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Scientology vs. Panoussis Ruling

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the ground-under-the-wheels-of-justice dept.

The Courts 566

The Swedish High Court has rejected the appeal in the Zenon Panoussis case, where Panoussis was accused of distributing certain documents of the Church of Scientology in violation of their copyright. The case has been ongoing for some time and has more twists and turns than I can possibly summarize here, but we can cut to the chase: Panoussis lost, and lost big. There is apparently one more court in Sweden which can be appealed to, so it's not entirely over yet. Here's the report from the trial. The submitter provided many more links and information, included below.

leto writes "The Swedish High Court upheld the ruling today in the case of Scientology vs Panoussis, where Scientology accuses Panoussis of copyright infringement of religious trade secrets. Panoussis believes the public should be warned against Scientology, and is therefore trying to legally publish various materials that would warn people against Scientology. He is the guy that submitted the secret OT's to the Swedish parliament, which caused quite a diplomatic incident when the US interfered with the Swedish legal system because the Swedish Offentlighetsprincip then caused these documents to be available to everyone, but has also done other things as reported by slashdot such as protecting the Flashback site as reported by slashdot before.

Having lost now means that apart from needing to pay the (minimal) damages of $2000 for copyright infringement, he needs to pay an additional $40,000 on legal costs for the Scientology lawyers, on top of the $150,000 of legal costs that were the results of the previous episodes in this court case.

There was a minority opinion from one of the judges. She regards the OTs to have been legally published, something Panoussis focussed on in this case, because in Europe, the right to 'fair use' depends on the texts having been published. Panoussis has already appealed to the Supreme Court.

Regardless of which party is right, this case shows clearly that anonymity is a right you need, to fight the denial of services practices that large institutions apply towards individuals in the current legal systems. Though Panoussis will disagree with me on this. He has always told me that if you believe in something, you should be willing to make the sacrifice, or as he put it, you need to defend freedom, and not take it for granted, but I can't help but feel that it should not be necessary for one person to sacrifice his life for other people's freedom.

If we only had micropayments properly working, I'm sure he would be able to pay the legal costs from contributions all over the net.

More information can be found either here, here, here and in the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology Panoussis's latest project is an advanced search engine to help locate information about Scientology at"

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Re:It's not often that I.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374183)

> PS. Anyone know why all those Hollywood "stars" are suckered in?

yep []

Re:Trade secrets??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374186)

They're big on secrecy because they charge big money to people for the privilege of being "taught" crap about being possessed by alien ghosts. Go read some of the published accounts of their beliefs and you'll find yourself thinking that Battlefield Earth was well-written by comparison. It reads like poorly written science fiction by a second rate author.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374188)

how can a religion have trade secrets???

Ok really slowly ... the case is not about t r a d e s e c r e t s, it's about c o p y r i g h t. OK, and anyone, religious, agnositic or atheist, who creates an original literary (ie written) work has copyright over it.

Slow enough?

Re:I have to...I just have to... (1)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#374200)

Mwahahahaha. The guys who "professionally" picket $cientology oughta use that on their signs.

/. Hypocracy (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 13 years ago | (#374215)

Ok, now all the world texts need to be GPL'd???

I find Scientology as much of a cult as the next guy, but when did being of one organization or another give force you to give up the right to copyright.

Ok, and whats with the rest of this post? It goes from "I should be able to post what ever the gawd damn fucking hell I want to" to "we should fight for anonynmity because of this". What? So a common burglar should be able to claim rights of anonynmity because the gov't shouldn't be able to pull of his mask when caught in stealing. Try that when someone is caught in disguise stealing you radio.

The minute a 'church' can have its assets taken, it also means that any other organization can have its assets taken for similar reasons. M$ is a big bad company, can I post Windows XP on my site and say that I'm just doing it to expose their hypocracy?

Ok, enough complaint. At least Michael wasn't moronic enough to post this under the YRO heading as most of these do...


Who Cares? (1)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 13 years ago | (#374225)

I'm with everyone else...

Who cares?

What the hell has this to do with anything that a geek should care about?

Or are we going to change this site to:

News for Lawyers. Stuff that we can sue.

Re:Religion? (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 13 years ago | (#374228)

they frighten me.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Fly (18255) | more than 13 years ago | (#374237)

It is a
C u l t.

Swedish? (was: Re:*sigh*) (1)

rbb (18825) | more than 13 years ago | (#374238)

Actually none of the links that this article links to are in Swedish.

Agreed, there's some *Dutch* articles in there, but there's always an English translation on the same page.

Re:Sciencetology is a cult. (1)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 13 years ago | (#374251)

I could be wrong, but I believe there are some patents on the "E-meter" that the Scientologists use to measure thetans or some crap like that.

Religion? (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#374259)

Scientologists make me laugh.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#374260)

I thought that was all governments...

Re:Sciencetology is a cult. (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#374261)

And it's really just a crappy ohm/skin resistance meter.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#374267)

Hummm... since religion is the creation of man, and since man is weak... you can draw the conclusion yourself.

Re:How sadly humorous and ignorant (1)

theMAGE (51991) | more than 13 years ago | (#374268)

You are heir to thousands of year of Western culture (do the names Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Solomon, Moses, et al mean anything to you?)

Hmm, excuse me, doc!

