Part of a public library containing court papers related to lawsuits involving Scientology in some way. Collected to help lawyers and critics of Scientology in future lawsuits from or against this cult. Please report back if this has been of help, or send new contributions to the collection. Thanks. Andreas Heldal-Lund (heldal@online.no)

                     RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, Plaintiff,
  Arnaldo Pagliarina LERMA, Digital Gateway Systems, The Washington Post, Marc
                     Fisher, and Richard Leiby, Defendants.
                             Civ. A. No. 95-1107-A.
                          United States District Court,
                                 E.D. Virginia,
                              Alexandria Division.
                                 Nov. 29, 1995.
  Religious organization brought action against individual, Internet access
 provider, newspaper, and reporters, alleging copyright infringement
 based on dissemination of works owned by organization.  On organization's
 motion for reconsideration of motion for preliminary injunction against
 newspaper and reporters and motion for preliminary injunction against
 individual and access provider, and on individual's motion to vacate order for
 seizure of individual's computer files, the District Court, Brinkema, J., held
 that:  (1) organization's rights under free exercise clause did not negate
 newspaper's right to use works;  (2) assertion that dissemination would cause
 spiritual harm did not warrant injunction against newspaper;  (3) economic harm
 alleged by organization did not warrant injunction against newspaper;  and (4)
 organization was not entitled to injunction against individual, in light of
 organization's misconduct.
  Granted in part and denied in part.

 Reconsideration motion is typically heard only where court has patently
 misunderstood party or where there is significant change in law or facts of

 Religious organization's assertion that secrecy of certain religious works was
 central tenet of religion and that dissemination would decimate its religion
 did not require court to preliminarily enjoin newspaper from using works, under
 free exercise clause, as newspaper was entitled to undertake legally
 permissible criticism of religion so long as possession of works was achieved
 lawfully, pursuant to First Amendment freedom of the press and fair use
 doctrine.  U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1;  17 U.S.C.A. s 107.

 District court must weigh religious claims, under free exercise clause, against
 overriding necessity of enacting neutral and general laws to promote common
 good;  in evaluating clash of these principles, judiciary must honor legitimate
 secular goals, and activities that are otherwise permissible cannot be
 prohibited on ground they offend another individual's religious culture or
 sensibilities.  U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

 Law satisfies requirement of free exercise clause if it is "neutral" and of
 "general applicability."  U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

 Religious organization's claim that dissemination of works owned by
 organization would result in spiritual harm to persons who were not members of
 religion and to those members who had not attained certain spiritual level did
 not require court to preliminarily enjoin newspaper from using works;  First
 Amendment protected free access to information over paternalistic efforts to
 prevent harm caused by such information, newspaper's use was lawful under fair
 use doctrine, and court could not accept as truth religious beliefs forecasting
 universal harm.  U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1;  17 U.S.C.A. s 107.

 Economic harm which religious organization claimed would result due to
 dissemination of organization's works, including competition from other
 churches and potential loss of new parishioners, did not warrant preliminary
 injunction preventing newspaper from using legally obtained works, in
 organization's copyright infringement action against newspaper, as newspaper's
 brief quotes from works were insufficient for creation of rival organization
 based on works, and potential loss of parishioners was price paid in society
 encouraging open marketplace for ideas.

 Whether preliminary injunction should be issued is determined by flexible
 interplay of four factors which include risk of irreparable harm to plaintiff
 if relief is denied, risk of harm to defendant if relief is granted, likelihood
 of plaintiff's success on merits, and interest of public.

 Religious organization could not preliminarily enjoin individual who placed
 organization's works on Internet from further disseminating works, in
 copyright infringement action;  even if individual's conduct did not
 necessarily constitute fair use of works, individual was bound by court order
 to use information only in manner constituting fair use, individual was
 protected by First Amendment freedom of the press, organization's primary goal
 was not to protect legal rights but to stifle criticism about religion itself,
 and organization did not act appropriately in connection with seizure of
 individual's computer files pursuant to initial temporary restraining order.
 U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1;  17 U.S.C.A. s 107.

 First Amendment's protection of freedom of the press extends to individuals and
 groups in addition to commercial news organizations.  U.S.C.A. Const.Amend.

