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Google Publicizes DMCA Takedowns 396

Posted by michael
from the sunlight-is-best-medicine dept.
dmarti writes "In an apparent response to criticism of its handling of a threatening letter from a Church of Scientology lawyer, the popular search engine Google has begun to make so-called "takedown" letters public. DMCA-censored pages are now two clicks and a cut-and-paste away from the regular search results."
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Google Publicizes DMCA Takedowns

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  • The Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:46PM (#3330462)
    (Posted AC, so I'm not whoring...don't need it anyways, but I expect the site to die soon)

    Attention DMCA lawyers: Try to remove a web site from Google's index and you'll probably just make it more popular.

    In an apparent response to criticism of its handling of a threatening letter from a Church of Scientology lawyer, the popular search engine Google has begun to make so-called "takedown" letters public. DMCA-censored pages are now two clicks and a cut-and-paste away from the regular search results.

    The full text of two new letters to Google, dated April 9 and 10, already appears on the free speech site chillingeffects.org. "I think it's great that they're calling attention to the way the takedown provision can be used to compromise their search results," said Wendy Seltzer, Fellow of Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and co-founder of chillngeffects.org.

    Google is still choosing to take advantage of the Safe Harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows web sites to escape liability for copyright infringement if they take pages down in response to properly formed letters.

    In a controversial move last month, Google pulled all pages from the anti-Scientology site xenu.net then restored the site's home page amid Internet outcry, just as Linux Journal readers were on their way to visit Google in person to ask for help finding censored pages about the alien warlord Xenu who is a key figure in Scientology's creation legend.

    Only the name and telephone number of the attorney who wrote the letters have been removed from the copies on chillingeffects.org. Both of the new letters originate from the Los Angeles law firm of Moxon & Kobrin, where attorney Helena Kobrin has long been Scientology's standard-bearer against church critics on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology and other online fora. Kobrin was not immediately available for comment

    The letters are also linked to directly from Google search results. When results would have included a DMCA-censored page, the results page now includes a link to the takedown letter that resulted in the page being removed. A search this morning for site:xenu.net scientology produced the message:

    "In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 8 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results."
    Failing to act in response to a DMCA takedown letter is not against the law. "They can always choose not to take advantage of the safe harbor," Seltzer said. However, only by complying with the letter and taking pages out of their index can Google escape a possible copyright infringement lawsuit.

    Finally, Google has expanded its DMCA page to include instructions for Counter Notification under the DMCA. A webmaster who believes that a non-infringing page is being unfairly censored can write the proper legal incantations and have the page put back into the index.

    Google is then required to forward this Counter Notification to the original notifier, and then put the page back in the index "not less than 10 or more than 14" days after Google receives the Counter Notification. If your site is pulled out of Google and you're confused, chillingeffects.org has a web form that will generate a correctly formed Counter Notification.
    • Re:The Article (Score:5, Informative)

      by muldrake (171275) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:39PM (#3331156) Homepage Journal
      Only the name and telephone number of the attorney who wrote the letters have been removed from the copies on chillingeffects.org.

      Oh, you mean these?

      Ava Paquette
      Moxon & Kobrin
      3055 Wilshire Boulevard
      Suite 900
      Los Angeles, California 90010
      Tel: (213) 487-4468
      Fax: (213) 487-5385

    • Re:The Article (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I love how the letters show conclusively that the OT III docs about Xemu are indeed part of their Advanced Technology. You cannot believe the number of newbie scientologists who believe that Xemu is some lie that anti scientologists invented to make scientology look bad. By the time they themselves are presented with OT III by the Co$ they are already brainwashed enuf to believe anything.

      These letters can provide proof to the new people who joined scientology (before they are brainwashed) that the Co$ is indeed a ufo cult. Thank you Korbin for providing the proof proof that you are indeed a UFO cult, as well as the copyright number that was granted for OTIII. Also thanks for providing the proof of "dead agenting" and other practices of your cult.

      You gotta love it when the Co$ lawyers only end up adding credibility to the critics claims by documenting that they are indeed Co$ doctrine, and citing the source of the doctrine.
  • clueless... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thrillbert (146343) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:48PM (#3330482) Homepage
    This is the perfect response from google. It's about time people learned what the internet is all about, and stop whining that their crappy stuff somehow made it on the net in the first place.

