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Both sides, please Dear Friends,
A quote from the FAQ on the clambake site:
Scientology is a confused concoction of crackpot, dangerously applied psychotherapy, oversimplified, idiotic and inapplicable rules and ideas and science-fiction drivel that is presented to its members (at the "advanced" levels) as profound spiritual truth.
While I personally believe that any form of censorship is horrible, and any of you reading my posts over the last year or two could well imagine what I think of Scientology, use of words like crackpot and idiotic does little to enhance the quality of the debate.
The issue is one of DMCA being used to abridge or even abrogate the right under the first amendment to a free press, not one of the validity of one religion, or whether that religion may constitute a cult, in the commonly used sense of the word. By community standards of the period, the earliest Christians would have qualified, and, purely objectively, there is little difference between an apostle claiming that Jesus walks on water, and, some of the eccentric religions in New York, which advise one to walk in front of buses, as the spiritual powers of the mind will protect one. One person's lunacy is another's spirituality.
However, what is debated openly in a press conduit ought not to be subject to suppression, and, therefore, over the years, the publication for debate of copyrighted, or classified material has been, for the most part, with one or two glaring exceptions, tolerated in the US, far more so than even in Britain. Very different than in Roman Law countries where freedom of the press exists, but at the will of the government.
The issue here is one of the ability of a wealthy group to threaten a poor group, knowing full well that, whatever the outcome of the litigation might be, no one can afford to undertake it.
Very different from the Pentagon papers, where the New York Times was in no danger of going out of business because of legal fees. Just as the baby bells have done to Covad, so will all voracious monsters do to their betters, unless we as a society wake up and make certain that our government is not merely a tool in the hands of big business, wealthy contributors, and monopolies who feel, as in the old cliché, "What's good for XXX is good for the country."
In fact, what's good for MS, Scientology, the recording industry and MA Bell, may be in fact deleterious to us, our children, and our Constitution.
Or to put it in modern vernacular, whether or not Scientology suck, surely does the DMCA.
All good wishes,
Re: Why they wanted them kept secret Dear Don and Friends,
The reason is clear, unfortunately. Carnegie Mellon University is not subject to the threats, either economically, or academically, that one can make against a small ISP. They, as would any large University with a good legal staff, do exactly what they did. Could bignet, for example, afford to fight? Would they know enough law to do so? I doubt it(no offense to my friends there - good ISP, by the way.)
My only point was that the DMCA is, by its nature, subject to serious abuse, and this is an example thereof. Whether scientology, the nazi party, the clan, or whoever, all they need do is copyright their literature, and say that the user is in violation of the TOS, and that the ISP must close the site down.
The issue here is not whether the Scientologists are a cult, rather, that a cult can shut down, or threaten to shut down an ISP. That they are an cult, is, in my own mind, clear. They have the power and money to shut down those who oppose them, by virtue of a poorly thought out law. Let the same rights that they claim to protect them, protect others from them. Let not a law subversive to our constitution and liberty serve those of tyrannical bent to destroy others who may wish to differ with their opinions, whatever they may be.