OC News 2002
This is an archive of news related to Operation Clambake and/or it's author(s). Other news about the controversial fight against the atrocities done by the Cult of Scientology can be found on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology or Operation Clambake Message Board.
|December 30 2002|
"Meanwhile, the Church of Scientology International used copyright laws to pressure Google to remove listings for a Norwegian site run by critics. The French and German governments cited their laws in getting the search engine to remove hate sites."
|December 29 2002|
|December 28 2002|
The European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA was organized to work toward achieving the following reforms:
|December 16 2002|
|October 1 2002|
"When it comes to the Internet's history, the real power-brokers are proving to be the lawyers - and especially those employed by the Church of Scientology. Last week the internet's biggest digital archive became that much smaller after Scientology lawyers insisted that it remove pages created by the organisation's critics. Those running the archive did so with barely a murmur, proving yet again how effective the church's legal threats can be in undermining free speech. The archive, known as the Wayback Machine, keeps snapshots of millions of old web pages - a remarkable resource available to anyone free of charge at web.archive.org. But last week, researchers looking for pages taken from anti-Scientology sites such as Xenu.net were told that they were no longer available 'per the request of the site owner.' In fact, the demand had come from the church alone, on the ground that copyrighted material contained within these sites put them in breach of the controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
"Under the Act, the church has 'asserted ownership' of work contained within these sites. Yet the result has been to remove entire websites, including pages that appear to be within the law. At Xenu.net, Andreas Heldal-Lund, a long-time opponent of the church, suggests that copyright law is merely a tool to censor critics. 'I'm the author, and I never asked that (the site) be removed,' he says. Another victim, the respected computer scientist Dave Touretzky, found all his research pages blocked from the archive thanks to some anti-Scientology articles. 'I don't exist,' he says. 'I've been erased from internet history. All because I dared to have some Scientology material on my website.'
"Faced with the threat of litigation from the Scientologists, the archive appears to have removed entire domains before taking detailed counsel of its own. After all, no non-profit body likes to risk offending such a determined litigator as the church. Even Google, the search engine, removed links to Xenu.net and similar sites last March, faced with similar wide-ranging copyright claims from the church's lawyers.
"In the Google case, the decision caused an outcry, and the company soon unblocked the links. No lawsuit has followed. Yet the church continues to put legal pressure on smaller websites, Internet service providers and even online booksellers to suppress dissent. And each time one of its targets succumbs, another blow is dealt to free debate."
|September 27 2002|
"How scary is the Church of Scientology? Well, I waffled on whether I should even write the column you're about to read, because I figured I'd get CNET sued just by bringing up the topic. But I couldn't stay out of the fray. I find it terrifying that any criticism of Scientology is fast disappearing from the Web, thanks to ill-conceived copyright laws and an apparently rampant fear of being sued."
Archive.org still wrongfully claim on their site that:
Blocked Site Error.
Per the request of the site owner, http://www.xenu.net/ is no longer available in the Wayback Machine. Try another request or click here to see if the page is available, live, on the Web.
|September 26 2002|
|September 25 2002|
"Buckling under pressure from the Church of Scientology, the Internet Archive has removed a church critic's Web site from its system.
The Internet Archive, a site that preserves snapshots of old Web pages and bills itself as "a library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," no longer contains links to archival pages of Xenu.net. Instead, surfers are pointed to a page telling them the site was taken down "per the request of the site owner."
However, Xenu.net operator Andreas Heldal-Lund said he never made any such request. Heldal-Lund, a Norwegian businessman and longtime church critic, said he's eager for people to read archived pages of his site.
"I'm the author, and I never asked that it be removed," he said. "I believe what's happening in this case is important history."
A representative of the Internet Archive said the organization, which is run mostly by volunteers, took the pages down after lawyers for the Church of Scientology "asserted ownership of materials visible through" the site. He said the group replaced the links with a generic error message about blocked sites.
However, the organization removed not only Xenu.net pages containing excerpts from Church of Scientology documents, but also the entire Xenu.net site, which contains pages crafted entirely by Heldal-Lund."