 Regardless of whether defendant's use of copyrighted material is fair use,
 general discussion of and reporting about contents of any work is
 permissible.  17 U.S.C.A. ss 102(b), 107.
  *1355 Bruce B. McHale, Alexandria, VA, for Religious Technology Center.
  Jay Ward Brown, Washington, DC, for Arnaldo P. Lerma.
  Michael A. Grow, Washington, DC, for Digital Gateway Systems.
  John P. Corrado, Alexandria, VA, for The Washington Post, Marc Fisher, and
 Richard Leiby.
                              OF NOVEMBER 29, 1995

  BRINKEMA, District Judge.
  This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Religious Technology
 Center's ("RTC") Emergency Motion for Reconsideration and Rehearing of RTC's
 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against
 defendants The Washington Post, Marc Fisher and Richard Leiby (collectively,
 "The Post"), plaintiff RTC's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction against
 defendant Lerma and Digital Gateway System ("DGS") and defendant Lerma's Motion
 to Vacate the August 11, 1995 Writ of Seizure and Order for Impoundment and to
 Increase the Amount of Plaintiff's Bond.  On September 15, 1995 we denied all
 of RTC's motions and granted Lerma's motion.  The memorandum to support that
 ruling was deferred.
  [1] At the outset, we caution counsel that this Court seldom revisits
 motions upon which it has already ruled.  Such an approach fosters efficiency
 and finality.  A reconsideration motion is typically heard only where the Court
 has "patently misunderstood a party" or where there is a "significant change in
 the law or facts" of a case.  Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing,
 Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.Va.1983).  Although neither circumstance is
 present here, the Court has permitted reargument because the RTC claims that
 the Court's denial of its Temporary Restraining Order has significant First
 Amendment implications upon which the RTC had not focused in its first motion.
 In the Court's view, these arguments should have been raised in RTC's original
 motion against The Post instead of awaiting this second attack.  Nevertheless,
 in the interests of full consideration of RTC's claims, we granted the
 rehearing confident that RTC's future pleadings will address all significant
 legal issues in the first instance.
  A. The Free Exercise Clause
  [2] The most potent new issue raised by the RTC concerns the alleged
 interference that the Court's August 30 Order ("the Order") wreaks upon the
 free exercise of the Scientology religion.  RTC asserts that
 *1356 maintenance of the secrecy and confidentiality of the documents in
 question ("AT documents") represents a fundamental and inviolate tenet of the
 Scientology religion.  Withholding these documents from unprepared or
 uninitiated observers was of primary importance to founder L. Ron Hubbard and
 is a belief woven throughout his original writings.  Thus, for Scientologists
 publication of these materials threatens "irreversible alteration of religious
 beliefs, including compelled annihilation of a core belief--confidentiality of
 the [AT documents]."  (RTC's brief at p. 17)
  The RTC asserts that the Court's Order by permitting The Post limited and
 specified use of the AT documents "imposes a change in religious belief and
 practice by judicial fiat ... [It] dictate[s] to Scientologists how to practice
 their religion."  (RTC's brief at p. 5)  The Court thereby places in the
 hands of The Post "the authority to decide how the Scientology religion is
 practiced."  (RTC's brief at p. 14)  "Publishing is a literal violation
 of ... the very religious beliefs in question."  (RTC's brief at p. 17)  The
 RTC further argues that by denying their request to enjoin The Post and impound