    I mean come on.. google creates a crawler that goes out and finds stuff, they list on their site what they find, and now clueless morons want to make them responsible for having links to that information?????

    Security through obscurity.. yeah.. that'll keep em out!

    ---
    " - anonymous
    • Re:clueless... (Score:2, Informative)

      by dukethug (319009)

      It's not the links that makes people mad. It's the cache.

      • Re:clueless... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dthable (163749)
        Then I guess people need to start learning that if they say something in public, anyone can quote and store that. Imagine an election where a canidate can say something stupid one day and then prevent the media from publishing it again or allowing people to talk about it. Same thing here except YOU put the material on the web for other people.
        • Re:clueless... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rick the Red (307103) <.Rick.The.Red. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:32PM (#3330787) Journal
          In some ways they can. Congressmen and women can change anything they say on the floor in open debate before it's published in the Congressional Record. They can even have the Congressional Record print speaches they never made, and remove entire speaches they did make. They can rise on the floor and endlessly support issue A, then edit their remarks so the Congressional Record makes it look like they were against issue A; when opponents try to find juicy quotes to run in campaign ads, there are none.

          Thank God they still can't hide their voting record, but they sure try to obscure it, with bills and amendments named the exact opposite of what they do. My favorite example: the "Privacy Act" of 1974 requires banks to keep a photocopy of every check you write. How this protects my privacy is beyond me, but would you want to hear that your Senator voted against the "Privacy Act"?

          • Thank God they still can't hide their voting record, but they sure try to obscure it, with bills and amendments named the exact opposite of what they do.

            Don't forget "voice votes". That's how the DMCA was passed in the first place.
            • DOH! Crossposted! (Score:3, Interesting)

              by BLKMGK (34057)
              But what's your source? All I've ever gotten has been RUMINT and when I asked the lawyer (Dario D. Diaz* - still have his card) in 'Vegas about it he seemed pretty certain that it was a normal vote. Since he'd researched the damned thing (boat hull design provision?!) and had just given a presentation on it I figured he must know more than me and didn't argue with him. I'd love to get a definative answer on this - and better yet a voting record. Can anyone help with solid info?

              *www.fernandez-diaz-law.com is the URL on his card :-)

              • Re:DOH! Crossposted! (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Rick the Red (307103) <.Rick.The.Red. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:58PM (#3331284) Journal
                A search on Thomas [loc.gov] found this:

                The Senate passed it 99-0. [senate.gov]

                The House held a voice vote, near as I can tell. My search [loc.gov] ("digital millennium copyright" in the Word/Phrase search field) returned:

                1. H.R.2281 : To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

                Sponsor: Rep Coble, Howard- Latest Major Action: 10/28/1998 Became Public Law No: 105-304.
                Committees: House Judiciary; House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means
                A search [house.gov] of the House site [house.gov] found no recorded vote on H.R.2281. So apparantly both stories are true: It was a voice vote, but the Senate recorded theirs.

              • by alangmead (109702) on Friday April 12, 2002 @04:53PM (#3331632)
                According to this article in the Boston Globe [newsbank.com] (an archive article which unfortunately requires both registration and a $2.50 charge.) Has the following passage:
                The bill cleared the House in March 1998 but stalled in the Senate. Finally, in October, just before the end of the congressional term, a similar version reached the Senate floor, passed by unanimous consent, and cleared the House the same day in a voice vote. No members of Congress had to go on record with their votes.
          • Hint.. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BLKMGK (34057)
            Try finding the voting record for the DMCA. Supposedly, and I've not been able to confirm this, it was passed via VOICE VOTE - no record. However when asked th elawyer who presented on the DMCA in Las Vegas at DEFCON about this he said that it had been passed normally I believe. Anyone know the real answer - and better yet have the real voting record for this damned albatross?! If I find out that ANY of my reps voted for it I can promise they will NOT get my next vote for sure!