Article also in C|Net News.com, SiliconValley.com, Planet Multimedia, Geek.com, Compulenta and Heise Online.
|September 24 2002|
LawMeme also has a good article today: Sherman, Set the Wayback Machine for Scientology:
"The Wayback Machine (aka Archive.org, The Internet Archive) has, with little fanfare, removed entire domains from its archive in accordance with a request from Scientology's lawyers:Lawyers for the Church of Scientology contacted the Internet Archive, asserted ownership of materials visible through the Wayback Machine, and those materials have been removed from the Wayback Machine. [email to LawMeme]The problem is not that the Internet Archive received such a request from the Church of Scientology's lawyers, or even complied with the legal portions of the request, but that the Internet Archive has not taken minimal steps to defend free inquiry and access to information. LawMeme reveals the sordid details..."
|September 16 2002|
|September 5 2002|
|July 12 2002|
|June 25 2002|
There is an article about Operation Clambake and Google in Corporate Counsel today (quote):
"The church's letter listed 85 copyrighted works, including secret, advanced teachings as well as photographs and texts drawn from the church's official publications. Alongside each entry was the Web address where the document could be found on www.xenu.net, a site calling itself "Operation Clambake" that is critical of Scientology."
|June 4 2002|
|May 15 2002|
"We're Seven Wonders, one of the Web's longest running Web Award sites, and we selected your site as the Net Culture Site of the Week on May 15. You can find Seven Wonders at http://www.penncen.com/7wonders/"
|May 7 2002|
|May 4 2002|
"The notice and takedown provision is ripe for abuse," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a University of Wisconsin professor critical of modern copyright laws. "It gives the accused no real due process."
Andreas Heldal-Lund, who runs the Scientology criticism site in question, says the effect is to strip the Internet of its value as a democratic medium where the strong and the meek can be equally heard.
|May 2 2002|
Search engines and links provide information in context; they enhance the Internet's richness of ideas. As such, they warrant full free-speech protections.
But a tussle between the Church of Scientology and Google has exposed a First Amendment vulnerability. A poorly worded copyright-protection law is putting dissent and speech on the Internet at some risk.
Operation Clambake this month selection at Fortean Times: "Everything you ever wanted to know about Scientology and they were afraid you'd ask...".
Operation Clambake is required reading at New York University.
|May 1 2002|
|April 30 2002|
Dort findet der Surfer dann die Klageschrift von Scientology, und im Text den Link zu der von der Sekte für illegal erklärten Homepage. Es handelt sich um eine Webseite des Norwegers Andreas Heldal-Lund (www.xenu.net). Er kritisiert Scientology und untermauert das mit offiziellen und kircheninternem Dokumenten. So wird die Klage unterlaufen: xenu.net ist inzwischen so bekannt wie die Scientology-Webseite selbst.Interview with Paul Wouters at Xtended.net and Andreas Heldal-Lund in Linux Journal today.
|April 27 2002|
|April 25 2002|
|April 24 2002|
With its Chilling Effects partnership, Google is subtly making the point that the right to link is important to its business and to the health of the Web, said David Post, a law professor at Temple University who specializes in Internet issues.
"This is an example where copyright law is being used in conflict with free connectivity and free expression on the Net," he said. Post said Google's situation highlighted the need for more awareness of copyright issues, including pending legislation that is more restrictive than the 1998 law.
The copyright controversy has had an interesting side effect for Operation Clambake. The Google software judges the importance of a page in part by looking at how many other pages link to it. Scientology's complaint set off a flurry of linking to the critics' site, pushing it up two spots to No. 2 in the search results for "Scientology" - just below the church's official site.
|April 22 2002|
The site in question, Operation Clambake (www.xenu.net), is based in Norway, beyond the reach of the United States copyright act. The site portrays the church as a greedy cult that exploits its members and harasses critics. Andreas Heldal-Lund, the site's owner, says the posting of church materials, including some internal documents and pictures of church leaders, is allowable under the "fair use" provisions of internationally recognized copyright law.And Slashdot.org is back on the case. TechTV discussed on Talkback: Should Google Censor Itself?
When Google responded to the church's complaint by removing the links to the Scientology material, techies and free-speech advocates accused Google of censoring its search results. Google also briefly removed the link to Operation Clambake's home page but soon restored it, saying the removal had been a mistake.
|April 17 2002|
In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 9 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results."
I would have appreciated if Google also had bothered to tell me about their change of mind. I had already politely asked Google for an official reply to this site that I could post, as an offer from me to limit the harm this case did to Google. They promised to consider it, but I never heard from them again. I do still salute Google for doing what they now do, this is the smart reaction. Hopefully they have learned their lesson.
Punto Informatico, derStandard, WebWereld and Idg.se reports on the change at Google. When searching on "scientology" on Google today 4 of the first 10 hits are to critical sites and Operation Clambake (www.xenu.net) is up from 4 to number 2. I think this qualifies as a major foot bullet for the Cult of Scientology.
|April 16 2002|
|April 15 2002|
|"Your site has been selected as one of Dimolti s Best of the Internet Award winners.
