articles in english

Unbiased columnism, day 2
McShane compliments Zenon

Stockholm, January 19, 2001

THE SCIENTOLOGY DELEGATION has changed configuration: there are two new guys. One of them is an extra interpreter. Today, McShane will be deposed and he needs a legal interpreter. Neither of the translators are Scientologists; that is apparent from the fact that they speak with us. The only other person who does this is William Hart, McShane's lawyer. We joke a bit on occasion, especially when we're outside to smoke. When we ask him whether he is a member of Scientology, Hart plainly states: "No. I am a Jew." During one of these short conversations he tells us that Scientology is not his only client. He also does work for the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association. "Oh, in that case you must have come across me there as well," says Zenon, "in the DVD case." Yes, Bill is indeed doing a DVD case, but not the one Zenon is involved in.

Robin, who is to be Scientology's main interpreter for the course of these hearings and who herself is no Scioentologist, made a rather funny but embarrassing faux pas when she met RTC's president McShane on the morning of the first hearing. "Oh, I downloaded something about you from the Internet," she brightly stated. Internet. Wrong. "It concerns another court case that you are involved in, a libel suit. It seems that you lost." She gracefully hands McShane a copy that he refuses to take. It is of course the infamous Time lawsuit, of which the last part was decided upon only a few days ago. "I don't know about this one, it is minor," mumbles McShane. Ouch.

MAGNUSSON STARTS EXPLAINING his grounds, something that he was asked to save until Zenon would have made his admissions, so that all discussion regarding points that Zenon concedes can be weeded out. Let's hope that he does indeed skip quite a lot.

Magnusson claims that a copy of Zenon's homepage from 1996 (containing the Fishman Affidavit) that Zenon filed a few days ago is "new evidence" and "new circumstances", which should be rejected by the court. As it turns out, RTC itself had filed an identical copy of that same homepage already back in 1996. Exit objection.

Copyrights, transferred after Hubbard's death as per testament, exclusive license, exclusive rights, RTC, bla bla bla, we know this. Magnusson recites the number of pages that were quoted of OT2, OT3 and NOTs. The Chair asks how the OTs and NOTs were filed at the US Copyright Office. Masked? Magnusson confirms. Was it the *originals* that were masked? Yes. In other words: has the Copyright Office seen the unmasked OTs and NOTs? Yes, of course, and the Copyright Office has even assessed the literary value of the OTs and NOTs, and found them to have dignity of work.

Magnusson is wrong: the Copyright Office has not seen the unmasked versions, as McShane will later on testify. Nice try, but no cigar.

DISCUSSION ABOUT IDENTITY. Texts on Z's hard disk, texts handed in to court.

These works are original, they have merit, they are registered, thus they are copyrightable, Magnusson drones on. Very often, he doesn't make a statement himself but refers the court to the upcoming deposition of McShane. Zenon objects: first of all, an attorney needs to state his grounds for his claims himself and not let his client do this in a testimony. Secondly, a big part of McShane is going to be held behind closed doors, while whatever pertains to Magnusson's ground ought to be stated in public. Magnusson continues about the damages that RTC suffered and the legal costs that Zenon has burdened them with.

Magnusson has no sense of humour whatsoever. He speaks in a deadpan voice, he never makes a joke, and what's more: he hardly reacts when somebody else does. He doesn't get angry, he doesn't get inspired, he doesn't get vehement. The only emotion he shows is embarrassment when Zenon makes at a hole in his legal arguments (and then he laughs, expressing his despair at such a stupid question or remark) or when he finds himself in a fix.

The Chair wants a clarification on a few of Magnusson's points, or actually, about Zenon's stance on them. One: the authorship of the OTs and NOTs. Zenon states that the NOTs were actually not written by Hubbard, but by David Mayo. The other point the Chair asks to be clarified is the matter of evidence: Zenon explains that RTC has to prove their copyright and it is up to the court to assess the evidence handed in, not up to Scientology itself, as has been happening up until now. And just showing the OTs and NOTs to the court will not be sufficient: there won't be any time for a solid comparison, he argues.