            • Re:Hint.. (Score:3, Informative)

              by blamanj (253811)
              I'm no expert on the House/Senate rules, but I believe you still get a record by voice vote. At least one is listed for the senate on S.2037 (105th Congress) . [senate.gov]

              In the House, however (HR.2281), it appears [loc.gov] that it was put up for unanimous consent, and there is no record, but basically that means that you can assume that everyone voted for it.
            • Re:Hint.. (Score:3, Informative)

              by Misch (158807)
              Here ya go...

              105th Congress, H.R. 2281 [loc.gov]

              Click on "Bill Summary & Status File"... then "All Bill Summary & Status Info"

              8/4/1998 2:26pm:
              On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

              Actually, a voice vote is the "normal method". The voices are cast, the chair takes an opinion (Of course, this opinion need not be based on the voices in the house he hears, though usually the chairperson will.) If there is any objection, an electronic vote is taken (roll call vote).

              Watch C-SPAN. It can be interesting. For about 5 minutes. ;-)
    • Remember the DeCSS debacle? You got into trouble just for linking to that...
      • Re:clueless... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ncc74656 (45571)
        Remember the DeCSS debacle? You got into trouble just for linking to that...

        Maybe if your site happens to be one of the (relatively) few that the MPAA and its goons stumbled across. As one DeCSS "metasite" put it, though, "you have one bat and there are 100 million holes." I've had it up on my website for a fairly long time. I even have links up at some of the metasites, and Google has cached [216.239.39.100] the page. I have never gotten a C&D. I'm sure the same holds true for many other sites that carry DeCSS.

    • Agreed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BLKMGK (34057) <{morejunk4me} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:30PM (#3330770) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure I could think of any other response that Google could've made that would have been any better. By doing this they protect their interests, provide information to the public about why they've taken the actions they have, and if you read the letters you should be able to figure out what site was removed! They effectively sidestep this legal manuever, expose the twits who've harrased them, and give us enough information to find the site we wanted.

      Actually, it's a bit of a shame that they are hiding telephone numbers etc. on the letters in question. I understand why - to prevent harrasing calls etc. - but hey the letter is apparently public record why not expose them? Seems fair enough to me! :-)

      I applaude Google for doing this, it's just a shame I can't read the article in question :-( Score one for my favorite search engine!

      • Exposing them... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:53PM (#3330923) Journal
        Actually, it's a bit of a shame that they are hiding telephone numbers etc. on the letters in question. I understand why - to prevent harrasing calls etc. - but hey the letter is apparently public record why not expose them? Seems fair enough to me! :-)

        Fair, yes. B-) But also an excuse for the Church of Scientology's lawyers to demand the letter be taken down. With the contact info removed they can't hide behind a harassment claim. They must expose their REAL reason for trying to get it down: censorship of any negative information about the behavior of CoS and its members.

        I'm glad to see Google standing up in this manner. One of the major problems with the DCMA is that, in order for an anonymous poster to keep his site/links up, he must expose his identity. If the web page is critical of a criminal or gang which will harras the poster with extralegal actions once they FIND him, this requirement has a major chilling effect on anonymous speech.
        • I know and I understand why the letter had to be redacted but still - I can dream right? :-)

          I hadn't realized that an anonymous person would be "outed" but what you've said makes sense - and is indeed quite chilling.

          I've now gotten the search to display the notice for me so it IS working - cool. I wonder what the COS' next step will be? What could they possibly do against this? Sue for linking?! Did the 2600 lawsuit ever end? Like the Russian hacker it's moved out of the immediate spotlight by still more incredible happenings but still... Oh and yes I know the Russian plead out for testimony. I hope he's a hostile witness ;-) Wish I'd attended his session - talk about history being made!

        • Getting the contact info for Ava Paquette at Moxon and Korbin is trivial. Plenty of other people have gotten "Avagrams" or "Ho grams".

          In fact, someone did a song dissing Avagrams. Hmm, hang on a sec...

          Enturbulator 009 [stationmp3.com] has a number songs poking fun at the Happy Fun Cult.

      • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blamanj (253811)
        I'm not sure I could think of any other response that Google could've made that would have been any better.

        I can think of one thing that would be better. If they would also create Google page listing ALL takedowns due to DMCA. It could be on their about [google.com] page.
  • About time... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blankmange (571591)
    Looks like Google is on the right track. They did kind of step on it when they pulled the Scientology links, but made up for it (kind of). Now it looks like it will take a lot more than just a threat for them to pull pages. Good move!
    • by somethingwicked (260651) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:24PM (#3330747)
      Just to be clear, Google DID NOT pull the pages. They simply removed the challenged results that would normally appear in that search...

