD test (the Espionage Act of 1917) was probably later overturned (they don't say), but the CPD test survived beyond it. It has been "tightened up," so to speak, through the use of the word "imminent" rather than "present," but has still be used in cases more complex than the fire example I gave. Flag burning, communist plots, and all sorts of interesting stuff. The rest of the article is an argument against CPD, which, if you're interested in legal theory, is quite interesting.

    BTW, was Wilson actually a minister of some sort, or do you call him Reverend as a sarcastic allusion to religious officials who seek to limit the freedoms of others?

  • But then we go back to the other problem. Common carriers aren't broadcast agencies. I could read OT III over the phone to a friend, and the phone company could never be busted, but if I went on public-access TV and read OT III every week, the station would eventually get busted for continuing to run my show (the first time they could claim ignorance, maybe), even if they had a strict "no censorship" policy.
  • Just to point out, 2600 has the money and support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation behind them. You can contribute to EFF's DVD legal defense fund [eff.org]. You can bet 2600 would be SOL without the EFF behind them (and a very prominent First Amendment lawyer working for them).

    You might still think Slashdot is chickening out, but not as bad as it first seems. VA Linux is already in a lawsuit with its stockholders. I don't think they want anymore legal trouble.

  • See post 750 for my explanation of the problems with this.
  • by volsung (378) <stan@mtrr.org> on Friday March 16, 2001 @05:08AM (#359453)
    People also need to realize that for quite a long while, the Supreme Court has distinguished between different types of speech, and given them different protection. Speech of a political nature receives the highest protection. It's the reason we can go around an bash the DMCA all day long and not get in trouble. (Notice I said "bash" and not "break".)

    On the other end, speech that would present a "clear and present danger" (as I think the quote goes) is not protected. Classic example: shouting "fire" as a prank in a crowded area.

    I think our current speech problems have to do with speech about businesses and IP, something which has not been given too much support in the past.

    In the end, Slashdot got busted for copyright violation. Notice that we can still all sit here and say anything we want about the Church of Scientology, and they can't send Rob another cease-and-desist order. (They can picket our homes and places of business if we are really obnoxious, but that's a different story.)

    This really isn't about free speech at all. Cut and paste has never been protected.

  • You claim that the DMCA protects ISPs from trouble when their users post copyrighted information. You do this right in the middle of a thread about how slashdot had to remove a user's post of copyrighted material to avoid trouble. Can you see the irony here? Sure, Slashdot isn't an ISP, technically, but it has all the same problems ISPs do in this regard, and it is just as unfair to hold Slashdot responsible for users' posts as it is to hold the ISP responsible.
  • Despite my user info here which I haven't bothered to edit, Andover.Net no longer not exists as a company or a group of people -- all the original Andover.Net crew resigned or was laid off already save a few including me. The corporate parent of Slashdot and it's lawyers is VA Linux of Freemont, California.

    For the record Andover.Net *did* go to bat to defend the free speech of Slashdot forums (remeber the UNISYS-GIF flamefest anyone?) even the nuisance trolls, more than once. We stood our ground even when we were about to go public when risking a lawsuit would've sank us.

    Andover.Net was the best company I ever worked for, and the executives cared. We were able to buy Slashdot not by making the biggest cash offer (others offered more) but by offering a unique arrangment of editorial freedom that other suitors would not offer.

    Anyway today I can't say if Andover.Net would've survived this cold market and stood up to this lawsuit today. You have to pick your battles. Right now we have bigger fish to fry here.

  • by smartin (942) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:21AM (#359462)
    Wow, went Microsoft tried this they were unsuccessful. This would seem to mean that clearly Scientology is the more powerful evil corporation when it comes to asserting proprietary control over their technology. Now only the question that remains is, Who is satan's right hand man Bill Gates or L. Ron Hubbard? :)
  • by Danse (1026) on Friday March 16, 2001 @12:59PM (#359463)

    It just so happens that science is the more commond and accepted religion now a days.

    That's because science can demonstrate most of its claims. We can see that they are true. So when they use that information to build theories, we have a much easier time accepting them because they fit with what we've already seen to be true.

  • According to South Park, Saddam is Satan's right hand man.
  • Yeah, and you better not say that Travolta is gay, because that information is copyrighted!
  • nope. More likely. . . one of us, is one of THEM.
  • Slashdot's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) ProgramTM:
    Protecting Intellectual Property

    In keeping with its status as the internet's largest venue for Nerdish News, Slashdot does not and cannot verify that posters have the right or ability
    tocommunicate certain ideas in their slashdot postings. However, we are committed to removing
    infringing or unlicensed posts once an authorized representative of the rights
    owner properly reports them to us. Slashdot's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO)
    Program works to ensure that items presented to the the Slashdot community do not infringe upon the
    copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights of third parties.
    VeRO Program participants, upon reciept of the appropriate monies, are granted a Slashdot account with a permanent supply of ten moderation points, to be used to supress posts that may conflict with their copyrightm, trademark, or other intellectual property rights.
  • I think in /.'s case, the common carrier defense will never work, because there's no way for a user to remove an article. If you post something copyrighted, the only way the owner of that work can get it removed is to ask the editors, you yourself have no way to do it. Therefore, /. has put itself in the position of having to police its forums.

    It's good that it hasn't been an issue until now, but I don't think many would argue that allowing any and all coyrighted materials be posted is a good thing. Scientology aside, you wouldn't want people posting say, scanned novels, or uuencoded warez, or anything else of the sort. Yet some moron probably will, and then the editors will have to remove it since the moron can't.