Let's see: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle: greeks. Solomon, Moses: hebrews. Who is the Westerner here?

"et al" must be it.

few well known con artists

Again: Jesus was poor(*), Mahommed was poor(*), Buddha ran from his wealth into the poverty(*)

Show me a religios text that says: "get rich quick - make your followers give you money".

For a real troll you use the term quite frequently...

(*)poor as in no earthly possessions.

Re:Trade secrets??? (1)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#374271)

Also, the authors of the bible, koran, and most other religious texts have been dead for quite a while, which means they're public domain.

Although certain translations can still be copyrighted..


Offentlighetsprincipen vs. DMCA (mpaa, RIAA...) (1)

bungalow (61001) | more than 13 years ago | (#374274)

But the other part is: the right, whomever it may be, to anonymously and without giving any reason, immediately and on the spot read public papers in courts and agencies of the municipalities and the state, and to get copies, and publish them, irrespective of the wishes of the original author.
3rd paragraph []

So we can read DECSS code into swedish public record and make it "officially" legal (again), as well as PGP code, proprietary source code to broken authentication algorythms (MSKerberos anyone?)

Of course, this depends on your definition of "public", because if it's already public, then it's presumeably already in the public domain...but this is worth considering.

Imagine reciting the lyrics to "oops - I did it again" with the defense that it is a public document of record in Sweden.

Re:Am I just Paranoid (1)

Knobby (71829) | more than 13 years ago | (#374277)

Which article?

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 13 years ago | (#374307)

Does that make Tron evil?

Re:What the heck is Scientology? (1)

illtud (115152) | more than 13 years ago | (#374309)

Can someone please explain what this scientology is all about?

Have a look at [] . Basically, a 'religion' started by a nutter SF author, L Ron Hubbard which involves giving away scads of money to be let into the secret that we're all covered in little dead aliens which... oh heck, just read it. They're well crazy and well dangerous. Extremely litigious and scourge of usenet (the scientologists were probably the first to systematically abuse newsgroups to supress dissent and criticism).

Re:Who Cares? (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#374320)

Yeah, what has a case involving computers and the law doing on SlashDot. Dont want to start a trend, do we?

Presumably you`re new here?

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374324)

I would say religion is the interpretation of the FAQ. Therfore the interpretation can be wrong, and it is those that are imposing that interpretation who are at fault.

I think what you are saying (in my terms) is that it is not BELIEF that is at fault. Agreed. Religion is the interpretation and implementation, and (IMHO) rarely implements what it says it does

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374325)

I take it you're not a fan of organised religion then?

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374326)

Uh? This was the official line of the official branch of what claimed to be the official religion of the one true god. How is that the weakness of man rather than the religion itself? You (or A N Other AC) claimed that real religions such as Christianity didn't behave like that. I showed you an example of when they did.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374327)

I think that depends no the religion and on the priest(*) you are in contact with. We have people living next door to us who belong to an off-shoot of Christianity. Their particular church does try and control sections of their lives. Not total control, but it does try to impose a particular life style, and discourage independent thoughts (concerned with the beliefs of the religion). Personally I would have thought a true religion should encourage asking questions. (*) for want of a better phrase. My caffeine is low and my internal thesaurus is failing. Also note, I am not particularly against religion. I'm not keen on big organised religion, because it seems more concerned with rubbishing other peoples beliefs than with doing anything positive.

Re:It's not often that I.. (1)

BugEyedEarl (136143) | more than 13 years ago | (#374334)

Seemingy intelligent people???

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 13 years ago | (#374335)

.. but they have the right to believe that God is the nearest oil rig as far as I'm concerned.
Hey! Don't desecrate my oil rig! I'll sue you!.. ;-)

$HOME is where the .*rc is

Re:Trade secrets??? (1)

alleria (144919) | more than 13 years ago | (#374341)

(I'm sure some atheiests have committed an atrocity in the name of atheism at some point in history.)

Care to share?

Re:It's not often that I.. (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 13 years ago | (#374354)

I've read that scientology members sit for hours with a lie detector that they believe cleanses them from the alien-demons that inhabit their bodies. They believe that these demons hinder a successful life, so anyone that is popular in our culture is considered a leader in Scientology.

Who Has Rights? (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#374374)

Those interested might want to take another look at the piece by Harlan Elison [] a day or two ago.

Without stepping into the middle of the inevitable flame war that erupts on this subject, their are interesting elements for discussion here as far intellectual property rights.

Points for discusion include:

  • should there only be intellectual property rights at all?
  • If there are any intellectual property rights, who has a right to them.
  • If people we despise have intellectual property rights, what do we do about it?
  • Do Religions have Intellectual property rights? (nb your agreement/dis-agreement with the religion will color this, of course
  • Hubbard (founder of Scientology) was a published author in his life time, and set up an organiztion to look after and maintain the rights to his works. Does he have any intellectual property rights?
  • How does this relate to the rights of authors, artists, and organizations, if they have any at all.
  • Does the Church of Scientology have a right to the copyrights of the works of its founder, ever? under any conditions at all?
  • How much of this is FUD on the part of one party about the other?
  • How much FUD will be issued in discussing the parties in this discussion?
Basically, it comes down to:

Does any one have any rights at all, regardless of who they are?

