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Censorship

4,000 Anti-Scientology Videos Yanked From YouTube 658

Posted by timothy
from the y'just-don't-get-it-do-ya? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From the EFF webpage: 'Over a period of twelve hours, between this Thursday night and Friday morning, American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, all making copyright infringement claims against videos with content critical of the Church of Scientology.'"
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4,000 Anti-Scientology Videos Yanked From YouTube

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  • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:35AM (#24917859)
    this could be highly amusing... just think of all those perjury charges...
  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:37AM (#24917871) Homepage
    I don't know the content of these videos, but yeah.. a DMCA notice is a sworn statement. If the information is false then potentially it could be regarded as perjury.
  • Some videos back up (Score:5, Informative)

    by fprintf (82740) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:38AM (#24917875) Journal

    From the article: "YouTube users responded with DMCA counter-notices. At this time, many of the suspended channels have been reinstated and many of the videos are back up."

    Good for those YouTube users for responding with the counter notices.

  • Re:It's Simple (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nursie (632944) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:38AM (#24917877)

    Yes, DMCA takedown notices are supposedly sworn, under penalty of perjury, to be from a person/organisation with a good claim to owning the copyright.

    Where this gets tricky is proving they were used to quash criticism and not in good faith. IE if they say "we thought we owned it and had a good claim", that may be enough to get them out of it. Depending on how blatant they were, of course.

  • by forand (530402) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:49AM (#24917961) Homepage
    IANAL but. Legally they did the right thing. They have to take it down if someone makes a copyright claim. However, if there is a counter claim then they can reinstate it since it has then become a problem for the courts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:52AM (#24917975)

    YouTube most likely knows, yes.

    However, YouTube is required by law to heed these takedown notices, no matter whether they're justified or not; it's up to the videos' submitters now to file counternotices (at which point YouTube will be required by law to heed these counternotices and reinstate those videos, no matter whether they're justified or not). At that point, it becomes a matter for the courts.

    The whole point of this part of the DMCA is to allow places like YouTube to stay out of judging content altogether and simply have a simple algorithm to follow mechanically that will shield them from legal responsibility. Whether the mechanism is really good or whether it's flawed is another question; but for a site like YouTube that mostly cares about not getting involved in proxy fights over copyright, it's a blessing.

    So it's not really a fine line for YouTube to walk. They just do what they are legally required to, and anyone who doesn't like that and complains about YouTube is barking up the wrong tree - they should work to get the law changed instead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:55AM (#24917999)

    Youtube ought to have at least taken a look at the claims before just shutting everything down, surely?

    Nope. Safe Harbor provision.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act#Title_II:_Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act

    Long story short: they're liable for the actions of their users unless they immediately take down content based on a DMCA notice.

  • by NoisySplatter (847631) <noisysplatter AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:04AM (#24918083)
    Legal expenses? Their lawyers are probably scientologists and doing their work for free in exchange for moving up the ranks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:07AM (#24918107)
    For those who don't know about Scientology, this AFP news article summarizes the typical non-Scientologist's view of Scientology activities: The controversial Church of Scientology will be tried in a French court for "organised fraud" [google.com].

    This WikiNews report explains more about the current story: the alleged "rights group" does not exist as a physical entity [blogspot.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:07AM (#24918115)

    CoS is proving once again just exactly why it is they deserve legal status as a church. You know, one of those organizations of compassion and love. hmmmm,

    Germany has the answer. Under German law, CoS is not a church. Legally, CoS is just a corporation over there.

    Hey. any chance CoS really means Crock-o-Shit?

  • by Da Fokka (94074) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:08AM (#24918123) Homepage

    Scientology might own the copyright to their works, but the Dutch [spaink.net] supreme court ruled [blogspot.com] that copyright infringement can be acceptable if it is of interest of the general public. Of course, they have no jurisdiction in the US, but if the copyrighted material can be hosted in the Netherlands, it can be made accesible to anyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:14AM (#24918175)

    The perjury issue with the DMCA is something that confuses a lot of people, obviously including yourself. There are two cases where perjury is cited in the DMCA. First, a person must be authorized to work on behalf of the owner of the infringed property:

    (A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following: .... (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

    Note here that they sign that the information is accurate, but not under penalty of perjury. The perjury statement follows the 'and' and only refers to authorized representation.

    On the other hand, if you claim that the material was uninfringing, you have to sign under penalty of perjury that your information is accurate:

    (C) A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.

