CyberSurfing - Scientology Deplores Net Losses.
[02 Feb 1995]

by Richard Leiby

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CyberSurfing - Scientology Deplores Net Losses.
The Washington Post
February 2, 1995
By Richard Leiby

Perturbations, pleasures and predicaments on the information

The controversial Church of Scientology is not making any new
friends on the Internet. In recent weeks, attorneys for the
church have threatened legal action against people who they say
post church documents in the alt.religion.scientology discussion

Now the church wants to shut down the alt.religion.scientology
newsgroup entirely, claiming its top-secret "scriptures" are
being revealed, and its copyrights and trade secrets violated.
"We are trying to deal with an anarchy created by some net users
who callously trample on the intellectual property rights of
organizations," Scientology attorney Helena Kobrin wrote in a
letter that's been reposted in many newsgroups.

Them's fightin' words on the Net, whose partisans are nothing if
not impassioned defenders of free speech. Internet users have
begun a petition drive decrying the church's efforts as
censorship. Defectors from Scientology say the copyright argument
is a smoke screen, and that Scientology's leadership simply
cannot tolerate an open forum for dissent. Last week, the
Washington-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading
civil liberties organization for Net users, rallied to the
defense of system administrators who've been caught in the

Scientology lawyers say defectors from the church are illegally
distributing "advanced technology" course materials that usually
cost devotees thousands of dollars to obtain. Those scriptures
include Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's dogma that an
intergalactic holocaust 75 million years ago touched off
mankind's spiritual woes.

"Though we do not condone making copyrighted material available
on any electronic network without the permission of the copyright
holder, your specific legal threats are short-sighted, perceived
to be mean-spirited, ineffective, and are on tenuous legal
grounds," says the petition to the church from Internet activist
Jon Noring -- "It won't stop those who are
determined to make available alleged copyrighted materials ...
They will find other avenues on the electronic networks to do

- Richard Leiby