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Google Relists Operation Clambake 491

Posted by timothy
from the squeaky-wheels dept.
DarkZero writes: "After almost every tech site and individual geek banded together to either carry the story about Google's delisting of Operation Clambake or flat-out protest it, Google has apparently relisted Xenu.net. Searches for 'xenu' and 'scientology' list Operation Clambake as the first and fourth results, respectively. The search for "scientology" also lists a story from C|Net about Google delisting Operation Clambake, as well as a protest ad from a Kuro5hin reader (oc3)." Update: 03/22 12:52 GMT by M : We jumped the gun. Google only relisted Xenu.net's homepage (where the copyright claims by Scientology were clearly bogus), not the rest of the pages listed in Scientology's DMCA complaint. Some Google sysadmin is getting aggravated because every 20 minutes, another memo from management is coming down telling him to alter the live database.
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Google Relists Operation Clambake

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  • by linzeal (197905) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:55PM (#3205225) Homepage Journal
    Take away their gravy train by not using earthlink.net [slatkinfraud.com] or going to any movie with a scientology actor in a main or even bit part.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:40PM (#3205404)
    Leaving out the nutjob aspects of Scientology, the system has quite a bit of very powerful techniques that are useful (though quite antisocial) in perceiving the world.

    1) figure out who is holding you back from your dreams and eliminate them from your life.

    2) The law exists to protect you. It can be made to serve you as well.

    3) Others are useful insofar as they are useful. (Circular? Yes)

    Essentially, forget that other people are deserving of respect, and don't let guilt stand in your way. Guilt is not natural because it comes from "thetans", so it is necessary to realize that you are not responsible for reacting to the guilt.

    Free yourself from the idea that you exist in a society and you can expand your options 100-fold.

    It's amazing that more Scientologists don't end up in jail, actually.
  • by pcwhalen (230935) <pcwhalen@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:43PM (#3205414) Journal
    • http://www.chillingeffects.org/
    is a great site meant to stop cease and desist terrorists.
  • Re:Damn it! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gorobei (127755) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:11AM (#3205512)
    Earth calling moderators. Come in, moderators.

    If you don't know the long history of Scientology using technical means (e.g. issuing bogus rmgroups and spamming critical newsgroups) or legal means (e.g. the "Tom Cruise missile" incident,) or bizarre means (trying to frame a journalist as a bomber, maybe killing a judge's dog, the "bladders of blood, I was nearly raped incident," you should sit back, do a Google search, read the pages, and remember that your moderation points last for three days.

    In summary, the above post was not a troll, it was, if anything, insightful or funny.
  • by Electrawn (321224) <electrawnNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:22AM (#3205551) Homepage
    To Google (after I read the /. story):

    I am highly concerned about the recent slashdot.org story that your company has recently removed scientology information from your index, select pages from xenu.net and operation clambake.org. It shocks me that all it takes is one letter to knock an opposing voice out of the arena. This will seriously ruin your search engines reputation, especially in the 1st ammendment society we live in.

    From Google:

    Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 23:20:31 -0000
    From: "The Google Team"
    Subject: Re: xenu.net delisting. [#201603]
    To: "Electrawn"

    Thank you for your note about the Xenu.net website.

    Google takes the first amendment very seriously. We are also obligated to
    follow the laws of the land. We removed some pages of the Xenu.net
    website from our search engine earlier this week in response to a
    copyright infringement notification under the Digital Millenium Copyright
    Act (DMCA). It is not within our discretion as a company to decide when
    to conform to the DMCA and when to ignore it. As the DMCA mandates, Google
    also provides webmasters with the ability to have their content reinstated
    if they submit a counter notification to Google. Until that action is
    taken, we will comply with the DMCA and keep the contested pages out of
    our index. If you'd like more information on this topic, you can find it
    here:
    www.google.com/dmca.html or by searching Google for "DMCA"

    (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859- 1& oe=ISO-8859-1&q=dmca).

    We appreciate your interest in this issue and your taking the time to
    express your opinion.