    This double standard isn't by accident. The record and movie companies knew what they were doing when they were writing this act up for Congress.

  • by ilovesymbian (1341639) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:21AM (#24918245)

    With members like Tom Cruise and half of Hollywood's stars, I doubt they'll run out of money to defend themselves and counter-sue our middle-class asses.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:21AM (#24918247)

    Scientology might own the copyright to their works, but the Dutch supreme court ruled that copyright infringement can be acceptable if it is of interest of the general public. Of course, they have no jurisdiction in the US, but if the copyrighted material can be hosted in the Netherlands, it can be made accesible to anyone.

    I don't know a thing about Dutch law, but in US law the first of 4 possible factors which determine if fair use applies is:

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    Which would seem to cover the situation you mentioned.

  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:35AM (#24918339)
    Everyone who had a video taken down because of this needs to form a class-action suit and counter immediately. You can't have a video taken down in this manner without it (a) violating many nation's free-speech laws; and (b) violating perjury laws. Hit 'em where it hurts.
  • The response (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:51AM (#24918447)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF9Um2GwgMQ

  • Re:Why? Exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zombywuf (1064778) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:01AM (#24918559)

    Try visiting whyaretheydead.net, it will tell about the people Scientology has killed.
    Try googling Operation Snow White, you'll find out about how Scientology infiltrated the IRS and shortly afterwards gained tax-exempt status.
    Try visiting Tory Magoo's website, she's an high ranking ex-Scientologist. Read about how she was denied her epilepsy medicine by Scientology.

    Want to know what they've done to me personally? I'll give you a clue, us non-Scientologists give a damn about each other.

  • DMCA this, bitches (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:13AM (#24918677)

    The head of the Galactic Federation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet, 178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-Bomb on the principal volcanos (Incident II) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic area ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged".

    His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. was placed in the implants.

    When through with his crime loyal officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confederation) has since been a desert. The length and brutality of it all was such that this Confederation never recovered. The implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development.

    One can freewheel through the implant and die unless it is approached as precisely outlined. The "freewheel" (auto-running on and on) lasts too long, denies sleep etc and one dies. So be careful to do only Incidents I and II as given and not plow around and fail to complete one thetan at a time.

    In December 1967 I knew someone had to take the plunge. I did and emerged very knocked out, but alive. Probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000 years. I have all the data now, but only that given here is needful.

    One's body is a mass of individual thetans stuck to oneself or to the body.

    One has to clean them off by running incident II and Incident I. It is a long job, requiring care, patience and good auditing. You are running beings. They respond like any preclear. Some large, some small.

    Thetans believed they were one. This is the primary error. Good luck.

  • Re:Why? Exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ya really (1257084) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:21AM (#24918751)

    I have never heard anything where the Scientoloists have a policy of hurting people.

    You wouldn't happen to be a Scientologist (or recently taken a free personality test [wikipedia.org]), would you?

    If examples of scientology hurting others (or just being evil) is what you want, here's a few:

    According to The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. Brian Ash, Harmony Books, 1977: "... [Hubbard] began making statements to the effect that any writer who really wished to make money should stop writing and develop [a] religion, or devise a new psychiatric method. Harlan Ellison's version (Time Out, UK, No 332) is that Hubbard is reputed to have told John W. Campbell, 'I'm going to invent a religion that's going to make me a fortune. I'm tired of writing for a penny a word.' Sam Moskowitz, a chronicler of science fiction, has reported that he himself heard Hubbard make a similar statement, but there is no first-hand evidence." Hubbard himself was also quoted as driving his people toward financial results.

    Here's a quote by the founder himself:

    "Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why, just do it." and "Make sure that lots of bodies move through the shop,"

    -L. Ron Hubbard

    Aside from the above, if Scientology teaches purification of the body, why is Christie Alley so damn fat?

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:28AM (#24918853) Journal

    but I've never found the pref for it. Anyone?

    If you are using D2 then just click on the score... you'll get a pop-up with the moderation details.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:31AM (#24918895) Journal

    Not with the amount of money they have. . .

    Yeah, nobody with money [wikipedia.org] or influence [wikipedia.org] has ever been charged with perjury. Or lying to Federal officials [wikipedia.org].

  • deja vu? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:34AM (#24918935) Journal

    Where have I seen this before [slashdot.org]? Hmm.....