 all AT documents in The Post's possession, this Court is placing its imprimatur
 on activity which represents "sacrilege" to the religion and "does violence to
 everything [Scientologists] believe in ..."  (Transcript of September 15, 1995
 Hearing at p. 15)
  We recognize that the RTC has installed extraordinary measures to
 maintain the secrecy of its AT documents and that they have zealously pursued
 any reported leaks of information.  However, it is a quantum leap to claim that
 Scientology's endeavors to enforce the secrecy of these documents thereby
 prohibits secular organizations from undertaking legally permissible criticism
 of Scientology including quotes from these documents as long as possession of
 the documents was achieved lawfully.  In their effort to enjoin The Post, the
 RTC is essentially urging that we permit their religious belief in the secrecy
 of the AT documents to "trump" significant conflicting constitutional rights.
 In particular, they ask us to dismiss the equally valid First Amendment
 protections of freedom of the press.  Furthermore, RTC asks that we allow the
 Free Exercise Clause to deflate the doctrine of fair use as embodied in the
 copyright statute, one of the very status laws upon which the RTC has based
 this lawsuit.
  Were they arguing to a religious council placed within a theocratic
 government, RTC's arguments might prevail.  But this Court is a secular branch
 of a secular democratic government.  Our traditional separation of church from
 the state, combined with the heterogeneity of religious practices in this
 country compel us to reject the RTC's arguments.  "While the Free Exercise
 Clause clearly prohibits the use of state action to deny the rights of free
 exercise to anyone, it has never meant that a majority could use the machinery
 of the State to practice its beliefs."  Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 57,
 105 S.Ct. 2479, 2490, 86 L.Ed.2d 29 (1985).  In the same vein, RTC may not
 employ the machinery of this Court to enforce its religious prescriptions
 against The Post by enjoining otherwise permissible activity.
  [3] Ultimately this Court must weigh any religious claims against the
 overriding necessity of enacting neutral and general laws to promote the common
 good.  In evaluating the clash of these principles, the judiciary must honor
 legitimate secular goals.  Activities that are otherwise permissible cannot be
 prohibited on the ground that they offend another individual's religious
 culture or sensibilities.  The Supreme Court stated this point cogently in
 Employment Division, Dept. of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S.
 872, 885, 110 S.Ct. 1595, 1603, 108 L.Ed.2d 876 (1990):
   The government's ability to enforce generally applicable prohibitions of
 socially harmful conduct, like its ability to carry out other aspects of public
 policy, 'cannot depend on measuring the effects of a governmental action on a
 religious objector's spiritual development.'  To make an individual's
 obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law's coincidence with his
 religious beliefs ...--permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, 'to become a
 law unto himself,'--contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.
  *1357 (emphasis added) (citations omitted).  The opinion concludes:
   The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally
 required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every
 conceivable kind.
  Id. at 888-89, 110 S.Ct. at 1605.
  [4] It is well-established that a law satisfies the requirement of the Free
 Exercise Clause if it is "neutral" and of "general applicability."  Church
 of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, ---- et seq.,
 113 S.Ct. 2217, 2226 et seq., 124 L.Ed.2d 472 (1993). [FN1]