    If slashdot were able to defend any posting of copyrighted material using the common carrier defense, then pretty soon slashdot would become the next napster, because hey, there's nothing anyone can do about it. Someone has to be responsible.

    Or else copyright law has to change at a very basic level, but that's another argument entirely.
  • As well, when we had been sued, all of the server logs would have been taken. The anonymous coward would have been identified and taken.

    The only failsafe protection against having a given record subpoena'd or discovered during a search is not creating that record in the first place. Protecting the anonymity of Anonymous Cowards requires that you not create any log entires about them, or at minimum, irretrivably delete those logs as soon as possible after they are created. If you fail to do these things, then Anonymous Cowards aren't really anonymous - they're actually rather reliably traceable.

  • Hell, here in Japan "Mission to Mars" video rentals are doing very very well. I guess when you have to rely on subtitles, it's easy to imagine that the original dialogue must somehow be insightful and well-written.
  • Well, that's a good point. I didn't notice the distinction (sales vs. rentals) in the orginal post. However, I notice that on some of those same DVD sales list, "Coyote Ugly" was higher on the charts than "Battlefield Earth." I mean, what religious outfit could possibly be propping up the sales of that monstrosity? I'm a hot-blooded, babe-loving, American male, but even I don't want to see the exploits of those bimbos, so I don't think it can be attributed to the T&A factor.

    Again, consider the international market. The T&A factor is much higher outside the US. Especially when you consider that countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, India, etc. have rather strong anti-pornography laws.

  • Scientology's one foothold is among the Hollywood Left, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, etc.

    As someone on the left, I take a bit of exception to this. Point to Harry Thomason, Norman Lear, Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, John Wells, Martin Sheen or others who are actually part of "the Hollywood Left" if you want. Hell, point to Jane Fonda if you must. But don't point to the Scientologists. I doubt you'll find a single one, in Hollywood or anywhere else, who is--in the immortal phrase of Bush the First--a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

  • Gotcha. I know that the spammers-who-call-themselves-trolls have blinded most people's eyes to true trolling, but not mine. This is a troll, and not a bad one to boot.

    It starts out reasonable, then becomes increasingly controversial (to garner responses, the purpose of trolling), then finally, it gives the nod to the careful viewer that this is a troll (as all trolls should) by jumping off the end of their logical progression into insanity: "Perhaps the open source movement is unjustified in stealing profits from commercial enterprises."

    Haha. Outstanding. Maybe a little too obvious, but then again you probably have to be.

    The .sig adds a real nice touch (and the final proof that it is a troll). It's an updated equivalent to "I'm rubber and you're glue", a sort of dare to just try and call a spade a spade.

    Well done.
  • You certainly do have the ability to tamper with posts (unlimited moderator points)

    Oh my! Not Unlimited Moderator Points! What horrible evils could he perform? Why, he could mod things up or mod things down! With powers like that, Michael is nearly a GOD! (Is it coincidence that he is named Michael? He must be the reincarnation of the Man from Mars!)

    But seriously, your definition of 'tamper' seems odd. Kinda like saying a movie critic 'tampers' with a movie by giving it a bad review -- even if it really is a good movie! My god, but people might not see it because of the bad review! So? The movie is still the same.

    Or if that still doesn't satisfy you, I will teach you the secret that is Kryptonite to Michael's Superman-like powers: browse at -1.

    Have a nice day.
  • To be fair, I think this article being posted is doing more damage to the Travolta-ologists than the original removed post. Look at all the great links to anti-Scientology(tm) stuff!
  • Ah -- a Scientology apologist.

    The one particular flaw in your argument is that past atrocities are not an excuse for present atrocities.

    What the Scientologists do to their "opponents" is both atrocious and inexcusable. Just because other religions, in other times and places, have killed people, pets and reputations does not mean we have to accept Scientology doing so.

    Sure, they're free to believe whatever freaky alien space opera they care to --- but the line *must* be drawn at the actions they take which are directly harming their so-called "enemies."

    Scientology isn't being treated to a Spanish Inquisition: they *ARE* the Spanish Inquisition!

    [As a footnote, the machinations and corruption of the core, controlling group must be exposed: their goal is global domination of the sort that movies make fun of, but which they nonetheless are constantly and pervasively attempting to accomplish. The latter sentence sounds outlandish, but I am confident that were you to spend a half-hour doing some basic research, you'd understand that it is justified and true.

    Scientology is emphatically *not* like any religion we have seen in modern times. To treat them as innocuous wackos is extremely dangerous: their stated goal is to infiltrate governments and mandate their own religious views. And because they are mainly trusted milquetoast Americans -- ie. not "untrustworthy [ethnic group]" -- they are succeeding.

    It's all well and good to take the stance of "religious freedom," until that stance allows a modern-day American Taliban to destroy the values and society that you cherish.

    Make no mistake: Scientology is out to destroy and rule. You will *not* like the consequences should they succeed.]

    --
  • by FFFish (7567) on Friday March 16, 2001 @07:34AM (#359490) Homepage
    For Taco's sanity's sake alone, he had to delete the post.

    Anyone who takes the time to do even a little bit of research into Scientology will realize that the organization will use *ANY* means, *LEGAL OR ILLEGAL* to harass, repress and *destroy* its opponents.

    The Taco's life, and the life of everyone at Slashdot and Andover, would have become a living hell.

    Scientology has a no-holds-barred *rule*: they are explicitly instructed by Hubbard's words to do *anything* it takes to win.