      WHY???

      Because they were following the law to the T...

      They are only protected by the Safe Harbor provision if they honor the Notification letter.

      And it can be simply reversed by a Counter-Notification.

      This REALLY is the most logical way for this to work. It moves the responibility off of the indexer and puts it on the party publishing the information vs. the party claiming the info is copyrighted.

      If "the man" ever shows up at Google's offices, they just whip out the documentation from each party and a copy of the law and say "goodday" to the badge.

      • The only problem is that the owner of Xenu.net [xenu.net] isn't an American. He could submit a counter-claim, but that would mean that he would be putting himself under an American court. Since $cientology will spend millions to ruin a single critic, dragging him into a pointless expensive court case in another country would be perfect for them.

        $cientology has blustered about suing Andreas Heldal-Lund for years, but has never dared do in Norway. So now they're going after the "weakest link" of American Google with that idiotic DMCA.

  • by IanA (260196) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:49PM (#3330492)
    Anti-DMCA dot org [anti-dmca.org]
    • (Moderate: -1, Obvious)

      Sorry, but we know roughly how search engines work by now, Google in particular.

      Think about it. How many people have any reason whatsoever to post a page in support of this wonderful DMCA and encouraging the world about it? _Some_ companies maybe, but I'd suggest few or no home users.

      So, considering that most of the internet (if not most of the content used on the net) is input by home users sounding off for their own entertainment, why's that even remotely surprising?
  • Go Oogle! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Perl (142164) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:50PM (#3330496) Homepage
    Thanks to a bright suggestion [slashdot.org], I and probably lots of others have started linking to [darkpoetry.com] scientology [xenu.net] to help bump xenu.net up in the search engine listings.

    It's now number 2 in the rankings [google.com] which is 3 spots higher than a few weeks ago so perhaps this small form of protest is also working!
  • I heart Google. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by agent oranje (169160) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:51PM (#3330506) Journal
    It seems as though Google has realized that the majority of people using their search engine are home users, who want to find good pages with information they want. By telling people that the DMCA has resulted in the removal of said pages, it's informing the average user of what laws such as the DMCA actually mean to them!

    I think its a fairly bold statement on Google's part, saying that the end user is more important than the corperate jackasses.
  • by Cyclopedian (163375) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:51PM (#3330507) Journal
    of this fully operational slashdotting!

    Of course, someone will come up and say "a slashdotting is insignificant next to the power of a Google Cache."

    -Cyc

  • The more info that is published, the more that this crap is pushed into the public, the more that idiot laws are examined, the sooner that these ass monkey laws will be struck down.

    Or so I hope.

    Assuming that the topic title is correct, then GO GOOGLE! Fsck the DMCA, RIAA, and MPAA, baby! Let me buy my stuff (legally), and back it up. [For the record (before I'm called a theif), I have never downloaded a single song or movie that I didn't already own.]

  • by slhack3r (324207) <jnewland@gmail.com> on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:52PM (#3330519) Homepage Journal
    hmm...we can't seem to get this page taken down or off of google.....let's just send a link in to Slashdot? those uber-nurds will take care of the webserver in no time!
  • by chrisvr (41985) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:52PM (#3330520)
    The letters from the Church of Scientology are on chillingeffects.org [chillingeffects.org]

    What a bunch of goobers...
  • I've been wondering about this for a long time. They cache possibly illegal content, and are certianly distributing some stuff that the authors aren't giving them permission to, as well as possibly linking to sites which violate DMCA (and if they recieve too many letters about this, it could take forever to take down all the sites that are apparently violating the act).

    It seems that Google might be breaking some of the current laws, or may break some in the future. IMHO, this is a good thing, because there are so many people who think that Google is an innocent, noble and pure search engine. The law may just be changed so that Google no longer violates it. I would certainly hate to see such a mechanism slip quietly into the night.
    • Personally, I think Google is the only site (besides /. defying Microsoft) that has the balls to challenge current stupid laws. Millions of people like Google, and will probably pony up $2 each to support it. Big $=good lawyers = strike down these stupid fucking laws we already have.