    Sincerely,
    The Google Team
  • Protest at Google (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:23AM (#3205559) Homepage
    I was at Google this afternoon for "their very first protest" as they called it. One of their software engineers sat us (about 10 of us) down and had a long chat about what happened and why. I'm sure you can find out the nitty gritty about it from others, but the thing that really stuck in my head was a comment he made off-handedly. He spoke of how certain links "should" be rated higher than others. Let me explain. In searching for "scientology" it seemed correct to him that the CoS page should rank first, while site with criticism should rank lower. Another example would be seaching for "united", where united airlines should come up first while "Untied" a critic site, should be ranked lower. I thought this was strange since the algorithm itself should be doing this deciding in a more objective manner. I wonder if the pagerank is more subjective than we realise.

    Overall, Google is handled this in a poor, timid manner. First, one of Google's lawyers (seemingly by himself) decided there might be some liability to Google so they should de-list xenu. Only after xenu was de-listed and Rotten (among others) wrote a story about it, did Google reconsider. Google is a relatively small company and not looking to get involved in some ideological dispute over scientology or the DMCA. They are vulnerable to bigger entities in the legal arena. As a result, what they are doing is providing a means to copyright holders to complain about offending material. The means of complaint is basically a legally binding affadavit throwing the liability back at the complainer(?) to provent frivolous complaints.

  • by Black Pete (222858) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:32AM (#3205594)
    Yay! Glad that Google re-listed Operation Clambake. If there is any site that deserves to stay listed despite the DMCA, this is it. However, I still feel that the DOJ really should look into Scientology's actions, many of which are downright illegal. I actually made a post regarding this in the other forum, but here it is again because this issue's too important... SIGN THE PETITION!

    Well, well, well... upon hearing this news, my first thought was of disgust - disgust that Google would help Scientology censor xenu.net into oblivion. However I couldn't help but wonder... who leaked the news to the media? If it was Google who informed the media about this while complying with the law, then I must admit it's a nice way to stir up the controversy and to inform people who/what Scientologists are really like. So.. who leaked? :)

    While lurking around on Xenu.net [xenu.net], I saw that there's a petition to ask the DOJ to investigate the Church[sic] of Scientology. I signed it. How about you?

    DOJ Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/cofs1/petition.html [petitiononline.com]

    Getting on the soapbox for a second to rant a bit(since everyone else is doing it, why not?)

    A comparision was made between Scientology and Al-Quaeda earlier on in this forum. Please! Let's be realistic here... Al-Quaeda isn't that bad! :) At least they're honest when they say "Death to America!" while trying to kill you. With Scientology... well... they infiltrate. They smile and pretend to be your friend while reaching for your wallet. They play with your emotions. If you catch them in the act and try to speak out about it, they try (and usually succeed) to destroy your life. This is even in their DOCTRINE for crying out loud! They're the ultimate mind-fuckers.

    From dictionary.com [dictionary.com]:

    terrorism Pronunciation Key (tr-rzm) n.

    The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    So... if Scientology doesn't fall under this definition, just what IS terrorism anyway?

  • Re:Frightening (Score:3, Informative)

    by Faux_Pseudo (141152) <Faux.Pseudo@g m a il.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:39AM (#3205624) Homepage
    Would you know if they did pull off a massive inquisition? After all: "Nobody suspects the Spanish Inquisition!"
    Before any of you start thinking I am just makeing a joke at the expense of all the people who where tortured let me say that I have read the Malleus Maleficarum and have visited the Inquisition exhibit on toruture takeing place at the San Diego Museum of Man. You want to get sick an nausues? Do ether one of those. And then go to the Museam of Death in LA. Scientologists are wageing an inquisition. But not one that can bee seen by everyone. They do kill and cursade but in a maner compleatly in keeping with their cult like tendancies.
  • Not Quite a Victory (Score:5, Informative)

    by tikk (199159) on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:09AM (#3205738) Homepage
    While it appears clear that Google caved in to PR pressure (site author Andreas has stated he didn't counternotify the DMCA notification), the victory seems to only pertain to the home page and not to the dozens of other urls [operatingthetan.com] cult lawyer Ava Paquette cited in her original complaint - which of course leaves the material on those pages unsearchable. Google probably made an 'executive decision' to allow the home page, since there isn't a single thing that could deemed a copyright violation on that page.