    Which means Taco would have had his pets killed, his car trashed, his house picketed, his parents harassed, his business associates -- banks, etc -- sent packages claiming he's a pedophile, his entire neighbourhood pamphleted with the same pedophile claims, etc. Plus, he'd be challenged by a dozen or more legal suits.

    Like I said, a living hell.

    People have committed suicide because of Scientology harrassment.

    Oh -- and the examples I presented: they're real life. Scientology has done exactly those things to opponents (and even the judges in their court cases!) before, and they'll do it again.

    Scientology is one of the most evil organizations on this planet. By every metric you could possibly apply, they are the antithesis of good.

    --

  • Jellicle is absolutely right..The issue here is Fair Use, which no longer exists online under the provisions of the DMCA. This happens all the time, but this is an entity that pushes all legal issues to the max. Prior to the DMCA this would have been fair use, it seems to me..the legitimate, legal reprinting and citing of material in connection with public discussion.. Common Carrier is Verizon..
  • I saw on the web that Battlefield Earth is supposedly doing quite well in DVD sales, considering it was a major bomb at the box office.

    I haven't seen it myself, but I did read Hubbard's book, and I have to wonder if the reason the DVD is selling so well is because Scientologists are buying it up en masse. I recall reading an article in Time magazine that revealed that the "Church" of Scientology buys thousands of copies of Hubbard's books, in order to keep them rated as Best-sellers...
    ---
  • There were at least six women [salemweb.com] killed in Salem alone. But the madness that was the witch trials spread all throughout Mass. Many others were put to death, and hundreds were accused. The Salem Witch trials, to me, are the perfect example for the need for separation of church and state, lest heresy become a capital offense once more...
    ---
  • I'm replying to my own post here, but it appears that "A total of 141 people were arrested, 19 were hanged and one was crushed to death", according to this page [paralumun.com]...
    ---

  • >> In taking down the deleted story, is Slash also turning the IP address of the poster over to the bad guys?

    There is a difference between complying with the law, and betraying those you make promises to. Slashdot provides anonymous posting capabilities (and, I believe, doesn't even store IPs of Anon Cowards), and it would be heinous of /. to provide an identity of an AC.

    Complying with the DCMA is unfortunately pretty unavoidable. But I must confess, a fine response by the Taco.

    ~Cederic
  • I think people should also know that Adolf Hitler's views were very pagan in its outlook. Why was it that the Nazis wanted to elevate the old Norse pantheon of gods again? Or why they celebrated the works of Richard Wagner, a virulent anti-Semite himself?

    Equating Naziism with Christianity is a major fallacy, IMHO. And it's small wonder why there's an unwritten rule anytime Naziism is brought up in a Usenet discussion the discussion more or less comes to a screeching halt. :-/
  • Aggrazel,

    I think what Cmdr. Taco is finding out very rapidly is that the Church of Scientology is even more protective of their works than Coca-Cola and Disney, both companies notorious for zealous protection of their copyrights.

    The last thing Andover.net wants is being dragged into a ugly, expensive lawsuit that will result in Slashdot being shut down for good because Andover can't pay the legal bills fighting the lawsuit.
  • The DMCA even effects places that have 'common carrier' status. The particular title referenced essentially makes common carriers liable for the copyright violations of the people who post stuff on the Internet using their equipment if they don't take down copyright violations quickly when notified of them.

    This is a summarization of the various things I've heard people say about it, and not a result of my own reading. I am also not a lawyer. :-)

  • Read alt.religion.scientology - that's just what they do.

    ------------------
  • but the Germans called this one right when they kicked the lying shits out of their country

    How often does it need to be repeated: Scientology is not illegal in Germany [slashdot.org].

    ------------------
  • by joshv (13017) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:18AM (#359516)
    http://video.rotten.com/elron/ [rotten.com]. Not for the faint of heart...

    -josh

  • And this is exactly my problem with this mess. In my everyday life I have no problem with people's religions. I work in a very multicultural organization, there's so many different religious groups here, I'd have a hard time counting them all.

    But I think, as this country was founded on the principles of religious freedom, (ideally) that there is nothing wrong with that. I won't badmouth someone for worshiping whatever they want to worship, even if I think its kinda silly.

    And to be fair, a lot of religions are "evil" to someone. And as a matter of fact the things you listed that the scientologists do to their opponents aren't too different from what other religions have done in the past. NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!!

    Heck, one religion killed the leader of another one by nailing him to a cross. Though some might prefer that to being litigated to death, but I digress.

    The point I'm trying to get at is, Scientology is just doing what any other religion has done in the past, its trying to protect itself. But its unpopular, so we get away with saying things like what I said. Which, I must admit, was wrong. I may believe that Scientology is false, but I shouldn't berate them for believing how they want to believe.

    This is, after all, the land thats free from religious persecution right? Right. *sigh*
  • I'm not really an apologist, though I'm sorry if I come off that way. *joke for the humour impaired*

    In no way was I trying to justify the actions of the Scientologists, I was merely examining the paths that many religions take to mature. Its like standing back and watching history repeat itself all over again, thats all. :)
  • by Aggrazel (13616) <aggrazel@gmail.com> on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:10AM (#359519) Journal
    I mean, how can a website like slashdot hope to fight the good fight against a bunch of brainwashed zealots who'se religion is to take as much money as they can from their members.

    Stupid scientology.