ANOTHER DISCUSSION. Thomas Small, a lawyer, testified last time about how he helped to set up the license agreement between CST and RTC and how it was designed. What Zenon never knew and what Small certainly didn't tell the previous court while he was being heard, was that he was at the time of his deposition actively employed as RTC's lawyer. Zenon has found some correspondence dated a month after Small's deposition in the Swedish court, in which he acted as RTC's lawyer. That fact certainly questions his objectivity - actually, under US law he is not even allowed to say anything that could damage his client.

Magnusson raises the issue, claiming that the new evidence shouldn't be allowed at all and that if it is allowed, RTC would need to depose Small anew. Nah, says Zenon, we have Small's boss right here in the court room, we can simply ask whether he employs Small, can't we? Magnusson mumbles, and then admits that yes, Small was in active duty of RTC while he was deposed in Zenon's case.

ZENON OBJECTS to the closed doors that we will soon have. Last time, only three words were uttered that RTC actually considers to be confidential. (For your information: those three words were "body thetan" and "cluster". We can summarise whenever we speak about the actual texts, can't we? Magnusson hesitates. That could still constitute infringement. Well, if the Catholic Church had copyright to the bible and if I would then proceed to explain about God, heaven and hell, would I then be infringing? Zenon asks. Magnusson hesitates. Zenon has had enough of this. "What I want to say is five lines only, nothing more." He gets up to Magnusson taking a paper with him. "These five lines is what I want to read." Magnusson answers that these lines can only be uttered behind closed doors: secrecy has to be maintained. Zenon sits down again, exasperated. It is only a description and an argument, not a quote.

And here are these five lines, verbatim from Zenon's notes: "The teachings are dangerous. The OTs and NOTs establish that sickness should be treated with auditing. This is also applied on children that do not have their own free will to abstain from medical care but are actually deprived of it instead (Lisa McPherson)".

Zenon had wanted to expand upon it, explaining about body thetans - but Magnusson had no way to know this. Yet, he forbade Zenon to utter this quote in public. So instead, this will have to come in during the plea, with or without Magnusson's consent, the only difference then being that Magnusson can't reply to it. That's secrecy for you.

11:05 McShane's deposition starts.

SINCE QUESTIONS are asked in Swedish, translated into English for McShane while his answers are given in English and then translated, I have ample time to write down whatever McShane says. The following is more or less verbatim. The questions are usually left out, since I couldn't understand them too well. Magnusson is asking questions. I am again - like in the previous hearings - Zenon's biträde, that is: his legal aide, and I sit next to him.

McShane: I am the president of RTC and I have been an officer and a director of this organisation since 1983.

McShane: I have been employed by RTC since 1983 and became officer and director that same year.

McShane: I became president in 1984.

[How long have you been a member of Scientology?]
McShane: Twenty-seven years.

[What did you do before?]
McShane: I was a businessman, I had a construction company. I left that in 1980.

[Please describe the relation of RTC to the Church]
McShane: Scientology has a hierarchical structure. We have missions, churches, advanced churches, the mother church, and then, on top of that, RTC. RTC licenses the various trademarks and licenses specific advanced churches to use the material.

[Comment 1: this is the first time that I hear such a straightforward admission that RTC is not only part of Scientology but also its head. Earlier on, critics had to go at great lengths in order to prove this: that is why the affidavit of Vicky Aznaran, a former RTC officer, was so welcomed years ago. She said the same as McShane now states here: that RTC is the head of the church.]

[Comment 2: he did say "trademarks" and not "copyrights". I assume this to be a telling slip of the tongue.]

[Comment 3: Larry Wollersheim might have good use for this statement in his efforts to make RTC pay CSC's debts to him. McShane made it under oath and the entire deposition is on tape.]

McShane: RTC got exclusive licenses from the Hubbard estate in 1988, which gave us the right to distribute the material to the advanced churches and to protect the material against infringements.

[Has RTC taken a stance in other cases?]
McShane: Yes, RTC has brought other cases before court.

[Such as the Dutch case. Why was CST a co-plaintiff in that lawsuit?]
McShane: That was only due to specific law in The Netherlands, so that RTC could not sue by themselves. The licensee in that country couldn't sue.