    However, Google is still allowing Paquette to exploit a contradictory flaw in the DMCA by honoring the rest of the complaint. (I tried searching about 15 other links directly on Google, and all came up dead - so I can't say unilaterally that Google is blocking all of the urls, but they're at least blocking all 15 of a random sampling.)

    The key contradiction within the Act itself appears to be the vastly different indemnity offered to ISPs versus that provided for search engines, or as the Act refers to them, "information retrieval tools." Under the DMCA, once notified of links to infringing content, a search engine is required to disable access to the material in question pending a counternotification from the accused infringer - which was what was demanded of the xenu.net site author despite the fact that such a counternotification would have required a citizen of Norway to submit to the jurisdiction of a US federal court.

    However, in a recent ruling dealing with the liability of AOL [newsbytes.com], a court found just the opposite: as an ISP, it was protected from liability for providing "transitory digital network connections" to allegedly infringing material, and not obliged to remove such links even if explicitly informed of their existence. Ironically, ISPs, who are arguably more directly in control, as it were, of third party material hosted on their servers, are granted more protection for "transitory" access to infringing material than search engines, whose very raison d'etre is to provide such links which are inherently ephemeral, and hence transitory, by nature, as they are the result of specific queries, and do not exist on a permanenty accessible single page.

    This basic contradiction within the DMCA puts the onus on search engines to maintain by hand the results of their automated search process, and respond to any and all DMCA complaints, regardless of the location or even continued existence of the page to which the link directs the user.

    It's clear that this loophole presents rapacious copyright owners with a new tool with which to combat any and all use of their material, but as seen in the case of xenu.net, it can also be used as an alternative to launching a suit by copyright owners whose goal is not the protection of their property, but the silencing of critics.

    Google's DMCA disclaimer page [google.com] says " Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights." Is Google prepared to sue the Church of Scientology? After all, misrepresention is most certainly what has occured, and only after Google suffered a major league PR asswhomping did they, upon further reflection, decide that the home page was not a copyright violation.

    So while Scientology lost the major battle (their intention was and has been for some time the removal of all critical content from Google, and especially xenu.net from the top ten), they still managed to win lots of minor skirmishes - forcing the xenu.net site author to respond to dozens of specific complaints, nearly all of them barratrous (which I believe I can opine, being familar with the specific content on those pages, each of which adheres to the bounds of fair use). And because Scientology's newfound weapon found limited success, we can be sure we're going to see it again and again. This is far fom over and unless Google takes a stand, they will be abused badly.

  • by jim3e8 (458859) on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:11AM (#3205747) Homepage
    An earlier example [xs4all.nl] of attempts to stifle linking---relevant not only here, but foreshadows e.g. the 2600 DeCSS case. Excerpt:

    'In article 15, the plaintiffs state that a so-called 'hyperlink', a reference to the location of another document, is also to be considered as "publication and/or duplication by the user and the provider". A hyperlink is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, more than a description of a location that can be activated. Plaintiffs' statement is the same as saying that a library or the writer of a book can be accused of duplication and/or publication because they publish the name, number and location of a certain book or article in a footnote, a bibliography or in an archive entry...

    A hyperlink refers to a location. Hyperlinks regularly refer to other hyperlinks. The whole WWW is nothing but a complicated conglomerate of hyperlinks and files. Are all these systems breaking the law in plaintiffs' opinion? Should the whole WWW be indicted whenever there's a document available somewhere that is illegal in plaintiffs' opinion?

    A hyperlink does not formally add anything. The publication is a fact as soon as the page is on Internet. Making the document available can only be considered as publication and/or duplication when the number of potential users is increased by this act. But this doesn't apply to Internet, because all users already had access to the files, they just didn't know where to find them yet. Making a catalogue (which is what hyperlinks are basically about) means making data easily accessible. In my opinion, that is not illegal.'
  • No they don't. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eloquence (144160) on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:56AM (#3205832) Homepage
  • Re:Geeks vs. Cult (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:02AM (#3205850)
    What is the it about the cult that causes geeks everywere to keep tabs on them?