    Oh by the way, until it gets deleted here's a good link to the evils of the Church of Scientology: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/index.html
  • Well, that's a good point. I didn't notice the distinction (sales vs. rentals) in the orginal post. However, I notice that on some of those same DVD sales list, "Coyote Ugly" was higher on the charts than "Battlefield Earth." I mean, what religious outfit could possibly be propping up the sales of that monstrosity? I'm a hot-blooded, babe-loving, American male, but even I don't want to see the exploits of those bimbos, so I don't think it can be attributed to the T&A factor.

    I noticed a couple of other interesting things when I was taking a look for this information. Someone put out a press release (on PRNewswire)about how BE DVD sales have skyrocketed, and I thought this quote was funny: "'It's a perfect DVD ... right up there with its special effects, aliens and space ships,' according to Anaheim, California video retailer Jay R. Ross." I mean, come on. I did think the DVD was somewhat interesting, especially since it had a voiceover by the filmmakers discussing it, and you could tell that they were greatly influenced by the negative reviews -- they were kind of defensive, explaining how you "can't get it" if you expect to see a serious movie instead of a "full-motion comic book." I'm not ragging on them for the commentary, I really did think it was interesting. But, this thing being "a perfect DVD"??? As another poster here says, "Oh my, that is funny."

    The other thing I noticed is that at Amazon, this movie is the most-ordered DVD (yes, #1) in the cities of Auburn, WA, and Santa Maria, CA. That's just messed up. Does anybody know if these cities are big Scientology cities?


    Cheers,

  • IFES is a drinking club. No one in it or out of it takes it seriously.

  • If you really want to know, why not go and get the text from one of the links above and post it here?
  • I wouldn't be surprised if several people, starting with Taco, get picketed for this thread, and possibly worse.

    Sure, he removed the post, but they have certainly harrassed people for doing much less than what Rob just did here. I commend him and if they touch him I'd like to see Rob backed up in a big way.

    --

  • by grappler (14976) on Friday March 16, 2001 @07:31AM (#359529) Homepage
    I saw on the web that Battlefield Earth is supposedly doing quite well in DVD sales, considering it was a major bomb at the box office.

    Gives new meaning to the term, "cult classic" don't it?

    --

  • by mindstrm (20013) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:47AM (#359542)
    They concede nothing. THe DMCA, which IS A LAW that /. must obey, says they MUST remove the material at once. SO they did. It's not a 'choice'. Their other choice was to contest the copyright. (won't work.. it IS copyrwritten by COS)

    demon.co.uk removing posts for illegality is a different matter, because nothing required them to do so. In this case, the law requires /. to remove the post.
  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday March 16, 2001 @09:17AM (#359550) Homepage Journal
    ...and as crazy and convoluted and (seemingly) hallucinogen-inspired as it is (LDS. LSD. Think about it, won't you?), it _is_ a religion if not a Christian one (for generally accepted values of "Christian").

    I don't begrudge anyone who practices Mormonism, nor if they want to proselitize door-to-door (although I politely tell them that as a devout Catholic they are wasting both their time and mine).

    Scientology, on the other hand, acts viciously against anyone who distributes their copyrighted works. Why? Maybe they don't want their powerful
    secrets revealed to an uncaring (and unpaying public). Most likely because they don't want to the public to realize what complete and utter gibberish it is.

  • by Brento (26177) <`moc.razotnerb' `ta' `otnerb'> on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:12AM (#359553) Homepage
    I'm glad the Slashdot guys had the resources of Andover at their disposal, as long as those resources helped out. One of the benefits of being part of a big company is that they've usually got some capital they can burn if you get attacked by lawyers.

    On the flip side, being part of a big company means you can't always take a stand. Your parent company also has more resources to lose, and thus sometimes you have to buckle under.

    We'll never know if the old Slashdot would have fought off the religion-for-profit crowd, and some people on here are going to say Andover had a negative effect. Let's not turn this into a flame war - at least, not flame Andover, because we'll never know whether they had a positive effect or not.
  • by villoks (27306) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:31AM (#359555) Homepage Journal
    As a person who has once got an threatening email from the lawyers of this evil cult, I understand very well why /. gave up (I posted one of $cn's "secret" documents with some comments to a.r.s. but later cancelled that post). These people are ready to spend as money as needed to suppress free speech. They don't play on these matters, there's too much their money on the stake. They can ruin private person financially badly (Zenon for example) and the cost can be very high also for the companies which dear to criticize them (NY Times had to spend awful lot of money to defend itself against the clamsuit(tm))

    This is the exact reason why systems like FreeNet are neened. They are the only line of defence against this misuse of intellectual property rigts. $cientology today, the goverment of China tomorrow...?

    Ville Oksanen
    SP4 and damn proud of it.
    My DeCSS archive:
  • by jellicle (29746) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:35AM (#359558) Homepage
    I don't have the ability to "tamper with posts" and have never done so. Anyone who says differently is lying.

    Frankly, if Kuro5hin was choosing between having their site shut down by their ISP or deleting a post due to copyright complaints, my guess about how they would respond is a bit different than yours.

    And finally, any poster who uses the phrase "common carrier" in discussing this situation has no idea what it means. (Hint: "common carrier" is a term that refers ONLY to a very limited set of telecommunications companies: mainly the various Bells.) We just posted (a week ago) a link to this paper [eff.org] which examines copyright issues with peer-to-peer services - most of it is applicable to slashdot too. Read it before you spout off about copyright issues.
  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:24AM (#359561)
    An Anonymous Coward elsewhere says:

    It means that slashdot is just as much a spineless corporate puppet as everyone thought it was.

