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Censorship Your Rights Online

YouTube Reposts Anti-Scientology Videos 435

Posted by timothy
from the fun-and-easy-to-destroy-stuff dept.
Ian Lamont writes "YouTube has reposted anti-Scientology videos and reinstated suspended YouTube accounts after receiving thousands of apparently bogus DCMA take-down notices. Four thousand notices were sent to YouTube last Thursday and Friday by American Rights Counsel, LLC. After YouTube users responded with counter-notices, many of the videos were reposted. It turns out that the American Rights Counsel had no copyright claim on the videos, and the group may not even exist, although the text of the DCMA notices have been linked to a Wikipedia editor. While filing a false DMCA notice is a criminal offense, prosecution in these cases rarely comes about."
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YouTube Reposts Anti-Scientology Videos

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  • Teach them a lesson (Score:5, Informative)

    by gooman (709147) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @11:43AM (#24933587) Journal

    While filing a false DMCA notice is a criminal offense, prosecution in these cases rarely comes about.

    Sounds like this would be a good time to start.
    I can't think of a nicer group of people to sue.

  • Re:Racial Bigotry (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThatGuyJon (1299463) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @11:58AM (#24933799)

    Yes. Did you miss the big scrolling letters running across the screen?
    The odd thing about Scientology is although that is what they believe, Scientologists are only told it after they have spent an awful lot of time and money on Scientology.

  • Re:Google Should Sue (Score:2, Informative)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hot[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:11PM (#24933977) Homepage

    Google Owns YouTube?

    Yes, they do.

  • by schlick (73861) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:14PM (#24934019)

    Here is their own link []

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:17PM (#24934041) Journal

    No ... it's more like, they can't think of a better, more LUCRATIVE scam than the one they've cooked up!

    How many nation-wide con-artist operations do you see out there that are protected by federal legislation (organized religion status)?

    Just 2 days ago, I received some propaganda piece in the mail from their "church". It was trying to recruit new members with false "scientific findings" they published. (Basically, the premise was that all the chemicals we encounter in our daily lives are permanently lodging themselves in our bodies and poisoning us. By signing up with their group, they could put you through a "cleansing" process to restore your body's "natural state". They actually claimed that it was a *scientific finding* that common anesthesia drugs were discovered permanently stored in people's fat tissue, among other things. Citation was conveniently left out on that, though.)

  • by golodh (893453) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:20PM (#24934077)
    This sort of unethical behaviour is well-documented as absolutely typical for the Scientology sect I'm afraid. The term the sect uses to indicate its position vis-a-vis critics or opponents is to call them "fair game". Meaning that they condone, encourage, or initiate thoroughly unethical conduct against them (ranging from slander and defamation, intimidation through harassment in the widest sense of the word to costly nuisance lawsuits).

    See e.g. [], [], [], [], [], []

    See also this quote from Wikipedia:

    In 1994, Vicky Aznaran, who had been the Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (the Church's central management body), claimed in an affidavit that Because of my position and the reports which regularly crossed my desk, I know that during my entire presidency of RTC "fair game" actions against enemies were daily routine. Apart from the legal tactics described below, the "fair game" activities included break-ins, libel, upsetting the companies of the enemy, espionage, harassment, misuse of confidential communications in the folders of community members and so forth.

    This is one of the good reasons why the sect tends to be viewed with suspicion in Western Europe (the sect is currently defending itself in France against a charge of fraud (see []). I'm still unclear as to exactly how sect has been able to secure the tax-exempt status of "church" with the US authorities. I have read that it was by successfully harassing the relevant officials, but that's quite hard to prove of course.

  • Re:Racial Bigotry (Score:4, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <> on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:21PM (#24934091) Homepage Journal

    I meant that they probably want to portray themselves as a "oppressed minority" or something like that...

    Ironic, since isn't it their intention to genocide the Thetans or something bizarre like that?

    If someone were to prosecute them for persecuting Thetans, what would their defense be?

  • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:25PM (#24934135) Homepage Journal

    We have a winner. This is most likely the real reason for the mass takedown.

    Mod parent up.

