Re: Church files suit in Holland
a.r.s., November 11, 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Karin Spaink)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology, comp.org.eff.talk
Subject: Re: Church files suit in Holland
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 04:22:28 GMT
Somebody has warned me that Mr. Milne's message appeared not only on alt.religion.scientology, but also on comp.org.eff.talk. Seeing that Mr. Milne misrepresents some facts and knowing that this affects me immediately, I thought I'd send you my reply to his message.
For those of you who do not know what is going on: CoS has filed charges against four providers and me because of a Dutch protest, in which a hundred people have put up homepages with the Fishman Affidavit. The lawsuit - a summary proceedings - will be at December 14th. I have the dubious honour of being the first Dutch citizen who's been taken to court on account of a homepage.
email@example.com (Andrew Milne) wrote:
> CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FILES SUIT TO END INTERNET ABUSE
Huh? Are you suing yourself or what?
I thought you accused us of copyright infringement? Now let's get this clear and not mix up, shall we: we are the ones who have Fishman on our homepage, you are the ones doing the forged cancels, the rmgroup, the raid on anon.penet.fi, the raid on FactNet, the raid on XS4ALL, the vertical spamming etc.
> In an decisive move to end abuse of its copyrighted
> religious scriptures by a "lawless group of conspirators" in
> Holland, the Religious Technology Center and Church of
> Spiritual Technology, two Church of Scientology
> organizations, filed suit yesterday against access providers
> DATAWEB, XS4ALL, CISTRON INTERNET SERVICES and THE
> DIGITAL CITY.
"Lawless group of conspirators"? And you dish that one out as a quote? I am ever so sorry for you, Andrew, but that's not what it says in the summons. You made that one up. There are only references to 'providers' and 'users'.
Also both you and your Dutch lawyers forgot to mention that what's on these homepages is a court document.
> Julie Rijnvis, the Dutch Church of Scientology spokeswoman,
Can you really not get your facts straight, not even when they are your own facts? Or are you just misspelling, as Rick Sherwood does when he refers to my name? Your Dutch spokeswoman is called Julia, not Julie.
> stated, "Violations are being hidden behind the
> smoke screen of "free speech", but in reality the defendants
> promote lawlessness and trample our religious beliefs wearing
> the boots of anarchy."
Oh no Andy. We've not yet referred to free speech. We just said that under Dutch law court documents are public material, even when the court involved is in a foreign country, and that therefore this particular court document is public material as well - and that your cult is trying to stop Dutch citizens from exerting their rights, just as you did when the court file was publicly available in the US.
> The suit also names one individual, Karin Spaink, as a
> defendant. According to Church officials, Spaink, a
> freelance journalist conspiring with XS4ALL co-founder,
> Phillip Rodriguez,
You really can't get your facts straight. And I have even told Julia Rijnvis and Martin Weightman repeatedly that I am not a journalist. I am a writer. I publish books, essays, articles, columns et cetera, but I usually research and comment. I do not cover news.
And do you really think that Felipe (by the way, he is called Felipe, not Phillip; what is it you guys have with names? Is there a thetan bugging a specific brain part or what?) that Felipe and I are conspiring? After your raid on XS4ALL I asked him what was going on. He told me.
I acted of my own accord when I put up my homepage. And yes, we now regularly confer on what steps to take and we do indeed have the same lawyer. Not surprisingly, seeing that we both face the same opponent. There is such a thing as joined forces, you see.
> launched a campaign in an attempt to
> destroy the Church's rights by deliberately instigating
> copyright violations of certain Church materials.
I launched a campaign for copyright violation? Oh no. I put up my homepage - I think I was the fifth or sixth person doing so after your cult raided XS4ALL - to maintain the availability of the Affidavit and publicly announced that. Everybody cheered and more people followed.
> The lawsuit alleges that Spaink sent out over 100
> e-mail messages urging users to unlawfully post these
> materials, which she persuaded some to do by promoting that
> XS4ALL would win any case brought against them by the
Indeed I sent e-mail messages asking people to consider what was going on. I did not however 'urge them to unlawfully post these materials'. I asked them to look into it, and said we'd be stronger when it was not just six or seven people. I did not ask them to 'unlawfully post these materials'. I asked them to kindly consider putting up a homepage with a court file, the Fishman Affidavit.
> "This has nothing to do with criticism, which Spaink is
> free to do," said Rijnvis, "This is a deliberate campaign to
> destroy our rights. She also gave instructions on how to
> 'protect' and maintain an anonymous multiple display of the
> copyrighted materials."
Again, no. It is an action to defend our rights: to have access to a court file.
