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The Eleven Legal Cases


Last Update: April 6, 2008

This page is not an exhaustive overview of the various legal cases involving Scientology. Its aim is to show that contrary to the high expectations of critics in 1995-1996 when the CoS brought suit against them for copyright infringement over the Internet, the court ruled in favor of Scientology in ten cases out of the eleven that made up the bulk of the cases at the time. Today the question of whether posting copyrighted material is an issue of free speech or not is not even relevant anymore as it has pretty much been settled by the cases below. There may be other copyrighted-related or non-copyrighted-related legal cases that came afterwards but, as said above, unless it changes something to the present situation, it is beyond the scope of this page.

This page mostly came about after the following post was published in the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup:

A. Lurker

27 Sep 98

Message-ID: <199809272007.WAA30339@replay.com>

I've been lurking for what seems to be a very long time and I think I may be able to contribute something to  this newsgroup.

The scientologists have accumulated an extensive track record in the legal arena on issues concerning the net.

There is much that can be said about each of these cases.  But there is one salient point about the defendants which comes through in each of them. At first, the defendants  were quick to boast that no court or judge would find for  the church. However, the actual results are very different.  In fact, there is only one result: Scientology has won or  favorably settled each one of these cases: 8 sofar as I  can see.

1 - Netcom. They "settled" on Scientology's terms.

2 - Tom Klemesrud affair. He settled, paying $50,000.

3 - The Arnaldo Lerma case. Lerma ended up getting slammed  with a permanent injunction and paying $16,000.

4 - Lerma's access provider favorably settled.

5 - Anon.penet.fi, the anonymous remailer in Finland was  forced by court order to turn over its logs.

6 - The Keith Henson "win". Henson got slammed with an  injunction, 75 G's in damages, $13,000 in costs and fees pending.

7 - Grady Ward. To avoid trial, he agreed to payments of  $200 per month for the rest of his life so that the $3  million judgment stays suspended. He's also under a  permanent injunction.

8 - Zenon Panoussis in Sweden. He got slammed with a $164,000  judgment and is forbidden from distributing copyrighted materials.

In the meantime, both Factnet and Dennis Erlich have settled as well, bringing the score to 10:0.

There is, however, one exception to the above list, and this is Karin Spaink's case. The final development of this case happened at a time when I was not able to follow its many intricacies, nor have I been able to catch-up yet, so please refer to the Wikipedia page on Karin Spaink. This case is the one win by critics out of the eleven cases.

Links

I was unable to find a critical web page that would give an overview of the final outcome of the cases lost by critics as above. All I am able to find (in the plenty) is information about the one case they won. If by any chance you find such a link, kindly forward it to me and I will post it here. In the meantime, here is what I found:

The Church of Scientology vs. the Net - This page, created by Ron Newman, was THE page tracing out the fate of the cases above at the time. It only has an historical value, because it has not been updated since Oct 1996, and of course completely fails to give the end result of the whole battle. The page refers to xenu.net for more recent information, but the one page I was able to find on xenu.net regarding legal matters, the Scientology Court Files page, has not been updated since Nov 1996, giving only one month worth of extra information, and completely out of date as well regarding the cases above.

Scientology and the Legal System - This page, maintained by Modemac, is not only out of date, it also fails to link to affidavits of people who in the meantime have issued subsequent affidavits that basically recant those posted on that web site, such as Vicky Aznaran and Stacy Young.

Scientology and the legal system - from Wikipedia. This page, containing a section on "Notable Scientology court cases" is the most up-to-date I was able to find. As of this writing, however, this page is silent on most, if not all, the cases above, except of course for the one of Karin Spaink. These cases, that were so prominent at the time and which brought in so many Old Guard critics (much like the Tom Cruise video episode brought in the many anonymouses), all of a sudden are not "notable" enough to even be mentioned. I wonder why...

As I said above, if you know of a better link, please let me know.


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Disclaimer :

This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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