McShane: RTC is the only entity that has these rights.

McShane: In the Scientology religion, services are delivered in gradient steps, meaning that a member takes lower levels first and once he has completed them, he can move on to the next. We have two types of services: religious courses, where church members study Mr Hubbard's texts and learn about them, and religious counselling, which is a service that the church delivers on a one to one basis through its ministers.
At a certain moment, members are eligible to go to higher levels. Of all the scriptures written by Mr Hubbard, circa 95% are publicly available. They can be obtained in the Church bookstores. They are available to the public. A small amount is not available and those are the unpublished, confidential writings by Mr. Hubbard. He mandated that. Unless somebody understands the basic principle, he can't understand the higher principle contained in the OT material. This mandate is strict.

McShane: This is a matter of our religious tenets, that you need to be spiritually mature. It is hard to compare us to other religions, but other churches also have a similar practice of maintaining secrecy of their more esoteric principles.

[Who can do these higher courses?]
McShane: Only Scientologists who are qualified, not all Scientologists.

McShane: We call them OT levels. It starts with OT1 and it goes up until OT8. 1 and 2 are specifically used in those levels. The member, once he meets the requirements, is then permitted to go on to the next.

McShane: For instance,OT2, when somebody wants to do it, he does the OT2 course and in that course he would study the OT2 materials, and apart from that there is a lot that he would need to do. He has exercises to do, drills to understand, he is supervised. The supervisor ensures that he understands and duplicates the material. OT2 also contains films and tape recordings that are part of the course; they are also confidential. Once the member demonstrates his comprehension, he is allowed to do the OT2 auditing which he does on himself. Once he gets a specific religious result, he is allowed to continue to OT3. There, there is a similar procedure.
Now, as for the NOTs. In Scientology, as I said, we have auditing proceedings developed by Mr Hubbard to address spiritual travails. A member apply those proceedings to himself, under supervision, to oversee him.
NOTs is two things. The NOTs are OT5. It is not a course for the parishioner; it is meant to train ministers of the church to deliver NOTs, processes to members. The member cannot take that course. He never sees the actual NOTs himself.

McShane: The minister who is trained to deliver those processes asks questions designed to address certain spiritual questions.

McShane: In Scientology, we derive our revenues from a fixed donation system. Like other religions demand donations for their services, each one of our services has a fixed donation. The OT-levels too. For the OT3 course, it is 6000 USD. Each level has a specific donation rate.

[How long does it take to complete a level?]
McShane: That depends on the person. OT3, the actual course, could be done in one or two weeks. The counselling could vary from two months to two years.

McShane: NOTs is not a course, it is spiritual counselling, delivered in blocks of time. Twelve and a half hour is one block. There is a fixed donation for such a block. Within NOTs, that is 7000 USD per block.

McShane: We don't think that that is expensive, but you have to understand that Scientology is a relatively new religion and it costs money to pay our church operations. We have to pay rent and mortgages, we have staff, there is the publication of books, promotion material - there are a lot of expenses involved. And quite some money goes to charity activities: drug rehabilitation, illiteracy programs, disaster relief. It takes a lot of money to keep this going.

[How does one get access to the OTs and NOTs?]
McShane: There are a lot of other requirements needed, apart from donations. For instance, the parishioner needs to have the correct qualifications and has to be of the correct moral character. He has to sign confidentiality agreements and has to agree to particular security precautions. He will be reviewed by RTC before he is, as we call it, invited to do these levels.

McShane: RTC has representatives in each Advanced Organisation and also staff within RTC do these assessments.

McShane: Seven advanced churches, and five specifically deliver OT2 and OT3 and the NOTs.

[What are your security measures?]
[Magnusson brings McShane the binder that contain impressive colour snapshots of RTC's security system. Zenon protests, whether anything has been secured is irrelevant in this context and, besides, he is not disputing the current security measures. The court allows the evidence anyway and McShane flips through the binder, explaining as he goes along:]

McShane: This binder depicts what all parishioners have to go through. This is the confidentiality agreement. The security arrangements are explained to the parishioner. This is a picture of the course room. The actual binders with the material are plugged into a computer system that actually keeps track of the location of the material. You can unplug the material from its standard place and take them to a table where you study them, and there you plug them in. After you have unplugged a binder, you have thirty seconds to re-plug it elsewhere. If it is still unplugged after thirty seconds, the alarm goes off and all doors are automatically locked.