    One the one hand I see where this guy/gal is coming from. Slashdot seems to have sold out. For Malda and Co. to fight the Scientologists would generate major press both against Scientologists and that laughable piece of legislation called the DMCA. Just imagine:

    Slashdot Takes Stand Against Both Scientology and DMCA
    Geeks Put Oft-touted Ideology To the Test
    Open Source Site puts money where mouth is in DMCA wrangle

    But another part of me agrees with the blurb. It really isn't worth the time and trouble and lawyers' (more than one :) fees to fight something posted anonymously - especially if the Co$ decide they would like to go after the real poster and subpoena the IP or something.

  • ...if it hadn't been an AC?

    If someone with a UID had posted the comment?

    D.
  • Y'know, you come off sounding every bit as self-righteous and narrow-minded as any preacher ever did.

    your retort that 'but everything wonderful around you is a result of the beauty of Jesus and God'

    But s/he never said that; the claim was that *some* of the good around us came from work inspired by or dedicated to religion - not all. Constructing strawmen won't help you deconstruct religion.

    I know alot of people will consider this flamebait

    Because it is. You might not be religious, religion - particularly the organized kind - might have its flaws, but using phrases like "mass hysteria" or "brainwashing" or "fantasy" to descibe *all* religion is just obnoxious.

    you are going to believe it? You don't have to believe - do you - because you have faith. No reason - just faith.

    And what's wrong with faith? Solipsism is a singularly useless philosophy, and for anything else you need faith in *something*. Even Descartes recognized as much in his Meditations of First Philosophy, and that's really basic stuff. You seem to have a lot of faith, if I may say so, in your own perceptions and reasoning, incomplete as those might be.

    So, again, what's wrong with faith? I'm not asking what's wrong with the Scientologists, or the Catholic Church, or with things that people who have faith happen to do. What's wrong with faith in and of itself? Obviously if one's faith is contradicted by observation that's one thing, but is there anything wrong with believing something not contradicted by observation?

    Im finished being afraid and guilty

    Apparently you're not finished with being angry, though. The Church still seems to have quite a hold on you, if the mere mention of faith can cause you to have such a hissy fit.

    Like you, I was brought up in a very religious environment. Like you, I broke away from it. Unlike you, I've learned to accept that what's right or wrong for me is not necessarily right or wrong for everyone, recognize that I have my own faith (even if it's not religious) and allow other people theirs.

    I make every decision in my life for myself, I *own* all the consequences

    And you always did. Religion doesn't change that; most don't even try.

    It scares me to wonder what my 'thought' processes would have been like if I had not abandoned my indoctrination.

    Here's some news: from where I sit, your thought processes don't look all that great. I've met many religious people who could construct a better argument for their POV than you have done, and then present it more persuasively. Maybe religion isn't to blame for any deficiency in thought processes, and lack of religion is no panacea.

  • by Hizonner (38491) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:40AM (#359567)

    Sigh. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    1. In the pre-DMCA world, the whole "common carrier" claim for service providers was basically conjecture based on analogies. It was never really litigated, and it certainly wasn't obviously written in any statute. People relied on it, but it might or might not have held up in court; the question was pretty muddy. I suspect that it would not have worked for Slashdot, which could not have asserted ignorance in the same way as, say, a Usenet server.

    2. Regardless of whether the "common carrier" claim would have held up before the DMCA, it definitely will not hold up now, because the DMCA replaces all that uncertainty with a great deal of certainty. Service providers are obligated to take down supposedly infringing material under a very well defined set of procedures. US law has changed on this issue.

    3. Assuming that Scientology has a valid copyright on this material (and it does), and assuming that there are no first-amendment freedom of religion issues muddying the waters (which I'd think there should be, but the courts do not seem to agree), there is absolutely no question that Slashdot was legally obligated to take it down. Chanting "common carrier" no longer has any legal effect, if it ever did.

    4. I understand Scientology has a reputation for litigating bogus claims. This one, however, would seem to be (legally, not morally) valid.

    5. It's not really worth fighting this sort of thing in court. The right response to Scientology is just to overwhelm them with the volume of criticism.

    6. You can get yourself into a lot of trouble by listening to half-informed amateur interpretations of the law.

    ... and I'm yet another half-informed amateur.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday March 16, 2001 @07:06AM (#359587) Journal
    Ianal but.

    The article said the comment contained a text called "OT III"

    If it contained the entire text,or a substantial part of it (several paragraphs), without any other commentary, then it violates copyright law, pure and simple. However, if it contained a small part of the text (a few sentences), with commentary on that text, then it would be criticism, and would "fair use".

  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:27AM (#359588) Homepage
    Because now a bunch of people have gone to all the links about Scientology in the article. How many people read the quote that was removed? Not nearly as many I would guess as looked around about Scientology.

    I, too, hate it that /. removed the comment. Scientology earns another black eye, some more negative exposure. That's a nice end, but the price paid (the means) may not be worth it. But in the grand scheme of things, they lose.

    And isn't it Cosmic Justice that John Travolta's money goes to laywers, because of what he did to us in Saturday Night Fever?

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 16, 2001 @08:05AM (#359606)
    > To be fair, I think this article being posted is doing more damage to the Travolta-ologists than the original removed post. Look at all the great links to anti-Scientology(tm) stuff!

    I'm glad I'm not the only person who's realized this.

    I watched the reaction when Co$ issued the forged rmgroup alt.religion.scientology that started this whole mess years ago.