      • Millions of people like Google, and will probably pony up $2 each to support it.

        The same argument was made for the court fees of Napster. People will pay to defend the system. Well, people didn't pay, the reason they liked it was not only that it was simple but it was free. If Google costs money or losses a court battle, users will just move on.
      • Slashdot doesn't stand up to anybody. They've removed Scientology posts, they've removed my personal posts and I'm sure they've removed others. Financially this may be the right thing for them to do of course, but don't attribute any particular backbone to them.
    • If the author of a webpage doesn't want that webpage cached or linked on google, then the appropriate entry in robots.txt will take care of that problem. End of story.

      As for delinking by the author's request/demand, I imagine its a process they deal with daily. They have a straightforward method for removing links, and respond quickly the one time a stray link resulted in them caching files I didn't want them to.

      -Restil
    • Right, and I'm a murderer because I own thousands of /potential/ murder weapons. I'm also a thief, because I own tools that could /potentially/ be used to steal something.

      Everything can be used for some illegal purpose. Everything. The problem lies not in the tool, but in the tool-user. Repeat that mantra until you figure it out.

      In Google's case, all they are doing is making copies of content that has already been delivered into a public media; in this case, the Internet. It's the same as if I set up a camera to photograph one of the kiosks at my college that has all kinds of student-posted advertisements; if somebody asked me to remove one of them from my archive because they disagreed with it, I'd inform them of their rights to firearm-assisted self-sodomy, because I am merly making available information which is already public. Doubly so if I give the authors of the various ads and such credit for their work.

      Google does give credit, and provides direct links to the pages-in-question in their cache; at no time do they claim the work as their own.

      The onus for handling copyrighted information should be on the purveyor, not the consumer.
  • While I wait for the tide to go out again, let's hear it for Google - they seem to be one of the few true 'eyes-open' geek-corporations out there.
    It seems to be the exception, sadly, that a company becomes prominent and generally liked all because of their technology and almost non-marketing.
  • Soo.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by krb (15012) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:53PM (#3330534) Homepage
    Does this make google a circumvention device?

  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:56PM (#3330543) Homepage
    You can read the complaints that the lawyers for the church of scientology made to Google here:
    1) Complaint #2 -- April 9 [chillingeffects.org]
    2) Complaint #3 -- April 10 [chillingeffects.org]

    And more importantly, go Google for publicizing the links! Yet another reason why Google is the best search engine around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:56PM (#3330544)
    ...send another complaint claiming that the first complaint letter is copyrighted and must be taken down. Google can then take down the first and post the second. Then send a third DMCA complaint about the second letter. Ad infinitum.

    An even more evil plan would be to send two DMCA complaints for each DMCA complaint published, perhaps one for the first half, one for the second half. The exponential growth of DMCA complaint letters could bring even Google to its knees.

    Of course, it'd be hard to generate all these complaint letters. So what you do is, build the Google API into an Outlook virus, which looks for published DMCA letters on Google and sends an automatic complaint. Soon the entire Internet will be crippled by the DMCA deluge...which was sorta the idea from the beginning, I think.

  • I tried that trick (searching for "xenu.net scientology" in google). The link to xenu.net is up and there was no message about the DMCA. I guess that's good, 'though if it were me I'd keep the DMCA letters up with the relevant site links.

    Anybody got any other blocked links to test this system out on?
    • The link is at the bottom of the page. It is kind of hidden... but it is there.

      From google... In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [google.com], we have removed 2 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint [chillingeffects.org] for these removed results.

      -ryan

    • by mbauser2 (75424) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:13PM (#3330669) Homepage
      Don't search for "xenu.net Scientology", search for "site:xenu.net Scientology". You have to include the "site" keyword. The notice is at the bottom of the results page.

      I don't think many people are going to see these DMCA notifications, because I don't think that many people search this way. If they know a given site has information on a topic, most of them go straight to the site, don't they?
    • Re:It doesn't work. (Score:5, Informative)

      by kindbud (90044) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:15PM (#3330689) Homepage
      I tried that trick (searching for "xenu.net scientology" in google). The link to xenu.net is up and there was no message about the DMCA.

