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Anti-Scientology Site Shut Down

jamie posted more than 14 years ago | from the clambake-closed-until-further-notice dept.

Censorship 305

Mirele writes "The owner of www.xenu.net, the most comprehensive anti-Scientology website on the Net, reported on alt.religion.scientology that the site was shut down after the ISP received a letter from Scientology's Religious Technology Center alleging trademark infringement. The heart of RTC's complaint is that xenu.net uses their trademarks, the words 'Scientology,' 'Dianetics,' and 'Hubbard,' in the metatags." A look at the legal history shows that all the cases that were won involved trademarked terms in meta tags that did not appear on the webpage; that does not appear to be the case here. When Playboy unsuccessfully sued a Playmate for metatagging the term "Playmate," she countersued; does anyone know what the result was? Update: 11/19 03:00: The site's back up.

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305 comments

Diffrence with the Playboy case (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519642)

The big difference is that people where using the terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" to try and atract customers to their web sites. Imaging starting a new Newspaper and calling it "The New York Times" the real New York Times would have a good reason to say no you can't do that. Whereas it would be perfectly OK for another newspaper to publish an article critical of the New York Times.

Trademark law is desinged so that if you have a product noneone else will start a compeating product with a similar name. It does not provent similar products. Or other people from using your name in the press (online or otherwise)

History doesn't matter (4)

rde (17364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519643)

There could be thousands of cases thrown out of court in the past, and that wouldn't stop the scientologists. They're greedy, amoral people whose only hope for maintaining their hold on their victims is through lawsuits; they's sue anyone, anywhere, anyhow. If they lose, they take it to a higher court.
I realise that in America this is nothing unusual, but the scientologists have it down to a fine art.

As a matter of interest: if I have a page on nursery rhymes and I have the word 'Hubbard' in my metatags (as well as 'Humpty' and 'Nantucket'), will I be sued?

... (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519645)

I'm not suprised. Scientology is not a religion - it's a huge political grab for power. It's also a complete joke. God is allegedly their leader, and in order to reach higher levels of "enlightenment" you're required to pay absolutely huge sums of money to the perveyors of this "religion". There isn't another religion on the planet that protects it's holy books from outsiders and requires huge fees to purchase them. Infact, I have people banging down my door to give me free copies of their holy books!. Bleh. Just another example of what happens when you fuse politics, idiots, and religion together...

Am I being alittle insensitive here? Flamebait? Yeah, probably. But these people are more annoying than Rush Limbaugh when quoting statistics...


--

Re:... (2)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519646)

... I'm should have been more clear on that third sentence. Their leader believes he's god, and at the "highest" level of enlightenment, this is supposedly revealed to you.
--

No Free Speach! (1)

meckardt (113120) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519647)

What this really amounts to is the Scientology crowd is trying to use the legal system to shut out controvertial talk against it. You can bet that if there were a site singing the praises of dianetics, etc, using the exact same words, that there would never be a suit.


Mike Eckardt [geocities.com] meckardt@yahoo.nospam.com

Its mirrored (2)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519648)

Looks like it is already mirrored, so it appears that the Co$ is not getting their way in silencing their critics. Actually, what will most likely happen, given what I've seen lately, is that this information will end up being hosted on more sites after being shut down than it was before. The Co$ is shooting themselves in the foot, again.

Poor little clams. Snap snap snap.

*NIX, anyone? (2)

cswiii (11061) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519649)

I guess we'll be seeing terms like Sc*entlogy and H*bbard, now.

seriously, though, I wonder how hard it is to fight the Sc*entologists in court. Celebrities generally have pretty deep pockets.

Re:Diffrence with the Playboy case (2)

smileyy (11535) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519651)

The Playboy case would be more analagous to a journalist putting up a web site and advertising themselves as "a New York Times journalist", which, if it were true, would be valid (well, I don't think the court has ruled in the Playboy case, aside denying Playboy's attempt at a preliminary injunction)

Terri Welles /was/ a Playboy Playmate, and as such, is allowed to call herself that wherever she chooses.

Not a surprising move by the Scientologists (1)

festers (106163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519652)

I checked out this site a couple weeks ago (I think I found the link here in a /. post) After a brief reading of the emails he'd received, it was clear they were out to get him as much as he was out to expose them. I'm angered that his ISP would shut it down. There have been other examples of this on /., but it proves once again that there is no justice in the legal system: those with money call the shots. Because he could probably never afford to fight Scientology in court he will never get the chance to prove them wrong. Any belief that everyday people have "rights online" is just a delusion.

Censorship & Scientology (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519653)

The Scientologists have a length history of literally destoying those who publicly try to discredit them and their ideas. They have a lot of money and alot of members in high places.

I used to be involved with the "Church" of Scientology, and my opinion that it is all bull shit and all they want is your money.