[Comment: and of course McShane is hardly an objective witness in this. The person who designs a security system or who ordered it, is not going to tell you about its fallacies and the holes in it...]

[Has the material ever escaped?]
McShane: In 1983, 3 ex-members of the church disguised themselves as high church officials. They travelled from England to Denmark, where they wouldn't be recognised, and via a trick - they switched the material - they got the NOTs. Since then the NOTs have surfaced every now and then, and every time we sue, the material has been enjoined.

[Comment: McShane doesn't seem to realise that his story of material having been "switched" in Copenhagen contradicts his previous explanation of the tight and automated security. If the material is not "plugged in to the computer system", which it won't be after it has been "switched" - surely you can't simply open these plugged binders and just take out the pages - the alarms would have gone off and all doors would automatically have been blocked, right?]

[Magnusson hands McShane a price list that Zenon has filed. The OTs and NOTs are advertised there.]
M: These are folders from the advanced organisations and they advertise our specific religious activities, and of course they encourage members to progress.

12:10 - 13:30: Lunch break. Zenon and I prepare for our interrogation.

13:30 - Magnusson continues his deposition of McShane.

McShane: We have always had some security since 1968. The material was always locked; the sets were numbered; as technology progressed, we enhanced our security.

McShane: Before you can sue in the US, you need to have your texts registered with the US Copyright Office. I checked with them how to register while still maintaining secrecy. After some deliberations, they accepted masked copies.

McShane: The Copyright Office has not required nor looked at the unmasked texts. They only saw the first page or two, and accepted the masked versions. I made a carton mask, put those over the pages, and then copied them. Actually, my first attempt at masking them was rejected by the Copyright Office because the mask was too tight. I then made a slightly wider mask, but since you could then on occasion see full words, even confidential words, I proceeded to strike these with a black marker.

McShane: OT2 consists of 27 works. There are other parts of OT2 that are not confidential. OT3 consists of 37 works, plus non-confidential material that is part of the course. The NOTs consist of 55 works; the whole course is greater and contains non-confidential works.

[How many people have studied the OT3 and how many have studied the NOTs?]
M: OT3 has been studied by some 25,000 people. As for NOTs, I am not quite sure, but my best estimate would be 325 people.

[Comment 1: In May 1998, in Zenon's deposition of him, McShane also stated that 325 ministers had studied the NOTs. That means that they have not had any NOTs completions since?]

[Comment 2: if 25,000 people did OT3, each 'donating' USD 6000, that amounts to USD 150,000,000. Hundred and fifty million dollars for the material only - not including the auditing that goes with it.]

[What is the damage that Zenon has incurred upon Scientology?]
M: Extensive damage. First of all, we have had a loss of revenue through people who have seen the material that Zenon Panoussis made available; they won't become church members, mainly because they saw this material without the proper preparation. Secondly, the amount of effort we had to put into protecting the copies around here. Scientologists gave up their jobs, their family life, made great personal sacrifices to do so, just to prevent people who were not eligible from seeing the material. There were loopholes in the law that Zenon Panoussis took advantage of. It took us over three years to solve this. Lots of money and personal sacrifice went into this. Thirdly, the money involved in this litigation. This is one of the most complex cases I have come across. Zenon Panoussis has taken advantage of the system. It took tremendous expertise to counter him.

[At this point, Zenon puts his hand on his chest and nods to McShane, making a virtual bow. He takes this accusation to be a compliment.]

13:45 - Zenon's turn to question McShane.

Zenon: You stated that the inclusion of CST as a plaintiff in the Dutch case was necessitated by law.

Magnusson immediately protests that McShane is not a lawyer and cannot be expected to answer this. Zenon turns to the court and tells the court that in the earlier hearings, he could never finish a sentence while deposing McShane, because Magnusson kept interrupting him. Would the court kindly ensure that he wouldn't be interrupted this time? The court nods. And indeed, Magnusson is silent the rest of the time.