  • Re:Why? Exactly. (Score:4, Informative)

    by skeeto (1138903) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:42AM (#24919029)

    I haven't seen anything where this religion or cult or whatever you want to call it has done anything to hurt anyone.

    Then you haven't learned much about the cult. Scientology has ruined lives and gotten people killed. For the latter, they dispense dangerous medical information (especially in psychiatry) that is entirely based on their beliefs. See the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].

    Yes, they have very silly beliefs, which is why it is so popular to make fun of them. But if that's all they were, then you wouldn't see these protests or all the news about it. Their beliefs alone (involving aliens, volcanoes, space ships, nuclear bombs and etc.) are harmless. It is what they do about their critics, whom they harass with both legal pressure and some not-so-legal tactics. See Fair Play [wikipedia.org].

    There is a reason you see all those people in the protests wear masks, and that is because of policies like Fair Game. If they didn't wear masks, their lives and their families lives would be in danger, or at least risking serious harassment.

    In fact, Slashdot has suffered the wrath of the cult of Scientology: Scientologists Force Comment Off Slashdot [slashdot.org]. Someone posted some of the cult's "scripture" in a comment, and Slashdot was forced to remove it on claims of copyright. There's one way that Scientology has negatively affected you. They already attacked an online community you participate in. They have also put legal pressure on search engines, including Google and Yahoo, to have results critical of Scientology removed.

    See also, The Unfunny Truth About Scientology [ytmnd.com]
    Or the YouTube version [youtube.com].

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:51AM (#24919137) Homepage

    YouTube itself actually has a very good guide in its help section on how to file a DMCA counter-claim, linking to Chilling Effects' Java applet for generating a counter-claim letter:

    http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=59826

    It's been one of the few times when a help section somewhere has actually been of some help.

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:56AM (#24919187) Homepage

    I'm not sure of the details, but the church of scientology holds copyrights and trademarks on all its "works." It does this to prevent unauthorized usage of them. Its content is no more or less protected than that of an individual or corporation.

    No, you aren't aware of the details. In none of the four thousand instances was material from the Church of Scientology (technically, the Church of Spiritual Technology, their front corporation that's set up to hold all their copyrights for them) used in any video.

    And CST was NOT the claimant. They used at least five different false claimants to have the videos taken down. When YouTube found out through the counter-claims and various other complaints that these claimants didn't exist, YouTube put the videos back up. Unfortunately, that took as much as sixteen hours from the time of the original takedown.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by shadowofwind (1209890) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:58AM (#24919197)

    Here's a short breakdown.

    If you go to a group of Christians, and ask questions about their beliefs, they may engage you in a debate on Christian theology, they may give you a Bible to read, and so forth, but you can generally access these materials for free. If you go a group of Muslims and do the same thing, you will likely get the same results. Same goes for the Jewish religion, or Mormonism, or Hinduism.

    Minor nitpick - The Mormon church has fairly significant secret doctrine that you have to join and climb the heirarchy to find out about. Mormons I've talked to who are still members of the church will generally deny this, many of them sincerely because they aren't 'initiated' enough to know about it. But many ex-Mormons left the church over secret doctrines and ceremonies that disturbed them.

    Not to say that Mormonism is as poisonous as Scientology though.

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:05AM (#24919265) Homepage

    I would wager that Scientology sees this as a win-win situation. Either the videos come down without reprisals, or the video creators have to file charges/suits using their real names, opening them up to being 'fair gamed'.

    Bingo. This actually started a week ago courtesy of porn baron/Scientologist Oliver Schaper. At the time, the possibility of DMCA counter-claim was mooted among Anonymous, and shot down due to this exact reason. Scientology monitors Anonymous message boards, and for this reason, some of us think that they came to the conclusion that they had the green light to do this.

    What Scientology didn't gamble on was the fact that there are some Anonymous whose identities are already known and who were willing to take action. I was one of them.

    I delved back into my Slashdot experiences for this purpose and used the old sysop trick for catching spammers: set up a honeypot. I created a YouTube account and uploaded certain videos which seemed to have a good chance of getting taken down for specious reasons. Sure enough, one of them was. Within thirty minutes, I filed a counter-claim.

    We can only hope they use Thunderdome rules. Two men enter, one man leaves!

    There is a very good reason why we in Chanology call our out-of-control playpen at Enturbulation.org the Thunderdome...

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:19AM (#24919453) Homepage

    Are scientologists required by their beliefs to silence all criticism no matter what the cost is? My respect for Hubbard will increase a lot if they are... adding a self destruct commandment to his cult in case it ever got out of control.