Some people might say the same is true of Christian churches, but you can goto a Christian church for 20 years and not give 1 cent. Not so with Scientology. They are far more predatory than other group I have been involved with, or heard about.

I am not familiar with the Trademark laws that the Sceintologists are using in this case, but as long as you do not claim them as your own, whats illegal about it? Sounds like censorship to me for sure.

For those who are thinking about getting involved with Scientology (or Dianetics, which is Phase I - brainwashing) please do not. Once they get their claws in you, leaving will be difficult.

Scientology? Isn't that the L. Ron Hubbard Religon (1)

BradyB (52090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519654)

Since when do religions have trademarks? I'm sure it's possible. It just makes me laugh that they are sueing someone who is against them. They were probably just waiting for a reason to pounce on these people. What is Scientology anyway? It just seems that actors and rich people on in this religion, I guess that means they have enough to afford court costs.

Re:Diffrence with the Playboy case (2)

nevets (39138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519655)

But I believe that the main difference in this case is that www.xenu.net was just using the terms in Meta tags. Now I know there has been a lot of arguements about what goes in these tags, but I always thought the purpose of these tags were to state the topic of the web page. Now if people constantly sue over what goes in these tags, then we will still have to rely on the actual content. And thus go back in progress.

They are not using the term Scientology to compete with them. But to actually talk about them. A better analogy would be to say that another paper started writing articles about the New York Times. Can the New York Times sue because they are using their name? Its not to be confusing but actually the opposite. They are using the Scientology name to show EXACTLY who they are talking about.

Steven Rostedt

It's about time Scientology got shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519656)

This is just another in a long list of abuses by the criminal organization which is the Scientology establishment. They have been using quasi-legal and downright unlawful methods to harass and silence their critics and ex-members for years. The list of documented abuses keeps getting longer and longer.

Since Scientology operates as a criminal gang, it is subject to the kinds of punishments afforded drug smugglers and fraud rings. It is time for its victims and the government to get together and comprehensively take it apart. Under criminal and civil RICO laws, the organization can be broken up and its principals sent to prison, where they belong. The organization has vast wealth which can be used to pay damages to its victims, and nearly every one of its low-level practitioners (current or ex) falls into that category.

*growl* (2)

seizer (16950) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519657)

This group make m fantastically angry on a painfully regular basis. I've seen a friend's life messed up by their mind-fucking "religious philosophy", although he's through it [geocities.com] now; I've seen them close down anon.penet.fi (anyone remember that?); I've seen them try to cancel the newsgroup... the list of their attempts to censor all commentary is a long one.

And yet nothing seems to happen! What can we do!

I think a good long "aaargh" is in order

I have no money, sue me if you want


--Remove SPAM from my address to mail me

Not Surprising - Scientology Has Done this Before (3)

Sorklin (88002) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519658)

Remember the anon.petit.fi (or whatever it was) the anonymous remailer was shut down by scientology. The scientologist have been harrasing and trying to shut down websites left and right so that the only time someone can mention scientology at all is when they are part of the church. Xenu.com had a tremendous amount of information on this cult. And that's what threatened them. Xenu and those that ran it are considered the scientologist equivalent of heretic, and just like the old days of christianity, the doctrine is to do anything to harrass the heretics. This is just one form they have chosen to use.

This cult is just another force that wants to take away your rights. Learn more about it online by reading the scientology newsgroups. But remember that those groups are being harrassed as well.

Stranger in a strange land. (1)

cruise (111380) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519659)

Has anyone read Stranger in a strange land? The scientologists remind me of one of the religeons in this book.

The best part is, L. Ron made the whole thing up!

L. Ron was a science fiction writer making a penny a word. He was known for his writing style of attaching his typewriter to a roll of paper on the wall and producing a SCI-FI novel in an evening.

It is said that Dianetics was written in a weekend in this style and (over drinks with his peers) he announced that he was going to start a religeon.

Well he did just that, and he did a pretty damn good job of it to. Personally the thought that humans evolved form clams makes me giggle but hay, if thats what you wanna believe more power too ya.

I've heard of some pretty sinister things these folks can do. Hopefully this positng won't get me a dead cat in the mail.

F**K Scientology (1)

Jerom (96338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519660)

Well I gues that shows how close to the truth
that guy from www.xenu.net actually was...
Scientologist do have brains the size of dried
grapes. (that's a free interpretation)

To the XENU-guy:
You scared the hell out of those nutcakes, keep
up the good work.

P.S. Hey Scientology-guys,
I called a few of my scientist-friends, and
as soon as the university lawyer can be reached
we'll sue you for abusing the term "science"

Mooohahhhahhaha

P.P.S. stupidity is no excuse, screw 'em I say...