  • Re:E-meter videos? (Score:5, Informative)

    by smolloy (1250188) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:28PM (#24934157)

    An e-meter isn't a voltmeter, it's a potentiometer (it measures resistance not voltage). It's based on a Wheatstone bridge design, and is a very sensitive way to measure the resistance between the probes. Since hydration levels, stress, sweat, etc., can all change the resistivity of human skin, an e-meter will measure these changes, which can then be (fraudulently) be interpreted as being of religious significance.

    It's nothing more than a half-assed lie-detector.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:39PM (#24934319)

    They are honestly going to let Scientology get away with this bollocks? Wow. That sucks. It'd be funny to finally see themselves sucker punch their own faces by trying.

    Nobody knows if this was done by official Scientology, by some scientologist who got carried away, or by some prankster who thought it would be fun. No matter who it was, the DMCA act states very clearly that claiming that you are acting for the copyright holder when you are not is _perjury_. Which is quite a serious matter. Which needs to be multiplied by 4000. Which means whoever did this needs to be caught and thrown into jail to discourage any repeats of this.

    Imagine he or she gets away with it, and next week 8000 videos about flower arranging get a DMCA takedown notice. Which would be even more disruptive, because people putting up those videos probably have less experience handling such a situation.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:45PM (#24934383) Journal
    A DMCA take-down notice includes a sworn statement indicating that you are acting on behalf of the copyright holder. If they were sent by someone else then this is a case of perjury, and since they were sent by a law firm there should be a simple trail to identify the responsible party. Unless they were sent by someone pretending to be a lawyer, in which case that's two illegal actions.
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:55PM (#24934507)

    In some ways it doesn't matter. If the case is put against the church and won then (as per previous rulings about them getting into trouble again) Scientology France could be dissolved.

  • by ZackZero (1271592) * on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @12:57PM (#24934521) Journal
    I've done some searching, and so far, all Web hits for the entire name "American Rights Counsel LLC" (actual search string, incl. quotes) - even the foreign-language hits - all only point to news postings related to the takedowns. That's 101/101 hits total from a single Google search with that string, followed by 102/102 via Yahoo. Not a single one showing that group in a neutral light.

    I'd therefore posit that this was either a non-Anonymous individual/group trying to draw negative attention towards the Church of Scientology, or an act carried out by a shell group controlled by the Office of Special Affairs (an actual group within the CoS).
  • Remember (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @01:10PM (#24934669)

    there's no such thing as a "rogue $cientologist" - this guy was obviously pulling this stunt with the knowledge/approval of cult leadership and organization.

    It was probably along the lines of something like this [] - his "auditor" told him this was what he needed to do to "clear" something, so he did it.

    Of course, Wikipedia's completely bombarded by pro-$cientology stooges [] who try to whitewash whatever they can from articles on the cult. I'm not surprised one of their stooges popped up trying this on Youtube to remove videos by people who expose the cult for what it is.

  • Re:E-meter videos? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @01:18PM (#24934757)

    Ohm meter. Voltage == potential.

  • Followup (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @01:18PM (#24934761)

    Remember L. Ron's first rule of dealing with the media - "Never Defend, Always Attack." []

    And of course, any "Suppressive Person" is "Fair Game. []" (also here []). Note the following: "May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

    From the Wikinews article:

    Wikinews contacted Schaper for exclusive comments. Schaper replied saying that he is a "very strong advocate for the Church of Scientology, the religion of Scientology and a free speech advocate" and "I don't need to go into details but I felt that my family and myself have been direct targets and in an attempt to control the situation, I started to track down and remove online links between me and my religion. This included postings made by HouseSpiderAnon on his videos, who publicly connected the dots and made them available to a larger audience."

    "I requested several times to have my information removed from his videos as I wanted no association with his work but he refused, even after I stated several times that he has the right to protest but that I would like to enforce my right of privacy. He refused and demanded documentation of the attacks, something I refused because it was not my attention to allow more documents to be available online in public hand," added Schaper who also said he has been a victim of identity theft and now has the FBI involved in investigating his claim.

    "Tustin PD [police department] has been on the case and now the FBI is involved as well. Social Security has been notified and we have seen about 200 attempts to use the SSN [social security number] for fake credit cards applications," Schaper told Wikinews.