      FN1. Using the formula detailed in Lukumi Babalu, the Supreme Court has
     repeatedly upheld other secular activities that conflicted with a
     petitioner's religious beliefs.  See e.g., Lyng v. Northwest Indian
     Cemetery Protective Ass'n., 485 U.S. 439, 108 S.Ct. 1319, 99 L.Ed.2d 534
     (1988) (permitting government logging and road construction on lands used
     for religious purposes by Native Americans);  Bowen v. Roy, 476 U.S.
     693, 106 S.Ct. 2147, 90 L.Ed.2d 735 (1986) (upholding the assignment of a
     social security number despite petitioner's claim that it violated
     religious beliefs).

  RTC responds that their claims merit additional weight because the secrecy of
 the AT documents is a necessary condition to the operation of Scientology.  In
 other words, dissemination of the confidential materials threatens to decimate
 the religion as opposed to merely offending Scientologists, consequently,
 inhibiting their free exercise of their religion.  The RTC supports this
 argument with the affidavits of various Scientologists.  Despite these
 affidavits, it would be inappropriate and beyond our capability to assess the
 degree of importance which such confidentiality has in the Scientology
   It is no more appropriate for judges to determine the "centrality" of
 religious beliefs ... in the free exercise field, than it would be for them to
 determine the "importance" of ideas ... in the free speech field.  What
 principle of law or logic can be brought to bear to contradict a believer's
 assertion that a particular act is "central" to his personal faith?
  Dept. of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. at 886-87, 110 S.Ct.
 at 1604.
  The RTC attempts to analogize the Court's Order to "an order compelling a
 Protestant to dispute the Resurrection, ordering a fundamentalist to read the
 Bible [non-literally], compelling an observant Jew to eat pork, or compelling
 an observant Catholic to have an abortion."  (RTC's brief at p. 5)  This
 analogy fails because in each hypothetical the judiciary is forcing an
 affirmative action upon the religion member.  However, the instant case is
 distinguishable because the Court, by upholding neutral copyright and First
 Amendment law is not compelling any Scientologist to do anything.  Instead, the
 Order merely permits The Post to utilize the AT documents within the limits of
 the fair use exception to the copyright law.  In effect, all the Order allows
 is the continued operation of established secular law in the neutral fashion
 for which it was intended.
  B. Spiritual Harm
  [5] A second related argument regards the alleged spiritual harm that will
 befall Scientologists and non-Scientologists alike from reading the AT
 documents.  The RTC claims that premature exposure of the documents to non-
 Scientologists (and even to Scientologists who have not reached the requisite
 OT level) will result in "devastating, cataclysmic spiritual harm."  (RTC's
 brief at p. 34)  "According to the church's dogma, founder L. Ron Hubbard
 taught that disclosure of these documents to anyone who had not progressed
 through the necessary spiritual prerequisites could cause profound spiritual
 harm to the person prematurely exposed."  (Third McShane Declaration, pp 2-3)
 Non-Scientologists will also be harmed because premature exposure will
 interfere with their "personal spiritual progress."  Id. p. 11.
  This argument has no merit.  We reside in a country which allows
 individuals and organizations to confront the risk of harm, spiritual or
 otherwise, in the face of protected speech.  The First Amendment represents a
 conscious and explicit trade-off which the Founding Fathers made between
 paternalistic protection from "harmful" thoughts and free access to
 information.  Where statutorily and constitutionally protected speech is
 *1358 concerned, our system permits an individual's fate to be sealed by the
 individual's choices rather than governmental monitoring.
  The RTC states that "violations of intellectual property rights are not
 protected speech within the meaning of the First Amendment."  (RTC's brief
 at p. 23, emphasis in original).  However, this Court has already ruled that
 the excerpts appearing to date in The Post constitute fair use under the
 copyright statute, and are thus not "violations."  We have encountered no
 evidence to alter that decision.
  In addition to individuals, the RTC also argues that release of the AT
 documents could wreak destruction on a planetary scale.  One Scientologist
 describes how dissemination of the documents might "let loose a hurricane upon
 the world through our materials coming into unethical or suppressive or
 psychiatric hands ...  To place this data near such people as psychiatrists or
 even states, places them in a position to enslave people ..." (RTC's brief
 at p. 12)
  This argument is merely another version of the RTC's first argument.  It asks
 this Court to accept as truth what is a religious belief of Scientologists and
 to make a finding of irreparable harm based on such acceptance.  That is not a
 proper basis upon which a secular court can base a judicial decision.
  For the foregoing reasons, the addition of RTC's free exercise argument does
 not warrant reversal of our previous denial of the motion for temporary
 restraining order and preliminary injunction against The Post.
  C. Economic Harm and Prior Restraint