One thing for sure, those guys are hardcore when it comes down to standing up for themselves. That has got to be annoying to their opponents.

Other religions? (1)

//violentmac (186176) | more than 13 years ago | (#374385)

Why only scientology stories? Only posting stories about scientology smacks of persecuting a minority. Clearly all religions are full of lies and silly stories. Scientology may be the most evil, but I still I think /. should spread the wealth when it comes to debunking religions. Does anyone else agree?

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

NixterAg (198468) | more than 13 years ago | (#374390)

Don't judge a philosophy based on its abuses.

I don't remember who said that but I think it's important to separate the actions of man from the religion. In scientology's case, it can be discredited adequately on its merits. There is no need to make fun of Tom Cruise too.

Am I just Paranoid (1)

ellingtp (198719) | more than 13 years ago | (#374391)

that TLD mentioned in the article as his next project scares me, funny how a TLD can make you a bit jumpy. /. filters wont let me say what that tld is but its in the article.

Re:I used to work for scientologists (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#374392)

You know, that reads like Catch-22, scary.

Re:How sadly humorous and ignorant (1)

ranessin (205172) | more than 13 years ago | (#374398)

So we're now operating on the two rights make a wrong theory?


Re:Explain slowly... (1)

ranessin (205172) | more than 13 years ago | (#374399)

It's assholes like you that make me sometimes wish I wasn't an atheist.


Re:Trade secrets??? (1)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#374417)

Actually, it all depends on which definition you use of the word cult. If we were using the traditional, theological definition, a cult is a reference to the external rituals of a particular sect of a religion. So a cultish sect, such as the Cult of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church, have open rituals to their worship. The Church of Scientology, if they actually have internal, secret rites would not fall under this definition of cult.

Now, the sociological definition of the term is a religious movement that has a particular tension with society, such as the Branch Davidians who had automatic weapons and stuff. In this case, the Church of Scientology as a cult would not hold because there is not a lot of public tension between regular people and say, Tom Cruise or John Travolta.

Now, other social definitions of cult would fit the Church of Scientology. They are a small religion, they have non-standard practices, and they are not Christians, which is a definition for many Christians.

I prefer to use the first definition because it doesn't single out just non-popular, evil religions. It also has uses regarding people in the RC Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. A much better label for the Church of Scientology is an occultish sect.

For more information on this, try here [] .

Sciencetology is a cult. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 13 years ago | (#374424)

as to having the ability copyright a religon...

why not a patent

Copyright law at work again.... (1)

ishark (245915) | more than 13 years ago | (#374430)

Together with the more recent DMCA, the use of copyright law that Sci. has made in the past shows that something is wrong.

Some time ago (say 2-3 years) I shocked a couple of my friends saying that we should actually thank Sci. for exposing a loophole in Copyright law. That law has never been meant to be used to squash free speech, and the fact that they were doing exacly that indicates that some reform is needed to limit the possible abuses.

I hope that the copyright/DMCA will be reshaped in the future, and that limits are put on "both sides" of the copyrighted works. If abuse of copyright law's "fair use" is to be sanctioned (as with Napster) then the same must happen when the same law is used by the author to threaten any free speech (Sci. method to deal with "enemies") - "fair use" again, but from the other side.

some inf of interest (1)

KrunZ (247479) | more than 13 years ago | (#374431)

These might be interesting:

and yes its is "Mr. DeCSS-Gallery" Dave Touretzky

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

sojiro (255286) | more than 13 years ago | (#374443)

For an interesting article about how Scientology goes about this, try this link:

Leaving the Fold

One of the interesting parts is the requirement to sign a 'non-disclosure' statement when leaving Sea Org.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

sojiro (255286) | more than 13 years ago | (#374444)

Damn html tags. The article is here-- Link []

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Ma$ta_P!ng (261940) | more than 13 years ago | (#374451)

Are you describing religion or communism? because your statement fits both.

Re:It's not often that I.. (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 13 years ago | (#374459)

Tom Cruise never even graduated from high school...

Re:My Rights Online? (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#374471)

I guess you could argue that this gives room to sue someone who posts information on the internet slamming a religion that they disagree with (at least in Sweden).

Re:Trade secrets??? (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#374472)

And I do not think the goal of writing religious texts should be to make money. That's a cult. Writing of religious texts should definitely be for creating a better way of living.

Re:NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition. (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#374482)

> I hope you are not calling the Church of
> Scientology, in which I devoutly believe, con
> artists?

Artists? Never. That sloppy religion is hardly artistic. Elron didn't know a well-written sentence from random scratchings by a monkey with a number 3 pencil on slate rock.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#374483)

Scientology's status as a religion seems to be about the same as professional wrestling's status as a sport, straddling the line, trying to get the best of both worlds.

And funneling your money into their pocket.

If we could get Tom Cruise to star as Rowdy Roddy Piper in a wrestling movie, life would be beautiful.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#374486)

Or unorganized, for that matter.

Cult: A religion with no political power. --- Ambrose Bierce

"There should be separation of economics and state just as there is a separation of church and state, and for exactly the same reason." -- Ayn Rand

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#374489)

I will simply respond that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well...

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#374494)

Well, it's not just that, but all religions, even good intentioned ones, rely on simple snake oil salesman techniques and ancient texts that, if published today and someone asked you to believe, you'd look at them like they were on crack.