Would you care to explain the last sentence to me? I think I understand what you mean by 'She also gave instructions on how to "protect" copyrighted materials' - I did indeed later explain (as others had also done, both publicly and through e-mail) what Dutch copyright law amounts to. But I sincerely do not understand what 'anonymous multiple display' is. Account names are part of the url's, right? So what do you mean? (Does anybody else has any idea?)
> According to the lawsuit, the access providers named as
> defendants committed similar, deliberate abuses of the
> Church's copyrights.
The access providers never put up a Fishman homepage. They are not using or abusing anybody. They just provide Internet access, as is their job. What their users put on their homepage, is of no concern to them.
> Repeated attempts by Church
> representatives to resolve the matter with dialogue were
> refused by the access providers and Spaink.
Liar. On October 2, Rijnvis asked me, via a newspaper I write a three-weekly column in, to please call her. Which I did. We talked and we did not agree. I offered to phone back the next day, which I did. We still did not agree. I thereupon received a letter from CoS's lawyers on October 4; whereupon I got myself a lawyer, who I asked to further represent me.
On November 30, the same newspaper phoned me to tell me that Martin Weightman wanted to talk with me. I phoned him that same day. He said he wanted to meet me, talk with me and give me some 'interesting documents'. I told him that he was welcome to send me these documents and that I would read them carefully, but that I had no intention of having a friendly conversation with somebody who had sent me lawyer's letters. He never send me those documents.
And it is rather strange to sent letters threatening to sue and then want friendly conversations, isn't it?
In as far as I know, the providers have talked with CoS a lot. And even after they had received lawyer's letters, XS4ALL invited CoS for a meeting. The Dutch organisation for Internet Providers - NLIP - once arranged a meeting with CoS representative Alan Cartwright, but Cartwright failed to show.
> Rijnvis further stated, "After spending weeks
> attempting to get these access providers and Spaink to see
> reason, and end the abuse, our only choice was to take legal
> action to protect what is ours." Rijnvis added that many of
> the access providers even state in their own subscriber
> contracts that copyright infringement is illegal.
But nobody has proven that this is copyright infringement. So nobody knows for sure whether these homepages are legal or illegal. We want to find out. CoS just wants to have them removed, without any legal arrangement or lawful arguments. So who's fooling who, Andrew?
> The violated copyrighted materials include unpublished
> scriptures, reserved for Church parishioners who have
> achieved requisite levels of spiritual progress in the
> religion. The scriptures were originally stolen from the
> Church of Scientology in Denmark, resulting in the jailing of
> one of the thieves.
I did not steal anything. I just copied the Fishman Affidavit from the net.
> Rijnvis said that the Holland defendants' actions were
> fomented by several individuals in the United States who were
> sued by the Church this year for posting the materials. In
> these lawsuits, the courts have recognized the Church's
> copyrights, ordering the defendants not to make copies or
> broadly disseminate them, and placing them under sealing
> order or sealing agreement.
Did they? I read these verdicts otherwise.
> "Software manufacturers, singers, writers and artists
> in general want to see their works protected," said Rijnvis.
> "A lawless element is creating a problem for the majority.
Churches in general want their material to be spread. And I agree, Andy, that a lawless element is creating a problem for the majority. Bu we're confident we'll solve that matter quickly. In court.
> We would like to see access providers form a self-regulatory
> body where they take responsibility for solving these
> situations rather than pushing them into the legal system.
Jeez. Everything is grounded in the legal system, and that is truly a good thing.
As of yet, there are no rules for providers in Holland; that is one of the difficulties in this situation. The participants say that they are responsible for their homepages. The providers say that users are responsible for their homepages. Yet to be developed laws will probably say that users are responsible for their homepages. But you require providers to do something which they are probably not allowed - i.e. removing these pages without permission from the user involved - and say that that is self-regulation? It is obviously your regulation you wish these providers to exert.
If you want something which neither users nor providers think you have a right to, namely removing these homepages, you should indeed first ask for legal judgement. Anything else would be illegal.
> "This small minority of Internet users are abusing the
> privilege of the Internet, spoiling it for all by hiding
> behind a smokescreen of `freedom of expression.' That freedom
> does not mean freedom to steal," she added.
Nobody stole anything.
> "The Church has always been a strong advocate of free
> expression --
I'll skip that one. Shame on you.
> we simply believe that the laws of the land
> must apply to the Internet as well," Rijnvis said.
We believe the same. I would think that your interpretation of the law and ours are very dissimilar. That's nothing to whine about Andrew, we'll just ask the proper authority what his or her views on this matter are.
Copyright Karin Spaink.
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