      That's because there is plenty of material at Xenu.net about Scientology that doesn't infringe and wasn't taken down. That, and you did the query wrong. It's "site:xenu.net scientology" to find all pages mentioning Scientology at Xenu.net. Your query turns up mostly other sites and Usenet posts where people are writing ABOUT the Xenu/Scientology battles.

      Now that you've got the query right, look at the bottom of the search results list. There's the DMCA takedown notice, with links to the complaints.
  • So now when I search at google for "operation clambake scientology" not only do I get www.xenu.net, but I get some paid for "sponsored links" that bring me directly to the media page for the church of scientology.

    Well, good for google I guess.
  • by quantaman (517394) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:06PM (#3330624)
    Note that Xenu.net [xenu.net] includes the infamous OT III text [xenu.net]. This tells how the galactic overlord Xenu tricked billions of people into coming to Teegeeack(Earth) for income tax inspections and blew them up. From the text

    After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".

    When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.


    Part of scientology is to free yourself of these souls. Now does releasing this text not possibly allow a person to rid themselves of these souls by alerting them to their presence? These "special 3d motion pictures" are undoubtedly a technological security measure. The only logical solution from this is that the page is a digital circumvention device specifically disallowed by the DMCA. I believe it is a clear cut issue and that the scientologists are fully within their rights to disallow google to allow people to link to this illegal page. However also keep in mind that scientology didn't enact this security measure, Xenu did, therefore scientology is also in violation of this law. Now if only Xenu can break free of his volcano, come to Earth, and sue the scientologists ...
  • by Dick Click (166230) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:07PM (#3330627)
    Hmm. I have read a search for "site:xenu.net scientology" links to the takedown letters. When I try this search, the first hit is www.xenu.net [xenu.net]. I wonder if this is because I am redirected to www.google.ca? Anybody have any idea if a search coming from Canada acts differently than a search coming from the US?
  • by s390 (33540) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:09PM (#3330647) Homepage
    My (former) wife had previously been married to some a**hole Scientologist, and they tracked her up to Portland from LA and harrassed us. I wasn't confrontational, at first.

    They sent obnoxious mail. I taped it to cinder blocks with "addressee unknown, please return" on their mail. The US PS was happy to charge them $20 or so to return those.

    However, when two of them pushed into my my living room without my invitation, I excused myself for a moment and came back with a rifle, which I pointed at them, and I told them to leave my premises and never darken my door again.

    Then we got phone calls. I shut that down by calling their office and carefully explaining to them that if I got any further harrassment from them I would personally shoot everyone in their f*cking cult, starting with the people in their downtown office and not stopping until I'd found and shot every f*cking Scientologist in the entire state!

    That worked. And that's how Scientologists should be dealt with. It's the only "reasoning" they understand. Tar and feathers are gentle approbation, and very appropriate.

    • However, when two of them pushed into my my living room without my invitation, I...

      That's funny. I would have started breaking bones and gouging eyes. On the spot.

      C//
      • I have to agree, 2 of them pushing into MY house uninvited would have disappeared without a trace, and I would have no knowledge of their whereabouts, never having met them of course....

        Kintanon

    • by 3waygeek (58990)
      They sent obnoxious mail. I taped it to cinder blocks with "addressee unknown, please return" on their mail. The US PS was happy to charge them $20 or so to return those.

      Unlikely; the post office probably just threw it away [straightdope.com].
    • Try this: send them evangelical Christian tracts.

      Being an evangelical Christian, I've learned the hard way (unfortunately) how easily people become uncomfortable when asked about their own spiritual lives. What these folks need, plain and simple, is for you to tell them about Jesus Christ.

      It doesn't matter whether or not you succeed in converting them or not - if they convert, they'll stop being jerks, and if they don't, they'll probably get so offended at what you are saying that they'll leave you alone. The notion that an all-powerful, all-knowing God will judge the world is quite scary to many people - especially control freaks.