Teary emotional epiphanies are not a sign of the existance of a god, but can easily be used by a charlatan to get them to give them money (note that this works even if the charlatan doesn't realize they are a charlatan -- i.e. they believe in the goodness of what they do.) Sitting and mentally calming yourself is not a sign of the existance of a god, but can easily be used by a charlatan to get them to give them money. Talking breathily until people are in a frenzy, then hitting people on the forehead and saying they're healed, collecting a lot of money, then leaving town before people realize the sick weren't healed or were healed of things they weren't even afflicted by isn't a sign of the existance of a god, but can easily be used by a charlatan to get them to give them money.

Trade Secrets (1)

jimlintott (317783) | more than 13 years ago | (#374506)

Scientology accuses Panoussis of copyright infringement of religious trade secrets.

If Panoussis is infringing on the copyright of published documents, how can these be trade secrets. Shouldn't the Church of Scientology keep better track of their secrets?

It is nice to see a religous group finally admit that religion is a trade. Which begs another question: When will we start taxing religions the same way we do any other business?

Re:How sadly humorous and ignorant (1)

Gyl (318790) | more than 13 years ago | (#374509)

So now because religion has dominated for the past several thousand years, and there was no way that anybody in the past was not religious, I have to repect it now?

Well, okay, I do respect religion, it helps this society with moral standards, and gives some people reason to act "good". But I think the problem arrises when you give people in this religion power. The old saying, power corrupts (abosulte power corrupts absolutely) seems to hold in this situation. Give some mortal the ability to say "God demands your money" and then the result that this mortal gets more money, take a freaking guess what's going to happen! That is not the main tenant of religion though. Religion gives life on earth meaning, and rules to live by.

Re:Explain slowly... (1)

Gyl (318790) | more than 13 years ago | (#374511)

perhaps all organizations of more than one person

Scientology Kills & Scientology Lies (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374523)

Scientology Kills [] -- The Dead

Lisa McPherson [] -- An Unanswered Murder

Scientology Lies [] -- Good Rundown of Various Crimes

Re:Explain slowly... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374524)

They might say "that's none of your business" (with the operative word being 'business,' IMO).

They have tactics that cause folks like me to post anonymously out of fear (I'd appreciate being moderated up, though). They have attacked free speech (especially anonymous speech) with tactics that may border on criminal, and while I don't particularly care about their weird beliefs, it's annoying to think of how much money they're extracting from empty-headed Hollyweird actors with their cult, but they have the right to believe that God is the nearest oil rig as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Trade secrets??? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374525)

"I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is!" - L. Ron Hubbard

Re:How sadly humorous and ignorant (2)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#374557)

When the media does this to geeks, Hellmouth reigns. When trolls do it to religion, it's approved. See the contradiction?

America's religious conservative undercurrent is the main reason the media does this to geeks - and when trolls do it to religion, it's a reaction to this.

It's not contradiction, it's a returned favor.

The purpose of religion is control. (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#374572)

All religion is based on control. The money is a necessary expression of that control. So is the control of utterances and thought and the control of the exposure your primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Seen any good looking Taliban babes lately? Nor are you likely to...

But WTF is this doing on /. ?

While it might matter to some, its hardly news or while its news, it hardly matters.

In the Proximity to God Index today ... and the Satinists are still slightly closer to God than the Scientologists. -Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.

L. Ron is fertilizer too. (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#374573)

Scientologists and their fawning admiration of someone who was only slightly less honest/more devious than Charlie Manson, rub my fur the wrong way.

Luckily he's worm casings now so we'll never have to be subjected to more of those lousy Battlefield Earth books.

About the "E-meters". (2)

shaka (13165) | more than 13 years ago | (#374579)

When I went to high school we had a project in religion class, students would group together and study a religion more carefully. Me and a friend chose Scientology, and went to visit them in Stockholm (capital of Sweden).
Our teacher was very concerned that we shouldn't listen to their lies.
We got to try the E-meter, which was basically a voltmeter which measured the voltage between your two hands.
Our teacher told us about another student who managed to manipulate the E-meter by putting different pressure on his hands depending on the nature of the questions asked, so he got zero effect on everything.
The stupid Scientologist hadn't seen anything like it, apparently he became quite startled, afraid even. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't do the same thing, so they grilled me with questions about school and which classes I didn't do well in. The moron "saw" on his E-meter that I didn't do well in some class, thing is, I had top marks in every subject.
Oh well, what shall we do with these stupids?

Concerning the stars, I guess they don't have to pay (as much) for the seminars and hopes to be "clear". Maybe it is status in it in Hollywood, I don't really know.

My Rights Online? (2)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 13 years ago | (#374581)

I'm lost as to what this case has to do with my rights online. Can someone explain?

Re:It's not often that I.. (2)

Non-Newtonian Fluid (16797) | more than 13 years ago | (#374592)

Hollywood stars get suckered in because there's a specific branch of the Scientology organization devoted to recruiting them, in so far as I am aware.

Re:It's not often that I.. (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 13 years ago | (#374593)

>Seemingy intelligent people???

Well, I've never studied the topic at length, but one would assume that anyone who's managed to work his/her way up to the top of his/her industry, would wield some kind of intelligence.