Any nut with a computer can put up a website, as is evidenced by most sites on the Internet. We wish to thank people like you who contribute to the pool of sites actually worth bothering with."
|April 12 2002|
Google.com sent two DMCA complaints from the cult today. One regarding www.kvalito.no and one regarding www.clambake.org.
This brings it back on Slashdot, Broadband DSLReports.com, NewsBytes and Plastic - attracting a lot of the visitors the cult want to scare away... Linux Journal also got an article on the controvercy with Google.com.
|April 10 2002|
|April 7 2002|
Heldal-Lund, who considers his criticisms a permissible fair use, isn't fighting the Google decision because he doesn't want to consent to U.S. laws as a Norwegian citizen. Others lack the knowledge, time and money to fight.
"People who are engaging in what you might describe as parody and fair use need to be willing to defend those rights, and that's expensive," said Stewart Baker, a lawyer who heads Steptoe & Johnson's technology practice. "People are not always willing to do that."
|April 6 2002|
|April 4 2002|
One site, Operation Clambake, has emerged as a clearinghouse for wacky Scientology texts, firsthand accounts of defectors, and general debunkery of L. Ron Hubbard's "body of wisdom." Based in Norway, Clambake is free from U.S. jurisdiction, meaning Scientology's cutthroat legal eagles can't censor editor Andreas Heldal-Lund with lawsuits."
|April 2 2002|
Financial Times wrote today:
Finally this week, apart from charging for Internet surfing there is a nasty trend developing out there as far as what links you can include on your web pages. The large search engine Google recently removed a web site from the World Wide Web that was critical of the Church of Scientology.
We can thank the US for this. Their draconian Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is effectively being imposed on the whole planet and slowing eroding the premise that the WWW is a free global resource. Ironically the DMCA is also attacking what is supposedly one of the US's fundamental freedoms _ free speech and freedom of expression."
|April 1 2002|
The Church of Scientology, wielding the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act, has convinced search engine Google, Inc. to limit access to certain links that are critical of the organization.
The Church of Scientology objected to highly-placed search links to Xenu.net, a Norway-based site that claims to lead the "fight against the Church of Scientology on the Net."
|March 31 2002|
"Now Xenu.net and clambake.org have virtually disappeared from Google's database.
When using the DMCA as a legal club to thwap critics, Scientology must claim that its copyrighted material has been unlawfully expropriated.
Among the ostensibly infringing sites: Excerpts from an internal report on a Scientology member who died under mysterious circumstances after allegedly being held against her will, and photographs of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and others juxtaposed with Adolf Hitler."
|March 28 2002|
|March 25 2002|
|March 23 2002|
|March 22 2002|
Google have put the top page (www.xenu.net) back in their index, and this of course is the most important one. This is because DMCA cover copyright violations and not trademarks, which is the base for the cult complaining about the index page. Google are still blocking the other pages the cult complained about. So keep writing to Google and urge them to rethink! And if you want to help Clambake's ranking on Google: Add a link and/or banner to Operation Clambake. :-)
From The Mercury News:
Certain pages of the Xenu.net website were removed from our search engine earlier this week in response to a copyright infringement notification under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)," Google spokesman David Krane said in an e-mail.Reuters interviewed me today.
The home page for Xenu.net was "inadvertently removed" along with a long, two-page list of associated Web pages Wednesday but was put back Thursday, said Google spokeswoman Cindy McCaffrey. Neither she nor Krane were available for further comment.
|March 22 2002|
What did the cult achieve with this DMCA complaint? That hundreds of media woke up and linked to this site which lead to number of newcomers to this site sky rocketed? Another massive foot bullet for the cult. Here is the statistics for one of the servers this site is on, copied at 02:00 (CET) today:
|March 21 2002|
Write them an e-mail expressing your view. Remember always to be polite.
Today my ISP, Xtended Internet in Holland, also released the story of what happened in the recent month when the cult crusaded against them because of Operation Clambake.
|March 20 2002|
"While Google's 'cache' system might qualify as a 'host' site, the DMCA makes *no* provisions for the mere 'link' or system that qualifies links, and Google, in case they actually did consider the complaint justified, owed you a notification immediately upon receipt of the complaint. I doubt *seriously* that Google wants to adopt responsibility for every site they index, and this sounds completely insane." [Zinj]LATEST:
|March 3 2002|
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