Re:History doesn't matter (3)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519661)

Why is this marked as "Funny"? (And where are those moderator points when you need them?) If you do even the smallest bit of research into scientology you will find that these accusations are true, and only scratch the surface of criticism one can give against the Scientologists.

Some of their beliefs would in fact be funny if they were not destroying people's lives and abusing our (US) public institutions.

-OT

Religion or corporation? (2)

Medieval (41719) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519662)

The Church of Scientology should be legally forced to declare whether they are a religion or a corporation.

If they are a religion, then they can't trademark 'their' words, phrases, and ideas.

If they are a corporation, then they don't get tax sheltered.

The CoS is the Amway of the religious world.

Its all about the dollar signs, kids.

(Scientology, Hubbard, Dianetics. Sue me.)

"Hubbard" is trademarked? (4)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519663)

Beware all nursary rhyme web sites! Thou art prohibited to mention any old mothers going to cupboards, to get their poor dog a bone, for doing so will bring down the righteous wrath of the *deleted to avoid trademark infringement*'s!

Seriously, neither trademark law, nor copyright law, permits the respective holder absolute right. Fair use (such as for reviews, commentary, satire, etc) are ALWAYS lawful. Copyright and trademarks also automatically expire when something becomes common usage.

IMHO, a person's name is about as "common usage" as you can get! The other words might be pushing it a bit, but probably fall into that category as well. It's not like anyone owns the suffix "-ology". (If they did, it would piss off the biologists a bit. Generally, irking the guys who play around with gene splicing and deadly viruses is not considered the healthiest sport in the world.)

Frankly, I'd tell the guys to counter with a slander & defamation of character suit (though I'd find a lawyer who worked on a no win/no fee basis). It is arguable that their good names and characters have been besmirched by the arguably false accusation that they willingly violated trademark laws.

Even if they lost (quite likely, given America's fondness for lawsuits & free speech, regardless of consequence), it might make trigger-happy power-players stop and think, for a moment. Being seen as going after the "Bad Guys" is Good Publicity. Being seen as a rival for the "Sherrif of Nottingham" is not.

The sooner the worm turns, the better. Because it will, sooner or later, if it keeps getting trodden on. It's just better for everyone if it's sooner.

Anyone got a new home for the site? (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519664)

It's really the ISP that's cowering here. Anyone out there with the gonads (or ovum) to host this site?

Something similar (and very funny)... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519665)

Visit this site [playdog.com] . I hear that Playboy is suing for the usual trademark infingement and blah, blah...

--
laddo

For the record, the playmate won. (3)

mbauser2 (75424) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519666)

The NY Times story on the Playboy suit [nytimes.com] explains it nicely, but the summary is: She really had been a Playboy playmate, so it was legal for her to say so on her web site. (Imagine if she lost. People could get sued for posting résumés that contained copyrighted words.)

I've never looked at xenu.net, but I suspect the Playboy v. Terri Welles case is at least partially relevant: If Playboy can't prevent ex-playmates from saying they were Playboy, Scientology shouldn't be able to prevent ex-Scientologists from saying they were in the Church of Scientology, and so forth.

The real problem here is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA encourages the yanking of web sites based on accusations, not legal findings of fact. The Act's authors put far too much faith in corporations' ability to act responsibly.

in France, scientology --> jail :-) (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519667)

Slightly off-topic, but as we are talking about scientology, I have a good news.

In France, a menber of a scientology organisation has been sentenced to jail ... Some proof were misteriously distroyed before the judgement, but he was still sent to jail :-) And there is a pending request to ban the scientology organisation ...

Let's hope scientology will be banned here.

Re:History doesn't matter (1)

greenfly (40953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519668)

I'm guessing the moderator was referring to the final sentence of that comment as "funny". Although if I had any points it would have seen a +1 for Insightful rather than funny, oh well.

Cult^H^H^H^HChurch of Scientology (5)

substrate (2628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519669)

I've happened on this site before, it may have been posted to memepool [memepool.com] or something similar. There was a lot of information on Scientology that Scientologists wouldn't find too flattering. A lot of it seemed so paranoid to me that I hoped it wasn't true, such as a list of ex-scientologists who later turned detractors and also later met an untimely demise. Given the rabid nature of a lot of the scientologists defending their cult I wouldn't be so sure however.

I don't see this as anything different than a review or expose however. This is no different than if George Lucas went after any bad Star Wars: The Phantom Menace reviews and had them yanked because they referred to LucasFilms or ILM's trademarks. For that matter its no different than if restraunts threatened legal action over poor restraunt reviews (or poor health department ratings).

What's so amazing to me is how incredibly stupid the scientologists and their lawyers are. There's a page that says all kinds of unfavourable things about them, the least of which is that they bully people who don't agree with scientology, and they bully them into being shut down. Nothing like providing proof of peoples opinions of you.