  [6] In addition to spiritual harm, RTC's Emergency Motion reargues their
 position about economic harm from publication of the AT documents.  RTC bases
 its economic claims upon two types of harm:
   1) Competition from rival churches or "splinter groups" which will draw away
 future parishioners and potential donations (RTC's brief at pp. 24-43);  and
   2) The "potential loss of new parishioners through ridicule, by taking
 portions of the materials out of context."  (RTC's brief at p. 16)
  As to the first claim, no reasonable person could find that The Post's brief
 quotations from the AT documents could provide sufficient material upon which a
 rival church could establish a competing organization.  As The Post has argued,
 there is no evidence that it intends any more extensive quotations, and indeed
 they are under court order to confine their use of the documents to that
 permitted by fair use.  Moreover, The Post is clearly not in the business of
 setting up religions and is not a competitor of Scientology.
  Regarding the RTC's concern about potential loss of new parishioners,
 this is the price paid in a free society which encourages an open marketplace
 for ideas.  Free speech protections and the fair use exemption to the copyright
 statute exist to permit open and educated debate on matters of public
 importance.  The RTC must accept the fact that a frank criticism of Scientology
 religious tenets may deter some potential parishioners.  Harm from legitimate
 criticism is not actionable under either the First Amendment or the copyright
 laws.  New Era Publications Int'l v. Carol Publishing Group, 904 F.2d 152,
 160 (2nd Cir.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 921, 111 S.Ct. 297, 112 L.Ed.2d 251
  Thus, the additional arguments presented by RTC regarding alleged economic
 harms are unconvincing, and are insufficient to alter the Blackwelder
 analysis which prompted this Court's denial of their original motion.
  No other arguments in the RTC brief merit any further discussion because they
 either merely repeat previous arguments or express disagreement with our
 previous ruling.  Based on the foregoing, RTC's Emergency Motion for
 Reconsideration and Rehearing is DENIED.
  [7] The analysis we made concerning The Post is also relevant to RTC's
 request for *1359 preliminary injunction against Lerma and DGS as well.
 Whether a preliminary injunction should be issued "is determined by the
 'flexible interplay' of four factors:  the risk of irreparable harm to the
 plaintiff if relief is denied, the risk of harm to the defendant if relief is
 granted, the likelihood of the plaintiff's success on the merits, and the
 interest of the public."  Religious Technology Center v. Lerma, 897 F.Supp.
 260, 262 (E.D.Va.1995) (quoting Blackwelder Furniture Co. v. Seilig
 Manufacturing Co., 550 F.2d 189, 196 (4th Cir.1977)) ("Order").
  [8] Several of the conclusions we reached regarding The Post are applicable
 to Lerma.  First, we find that the RTC has not made a strong showing of
 irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted.  Lerma has agreed to abide
 by the same court order as has been imposed against The Post.  Specifically, he
 has agreed to be bound by the fair use provisions of the copyright law and he
 has agreed not to transfer the AT documents to anyone.
  [9] Second, the First Amendment's protection of the freedom of the press
 extends to individuals and groups in addition to commercial news organizations
 such as The Post.  As a result, Lerma would also suffer irreparable harm from
 the prior restraint which would result from a grant of the injunction.
 "[L]iberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon
 paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who
 utilizes the latest photocomposition methods."  Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S.
 665, 704, 92 S.Ct. 2646, 2668, 33 L.Ed.2d 626 (1972).
  Rather than publishing in a newspaper, Lerma has used the Internet,
 which is rapidly evolving into both a universal newspaper and public forum.
 And although the law has not yet decided how to deal with the Internet, it is
 certain that this form of communication will retain First Amendment
 protections.  Thus, the method of Lerma's publications and the size of his
 audience are not reasons for treating him differently from The Post under the
 Blackwelder test.
  Up to this point, therefore, our analysis and conclusions are the same as
 those we reached in the RTC's case against The Post.  However, on the
 likelihood of success on the merits, the balance tips somewhat more in RTC's
 favor because of the degree and surrounding circumstances of Lerma's
 publications on the Internet.  This Court earlier held that The Post's limited
 use of brief quotations amidst extensive original commentary surrounding a
 newsworthy event clearly fell within the "fair use" exception of the copyright
 statute.  See Religious Technology Center v. Lerma, 897 F.Supp. 260, 263
 (E.D.Va.1995).  Lerma's use of the AT documents is more extensive than The
 Post's and may not constitute fair use.  The RTC provided numerous examples of
 AT Documents or segments thereof copied from Lerma's computer.  These excerpts
 often constitute much larger quotations from the AT documents than those found
 in The Post article.  See RTC's Under Seal Exhibit Binder from the September