    The reaction was the same as today's - another half-million very pissed-off geeks ended up a new chew toy.

    If I want to read about Xenu and the volcanoes, I can get it anywhere on the 'net today. Just like MP3s and DeCSS, it's everywhere, and they can't put the genie back in the bottle again.

    Unlike RIAA and MPAA, however, the Co$ is constrained by its own doctrine not to adapt to changing times.

    Thus, we see MPAA making the first moves towards friendly relations with the DivX ;-) But Co$ is constrained by its own rules to "always attack, never defend". Its members are punished for trying to apply "the tech" (the words of Hubbard) in innovative ways - even talking about the idea of adapting - is considered "out-tech" and is a punishable offence in the cult.

    In the '50s, when the cult was designed, this was a pretty good memeset - highly self-reinforcing, and the "always attack" spin-doctoring (e.g. "when attacked, turn the attack around and say that you welcome investigations of your critics") worked great in the media regime back then.

    In the age of the 'net, it's not just useless to try to shut down criticism, it's counterproductive, in that every attempt to do so will result in wider dissemination of the verboten information.

    This is a classic "Operation foot-bullet" for the cult. They aimed at Slashdot, fired with both barrels, and now every Slashdot reader knows (a) how low the cult is willing to stoop, (b) everything they could possibly want to know about OT III via search engines and several years' worth of mirrors already set up, and (c) all the other juicy information in the URLs in the article with which Slashdot's editors replaced the OT III posting.

    Before Today: "Yet another copy of that Xenu story".

    After Today: Ten links detailing OT III, OT III written in English, as opposed to $cienospeak, Jon Atack's book, Operation Clambake, the eBay story about the galvanometers, the needless death of Lisa McPherson, and another huge page of links.

    OK, maybe the clams have gotten a clue and realized that the only way to shut down sites that expose $cientology is through the Slashdot effect.

    But I doubt it.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 16, 2001 @08:19AM (#359607)
    > http://video.rotten.com/elron/. Not for the faint of heart...

    Unless rotten.com isn't using the actual autopsy pics, that link is entirely on-topic for this thread.

    This is what happens to you when your cult decides that you need to be strapped to a bed and left in isolation to die of dehydration.

    The day you die, your corpse is taken, not to the nearest hospital, not to the next-nearest hospital, but five hospitals away, where (what a coincidence!) the doctor (who pronounces you dead on arrival) is a $cientologist.

    He then concludes that you were alive when your cult realized you were feeling really bad that day, but that (aaw, shucks!) you tragically died on the way to the hospital.

  • by Chalst (57653) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:34AM (#359609) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that managed comment section could claim common carrier status in any case. I agree that there is an important point of principle here, but you have to choose your battles. By withdrawing the post, they can protect the anonymity of ACs. I think that is a more important matter.
  • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Friday March 16, 2001 @06:07AM (#359653)

    Score: 4 (Insightful)? What are the moderators smoking today? This AC is spewing nothing but Flamebait.

    How dare you associate the Holocaust with Christianity? The Holocaust was the sick dream of one sick man, who has been quoted that when the Jews were gone, the Christians were next. Hitler hated God and anything that had to do with Him.

    "Religion kills." Sadly, it's true that people have killed in the name of religion. But try looking at the whole picture. Some of humanity's greatest science, art, and literature was also inspired by God. Newton was on a quest to "think God's thoughts after him," and his contemporaries were sometimes disappointed that he spent a majority of his later years writing about the Bible rather than science. This is a common theme throughout the Renaissance. Bach, Beethoven, Michelangelo...so many of history's greatest minds were inspired to that greatness by their Creator. This is the Renaissance we're talking about here, man! One of mankind's greatest intellectual awakenings!

    Without the influence of Jesus Christ, this world would be a much sadder place. You really need to read What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? [amazon.com] by Kennedy and Newcombe to get the full picture. Social justice, respect for human life and decline of cannibalism, the end of slavery, rise of medicine/arts/science...all can be attributed in great part to the message of Jesus Christ: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. These are the results of faith in action.


    Flamebait != Disagree
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Friday March 16, 2001 @08:20AM (#359654) Journal
    Actually the Roman Catholic Church more or less gave tacit approval to what Hitler was doing. They never complained until long after WW2 was over, and then went, "Oh, uh, yeah, that was bad, mmkay?" Hitler himself was a devout Catholic and several times referred to what he was doing (the Holocaust) as God's work. Don't try to paint religion as innocent here; it had a definite influence. I'd like you to find that quote that when the Jews were gone, the Christians were next...

    Also, you seem to be saying that without God, Newton & Bach & Beethoven & Michaelangelo never would have any anything great. At least, it's what you're clearly implying. "Respect for human life" can be attributed to Jesus? What are you smoking? Respect for human life existed long before Jesus did. Hell, look at the Bible for proof: the ten commandments tell you not to murder (though God subsequently orders the Israelites to slaughter hundreds of little villages on their way to the promised land).

    Some of WESTERN SOCIETY'S greatest literature/art/music (not much science, however) has been "inspired" by God, however it's utterly irrational to say that works equally as powerful/great would not have happened in the absence of Christianity. Why? Look at all the L/A/M/S that had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity! The Arabs were leading the world in science up until the Renaissance. No Christianity there (except where the Crusades tries to bring it in, as a pretext for looting everything in sight). The Chinese -- again, no Christianity there -- were way ahead of the west in science, literature, art, and music, long before JC came around, and long after, too.