    Scientologists and their lawyers took to the internet well ahead of the curve - see this (outdated) webpage [thecia.net] that details Scientology's online activities between 1994 and late 1996. Extrapolate the trend from there to get an idea, look around www.xenu.net, etc. to confirm it.

  • by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:08AM (#3205867) Homepage
    Here's the link. [petitiononline.com]
  • by DavidTC (10147) <{slas45dxsvadiv. ... } {neverbox.com}> on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:15AM (#3205887) Homepage
    Not only could google sue, but whoever signed that DMCA notification can be arrested for perjury, due to the way the law is set up.

    The way the DMCA works, if a carrier like google, that holds other people's copyrighted content, gets server with a notification, they have to take the content down. But the notification is sent as a legal oath, and it is signed under the threat of perjury. Some lawyer could easily get disbarred for this little stunt. Operation Foot Bullet indeed.

    xenu.net really needs to set up a legal fund, as copyright owner they'd have to be the ones to do the 'counter-nofication' under the DMCA. It's entirely likely the judge will give them their court costs back, as several of those pages clearly have no copyrighted content on them, the home page comes to mind. (While it could easily have libel on it, I don't know. And CoS would probably claim trademark infringement. But the quickest glance would show it has no content belonging to CoS, and there's no way in hell this notification was sent without being perjury.)

  • by Danse (1026) on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:43AM (#3205954)

    The ad was bought by Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] user oc3 [kuro5hin.org]. Apparently his actions were quite popular [kuro5hin.org].



  • by teambpsi (307527) on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:53AM (#3205983) Homepage
    2x !

    go search 'scientology' on google and it clambake / xenu.net comes up twice on the right hand side in addition to showing up as #4 ranking!

    cancel your earthlink service now and vote local ISP ;)
  • by CanadaDave (544515) on Friday March 22, 2002 @04:18AM (#3206135) Homepage
    I went to the local Church of Scientology in Vancouver once. We had to do a research report on religion. Ironically, I chose Scientology (which isn't even a religion, although it worked for the purposes of this paper). I was actually inside the "church". I said I wanted to learn about it, and they took to the back into a little room. Quite scarry actually, they said they were going to show me a video. The lights went off, so it was completely dark. Then the movie came on in front of me on a gigantic projection screen. It all started off with spinning stars like you're spinning and travelling through space...weird stuff. Then there was some narration (I think it was supposed to be Ron L. Hubbard, or an imitation of him). Then later on, John Travolta said a few words. What a wacko he his. The whole thing was a gigantic brain-wash. After the 30 minute video I felt like I was really struggling to believe that it was all a joke. I knew it was, the video just really does a good job at brain-washing you though. But after I got home, and had time to think about it, I knew it was all a scam. So I'm glad that clambake is back up, to help expose the scam that scientology is. And even if you are curious, do not walk into a Church of Scientology! The people there are very convincing! Not just the video, but the people are very persuasive and they try not to be too pushy at the same time. They just give you a few tame brochures to read, and tell you to come on by if you have any questions. If you're not as strong as I was, you might get dragged in. Don't take the chance...
  • Re:Protest at Google (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Friday March 22, 2002 @04:41AM (#3206174) Homepage
    Going back and re-reading my post. I agree. Perhaps I was too negative. The end result was that Google put Xenu back in the listing which is a good thing. I left Google however, feeling that the guy who talked to us gave us the shuck and jive. He evaded the question as to whether they would publicize DCMA complaints. He also gave me the distinct impression that there is an editorial slant to page rank (or at least he feels there should be) rather than a solid algorithm to weed out the spammers and the googlebombers, leaving the rankings as properly indicative of the popularity of webpages.

    Having said that, I do believe for the most part that is what exists. I sure as hell couldn't write a better one. What worried me is that this editorial slant which i detected might grow larger to the point where the google i use and love is no longer and useful.