Of course, I'm well aware that even intelligent people can hold a religious belief, but this is just a large crime syndicate out to get - not only money I'm afraid - but power to wield. Anyone reading up on CoS will see that after just a few minutes research!

Maybe these people have really low self-esteem, could that be it? They're already successful, so the 'go clear and you will be successful' speech shouldn't carry all too much weight on the rational listener. That's more for the stupid masses 'Go clear and you will be successful, just like $your_favourite_star.

Effects of the emeter. (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 13 years ago | (#374594)

Ah yes, the 'e-meter'. I'm told there's a little debunking going on right here [] , but I've only skimmed it myself.

It's not often that I.. (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 13 years ago | (#374596)

...feel ashamed of being Swedish, but this is one such a time. This case and everything around it stinks.

Best of luck to Zenon, and let's all keep up the pressure on the crime syndicate of $cientology by whatever means available; hosting information, spreading the word, picketing, etc).

Not sure what more to say, it's just so damned depressing.

PS. Anyone know why all those Hollywood "stars" are suckered in? I've always wondered about. Seemingly intelligent people joining this alien-cult. It like status in it? I know why the crime syndicate wants rich and influencial members, but... Oh well..

Re:My Rights Online? (2)

M-2 (41459) | more than 13 years ago | (#374622)

The Church of Scamitology has been, for quite a while, trying to control information on themselves on the Net in order to suppress anyone who might say anything bad about them. Their online attacks have included spamming newsgroups and the first set of Cease and Desist letters sent to people for web and Usenet postings (of the infamous top-level Scientology secrets).

They've also been known to use private investigators to gather information on the individuals they consider enemies; burglary of places containing information they need removed from the public view; threats towards cult enemies. There is even an official document from Hubbard which declares any enemy of the cult to be, basically, free target for any Scamitologist that wants to wipe them.

This has to do with your rights online and offline. They'll do anything they feel is right to stop anyone from leaking information about their cult. All someone has to do is make a bad noise about them on the net, and if they think its worth their while, they'll try to destroy them. This case is one of them. There's been others. Go look for yourself. You have a brain. Use it.

Re:Trade secrets??? (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#374627)

Scientology tries to reach out to people and say: "Money is making your pyschic aura filthy. Give it to us. Now."

Re:It's not often that I.. (2)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#374631)

>Seemingly intelligent people???

indeed.. a lot of'em are actors. It's their job to seem.


Re:Trade secrets??? (2)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#374632)

>Writing of religious texts should definitely be for creating a better way of living.

Well.. I think the toplevel scientologists ARE living better.. or at least more comfortable. Ofcourse, as a mere follower it'll only make you poorer. On the other hand.. I just read the Xemu text posted by another user, and I found it so incredibly silly.. It made me laugh. And laughing more is a better way of living.

Cult.. Religion.. it's really all the same to me.


Illegal in Germany (2)

Noer (85363) | more than 13 years ago | (#374638)

Since the farce of Scientology is illegal in Germany, wouldn't this guy be pretty well protected if he moved to Germany, and then continued to disseminate this crap from there? Although the EU laws cover all of the EU, don't local laws override that?

Explain slowly... (2)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374660)

how can a religion have trade secrets???

Re:Trade secrets??? (2)

e_lehman (143896) | more than 13 years ago | (#374661)

Also, the authors of the bible, koran, and most other religious texts have been dead for quite a while, which means they're public domain.

HA! Let's see how the courts deal with the Second Coming.

Re:The Xemu Leaflet (2)

not_methos (225238) | more than 13 years ago | (#374687)

Thats why BATTLEFIELD EARTH sucked!

What the heck is Scientology? (2)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#374689)

Can someone please explain what this scientology is all about? I followed most of the links given but got no answer, so can some one just do the explaining in simple terms?

Re:Explain slowly... (2)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 13 years ago | (#374697)

Very interesting point. I know that, in the US at least, they are a tax-exempt religious organization. How in the hell can they also have trade secrets? What is the business they are in if they are tax-exempt, and how do I become one?!?

Re:Trade secrets??? (3)

the red pen (3138) | more than 13 years ago | (#374706)

  • Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. try to reach out to people and say: "Here, these are our religious documents. Use them and you'll be a better person." And if people disagree, they don't sue them for doing so, they just label them an non-believer of that religion.

Then, as history teaches us, the next step is usually to kill the non-believer. I have no doubt that the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, for example, would have greatly preferred to be sued.

The fact is that you can sling mud at any organization of believers whether it's Scientologist, Baptists or even Atheists (I'm sure some atheiests have committed an atrocity in the name of atheism at some point in history.) Another fact is that Scientologies oddball practices of "auditting" and so forth does actually accomplish something. It can effectively train you not to respond emotionally to situations. It may not be the best method for achieving this kind of self-control, but some people really need this discipline (observably, many of them post to Slashdot), and Scientology might actually help those people.

Also, if an organization wants to copyright their material or mark it as a trade secret, that's their business. The Mormons and the Vatican, notably, have lots of secret doctrine and nobody freaks out about it on Slashdot. Nobody rants endlessly because the Urantia Foundation holds a copyright on the Urantia Book (another Third Testament of the Bible that came out in the early 1900's, in case you're not keeping up.)