    Actually, yes, they are. I don't have the exact HCOPL at hand to quote from it, but Google the phrase "always attack, never defend".

    There are numerous instances where Scientology has gone out of their way, at great expense, to silence critics. Just to cite one example, in 1991, Time Magazine published a cover story critical of Scientology. Not only did they sue Time for over ten million dollars (and lose), but in order to mitigate the damage, they published full-page ads in USA Today for a week (very expensive then as today).

    They kept ex-Scientologist and critic Lawrence Wollersheim in court for over a decade after he won a suit against them for nine million dollars. The official line from Scientology, which was spread to their members, was "Not one thin dime for Wollersheim." All they did was get the judgment downgraded to two and a half million, and they eventually paid up.

    So, yeah, they'll spend any amount of money necessary to silence people.

  • by Creepy (93888) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:21AM (#24919489) Journal

    I agree - the US government does intervene on pyramid schemes masquerading as religions as well as groups that brainwash members, both of which are illegal. They also sometimes intervene on groups that they consider dangerous without proof of illegal activity, which I believe the Branch Davidians (Waco) fell into.

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:23AM (#24919515) Homepage

    Legal expenses? Their lawyers are probably scientologists and doing their work for free in exchange for moving up the ranks.

    Most of Scientology's lawyers are Scientologists, but they aren't doing what they do for barter. They charge the Church, then use some of that money to pay for Scientology services. When they do Scientology services, that is. Kendrick Moxon, Scientology's chief attack dog, hasn't done any services in years, just like David Miscavige.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:35AM (#24919709)

    It's a pyramid scheme masquerading as a cult, masquerading as a religion.

    In order to be a pyramid scheme, the cult members would need to be selling the courses themselves, as well as recruiting new members to sell courses; or they'd get paid according to how many new members they were able to bring into the cult.

    I don't think either of these applies, so it's not really a pyramid scheme.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ultranova (717540) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:38AM (#24919759)

    Out of curiosity, why is it that people get bent out of shape about this 'religion'?

    Because it has practices like "Fair Game [wikipedia.org]", which basically means an organized harassment campaign against its critics.

    I got to witness an anonymous rally in San Diego about a year or so ago and it was just silly. Yes, you and I may know the whole thing is a crock, but isn't there supposed to be freedom of religion?

    They are free to believe in their bullshit, that's not an issue. However, immoral things done in the name of religion are still immoral, and scientology is amongst the nastiest religions on the planet in that regard. It's not that they are necessarily more malicious than, say, Islam; it's that their style of abuse is well suited for the modern world.

    Not looking to start a pissing contest, I'm just wondering where people get their priorities.

    Well, I'd say that preventing a bunch of lunatics who've demonstrated their willingness to abuse their power numerous times from gaining any more power is a pretty high priority.

  • by jbezorg (1263978) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:49AM (#24919925)

    By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper - whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it - an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

    (1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

    (2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

    (3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

    (4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:55AM (#24919985)

    Actually, it's a fascist political organization masquerading as a criminal racket masquerading as a cult masquerading as a religion hiding behind about 150 front groups. See the talk given by lawyer Graham Berry at a conference in Germany held to investigate them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvMoSsuRVW8 [youtube.com]

    France has announced that Scientology will be tried for fraud and illegally prescribing medicine.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL820153620080908 [reuters.com]

  • by nawcom (941663) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:55AM (#24919989) Homepage

    Well then, I say they need to prove that Xenu authorizes them to act on his behalf.

    But isn't Xenu the devil-equivalent of Scientology ? As such, he'd work to keep those videos up and thus hinder the spread of scientology.

    Wrong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenu [wikipedia.org] Xenu brought us to Earth you arrogant fool!

  • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:59AM (#24920031) Homepage

    Not sure what they actually expected to gain from doing this. They will likely be in legal trouble and now they have just made the anti-Scientology videos more popular than ever. What asshats.

    I'll tell you why, but it'll be a little tl;dr:

    1) Scientologists are required to attack any criticism of the Church, by holy writ of Hubbard.

    2) The timing was critical. On September 3rd, a large, well-publicized anti-Scientology conference was held in Hamburg. A whole boatload of high-powered Scientologists were sent there to try to stop it, and failed. They tried to get into the conference, and failed. They knew that Anonymous was attending with their video cameras. They knew that these videos would be going up as quickly as possible. This was a preemptive strike to a) take down as many popular anti-Scientology YouTube channels as possible and b) create an atmosphere to make Anonymous members afraid to upload those videos.