 15, 1995 Hearing.  They sometimes represent wholesale copying of a distinct
 segment or bulletin from allegedly copyrighted documents.  Most importantly,
 they appear at times to have been copied without any comment or criticism
  Lerma objected to the introduction of these exhibits because a copy had not
 been provided to counsel before the hearing.  Lerma argued that in discovery he
 had asked for just such a comparison;  he claimed to be at a disadvantage
 because of surprise.  The Court quickly reviewed defendant's discovery
 requests, found they did not include an explicit request for this comparison
 and then reviewed the exhibit.  On this preliminary review, we conclude that
 Lerma's copying and publishing appears more extensive than The Post's and,
 therefore, that the likelihood of RTC succeeding on the merits of the
 copyrighted infringement claim is somewhat higher than in its case against The
  However, as much as this Court may be concerned about Lerma's use of the AT
 documents, it is even more troubled by issues raised in Lerma's Motion to
 Vacate.  Lerma argues that the RTC cannot avail itself of the equitable power
 of the Court because it has unclean hands.  Specifically, he attacks:  1) the
 bona fide intentions of RTC in bringing *1360 this lawsuit;  and 2) the
 manner in which the RTC has handled the materials seized from his home on
 August 11, 1995.
  When the RTC first approached the Court with its ex parte request for the
 seizure warrant and Temporary Restraining Order, the dispute was presented as a
 straight-forward one under copyright and trade secret law.  However, the Court
 is now convinced that the primary motivation of RTC in suing Lerma, DGS and The
 Post is to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its
 critics.  As the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric of its briefs and oral
 argument now demonstrate, the RTC appears far more concerned about criticism of
 Scientology than vindication of its secrets.  RTC's Emergency Motion for
 Reconsideration, discussed above, is a clear example of this conduct.
  [10] In that motion, the RTC maligns the "incorrect premise that a
 newspaper has a 'right' to report on the content of, let alone quote from,
 confidential, unpublished materials."  Emergency Motion at p. 33 (emphasis
 added).  This is not an incorrect premise.  Whether or not the extent of The
 Post's or Lerma's quotations exceed fair use, it is beyond dispute that general
 discussion of and reporting about the "contents" of any work is permissible.
 The Copyright Act itself provides:
   In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
 extend to any idea ... system ... concept, principle, or discovery, regardless
 of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in
 such work.
  17 U.S.C.A. s 102(b).  The "idea/expression" distinction in copyright law
 is a critical balance which allows a flourishing exchange of ideas while still
 protecting a particular author's expression of that idea.  The RTC's position
 appears to be an attempt to silence comments about the ideas of Scientology and
 not just the particular expression of those ideas.
  The RTC claims that "The Post's motivation is not so mild.  That its intention
 in copying the documents from the court file is vicious is underscored by the
 contents of the article itself."  Id. at p. 35.  The Post's use of AT
 Document quotations was quite minimal, as this Court earlier held.  The
 "contents" to which the RTC so vigorously objects, therefore, appear to be
 adverse discussion and criticism of Scientology and this related litigation.
 Although the RTC may attempt to argue that "any public interest in obtaining
 information through media sources ... does not supersede the rights of a
 copyright owner," Emergency Motion at p. 44, copyright law, the First
 Amendment, and the fair use doctrine prove this is not always the case.
  This theme is also demonstrated at oral argument.  There were numerous times
 when counsel for RTC strayed into issues far beyond the scope of copyright or
 trade secret law and were more akin to an objection to criticism of
 Scientology.  See e.g., Transcript of September 15, 1995, p. 12 (RTC is
 concerned about "broadside attacks on the religious practices of Scientology,
 broadside attacks on the Scientology and Scientologists");  p. 16 (the reason
 the AT Documents are being exposed "is to offend [the] sensibility [of
 Scientologists], to offend [their] conviction[s].  These are spiteful
 revelations that are being made.  These are not being made by anybody in the
 interest of news.");  pp. 20-21 ("The Church of Scientology has to come in here
 and has to be confronted with The Washington Post claim that it has the right
 to get those files ... and that their rights are superior ... to the core of
 religious convictions and belief of every Scientologist everywhere ...");  p.
 24 (that The Post published certain quotes--quotes to which RTC makes no
 copyright or trade secret claim--in order to "be offensive to Christians
 everywhere ... it's just a vicious, disgusting attack on Jesus Christ made up
 for that purpose.");  p. 25 (that The Post published some of this "phony"
 material "to try to cut the lines of Scientology to their co-religionists in
 the Christian religion around the world.  It was a vicious thing to do.");  p.
 25 (that "the attack on the religious beliefs and practices of Scientology is