    Certainly looks like typical lying/"fairgame" $cientology behavior in action, doesn't it? I doubt one thing Schaper said about himself is true - and certainly doubt the idea that the FBI would be "involved" in the lies of a $cientologist. But that never does stop the Cult of $cientology from going about its business.

  • Re:Remember (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @01:30PM (#24934935)

    Of course, Wikipedia's completely bombarded by pro-$cientology stooges [] who try to whitewash whatever they can from articles on the cult. I'm not surprised one of their stooges popped up trying this on Youtube to remove videos by people who expose the cult for what it is.

    Although if you had read the RA (I know, I know) you would have found out that the wikipedia editor is Olaf Schaper and the scientology person is Oliver Schaper. Wikinews seems to find it suspicious that somebody called O. Schaper should be able to get the user name oschaper, and seems confused between wikipedia handles and email addresses (where I would agree that the chances of anybody getting an initial-surname address nowadays is slim unless they own the domain!)

  • Re:Racial Bigotry (Score:3, Informative)

    by Loko Draucarn (398556) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @01:49PM (#24935175)

    I'm pretty sure that the Quakers [] have a distinct lack of blood [] in their history.

  • Notarized documents? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Qubit (100461) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @02:01PM (#24935301) Homepage Journal

    Now that it looks like this "American Rights Council" doesn't exist, I wonder if Google is going to start to require notarized DMCA take-down notices. Prior to this 4000-long list of notices, Google might not have had the evidence to show that DMCA notices were being abused, but this should provide ample evidence should Google ever get in legal trouble if they only accept notarized DMCA take down notices in the future.

    The benefit for Google is obvious, as is the benefit for all of their users, etc. It's a big enough win to make me wonder if someone didn't just plan this as a way to weed out the chaff that is getting sent to YouTube legal; this event should hopefully send a warning to the RIAA and other groups that shoot from the hip with take-down notices: abuse of the DMCA's provisions will have negative ramifications.

  • by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @02:26PM (#24935631)

    No. Valid means that it is a legally valid notice. If YouTube fails to comply with a notice, the noticee can sue them - a notice without any follow up is just a piece of paper. But if the noticee doesn't have the right to file the notice, or if the notice isn't valid, he's obviously not in any position to sue.

    Companies like YouTube choose to comply with every DMCA notice they receive without checking because it's easier and safer for them.

  • by Quantos (1327889) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @02:49PM (#24935877)

    'At the moment, Christianity isn't run for profit (Roman Catholic church notwithstanding).'

    When was the last time that you attended a members meeting for any curch? They always try to run at a profit, in North America anyway. I can vouch for this having been a 'Member in Good Standing' of the Protestant Church.

  • Re:Remember (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @03:21PM (#24936287)

    Look at the Article-For-Deletion pages on the ones "Oschaper" created.

    Wikipedia itself seems to pretty clearly be unconvinced that "Olaf Schaper" exists - the evidence is that Oliver Schaper used the "Olaf Schaper" lie as a dodge when he was called out for writing articles about his own little scientology-promoting "organizations."

    I'd say that the chance that an "Olaf Schaper" would happen to create wikipedia articles on not one, but TWO pro-$cientology setups created by "Oliver Schaper", AND would have been involved in the Cult-organized mass of false DMCA notices, is pretty improbable (probably on the order of 2^279460347:1 against).

  • by lilo_booter (649045) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @03:51PM (#24936659)
    I agree with you on 'pants', but 'bollocks' dates back a long way []. It's a great word that covers a multitude of situations.
  • by LrdDimwit (1133419) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:46PM (#24938183)
    This is the problem with laws. Every lawyer everywhere gets paid enormous amounts of money to drive trucks thru pigeonholes.
  • by LunarCrisis (966179) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:10PM (#24938483)

    It could be mostly automatic. The search would be simple: []

    Just repeat for different start-index values and slightly different searches, and you can easily rack up a few thousand unique videos.

  • by deniable (76198) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @09:50PM (#24941217)
    It's been done [] already. When a law becomes a toy for fifteen year olds, we have a problem.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."