    2a) They did this once before recently. Actor Jason Beghe left the Church and was ready to speak out in full to popular critic Mark Bunker. A teaser of the interview was released on YouTube. A few days before the full interview was to be released, Bunker's YouTube account was taken down, and it took over a week, with a lot of effort by Bunker and the critic community (including Anonymous) to get it back up. That's when Anonymous discovered Vimeo.

    2b) Speaking of Vimeo, the takedowns also affected some videos there too. They didn't limit themselves to YouTube, but they did concentrate their efforts there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:59AM (#24920043)

    In order to be a pyramid scheme, the cult members would need to be selling the courses themselves,

    This happens. You do get commission on it as well - a sale is a sale.

    as well as recruiting new members to sell courses; or they'd get paid according to how many new members they were able to bring into the cult.

    I don't think either of these applies, so it's not really a pyramid scheme.

    On the contrary, so long as the person buys a course or material (such as the dianetics book, which was common when I was into this cult), the ronbot gets commission.

    By your definition, scientology fits both as a pyramid scheme and a cult.

    Tbh I tend to think of it more these days as a pyramid scheme, simply because there is nothing religious about it. It was and is a means to dodge tax.

    Posting anonamously as I have no intention of making it easy for them to initiate their fair game doctrine on me.

  • Re:Why? Exactly. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:02AM (#24920079)

    And regards to those protesters, I just want to ask what has the Scientologists done to you - personally?

    Well, for starters [slashdot.org], back in 1995 they attacked USENET en masse, including forged cancels and Hipcrime-like floods of spam.

    They forced the shutdown the anon.penet.fi anonymizing remailer [wikipedia.org] in 1996 (back in the age when there was no such thing as a "disposable email account").

    In 1997, Congressman Sonny Bono (D-Scilon) had the Copyright Term Extension Act [wikipedia.org] (aka the Mickey Mouse Protection Act) named after him.

    In 1998, following Bono's untimely incident with the tree, the cult lobbied hard for (and were the first to use) the DMCA in 1999 (through present day).

    In 2001, they attacked Slashdot itself with the DMCA.

    In 2002, they attacked Google and the Wayback Machine.

    The Internet's freest avenues of communication have been under regular attack from this cult for more than 13 years, and two of the world's worst intellectual property laws have been influenced by this cult. You don't have to have even heard of the cult to have been hurt by it. All you need is TCP/IP connectivity.

    The Church of Scientology isn't even on my list a problem organization

    Then you haven't been paying attention.

  • by MACC (21597) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:02AM (#24920081)

    Scientology will be taken to court in France
    for "organised fraud":
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/europe/7604311.stm [bbc.co.uk]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:02AM (#24920085)

    The case you are referring to was about material (3 page outline of one of their texts) that was used in a US court case (1994), and was therefore publicly available (= no copyright) in the US. the Dutch court agreed that it was now in the hands of so many people on the internet, that claiming copyright in the Netherlands didn't make any sense.

    But these 4000 video's are not about their copyrighted stuff, they are just *personal video's*, videos from protests, funny stuff about the Cult, news items, interviews, etc, etc.

     

  • by hobbit (5915) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:10AM (#24920173)

    In order to be a pyramid scheme, the cult members would need to be selling the courses themselves, as well as recruiting new members to sell courses; or they'd get paid according to how many new members they were able to bring into the cult.

    In my local "Hubbard Academy for Personal Independence" (they're not allowed to call it a church here) the staff, who are low- to medium-level members, try to sell you courses, so at least the former applies...

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:15AM (#24920233)
    And openly engaging in criminal activity like organized crime.
  • Related news... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jambox (1015589) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:25AM (#24920343)
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:41AM (#24920529) Homepage Journal

    Just a curiosity. The post included:

    "CoS is also structured like a military organization, they have troops, generals and so on. I guess that they have the weapons too."

    What popular American religions have such a clearly military organization that you perhaps even think they have weapons? Or am I reading too much into your definition of 'popular'?

