Scientology Strikes Again
March 16, 2001 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Scientology Strikes Again Last Saturday a comment was posted on Slashdot by an anonymous reader that contained text that was copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. They have since followed the DMCA and demanded that Slashdot remove the comment. After consulting with their lawyers, that's exactly what Slashdot did, but posted the above page with oodles of links to anti-Scientology resources. Will Scientology stop at nothing to silence its opponents?
posted by yarf (21 comments total)

 
If I say something critical of anyone (or any group in or the whole of) Scientology, will someone come along and claim that they are the last people who it's OK to be prejudiced against? No, wait, Scientologists didn't support Dubya or the Republican Party in a conspicous fashion.

My only question re Scientology is, why did media folks start being critical of Tom Cruise's membership only after he and Nicole split. Before, his choice of religion would only be mentioned in passing, like, oh, he's set to work on this film and by the way . . . never mentioning that he, say, puts electrometers or what you call them in his tomatoes before eating them to make sure they're suitably groovy.
posted by raysmj at 2:20 PM on March 16, 2001


Huzzah for Slashdot. You do have to pick your fights and they can't win this one. Although, in doing this, they admit they can't post this and (with anonymous posting) it will become prime posting material. Why trick people into goatsex when you can down slashdot.
posted by holloway at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2001


Tum Crooze was being joked about long before their breakup.
posted by holloway at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2001


Scientology. Even the word just blows my mind. Some science fiction writer gets loaded, writes a bunch of hoopla down about evil things clinging to your skin, and then makes people pay thousands upon thousands of dollars just to get "clear".
Crap. I really need to start a religion.
As to Tom Cruise, I have personally made fun of him since the eighties. Hell, it's easy to pick on someone that only stands 3 foot 5. Granted, he has more money than me...but he still has to use a booster seat at Dairy Queen.
posted by bradth27 at 2:39 PM on March 16, 2001


...contained text that was copyrighted by the Church of Scientology

And from the linked page:

Our lawyers tell us that it appears to be a violation of Copyright law, and under the terms of the DMCA, we must remove it

So how is this a clear case of "Scientology silencing its opposition"?

Besides, they have a lot of catching up to do to rival Christianity. :-)

Disclaimer: I support neither/nor. But I just don't see how this is as big of a deal as it's being made out to be.
posted by ethmar at 2:45 PM on March 16, 2001


Whoa there Tonto... Don't be grouping Christians in with Scientologists.

That is the problem with this forum sometimes. Everyone lumps Christians into one entire group. I don't think so.

I am Christian, yet, I don't agree with Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, etc... Each has seperate views when it comes to Christianity, and to lump them all together as one is as bigoted as you claim Christians to be.
posted by da5id at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2001


> Besides, they have a lot of catching up
> to do to rival Christianity. :-)

Ethmar: I agree. In Ireland hardly anyone dies of Scientology disputes.
posted by holloway at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2001


If I say something critical of anyone (or any group in or the whole of) Scientology, will someone come along and claim that they are the last people who it's OK to be prejudiced against?

Publicly criticizing Scientologist beliefs is just as tasteless as publicly criticizing any other religious beliefs, no matter how weird we may find them to be. Criticizing the Scientology organization, however, is a different matter. Whatever people want to go for spiritually is fine by me. But no organization should get away with crimes. And the organization is alleged to have committed all sorts of nasty felonies over the years. (These are current government laws I'm talking about. I don't expect anyone try to bring up the Spanish Inquisition. ::insert huge opening here::)

The best way to differentiate Scientology from Christianity, or most any other religion, is simple. The entire point of most religions is to "spread the word" to as many people as possible; the expense of doing so is incurred by the given church, as The Word is far too important to hold back from people.

Scientology is 180 degress from that. They SELL the religious documents and teachings to you in small doses. Small, unbelievably expensive doses. And all the materials are copyrighted. If you don't pay up, you get nothing, and will just have to do without their wisdom, sorry.

Put another way: If someone started posting books of the Bible on Slashdot, do you think the Catholic Church, or any other Christian denomination that goes by the same bible, would sue to have it taken down because it wasn't paid for? Lord no! (heh heh) They'd be jumping up and down for joy! All those geeks getting the glory of The Word! Hallelujah! Publish all you want! Hey, want hardcopies? Drop us an email, you can have 100 copies for free!
posted by aaron at 3:17 PM on March 16, 2001



Aaron: I think the Catholic Church wouldn't sue because the bible is just slightly out of copyrightable age! If you look at translations into new languages they are always copyrighted (at least, for the five or so languages I have seen - it's something I noticed a few years ago).

I'm not sure what's tasteless about thinking a religious belief that doesn't believe in evolution is silly - and saying so publically. Have you read that scientology crud? Hawaii was existed 7 million years ago, yeah, sure.

Buffoons - all of them.

posted by holloway at 3:28 PM on March 16, 2001


Publicly criticizing Scientologist beliefs is just as tasteless as publicly criticizing any other religious beliefs, no matter how weird we may find them to be.

Hmmm. Philosophy 101 questions for you here. If I criticized Aztecs for human sacrifice, would that be tasteless? What if one was a major Hollywood actor? What if they proselytized frequently, in an in-your-face way? Could I make fun of them then?