    Religions have always been a source of cultural material, because they are usually so pervasive in the lives of people who believe. Claiming that Christianity is special among religions because it's done "so much good! Look!" is ludicrous.

  • by GodHead (101109) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:19AM (#359670) Homepage

    So will you guys be changing your name from Andover to Bend-over?

    ROLCIOF
    (Rolling on the floor cause I'm on fire)
  • by WhiskeyJack (126722) on Friday March 16, 2001 @05:09AM (#359697)

    Hmmm...

    Ron Hubbard's drones
    censoring Slashdot comments
    with a "clear" concience?

    -- WhiskeyJack

  • by Farq Fenderson (135583) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:31AM (#359704) Homepage
    When I read about MS trying to silence some comments a while ago, I made a casual vow to stop reading slashdot if censorship ever occurred.

    However, I have to make a concession in this case. The CoS (in this case the Church of Scientology, not the Church of Satan) have a nasty reputation for having things go their way, and I can only be relieved at the fact that slashdot still has its servers.

    If this sounds dramatic, talk to some people who were mrerely suspected of having CoS-copyrighted material about six years ago. When they quit the CoS, they also (unwittingly) forfeit their home computers and all storage devices.

    I'd post a link to the info, but it's been years since I read it, and no longer have a link. Sorry.

    Steve
  • by elegant7x (142766) on Friday March 16, 2001 @07:21PM (#359718)
    While there is no 'god' just like there is no Xenu, there was a guy named Jesus just like there was a guy named L.Ron Hubbard. Asside from the Christian teaching, a few Roman court documents have surfaced as well.

    Rate me on Picture-rate.com [picture-rate.com]
  • by Zara2 (160595) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:12AM (#359735)
    Right on /. Good way of handling morons like this who just dont get it. Exposure, exposure, exposure.
  • by Golias (176380) on Friday March 16, 2001 @11:24AM (#359753)
    It seems to me that, as long as Orin Hatch and other politicians are actively reconsidering the fine print of the DMCA, we should lobby for a "whistle blower exemption" to be added to the concept of Fair Use.

    By way of example, if Microsoft had the forsight to copyright their infamous "Halloween Documents", the Justice Department's case against them would have been considerably weaker.

    If somebody is engaging in fraud or other illegal activities, documents which incriminate them that leak out should be considered fair game to republish as an act of critical speech.

  • by G Neric (176742) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:42AM (#359754)
    Now, if someone were to post a snippet that was necessary for a discussion of the document as a whole, that would be legal under "fair use", right? Then, if someone else posted a different snippet for some other reason, that would be fair use too, right... even a journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step.

    Or, could anybody please post a piece of C code (or is it perl) which I'm sure exists. It has variables named after certain words from English, and coincidentally certain space beings. It's a funny piece of code because it almost reads like English. Anyway, it does something useful and I'd like to use it.

    Our lawyers tell us that it appears to be a violation of Copyright law,

    How can your lawyers think it's a copy of a copyrighted work unless the crazy cultists provided a copy of the original text to compare against? Could you post that as part of your full disclosure of the case? They sent it to you.

    we simply can't defend an anonymous poster who violates copyright law.

    In taking down the deleted story, is Slash also turning the IP address of the poster over to the bad guys?

  • by hartsock (177068) on Friday March 16, 2001 @05:32AM (#359756) Homepage Journal
    I'm certainly hoping that this event becomes an embarassing memory all of us can rant/laugh about later. I have the sneeking suspicion that this may turn into an event to remember as the turning point for slashdot.

    Before today will be remembered as the heady days when folks posted freely their musings. Soon we'll start sliding downward toward full active moderation and censorship, albiet benevolent at first. I think too that this is a good demarkation of the new internet climate, I find it ironic that this comes right after Katz latest diatribes.

    --// Hartsock //
  • by grammar nazi (197303) on Friday March 16, 2001 @05:20AM (#359787) Journal
    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Church of Scientology paid the Internal Revenue Service $12.5 million as part of a settlement of a long-standing dispute with the tax agency, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

    Details of the 1993 settlement, which helped secure the tax-exempt status of the main Scientology church, previously had not been released.

    The details included the church's agreement to drop thousands of lawsuits against the IRS and to stop assisting others in other lawsuits against the agency based on claims before the Oct. 1, 1993, settlement date, the Journal said.

    The IRS canceled payroll taxes and penalties it had assessed against certain church entities and seven officials, and dropped audits of 13 Scientology organizations.

    The 1993 agreement ended a struggle that began in 1967, when the IRS argued that the main Scientology church should lose its tax-exempt status because it was a for-profit business that enriched church officials.

    There's more to this at: This ARTICLE [cmu.edu]
  • by JWhitlock (201845) <<gro.eeei> <ta> <kcoltihW-nhoJ>> on Friday March 16, 2001 @09:33AM (#359800)
    D.M.C.A.
    used as weapon; Taco bends
    but he never breaks
  • by FatOldGoth (207461) on Friday March 16, 2001 @06:17AM (#359810) Homepage

    There was a probably apocryphal story I was told many years ago by the then editor of a big SF mag. Apparently a sales clerk in a branch of Barnes & Nobel (or similar) was asked by a customer for ten copies of the latest Mission Earth epic. After being told that they only had five in stock the customer looked confused, said "Oh. I was told to buy ten," and left the store.

    I so want to believe that happened.


    --
  • by FatOldGoth (207461) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:43AM (#359811) Homepage

    I mean, how can a website like slashdot hope to fight the good fight against a bunch of brainwashed zealots who'se religion is to take as much money as they can from their members.