  • by not-my-real-name (193518) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:44AM (#24920597) Homepage

    Yeah, but most Christians will be more than happy to give you a copy of he Bible if you act the least bit interested. Just look at the Gideons.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Christianson (1036710) on Monday September 08, 2008 @11:57AM (#24920747)

    Compare that to the other religions. To the best of my knowledge, there is no super-secret ultra-eyes-only version of the Bible that only the elite Christians get to read. There is no "not for the viewing of non-believers" version of the Qu'ran that only the most devout Muslims get to read. But there are secret Scientology documents which explain core beliefs of Scientology that the general rank and file of the CoS do not have access to.

    Unfortunately, it's a bit more complicated than that. Esotericism [wikipedia.org] is, at least historically, a common religious practice. Gnosticism, Mormonism, at least a few Buddhist sects, and arguably the Masonic tradition all spring to mind. All of these have the idea that there are truths which should not be made available to the uninitiated, as they are not prepared to receive them correctly.

    So this is the complicated problem: there are no really good grounds for condemning Scientology as a religion. The problems arise, rather, from the Church of Scientology as an institution. Letting aside the heavy-handed tactics used to recruit new members and to protect the Church, the fees charged for initiation seem to shift the practice from esotericism to exploitation. It's worth pointing out that very few people have objections to the Free Zone [wikipedia.org], emphasizing that the primary objection to the Church of Scientology is fundamentally organizational, rather than religious per se.

  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Monday September 08, 2008 @12:27PM (#24921041) Homepage

    If Scientology doesn't issue takedown notices for the videos praising them, they eventually lose their copyright power over the material.

    No, they don't. Copyright is termed, it doesn't have to be vigorously enforced. Trademark has to be enforced or lost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @12:36PM (#24921189)

    Do you mean this site? [satellite-sightseer.com]

  • by bwcbwc (601780) on Monday September 08, 2008 @01:12PM (#24921675)

    Wasn't there a recent court decision [wired.com] that stated that an entity that submits a DMCA takedown notice must make a reasonable effort to determine whether the allegedly infringing work is non-infringing under the fair-use doctrine? This hasn't been through an appeals process yet, so the ruling may not stand, but it could have interesting effects on the CoS situation.

  • by DragonFire1024 (1178613) on Monday September 08, 2008 @02:13PM (#24922591)
    Wikinews did an in-depth report and interviewed the accused behind the attempted removal: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Alleged_'rights_group'_tries_to_have_4,000_anti-Scientology_videos_removed_from_YouTube [wikinews.org]
  • by VeNoM0619 (1058216) on Monday September 08, 2008 @03:23PM (#24923727)
    Like a previous commenter mentioned:
    The counter DMCA requires your name/address. Which is most likely what they are looking for in the first place.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:46PM (#24927171)

    the cult of google might unfortunately be less of a joke than it should be.

    It would not be the first time that CoS has infiltrated [wikipedia.org] and attempted to control or undermine organizations perceived by them as enemies.

  • by smegged (1067080) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:07PM (#24928317)
    No, you were modded down because you were wrong.

    The real difference between a religion and a cult is the availability of materials and the acceptability into mainstream culture. Cults center around an individual or small group of individuals.

    The dictionary defines a cult as "a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." If you look at any of the major religions, they have at least gained orthodoxy in at least some societies. Cults by their nature exist on the margins. Almost all religions started off as a cult, but adapted to become mainstream enough to gain acceptance by their society - whether by the sword or other means.
  • by The Spie (206914) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:12AM (#24929115) Homepage

    I don't understand, how does this help with the other 4,000 DMCA takedowns?

    There was a domino effect. My counter-claim was one of the first. It was joined by some other counter-claims, all against the same entity, ARC. There were other complaints made outside of the DMCA counter-claim system about ARC. YouTube's appropriate department eventually received enough of these to get suspicious about ARC, and found that they didn't exist. YouTube then reversed themselves on all claims made by ARC, then found the claims made by the other false claimants and reversed them as well.

    If I had done this in isolation, yeah, it would have meant that one video went back up. But there are these things called message boards. I was keeping other Anons appraised in real-time (as much as possible, without blowing the nature of the honeypot) about what I was doing and how I was doing it, including posting copies of the text of the counter-claim so that they could use it. Other Anons used the information that I posted to initiate further action. There was also a first-guy-in-the-pool thing going on. Someone had to jump in first to prove the water was fine.

    Also, Anons and critics were attacking from a number of directions. There were e-mails and phone calls being made to YouTube in an effort to prevent Anons being named, which caused YouTube some suspicions. The DMCA counter-claims were Anon's most powerful weapon, but they could only be filed by Anons whose identities were already compromised in order to minimize risk.

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