 absolutely repugnant to the Constitution and ought not to be allowed to
 stand.  [The Post has] mowed down [RTC's] rights with the phony exercise of
 their own.");  pp. 29, 30, 31 (where RTC makes reference to other "attacks"
 unrelated to any copyright infringement). *1361 These repeated excursions
 into concerns about attacks on Scientology and its followers, excursions which
 the Court had to reign in, reinforce our earlier mentioned concerns regarding
 the bona fides of this case.  Had the Court been aware of the true motives
 behind this litigation, it might not have granted the RTC's initial ex parte
 motions for a Temporary Restraining Order and to permit a seizure of Lerma's
  The Court's concern is further heightened by the manner in which Lerma's
 computer files were seized and subsequently searched.  There has been extensive
 briefing and argument by all parties on their varying interpretations of the
 seizure and search order.  Regardless of RTC's attempt to interpret and the
 wording of the seizure order, it was this Court's understanding that Lerma's
 property would be turned over to an "independent" computer expert who would
 conduct independent searches based upon a limited set of search indicia.  At
 the ex parte hearing the Court expressed concern that the downloading of
 Lerma's information might reveal personal and confidential information
 irrelevant to this case.  (Transcript of Hearing, August 11, 1995 at pp. 14-
 15.)  This independent review was offered as a safeguard against potential
 abuse.  We are greatly disturbed to learn that the scope of RTC's involvement
 clearly exceeded our intentions for the search.  Specifically, we now know that
 counsel for RTC determined ex parte what materials would be subject to
 impoundment based upon judicial authority.
  Moreover, Lerma has effectively demonstrated that--as a direct result of the
 seizure and RTC's involvement in the searching--the RTC has acquired
 confidential information of great import to them and of secondary (at best)
 relevance to this litigation.
  We decline to find that RTC's participation in the search and seizure rises to
 the level of a "fraud on the Court" as Lerma might have us believe.  However,
 we do conclude that RTC violated the spirit if not the letter of the seizure
 writ, and misled the Court as to the way in which the Lerma materials were
 maintained and reviewed.
  We therefore conclude that this problem of unclean hands on the part of RTC
 mandates denial of the equitable relief they presently seek against Lerma and
 DGS.  Even without unclean hands, however, the RTC would lose under the
 Blackwelder test.  The RTC is currently undertaking virtually identical
 litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
 involving FACTNet, Lerma's organizational counterpart.  That case involves the
 same issues and some of the same parties and facts as the instant action.
 After three days of hearings on parallel motions filed by the parties in that
 jurisdiction, and using a balancing test identical to that found in
 Blackwelder, Judge John L. Kane, Jr. denied RTC's Motion for Preliminary
 Injunction, granted the defendants' Motion to Vacate the Seizure Order, and
 ordered immediate return of all the materials.  See Religious Technology
 Center v. F.A.C.T.NET, Inc., 901 F.Supp. 1519 (D.Colo.1995).  We garner
 additional support for our conclusion from this decision.
  For the reasons mentioned above, RTC's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
 against defendants Lerma and Digital Gateway Systems is DENIED and defendant
 Lerma's Motion to Vacate the Writ of Seizure is GRANTED.  Because a stay of
 this ruling would, in effect, leave Lerma in the same enjoined condition from
 which the Court has now found he should be released, RTC's Motions for
 Provisional Stays are DENIED.
                                  AMENDED ORDER
  The September 15, 1995, Order inadvertently omitted defendant, Digital
 Gateway Systems ("DGS").  For this reason, that Order is hereby amended to
 reflect that the Religious Technology Center's ("RTC") Motion for a Preliminary
 Injunction is DENIED against both DGS and Lerma.
  For the reasons stated in open Court and in the Accompanying Memorandum
  Plaintiff Religious Technology Center's Emergency Motion for Reconsideration
 and Rehearing and
  *1362 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Against Defendants Lerma and
 Digital Gateway Systems are DENIED.
  Defendant Lerma's Motion to Vacate the Writ of Seizure and Order for
 Impoundment is GRANTED and it is hereby
  ORDERED that RTC shall immediately return and restore to Defendant Lerma all
 seized materials in their exact original condition.  This includes both Lerma's
 hard drives and all floppy disks;  and it is further
  ORDERED that Defendant Lerma shall maintain the status quo as to possession of
 all the allegedly copyrighted materials at issue in this case and is restricted
 to employing them only in a fair use capacity.  Lerma and his counsel are
 specifically prohibited from making any additional copies of the materials or
 transferring them in any manner or publicizing them other than in the context
 of fair use.
  This action moots the issue of increased bond relating to the seizure, so
 Defendant Lerma's Motion to Increase Bond is DENIED.
  Plaintiff RTC's Motions for Provisional Stays Pending Appeal to the Fourth
 Circuit are DENIED.

End of file...