What if Scientologists worked individually, but under the auspices of a political party, to require me to use electrometer thingies to make sure my tomatoes are suitably groovy? What if they connected the use of those things to, say, being a decent human being and a good citizen? What if they made it sound questioning their party's economic theories was akin to being anti-L. Ron Hubbard and thus a bad person?

Yikes, I could go on with these sorts of disconnected questions all night long, but I'm getting ready for a night of basketball.
posted by raysmj at 3:52 PM on March 16, 2001


Just to clarify. I don't believe there are such things as religious beliefs - or rather that they are just generic beliefs. Whether megamite is the best table spread or Xenu rock0rz are both open to debate.

oh.. and I regard using "criticise" as a rhetoric trick. Criticise? Talk about, more like.
posted by holloway at 4:18 PM on March 16, 2001


If you're confused why people on the internet are pissed of at Scientology, it's because they have a storied and gallant history of trying to censor their critics. What other religion tries to prevent dissemination of their texts? Individuals who have voiced criticism of Scientology have been sued and harassed. Scientology has even attempted to remove the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology because they could not control the discussions there. When a critic tried to post anonymously using the famed remailer service anon.penet.fi, they put every legal resource at their disposal to identify the individual, and the owner shut down his site knowing he could no longer protect his users' privacy. If you're still confused, start here.

Hey, Scientology can do whatEVER the fuck they WANT in private. Gerbilling, Twister, Naked Gin Rummy. It's when they screw with everyone else's freedoms that they need a good smack-down.
posted by dhartung at 4:36 PM on March 16, 2001


By the way, this has been going on for a long time; in fact, it predates the web. This article, Scientology vs. the Internet, was written in 1995.
posted by dhartung at 4:42 PM on March 16, 2001


Scientology is, I think, the first "religion" that employs copyright lawyers to sustain its gnosticism. Even the Masons don't regard the exposure of their "secrets" as the equivalent of industrial espionage.

You'd think, if they had something worth sharing, they'd be less pro-active about keeping this sub-teenage mythmaking out of the public domain, since it's obviously a front for some deeper set of secrets, isn't it?
posted by holgate at 5:07 PM on March 16, 2001


Even the Masons don't regard the exposure of their "secrets" as the equivalent of industrial espionage.

It is my understanding that the Masons guard many of their higher level secrets under the threat of death, though I don't know where the flowery language stops and the real threat of ass-whoop begins. I had a roommate who was a high-level Mason, and he was always talking smack about swearing on his life to keep these big secrets. Then again, maybe he was just a complete doofus. Yeah, that's probably it, come to think of it...
posted by Optamystic at 5:55 PM on March 16, 2001


A break in basketball here, and couldn't resist this one. The Masons do not constitute a religion. More a quasi-secret civic club with icons. Anyway, that little pryamid with the all-seeing eye of the Creator on the top of it, the one on your dollar bill? That's a Masonic thing. They have all kinds of mystical whatnot of that variety all over their lodges, along with the -- goodness, what's the thing you used in geometry to draw circles, and then never used again in most cases? Most of our presidents have been Masons. It's quite outre among the ruling classes now, though.
posted by raysmj at 6:06 PM on March 16, 2001


Optamystic: that's the traditional way that gnostic organisations -- societies with secrets -- defend those secrets. Point being, they don't regard them as copyright infringements.

In fact, I'm sure the Scientologists will claim that L. Ron's not dead, and just "elsewhere", to avoid his works falling out of copyright.
posted by holgate at 6:13 PM on March 16, 2001


actually, Hubbard is dead, but they have his severed head frozen in a secret cryogenic lab hidden in the basement of the Alamo. I am sure that they will bring it out when everyone starts getting barcodes tattooed on their foreheads.
posted by bradth27 at 7:45 PM on March 16, 2001


Why, is he a barcode scanner?
posted by kindall at 8:33 PM on March 16, 2001


In Ireland hardly anyone dies of Scientology disputes.

I rest my case. Good one! :-)

The thing that kills me is that regardless of whatever ills Scientology has visited upon the internet or otherwise, the issue that sparked this thread was that copyrighted material was posted at Slashdot without consent. If their lawyers are saying that the Scientologists are correct in asking for the material to be removed, then to me it's an open and shut case and I move on.

What other religion tries to prevent dissemination of their texts?

Hmmm, didn't Jack T Chick sue to get his infamous "tracts" removed from at least one web site that cast them in an unfavorable light? So much for the notion that "His Word" must be spread far and wide, by any means necessary.

Whoa there Tonto... Don't be grouping Christians in with Scientologists.

As the great Terry Boers once said: listening is a skill. Or in this case, reading.
posted by ethmar at 8:13 AM on March 20, 2001


ethmar, there's been a couple of Jack Chick todos that I'm aware of. One was the MST3K/Chick parody where someone had copied Chicks images and was using them to parody. The solution for that, apparently, was the parody site now gets the images from Chick's servers, thereby saving them some bandwidth costs.

Silly Chick.

The other that I'm aware of was a site dedicated to Chick, where the issue was people modifying the text of the strips.

And I don't think that changing the text of the strips can allow them to still be considered "His Word". The god Chick believes in would not appreciate that word being spread.
posted by cCranium at 8:21 AM on March 20, 2001


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