Letter to Judge Whyte
a.r.s., April 4, 1996
Hon. Ronald M. Whyte, Federal Judge
Northern District of California
San Jose, CA
CC: Magistrate Judge Infante
Concerning: No. C 96-20207 RMW
April 4, 1996
Dear Judge Whyte:
Today on alt.religion.scientology, I read the list of documents that Scientology's lawyers require from Mr. Ward for their deposition of him. In that document, the so-called "Notice of Deposition of Defendant Grady Ward and Request for Production of Documents And Things", a list of persons is included; Scientology wants all Mr. Ward's private communication with the people on this list to be handed over to them.
I was rather amazed to find my name included on that list. I am a Dutch citizen, a writer, and I am currently being sued by Scientology (in their personae of RTC, CST and New Era Publications) for alleged copyright infringements. There was a verdict on summary proceedings quite recently; this March 12 verdict acquitted me of all claims and ordered plaintiffs to pay lawyer's costs. Scientology has - as they are wont to do - appealed this verdict; a date for new hearings will soon be set. Apart from this appeal, they have filed other proceedings against me, involving a much more elaborate suit.
A copy of the March 12 verdict is included at the end of this letter.
I fail to understand why my name is on the list plaintiffs have presented Mr. Ward with. Mr. Ward and I do not know each other, and to the best of my knowledge the first e-mail I ever addressed to him was sent on March 24, 1996, upon hearing that your court had issued a TRO against him at Scientology's request. I mailed him some advice and later offered him the use of my personal archive of alt.religion.scientology postings, should he need it. (And I will now e-mail him a courtesy copy of this letter.) Mr. Ward may of course have saved some postings I made to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup, as I often post there to inform others about my legal proceedings here.
Under Dutch Law, Grady Ward would not even be allowed to produce any e-mail communications we might have had. The Privacy law in this country only allows him to do so when a court order has been issued. It is my understanding that US law has an Electronic Communications Privacy Act (section 2700-2707 of Title 18 USC), which also states that lawful access to stored electronic communications requires a warrant or a court order.
Also, I cannot understand why Scientology would expect to find any communication between Mr. Ward and me - if it had existed - to be of any relevance to the pertaining case. I can only assume that Scientology either considers all critics to be linked in some kind of global conspiracy, and thus expects us to be scheming deviously, or - worse - that Scientology is hoping to use the mere fact that my name will be mentioned in your court as a means to thwart legal proceedings here and put me at a disadvantage in their upcoming appeal - for instance, by suggesting that _I_ am a part of Scamizdat or was at some time suspected to be connected with it, or with any other copyright infringing person or group. I must therefore protest to being in any way included in this "Notice of Deposition".
Needless to say, I am not connected with Scamizdat, nor do I know who he or she is.
Setting aside my personal interests, I think that the afore-mentioned "Notice of Deposition" asks for a bit too much. Scientology obviously wants almost anything anybody ever communicated to Mr. Grady Ward or that Mr. Grady Ward has ever communicated to anybody. (Somebody on alt.religion.scientology mentioned that it would appear that plaintiffs want him to hand over everything they could have taken from his house were you to have granted them a full-fledged ex-parte seizure.) The "Notice of Deposition" leaves Mr. Ward no privacy at all. I think plaintiffs would need to show cause for each and every item and person on that list.
I kindly ask you to review this "Notice of Deposition", and to ask plaintiffs to show a bit more restrain, or have them strike my name from that list.
appendix: Court Ruling March 12, 1996
RTC, CST, New Era Publiactions (plaintiffs) v.
XS4all, Planet Internet, Karin Spaink et. al.
Copyright Karin Spaink.
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