Zenon repeats the question.

McShane: I am not a lawyer. Our Dutch attorneys informed us that the copyright owner, that is CST, had to be part of the case.

Zenon: So you can't tell us for sure whether it was actual law or general legal principles that forced the CST to take part in the lawsuit?

McShane: No.

Zenon: We know from your answers earlier today that OT5 is the NOTs. What is meant by OT5 Solo Auditing? And what by OT5 Solo course?

McShane: There is no such thing. There are the OT6 and OT7 Solo Courses, but no solo courses of OT5.

Zenon: Regarding the NOTs, you explained that members doing OT5 get audited based on the material. But questions are only a very small part of the NOTs.

McShane: The NOTs serve as a background for auditors.

Zenon: The security that you described applies to all OT-levels?

McShane: Yes.

Zenon: And to all advanced organisations?

McShane: Yes.

Zenon: How come that doors didn't automatically close when the NOTs were "switched" in Copenhagen?

McShane: [reluctantly] We didn't have that security then.

Zenon: Who can subscribe to "Source Magazine"?

McShane: Flag members.

Zenon: Can other Scientologists subscribe?

McShane: Yes, they can.

Zenon: Is each member of Scientology allowed to subscribe the magazine "Keep Scientology Working"?

McShane: Yes, any Scientology member can get it.

Zenon: How many members do you have?

McShane: Circa eight million.

Zenon: When you visited the US Copyright Office, did they only see the first page unmasked?

McShane: The first couple of pages.

Zenon: In your case against Factnet, you claimed under oath that OT2 consists of 300 pages and OT3 of 200 pages. Of this, how many pages do you regard as confidential?

McShane: 166 pages of OT2, and 68 or 69 of OT3 were filed masked.

Zenon: The rest of those 500 pages were filed unmasked?

McShane: Yes.

Zenon: Your organisation uses a lot of abbreviations. On the distribution list of the NOTs for instance, --

Magnusson warns Zenon: no quotes from the NOTs here, only behind closed doors. Zenon retorts that he is about to quote from a distribution list that RTC itself filed unmasked.

Zenon: -- On the distribution list of the NOTs, for instance, it says that it is addressed to "ACS Auditors" and "ACS C/Ses". What do these abbreviations mean?

McShane: Case Supervisor Auditors, and [something I didn't get]. The one is a subsection of the other. These are the only people allowed to see the NOTs.

Zenon: How big are both groups taken together?

McShane: Circa 325 people.

Zenon: With respect to the costs you had to make in this case, you spoke about people sitting here in court and in parliament in order to prevent others from seeing the material. How many people were involved in guarding the OTs and NOTs?

McShane: Circa fifty. I authorised them to sit with the material.

Zenon: Are they included in the 325?

McShane: They were only supposed to sit with the material, not to read it.

Zenon: The Fishman Affidavit contains fragments of OT2 and OT3. Did other parts of OT2 and OT3 ever get out?

McShane: Yes, in 1982, in 1983, in the Copenhagen theft.

Here, I shake my head vehemently and immediately reach for my computer, whispering to Zenon that the Copenhagen theft concerned only NOTs and that if anything else got out - as we know it has - it was elsewhere. McShane sees my opposition and suddenly remembers that he is under oath.

McShane: Well, there was a theft in the UK, in 1982, where other material was stolen.

Good. Scored again. First of all, Zenon has shown that the material is not at all as secure as McShane has implied. And secondly, I reminded McShane that whatever he says here is recorded and that he had better not lie: that I know about security leaks as well as he does.

Zenon: Can one reach the level of OT2 or OT3 by just studying the material? That is: without the tape recordings, without the films and without the supervision?

McShane: [hesitates, he knows what is going on] We wouldn't consider that studying.

Zenon: Does the study of the written text only suffice to attain the corresponding OT level?

McShane: No, it doesn't.

At 14:20, we are done. The Chair asks McShane a couple of questions on behalf of the court:

Chair: How many people did you say have read OT3?