No doubt this discussion is going to degenerate into a sectarian He sayeth/She sayeth/It sayeth flame war, but the point I'm trying to make is that making categorical statements about religion and trying to sort religions into "acceptable faiths" and "evil cults" is just a waste of bandwidth.

Believe what you want and shut up. I believe I'll have another beer.

Re:Trade secrets??? (3)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#374707)

There have been variants on Christianity (Gnosticism) that were similarly secretive - and variants of Christianity today that are similarly big business. It gets hard to draw the line. In fact I'm surprised we don't see MORE religious movements with tiered architectures, where you don't learn the truth about the universe until you pass a certain level.

As to the definition of a cult: seems to me the only dependable definition of cult is how many people follow it. Is it out to make money? Sure, lots of religions are - it's a great way to keep the temple in good repair, ministers have to eat, and so on. Does it harm people? All religions can harm people if they become fixated on it, just like bowling can harm people if they neglect real life for it, and "harmful" cults can still manage to accidentally help people.

Put it like this: If any of Earth's religions really had a metaphorical red phone to God in the office somewhere, I figure it'd be pretty obvious: their organization would be a model of efficiency (with an all-powerful being saying "do it this way" why wouldn't it?), no one would get away with stealing so much as a paperclip from the office supply cabinet (red phone rings, "it's God, so-and-so is pilfering stuff, and he keeps a Penthouse in the safe in his office, combination 16-33-54, check if you don't believe me"), church laws never need to be amended, and for some reason the church's members are always waiting at the hospital BEFORE one of their friends is in a car accident and is brought in. No religion on Earth has outwardly visible signs of having God's home phone number, though many CLAIM to.

Which means, from any vantage point outside a religion, they all start out with a roughly equal chance of being right - and for them to be of value, it's what they tell us about OURSELVES that's important.

Which means basically ALL religions are cults - if one is, all are, since they're all written by flawed humans and susceptible to corruption. The only difference in grade is whether the organizational aspect of the cult is actively seeking to defraud people, or whether they actually believe what they're saying. Not that this really makes a fundamental difference in the amount of damage they can cause.

Re:What the heck is Scientology? (3)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#374709)

Theres an old alien guy who sent a bunch of space ships here to Earth to solve an over population problem. The ships all got blown up by nukes he made once they were here. I guess somewhere in the process was a muck up because lots of "thetans" (bad souls?) were left around. Its these thetans, scientology claims, that keep you from achieving your true goals and dreams because they compete with your true soul. Scientology says they can remove them from you and help you become a better person.

In truth this church has even less real foundation than many cults and is known for exploiting people and using is monetary muscle to hide many of the more evil facts known about it. Check out [] it should answer all your questions.

Re:What the heck is Scientology? (3)

Hanno (11981) | more than 13 years ago | (#374710)

Try this [] and this [] , both offer a brief introduction into the Scientologists' mindset from an outsider's perspective.


Outreach (3)

_xen (79742) | more than 13 years ago | (#374711)

I thought the purpose of a 'religion' as loosely as it can be defined, was to reach out.

That depends entirely on whether the religion is exoteric (reaching out) or esoteric (restricted to the initiated). Unless you want to argue that cults are esoteric and relgions are exoteric, but that is 'argument by definition,' a backdoor by which to bring the connotation, 'cults are evil, religions are good,' into play.

Why would Scientology try to 'patent' their way of religion.

They're not. They are merely asserting the copyright (!=patent) which automatically arises by virtue of the authorship of these documents. Admitedly, they are doing this with a purpose for which copyright was not originally intended (ie to mitigate the 'free rider' externality), but rather to stifle adverse publicity. Crafty people, those lawyers. It's times like that where 'freedom of speech' guarantees reveal their necessity (of course crafty lawyers can twist those to evil purposes as well). Further, I'm far from convinced that Christian, Islamic or even Buddhist ministries, if faced with virulent criticism, would not avail themselves of the legal opportunity the defendant presented to the CoS.

Re:Explain slowly... (3)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 13 years ago | (#374716)

Really really slowly:

w h e r e S c i e n t o l o g y a c c u s e s P a n o u s s i s o f c o p y r i g h t i n f r i n g e m e n t o f r e l i g i o u s t r a d e s e c r e t s

Now I will ask the question again: how can a religion have trade secrets?

Note, in the UK and I presume the rest of Europe (including Sweden), religions have special status (Tax etc.). Why does a religion need to have trade secrets. It is not a business.

Re:Explain slowly... (3)

m2e (215374) | more than 13 years ago | (#374717)

And I always thought that only published works can be copyrighted. Bud copyrighted trade secret? It is strange, almost oxymoron.

Re:My Rights Online? (4)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#374722)

Aside from being a rather obvious squelching of freedom of speech ("this religion is trying to defraud people and here's their ridiculous high-level 'secrets' as proof") it's a vivid illustration of how copyright law can be used as a nasty weapon by entities of great money against anyone they don't like.

This could be you.

Re:What the heck is Scientology? (4)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#374724)

One time, a long time ago, Robert Heinlen (a first rate author) dared L. Ron Hubbard (a 7th -12th rate author) to start a religion. Hubbard, a certifiable wacko, decided it was a great idea.