      Granted, had I been in your situation, I might have done the same thing you did. But I believe that threatening them only reinforced their own misguided beliefs ("We will be persecuted... etc..") The knowledge of Jesus Christ is a real danger to the organization, and I believe that you could have done them far more harm by sending back a Bible than a cinder block. When people discover that God loves them, they are emboldened to break out of abusive relationships, and it is these abusive relationships on which Scientology depends for support.
  • by soap.xml (469053) <ryanNO@SPAMpcdominion.net> on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:13PM (#3330671) Homepage

    The best thing about this is that the general public may begin to become informed about the DMCA and all of the stupid things that can come of it. Hopefully google will make a point to tell people that the DMCA was the reason the links are gone (read: put it at the top of the page). Possibly if enough people get pissed about the abuse of the law, and the abusivness of the law, it can either be over turned or new legislation can be passed to modify it. Or at the very least, become publicly debated and hated. That might lead to something...

  • by ryepup (522994) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:13PM (#3330672) Homepage
    now xenu.net is fighting a losing battle. I work at an ISP and am waiting for their page to load. The site has a lot of links to various public resources, like an alt.religion.scientology archive, the recently de-classified FBI files on L. Ron Hubbard, and various Scientology documents. I guess Scientologists don't want factual information about their group in one easy place for people to see. It also has Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit, from The Demon Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark which is an excellent book.
  • I use Google because I have the warm fuzzy impression that if it's on the net, I can find it with Google and a proper formed query. Now the moment I no longer feel that Google contains a proper representation I have no use for it. although I have become quite fond of the google groups for troubleshooting and nostalgia.

    If these spineless suits turns google into a censored site, it would be a sad day for the internet.
    And as it have been said before, why not go for the original site instead. Maybe it's easier to "go for Google"(tm) because the responds to their mails.
    Maybe the go for Google because of the same reason that I use Google, if it's not on Google nobody will find it. So they cache pages, what about that internet archive(wayback thingy)?
  • Which starts me thinking, can you overclock the DMCA, let's see. Can you copyright a copyright or licence a licence, or copyright a licence, or licence a copyright?

    Copyright a copyright - pull a copyright from the copyright office and cut & paste it, then adjust it slightly (derivative work) to your new invention/copyrightable item. But really, I think God holds copyright on all copyrights, either him or the Roswell Grays.

    Licence a licence - if someone wants to use GPL they have to meet certain criteria, restricting who/what you can apply the licence to.

    Copyright a licence - if someone wants to release something under GPL/whatever then you cannot use our licence without our explicit permission, making GPL a closed open-source society.

    Licence a copyright - You may use this copyright only under certain conditions, this sounds like the entire free market system. Sorta franchise.

    So since the free market is based on the DMCA^2 that means that..... Actually I don't know what it means, I just confused myself. GPL is retstricted by (2) licence a licence as you can't apply the GPL to say, a Hershey bar, only software and thus there's a prerequisite condition to using the GPL. So is the GPL truly open source.....?

    1.I am not a troll, just more of a Rumpelstiltskin.
    I'm not a troll, it's just that my thinking pattern is open source, and my vocal cords aren't covered by the DMCA

    • by Misch (158807) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:07PM (#3331000) Homepage
      Believe it or not, something _very_ similar came up on slashdot about a year ago [slashdot.org]. Basically, a person had a complaint about his local building code. He made a website and posted the building code for his town. Soon after, he got nasty grams from the Southern Building Code Congress International Inc. The bill in question was copyrighted by the group before it was sent to the local legislature, so the wording of the law belongs to them.

      Sadly, 2 judges on a 3 judge panel agreed with the SBCC, and I don't know what happened after that.
  • by Hays (409837)
    I'm sure other people have suggested this- but we seem to obliterate every small or medium sized server linked from the front page. People will often cut/paste the text, or find google caches of the sites, but why not just do it right on slashdot?

    I'm sure there's some legal worries, but google has found a way around them.
  • by salsashrk (573024) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:41PM (#3330842)
    As posted on Chilling Effects [chillingeffects.org].