McShane: Circa 25,000.

I see the court thinking: "but such an amount of people having read it establishes publication...! Twenty-five thousand people can never be a closed circle."

Chair: Is registration in the US necessary?

McShane: Yes. Shortly before we registered, we discovered that there were squirrels, groups of people who used our material outside the church. We had to sue them, and thus had to register the OT material with the Copyright Office, according to US law. In the US - and I believe it's the only country in the world that has this requirement - you can't sue for infringement if you haven't registered the work.

14:20 - Break.

McShane's deposition continues as a closed session, in order to prevent any "confidential" phrases or words from becoming public. Only the lawyers (including Bill Hart), the two interpreters, Zenon and me - I am still his legal aide - remain in the room. Magnusson wants to show the court the OTs and NOTs, unmasked. Zenon objects. Previously, Zenon demanded that RTC would file the OTs and NOTs while Scientology protested; the lower court, tingsrätten, agreed with RTC. So why the heck would they show them now? And it is not real evidence, the court cannot really review these stacks of papers nor compare those to the OTs and NOTs that he posted and filed. Besides, viewing is a different category of evidence, that has not been announced in the due manner.

A short break ensues, the court needs to make a formal decision on this. After fifteen minutes they are done: they will allow Magnusson to show the OTs and NOTs to the same extent that he did in the district court.

Magnusson continues his deposition of McShane. As before, most questions are left out of my transcript.

McShane: Spring or summer 1996. Zenon Panoussis threatened to post our material and I instructed one of our attorneys to find out who he was and to inform him of our rights regarding these materials.

McShane: I downloaded Zenon Panoussis' postings of the OTs and compared them to the originals.

McShane: I made the comparison myself.

McShane [opens one of the case binders that Magnusson has supplied the court with]: This is the comparison that I did before the lawsuit was filed. On the left side is what Zenon Panoussis posted and on the right side is a copy of the original, unmasked OT-levels, well, unmasked before I started this. I marked the similar paragraphs. I masked our comparison and then I went through them and blackened out the key confidential words so that one could see that they came from the same Hubbard work but still maintain confidentiality.

McShane: The first one is a NOTs issue, I think 28, all the issues are formatted in a similar way, they have a title of Hubbard Communication Office and it has the title of the actual work; then the body of the text itself, and then there'll be a signature. If you turn the page, to NOTs 29, you'll see Mr Hubbard's signature at the bottom and the infringing copy even copied the copyright notice.

McShane: There's a page titled OT2, and the infringing copy here has the computer address at the top right corner. And then I took this and compared it to the original, and if you look at the first issue after the blue divider, that page corresponds to OT2.

McShane: OT2 has 166 confidential pages and I believe that of these 16 were copied. Out of the 68 confidential pages of OT3, Zenon Panoussis infringed upon 39 pages. NOTs is altogether 177 pages, of which 141 pages were copied. In works, that means that 53 out of 55 NOTs were copied.

McShane proceeds to show the unmasked OTs and NOTs to the court. Unlike in my case, where McShane came with a selection of gold-plated suitcases containing the OTs, he now takes them out of a black bag. Out come three black binders: OT2, OT3 and the NOTs pack. They look definitely unimpressive. Everybody assembles in front of the bench. Everybody - except Magnusson's aide. Yesterday, I rejected the thought that he was a Scientologist: although he has their general look and feel, he blinks too much. Later on, when I see his behaviour during breaks, I am forced to reconsider. While the lawyers invariably clutter together and discuss matters with McShane, Magnusson's aide invariably chats with the Scientologists. While I was sitting next to Zenon, acting as his aide, I noticed Magnusson's aide trying to stare me down. That was weird behaviour. And now he pretends to not want, or to not need, to see the OTs and NOTs. The guy is a Scientologist.

McShane leafs through OT3. Typoscript, handwriting, lots of typoscript and some more of Hubbard's handwriting.