    ...and that would make Baby Jesus cry. =P

  • Re:Frightening (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @06:15AM (#3206355)
    Well, Earthlink is the second biggest ISP in the US (prolly in the world) and Sky Dayton [earthlink.net], its CEO, is a Scientologist.

    You have to take into account that Scientology works more like a fringe cult than a real religion. It's willing to use fear and extortion against rebellious members, and willing to take *all* the assets of members. It's willing to expend quite a few resources going after people and on legal suits. This gives it a lot more clout per member than, say, the Methodist church in the US.
  • Perjury (Score:2, Informative)

    by Secret Coward (427931) on Friday March 22, 2002 @06:31AM (#3206383)
    Cool. So if I notify Google that the www.scientology.com website is infringing upon *my* copyrights, they'll delist it?

    You have to make that claim under penalty of perjury. The Church of Scientology would then have the option of claiming, under penalty of perjury, that you are wrong and have their links reinstated.

    Likewise, xenu.net can claim, under penalty of perjury, that the Church of Scientology is wrong, and Google would reinstate their links.

  • by q-soe (466472) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:39AM (#3206720) Homepage
    And anybody dumb enough to write these guys a letter or an email can look forward to being hassled for the rest of their lives by scientology mail, phone calls and personal visits, thats assuming they dont just sue them for their trouble.

    These guys play for keeps - read the xenu.net site, you dont provoke them for fun as they WILL destroy your reputation and your life, they think nothing of spreading false stories about people being criminals and or even child molesters.

    They are a dangerous group of people and you should carefully investigate them before taking them on this is not an example of MS suing someone or a hacker being charged - this is a group who broke into the IRS and copied files, who have been accused of murder, false imprisonment and brainwashing, have been banned as illegal in a number of countries.

    SO- a warning to the /. users who see them selves as white knights and crusaders. Unless you are prepared to be attacked, lose your ISP, maybe your job and carerr DO NOT mess with these people lightly.

    They have some very educated and technically skilled people so be carefull and make sure ANYTHING you do or say against them is done anonymously.

    And i can speak from experience,i lost an ISP account for posting certain comments to newsgroups about them and a really nice cease and desist letter. I have moved 5 times and i still get mail from them, i dont know how they do it but they have to have sources inside australia post to get it (im an aussie) and that means they can track you - im sure they do in the US.

    I dont recommend the experience and everything i do know is thru anonymous sources.

    You have been warned -dont mess with them.
  • by turambar386 (254373) <turambar386.routergod@com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:28AM (#3206880) Homepage
    Good idea.

    Here [snafu.de] is a list of all celebrities involved with the cult.
  • started over a bet (Score:3, Informative)

    by rhaig (24891) <rhaig@acm.org> on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:52AM (#3206992) Homepage
    and all this about a church that was started on a bet between two sci-fi writers.
  • Scientology = Disney (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:56AM (#3207011)
    I wonder if congress intended the Sonny Bono Copyright extension act to protect Scientology as well as it protects Disney corporation. The individuals suffering who are trying to reveal the truth about scientology could sure use some help from the Supreme Court when it considers the copyright extension act's constitutionality.

    This is yet another reason why we need reasonable limits on copyright term, like, say, those that the constitution advises: Reasonable.
  • by RatOmeter (468015) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:16PM (#3207533)
    Search on the Gnutella network on the keywords "scientology" and "exposed" for some *very* interesting documents that were seen there!

    -
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:01PM (#3210889)
    The AdWords sites aren't gone because they've run out but because Google is back to sucking cult dick.

    ---

    Thank you for advertising on Google. At this time, we are not running ads
    for sites that advocate hate against any individual, group, or organization.
    We review ads on a case-by-case basis and reserve the right to not run
    certain ads, or certain categories of ads. Due to our current ads policy,
    we are unable to run your ad on Google.

    Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and therefore offers
    broad access to content across the web without censoring results. At the
    same time, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it
    comes to the advertising we accept on our site, as noted in our
    advertising terms and conditions. Please note that the decisions we make
    concerning advertising in no way affect the search results we deliver.
    Please feel free to email us at adwords-support@google.com if you have
    further questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,

    The Google AdWords Team

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