6 Copyright Terrorists

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

an144108@anon.penet.fi,[16] an account on Helsingius's anonymous remailer in Finland, put up an opposing account, allegedly an interview with the woman in question, that claimed that Klemesrud was the attacker rather than the victim (a claim Klemesrud vehemently denies). On February 2, Helsingius was contacted by an American CoS representative saying that information from a closed, private CoS system had been made public through anon.penet.fi and that the CoS had reported a burglary to the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI. The representative wanted the identity of the individual who had posted that material. Helsingius refused, and he was told a request was on its way to the Finnish police through Interpol. The police arrived on February 8, with a warrant. Helsingius negotiated his way into giving up only the single ID that the CoS wanted instead of his entire database of 200,000.[17] He says that within an hour he was told the information had been passed on to the CoS. Helsingius later confirmed that the ID the CoS wanted was an144108@anon.penet.fi.

In an email message, Kobrin said of the anon.penet.fi raid: "The material that was stolen happened to relate to an investigation being conducted by the Church's lawyers into false allegations about the Church that had been posted on the Internet by Mr Erlich and Mr Klemesrud. These allegations centered on an incident involving a woman whom Mr Klemesrud had met in a bar, which the investigation proved were completely unfounded." Asked if further action was being taken against the anon-poster whose ID was handed over, she said, "The matter is under investigation. I cannot comment." The CoS, when asked who was undertaking the investigation, did not reply.

Also on February 8, the RTC, the CoS arm that holds the copyright for Hubbard's works, filed a complaint in San Jose, California, against Erlich and his service providers. On February 10, Federal District Judge Ronald M. Whyte issued a temporary restraining order against Erlich, Klemesrud, and Klemesrud's ISP, Netcom. The complaint said Erlich had been posting CoS materials in violation of copyright and, in the case of the upper-level materials the CoS calls "Advanced Technology," posting materials that were unpublished and confidential. The CoS has called the latter trade secrets, saying that the issue is one of theft, not of free speech.[18]

Erlich maintained that all his postings were merely fair use. "The most effective way I can discredit the cult is to use their own documents to show what they're about." Further, he said, "If quoting their internal documents that were legally obtained doesn't constitute fair use, then nothing does."[19] The CoS disagrees vehemently with this assessment of things. In a 1995 prepared statement about the Erlich suit, Leisa Goodman, media relations director for the Church of Scientology International, wrote, "Numerous attempts had been made by the Church's lawyers to persuade Erlich to halt his unauthorized, wholesale postings of the Church's religious scriptures, which went way beyond the concept of 'fair use' and constituted violation of copyright law." Later in the same statement, she wrote, "Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to steal. Erlich's attempts to misdirect and misinform the media are intended solely to divert attention from his own unlawful actions. He has spread polemic and sometimes obscene messages about the Church over the Internet--also a 'smokescreen' to divert attention away from his illegal activities."

Scientologists added that the only way Erlich could have obtained these materials in the first place would have been by signing an agreement that they be kept permanently confidential (in Scientology terms, a billion-year contract). Erlich says that's not true: "I never signed anything." This is repeated in his statements to the court, which are available on the Net, as are many other court documents from both sides.[20]

On February 13, 1995, Erlich's residence in Glendale, California, was raided. Erlich claimed afterwards that his constitutional rights were violated by the raid, in which he said floppy disks, books, and papers were seized, files were deleted from his hard drive, and his house was comprehensively searched and photographed. Afterward, two of his computers would not boot properly, and he was left with no back-ups from which to restore his system. He was not given an inventory of the


Copyright © 1997-99 NYU Press. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission of New York University Press is prohibited.

Be sure to visit the NYU Press Bookstore

[Design by NiceMedia]