So, rather than work off the Messianic principles of religion (some human who is the spawn/creation of/voice of God) created a "scientific" system, wherein you hook yourself up to a machine designed to "audit" your feelings and thoughts and "soul". Note that I built one of these in my 5th grade science class, its a simple resistence meter. I am told the device is a battery, a meter, and a couple wires attached to what looks like a coffee can.

Anyway, Hubbard patterned the organization after the Navy, where he served (some say dishonorably) in WWII. His naval record is a consistent source of material that his entire life is one big falsification.

The real meat of Scientology is that you try to make yourself a better person based on this "auditing" deal. There's lots of little twists, turns, and details I have purposefully omitted, but thats the appeal. There's no one telling you you can't eat meat on Fridays, there's no strict moral code. Its very popular in Hollywood, as it reflects a certain "new age" vibe.

The REAL interesting part is how Hubbard, as a crappy sci-fi author, wrote an interesting backstory for his religion. Turns out, the reason you feel bad sometimes (mentally, although bad thoughts lead to bad physical condition) is because... well.. I never get this part right, because its just dumb. Something about a Galactic Civil War, and all these alien people being imprisioned in a volcano on Earth (when it was just forming) and then having atom bombs (not thermonuclear weapons, mind you - we're talking Fat Man and Little Boy here, and these were aliens which could do FTL and lord knows what else) dropped on them. Their spirits came to become Man, or something like that, and the auditing process is supposed to release them.

Look at for more info.

Most people believe it is a cult; there is copius evidence to support that claim.

You can read Bare Faced Messiah on-line. (4)

eddy (18759) | more than 13 years ago | (#374726)

the Fishman Affidavit (4)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | more than 13 years ago | (#374728)

This [] is the Fishman Affidavit, with explanation on this other web site [] .


" The Church of Scientology (or: CoS; or: Co$, as some of their opponents call it) sells its followers expensive courses which, if students study them carefully, are supposed to set them free ('clear' them). A former Scientology member, Steven Fishman, was brought before court because he committed several crimes in order to get the money to pay for these courses. Scientology urged him to get the money any which way he could. According to Fishman, they also assigned him to kill somebody, and failing that, ordered him to commit suicide. In an interview for Time Magazine, Fishman relayed those stories and blamed Scientology for his crimes. Scientology sued him for slander."

How sadly humorous and ignorant (4)

typical geek (261980) | more than 13 years ago | (#374729)

Because all religions are charlatanistic businesses designed to rip off the easily duped masses by turning over large amounts of money and control over your daily lives to self-appointed know-it-alls who will make your life better, I promise. See also "communism".

You're writing this hateful troll on a weblog powered by Perl, a language written by a devout Christian. The main tome of the Perl language, the Camel book, is filled with Biblical allusions (as well as Tolkien allusions). This weblog started at a Christian college.

You are heir to thousands of year of Western culture (do the names Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Solomon, Moses, et al mean anything to you?), only by virture of wise Islamic scholars and wise Irish monks, who copied and preserved all the ancient literature they could during Europes dark ages.

And now, because of a few well known con artists, you're painting the spiritual lives of billions of people and thousands of years of history with that that same dirty brush.

When the media does this to geeks, Hellmouth reigns. When trolls do it to religion, it's approved. See the contradiction?

For more information on Scientology (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374730)

Please go to [] .

If you want my personal feelings, Sceintology is a close-minded UFO space cult group with asperations of world domination. Their logic is severly contraditory. For example, a Scienologiest will say he acts "for the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." There are (I think) seven dynamics ranging from God to family, civilization, etc. However, to a Scientologist, the "greatest number of dynamics" is ALWAYS scientology. Sceintology *IS* the most ethical group of the planet. If you help advance sceintology, you are ethical. If you do not help advance sceintology, you are a "wog." If you hinder Scientology, IN ANY WAY (speak out against them, tell your Scientologist daughter that L. Ron Hubbard lied, etc...) then you will be caught up in the Scientology fair game policy, which states, and I quote:

May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.

Furthermore, this group is TOTALLY against free speech (though they say they're members have total spritual freedom). The internet keeps the RTC (Religios Technology Center, the "head" of Sceintology) having fits at night. I mean, a group of people who have nothing better to do that post the Church's material on-line!

Is what these people are doing illegal? Maybe, maybe not. The Church of Scientology has called it's secrets its copyrights and it's trade secret and is trying to get the protection of both. However, court documents have shown that the copyrights to the documents may have been fraudently obtained, and that the trade secret documents are no longer trade secret because they have been published. You can order a copy of the NOTS pack from the Swiss pariliment! The church vehemently denies all of this.

Anyway. I ranted. The Church of Scientology is EVIL. Some of the things they do make Microsoft look like Strawberry Shortcake.

Man, I hope they don't find my address. I'd expect to have a group of Scientologist outside my house yelling that I'm a religous bigot who commits crimes on the internet. They do this. I'm serious.

The Xemu Leaflet (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#374731)

Who is Xemu?

I'm going to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Right, then I'll begin.

Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xemu. Xemu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

Now Xemu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were over-populated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

Xemu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xemu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.

The story doesn't end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a "thetan" in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).

After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".

When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.

As for Xemu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xemu is still alive today.

That is the end of the story. And so today everyone is full of these clusters of souls called "body thetans". And if we are to be a free soul then we have to remove all these "body thetans" and pay lots of money to do so. And the only reason people believe in God and Christ was because it was in the film their body thetans saw 75 million years ago.