    Hey, they managed to stand up to Microsoft. ;)
    --
  • by HyperbolicParabaloid (220184) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:16AM (#359830) Journal
    Kudos to Taco for taking a crappy situation and making the best of it.
    I echo his call for people to write to there rep/sentor; remmeber: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Friday March 16, 2001 @06:00AM (#359834) Homepage
    There's a running joke among anti-$cientology folk called "Operation Footbullet [xenu.net]". It pokes fun at Scientology's tendency to generate bad publicity whenever they try and silence their critics. They're "shooting themselves in the foot," so to speak.

    The Mormon Church -- er, I mean, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"* -- once pulled a similar feat when they sued to get Jerald and Sandra Tanner (two of their most prominent critics) to remove several pages of copyrighted material. The material was from the General Handbook of Instruction, a book of procedures and policies used by LDS bishops, and it described how to get one's name removed from the records of the Church.

    So the Mormon Church sued, the Tanners took down the material after a protracted legal battle, replacing it with a link and later with a summary of the material. Meanwhile, hits to their website [utlm.org] tripled, and it became very popular in "anti-Mormon" circles for everyone to have their own electronic copy of the General Handbook of Instruction. The Tanners have a summary of the whole legal battle [utlm.org], for anyone interested. I think it's relevant to the discussion because they discovered that linking to the copyrighted material -- as /. has -- still opened them up to liability.

    * Lately, "The Church" has been strangely obsessed with media outlets using its "proper name."

  • by shyster (245228) <brackettNO@SPAMufl.edu> on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:44AM (#359858) Homepage
    I've got to say I admire that with one hand, /. removes the comment as asked. OTOH, however, they put a headline about it and link to even worse information about the Scientologists!

    The comment itself probably didn't get anywhere near the exposure the headline and removal will get. So, while it may seem that our boys at /. have sold-out or are spineless, I see it as creative rebellion.

    I am, however, slightly worried about the implications of editorial control over the forums now. Does this mean the common carrier defense is no longer valid? Personally, I don't think so, simply because in this case, they were alerted to the problem, then asked to remove. If they had noticed it themselves, then removed it, I'd be taking a different stand....

  • by Art_XIV (249990) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:14AM (#359862) Journal

    Mad about writings
    on Slashdot, seems as though my
    thetans are still here.

  • "his would seem to mean that clearly Scientology is the more powerful evil corporation when it comes to asserting proprietary control over their technology"

    I think you have a good point there. Socially, an evil, corrupt "religion" like Scientology is FAR more dangerous to society than ANY corporation.

    Scientology is like the 1980's televangelists, only far worse. I've read xenu.net for quite some time. This is an organization that has a history of using "secret police" against their members AND people who dare dennounce them. They've been busted by the FBI more than once.

    They hide behind copyright to keep outsiders from knowing the truth about them. I'd have to say that ANY religion that claims it's "bible" is copyrighted and proprietary would have to be viewed with suspicion...

    Fortunately, Scientology isn't trying to convert the masses, which keeps them out of most people's lives. You can't BE a Scientologist unless you are filthy rich, because you have to pay vast sums of money for "training" etc. This isn't exactly a "church" that collects offerings to use for the poor. Scientology's one foothold is among the Hollywood Left, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, etc.

    What Scientology WANTS to do, in my opinion, is convert the rich and powerful (who fund them), whereby they will get control over the masses.

    What an example of how just totally evil the DMCA is as a law... It protects corporate cartels (MPAA), and for-profit "religions" (cult more properly describes Scientology though).

  • by Maldivian (264175) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:32AM (#359882)
    Here is the full text [xs4all.nl]. Also Understand I'm posting this comment as a citizen of Maldives [google.com] and that Church of Scientology would not have jurisdiction over me or my comments.
  • by Maldivian (264175) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:16AM (#359883)
    Fisherman's Affidavit [xs4all.nl] Sorry I couldnt past it cause of lameness filter.
  • 75 million years ago, bodies were blown up on Hawaii.

    Wait a minute. Wait a minute! Hawaii didn't exist 75 million years ago!

    OMG, Scientology is a bunch of made-up crap!

  • You completely miss the point here. The DMCA would essentially made Slashdot liable if they refuse to take down material that are clearly in violation of copyright law, regardless of whether Slashdot owns or has any control over or liability for the post in question, and regardless of whether they are guilty in the initial violation of copyright law that occured when the posting was made.

    The real problem here is the DMCA.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer)

  • by BIGJIMSLATE (314762) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:25AM (#359907)
    *Comment removed by The Church of Scientology for violating Section 512 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. All your rights are belong to us. And now that we're friends, come join us in our religion. Remember, if it wasn't for us, there would be no Battlefield Earth*
  • by SonnicJohnny (321966) on Friday March 16, 2001 @04:49AM (#359910) Homepage
    "Slashdot is liable for everything written on Slashdot"

    This action by Slashdot is not the end of Slashdot, nor is it legally binding (IANAL). It is nothing more than a prudent move in our current "Freedom of Speech" climate.

    As we all know, Freedom of Speech does not exist in this country. When the constitution reads "Congress shall make 'no' law...", and those in congress interpret this as "Congress shall make 'some' laws...", then a move made to preserve your own existence could only be called prudent. We have to choose our battles.... in this case the comment itself was removed, but links can be provided and instructions for how to obtain the text through serch engines can also be provided.

    One does not weather a storm by attempting to sail through it at full sail.

"Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world." - The Beach Boys

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