McShane shows a part of OT2. "See, this is what we consider to be a work." He points at a page containing ten or twelve lines. "Other works are longer, for instance look at this OT2 work." He leafs through four or five pages. Zenon, who is also standing there, recognises a part and interrupts. "This part is in the Fishman Affidavit, but while here you have a list of items and then a short description under each, in my Fishman Affidavit I only have the headings." That can hardly even be seen as a quote, let alone as an infringement, Zenon implies. "But you must understand that these words have a very special meaning for us," McShane objects. "And the one-page work that you showed us earlier? Can I see that again?" Zenon leafs through OT2 and finds the ten-liner. McShane cringes, a Suppressive is touching the OTs, and he can't prevent it. Zenon takes the Fishman Affidavit, puts it next to this work from OT2 and shows the court that the Fishman version contains only half of these twelve lines. Zenon lets the matter rest. He has made two points, and he knows that the court understands it: what Scientology claims as full-fledged infringement is in fact often just a quote, and a "work" only containing 10-12 words on as many lines is not copyrightable to begin with.

McShane continues about the special meanings that words have. He points at a list and reads it aloud: "... Love ..." and then proceeds to sing-song the rest; he finds it difficult to pronounce them under these circumstances, within this company. They really are sacred to him. He explains: "All the nuances of these words must be understood, and it is terribly important that they are understood properly. You can imagine how difficult it is to make an adequate translation..." The Chair suddenly looks up from the OTs that he is viewing, and asks McShane, with a certain surprise in his voice: "Are there any translations made of the OTs and NOTs?" "Yes," McShane answers proudly. He doesn't know that he is digging his own grave. Twenty-five thousand readers, translations... all this suffices to establish legal publication, and thus the right for individuals to have copies for private use and the right to quote them in public.

We go through attachment 126, the two hundred mangled NOTs. McShane points at a Rastafarian NOT. "You see, they just wrote the words funnily, and while I agree that the texts have been mangled: what can be processed can be reverted and *unprocessed*." The court looks and compares. Actually, as they find out, words have been exchanged as well: all instances of 'thetan' have been changed into 'watermelon' and all instances of body thetan' into 'watchammecallit'. "There are no instances of the word 'watermelon' in the original?" the Chair asks McShane, to be sure what it is that he is seeing. No, McShane replies, that word was not used by Hubbard.

We look at some mangled NOTs. "I admit that the order of the words has been changed, and that the text has been reworked," says McShane, "but you must understand that these texts still contain our confidential words." He is actually implying that they have copyright on words.

At 16:05, we're done. A ten minute break. At 16:15 we resume.

There is some more discussion. Amongst others, my summary of OT3 is brought up. That article has found its way into attachment 126, the Monkey NOTs, and during the previous hearings in May 1988 Scientology claimed that the article fell under their copyright. They wouldn't allow Zenon a copy of that article, not even with all my Hubbard quotes stricken: it would still be infringing. The whole of attachment 126 is sealed and subject to confidentiality. That includes my article, the one that proudly sits on my homepage and over which I have been sued twice and been absolved twice by court.

Zenon requests a copy on my behalf. McShane states that "paraphrasing is infringement". I blink with surprise. I know that McShane claimed exactly the same, also under oath, in RTC versus Factnet, [see for the court transcript], but I never thought that I would hear such an absurdity. Paraphrasing is infringement?

Zenon asks him to repeat himself. McShane amends: "Paraphrasing could be an infringement." Under his belief system, I understand him: since they claim *ownership* to certain words, any text that contains these words is indeed infringing - according to them. But the law, alas for them, states differently.

16:30. The court adjourns. It is weekend.


Unbiased columnism is a series of court reports on the proceedings of Scientology versus Zenon Panoussis. This series covers the Jan 2001 sessions:

  1. Day 0, January 17: Poor guy versus multinational cult
  2. Day 1, January 18: Mangled material
  3. Day 2, January 19: McShane compliments Zenon
  4. (Next:) Day 3, January 22: Magnusson becomes helpful
  5. Day 4, January 23: Children's games
  6. Day 5 & 6, January 24-25: Unacceptable truths
  7. Day 7 & 8, January 26-27: Carrying water from the desert to the sea.

This series was preceeded by the May 1998 hearings in Zenon's case.

Copyright Karin Spaink.
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