Well what did you think of that story?

What? You thought it was a stupid story?

Well so do we. Unfortunately this stupid story is the core belief in the religion known as Scientology.* If people knew about this story then most people would never get involved in it. This story is told to you when you reach one of their secret levels called OT III. After that you are supposed to telepathically communicate with these body thetans to make them go away. You have to pay a lot of money to get to this level and do this (or you have to work very hard for the organisation on extremely low pay for many years).

We are telling you this story as a warning. If you become involved with Scientology then we would like you to do so with your eyes open and fully aware of the sort of material it contains.

Part of the first page of the secret OT III document in L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting

*sigh* (5)

seizer (16950) | more than 13 years ago | (#374733)

And so the great Scientology monolith smashes another dissenter.

Am I surprised?

Of course not. It seems that they use a vast proportion of their earnings (read: money ripped off from gullible/vulnerable people) to sue those who speak out against them.

Dave Touretzky (of the DeCSS descrambler gallery) has a lot of information available [] on these guys - somewhat more valuable, considering it's not in Swedish (what's with the link above, Michael? Please reply to this message, and tell me what percentage of the daily hits are from .se).

And I'd recommend reading Bare Faced Messiah [] by Russell Miller. Unfortunately, I can't find any online retailer still willing to sell this book - the link is to used copies of early, expensive editions.

Re:Explain slowly... (5)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 13 years ago | (#374734)

'Tis easy, when the religion's primary goal is to make money.

Just Remember Kids... (5)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#374735)

Xenu's not Unix

But aren't we Jedi? (5)

bungalow (61001) | more than 13 years ago | (#374737)

I find it fascinating that the same group who is lambasting Hubbard was, just a few days ago, giggling about how cool it's be to get Jedi [] acknowledged as an actual religion.

I have to...I just have to... (5)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#374739)

Remember, kids, Xenu says: All your race are belong to us! You are on the way to supression. You have no chance to ascend, make your time!

Re:Explain slowly... (5)

DrXym (126579) | more than 13 years ago | (#374740)

Religions don't, "religions" do. Scientology falls into the latter category. It fleeces it's gullible members into shelling out increasingly large amounts of cash for seminars in pursuit of reaching a "clear" state. The text of these seminars is the trade secret.

The last thing the CoS would want is for their secrets to be made publically available. Not only would they unable to charge for their contents, but people would have a really good laugh reading them.

Trade secrets??? (5)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#374743)

Unless it's a cult, I thought the purpose of a 'religion' as loosely as it can be defined, was to reach out to people and provide them with a moral/ethical basis of beliefs. Why would Scientology try to 'patent' their way of religion. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. try to reach out to people and say: "Here, these are our religious documents. Use them and you'll be a better person." And if people disagree, they don't sue them for doing so, they just label them an non-believer of that religion. This is ridiculous, and I would have to now completely believe that Scientology is in fact a cult due to its secretive ways. Sounds more like a big business than a religion to me.

I used to work for scientologists (5)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 13 years ago | (#374744)

A number of years ago, I worked as a programmer for a very small company which was owned and operated by scientologists. There were only about eight employees and half of us were normal. It was really comical sometimes.

For example, no one could have an arguement about any subject without reaching for this giant tome with a giant S on it (like the schilling spice S or the suzuki S). The four inch thick book somehow had guidelines for how to have an arguement.

When I arrived, I received a piece of paper with a story. The story was all about this thing called the Apollo. It went on and on about the apollo's bow, stern, engine room, and bridge. About how and when it left port and other nautical attributes of apollo. The first mention of apollo had an asterisk with a footnote, which most people don't read. At the end, they ask you what apollo is. My response was that apollo was obviously a boat. Their resonse was that it's wasn't just a boat, it was L Ron Hubbard's yacht. And since I didn't read the footnote explaining that, I obviously understood exactly 0% of the document. Huh?

At one point, they sent a (normal) co-worker to clearwater florida which is where the Org is. They gave her what amounted to brain-washing sessions. They would make ridiculous statements. And when she argued with them, they would respond with, "No, you don't understand." Because, obviously, if you understood, you would agree with them. So, I believe that you owe me a million dollars. "No I don't!" No you don't understand, you owe me a million dollars.

I once asked the VP of the company (a scientologist, the nuttiest of the bunch), "according to scientology, what happens to you when you die?" She went on a 15 minute lecture on how I was not prepared to understand that information because I had not attained a sufficient spiritual level or something and then finished with, "so for instance, if I told you that you go to the filling station in the clouds to get your memories erased, you wouldn't understand." She's right, I don't understand.

One of the programmers (a scientologist) got a cold at one point. He was firmly convinced that the reason he had a cold was because people were thinking bad thoughts about him.

It's my personal opinion that scientology is a scam. They advertise clearly non-christian ideology while using christian symbols. They use their monitary resources to engage in what can only be described as legal terrorism. They prey on people by promising them spiritual fulfillment while draining their bank accounts. And while some (even most) scientologists may really believe in their religion and have other people's interests at heart, I believe there are a lot of very power evel forces operating within their organization.

And one other thing, even with the comical insanity, it wasn't a bad place to work. The reason I left was because the company was seized by the IRS for failure to pay payroll taxes.

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