    Question: What defines a service provider under section 512 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

    Answer: A service provider is defined as "an entity offering transmission, routing, or providing connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received" or "a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities thereof." [512(k)(1)(A-B)]
    /*Snipped rest for bandwidth*/

    While I clearly understand the spirit of the law in this case is to define that the media content is unaltered, this actually reads as the the data transmission is unaltered to me. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that any alteration to the data from the time it leaves the originating server until it is received and rendered by the end-user, would nullify this argument.
    While I realize that the spirit is clear, lawyers seem to concern themselves with the letter of the law, as it's easier to exploit than a Win98 box on a cable modem. Thusly, if I am interpreting this correctly, it stands to reason that inline packet alteration would make this definition null and void. Such packet alteration as the NAT from the inside network to the internet-routeable IP, QOS policies, or even VTP/VLAN/Trunking headers being added/stripped during LAN traversal would mar the integrity of the original data packet. Just for fun you could throw in TTL decrementing, MTU packet split, etc...

    Just a thought.
  • Simply Brilliant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spacefrog (313816) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:41PM (#3330847)
    They are circumventing the fact that they can't post the link by posting a copy of the letter which has the URL in it.

    Simply Brilliant

    They might as well put the URL of the "banned" site in neon letters.

    If you are doing a search for a topic like Scientology, you are probably going to pay attention to these takedown letters with more interest than your "sanitized" search results.

    Being listed on a posted takedown notice will probably drive more traffic to the site.
  • by muldrake (171275) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:32PM (#3331128) Homepage Journal
    If you'll try a search for "Scientology" [google2.com] now you will see the first page of results is packed with Scientology critics.

    The reason for this is simple: Scientology's DMCA attack generated such a tremendous amount of press concerning xenu.net [xenu.net] that this resulted in it being highly linked from pages that are themselves highly ranked, therefore causing it to be more important in Google's PageRank system.

    This now-obsolete page of mine [operatingthetan.com] explains the spam strategy the effectiveness of which has been destroyed by Scientology's stupidity.

    Sometimes, indeed, stupidity is its own reward. Scientology: making idiots from the bottom up.

  • by Parsa (525963) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:42PM (#3331170) Homepage
    I know this is relatively off topic but a few days ago there was another posting regarding Google and someone in that posting suggested we have an icon for Google. That sounds like a good idea, today for example we have already seen 2 Google topics. And if you do a search off the main page for Google the first 30 returns only date back to February.

    Well, anyway I just wanted to add my support for a google icon.
  • by $uperjay (263648) <jstorrie.ualberta@ca> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:58PM (#3331275) Homepage
    I would think that this is the last thing the Scientologists want. Not because we can all poke fun at them for being idiots, mind you...

    By calling up copyrights on all of these documents (take a look at things like dead agenting, the big 'enemies' list, and the infamous 'fair play' directive, all of which are in the DMCA-letter here [chillingeffects.org]) they are legitimizing them, and declaring them official Church of Scientology documents. Which is all fine and dandy, of course, except that these documents include directives to commit illegal activities. Even if they can obscure cases of actual crimes, these documents still prove them guilty of conspiracy. And I bet there's probably something in that spiffy new Patriot Act, at the very least, dealing with conspiracies...

  • Praise be to Google (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Friday April 12, 2002 @04:15PM (#3331402) Homepage
    When Xenu disappeared from Google, a bunch of us went down to Google to have a little protest/chat with them. In an earlier post [slashdot.org], I felt that the guy at Google gave us the shuck and jive and was evading out suggestion that these DMCA infringement requests be made public.

    Now that they've done it, I take back any negative thing I may have said. Google has once again confirmed my faith that they are one of the few "good guys" left here in the Valley.

    Praise be to Google

  • by JDizzy (85499) on Friday April 12, 2002 @05:56PM (#3332097) Homepage Journal
    Of whether or not the same applys to other indexing or directory services.... Is the phone company in violation of the DMCA if they have links to a person who is in violation of copyright laws in their phone directory? Why is just a internet directory service liable under this law.. seem kinda far fetched if you ask me...
  • Helpful (Score:3, Informative)

    by tagishsimon (175038) on Friday April 12, 2002 @06:08PM (#3332171) Homepage
    I found the "Charts" of evidence supplied by the lawyers especially useful in pinpointing the URLs the Scientologists are so sensitive about:

    http://images.chillingeffects.org/notices/232-xe nu _chart.html

    http://www.chillingeffects.org/admin/link.cgi?c= 1& lid=158

    http://www.chillingeffects.org/admin/link.cgi?c= 1& lid=156

    Maybe this DCMA ain't so bad after all...

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