For a 20/20 expose on Scientology go here [holysmoke.org] , here [xenutv.com] , here [demon.nl] or just click this for a Google search [google.com]

The dangerous thing about this as far as rights go is that while many think of the internet as the last bastion of freedom its really not even close. ISP's routinely take the easy way out when faced with any legal action or even public pressure.

Another foot-bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519670)

Seems the Scientology Cult is launching another RPG (Rocket Propelled Gernade) at their own feet with this one. Scientology has a history of attacking critics on the most absurd basis, which provokes outrage from those who hear about the attack, which causes more critisism, which causes more Scientology attacks, and so on. The sooner Scientology learns this sort of stunt just blows up in their face, the better. PS: There will be a picket of the Scientology office in Toronto, Ontario (696 Yonge St.) November 20th starting at 10:00 am to protest stunts like this. For details see: http://www.total.net/~wulfen/scn/picket.htm PPS: There will be a BIG picket of Scientology in Clearwater FL, December 4th and 5th. PPPS: Am I the first post :-) .

Playboy Case Results... (1)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519671)

News.com [cnet.com] reported earlier this year that Welles not only successfully won her right to use the term "Playmate of the Year" to describe herself, but she also was countersuing Playboy for unfair business practices, defamation, etc.

So it appears that if someone is writing about the Scientologists, they have the right to use the correct terminology to describe them, even if those terms are trademarked. It seems to me it would be no different than writing a product review of Coca-Cola, and actually using the word "Coca-Cola."







This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

Scientology Is A Corporation (3)

Bartmoss (16109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519672)

It has long ago been found in court here in Germany that scientology is NOT a religion, but a commercial enterprise aimed to make a profit. In addition, Scientology is under observation by a branch of the German secret service, as there is evidence that Scientology is determined to undermine, erode, and abolish the democratic principles upon which modern Germany was founded.

The majority of European countries has since passed similar court rulings... Scientology is not a religion in Europe, and if they start to act up too much, we'll smash them.

One of the most idiotic things I've ever seen was a bunch of Scientologists in downtown Hamburg demonstrating for religious freedom. They dressed up in white robes, kinda made them look like KKK wannabees.

I also take great offense at the US Scientology's campaign of propaganda against Germany. Maybe some of you remember it. Basically what they did was say that Germans are Nazis. Over HERE, we have laws against such kinds of insult, I guess America doesn't. In fact, US politicans have even urged our German government to be nicer to Scientology.

It's always nice to see how our friends and allies, the moral and great leader of the free world is trying to mess with us.

Anyway, back to my first point (I seem to have wandered a bit), scientology is just a bunch of psychopatic fools trying to make a buck. Just say no.

Legal Defense for Content (1)

PG13 (3024) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519673)

Is their any organization which provides free legal defense for gratuitous suites against internet content (such as this case and the DeCSS issue). Sort of like an ACLU for freedom of expresion on the internet. It seems like something the EFF should really be involved in as the greatest danger to free speech on the internet seems to be abuse of copyright law, trademarks and especially patents.

Yes, mirroring is useful but it also allows a dangerous precedent to be set. If the sites are mirrored but not legally defended it gives legitamacy to the companies/religions claims.

Why this case needs to fail (3)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519674)

First, let's get over the facts: Scientology is overactively pursuing any anti-Sci site, and in most cases they won because copyrighted materials were used on the anti-Sci site. I don't know if the site here in question was the same (given that they have been around for this long suggests that is it not the case).

Now, why must this case fail? Look at want it boils down to: Party A does not want Party B to provide negative information to the public. Thus, Party A gets Party's B site shut down. In full violation of free speech.

If the Sci's win their case, this means that I can put any appropriate pairings in the above statement. How many of those would have Microsoft as Party A?

I find it hard to believe that there is legal precidence that a site that talks about the negative aspects of something cannot use trademark words for that purpose (especially if they are not trying to claim that trademark as their own).

Great (1)

Nichen (34123) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519676)

So now all a group has to do to prevent criticism is trademark their name and shut down anyone that uses it? Microsoft(TM) is a trademark, does that mean we have to stop criticizing them? Scientologists know they're full of shit, and are hiding behind trademark law to try to squeeze a little more money out of its members. I honestly hope that www.xenu.net wins in the end, because I see this starting a dangerous precedent of deep-pocketed groups controlling what information we are exposed to.

Re:I wonder. (2)

Tau Zero (75868) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519678)

Since when does the existence of worse make the merely bad unworthy of comment?
--
Advertisers: If you attach cookies to your banner ads,

Re:... (2)

logicTrAp (2864) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519679)

Except scientology is even more bizarre than what you described - many "religions" have leaders who claim to be god or whatnot, but from what I remember their beliefs include stuff like
o The earth was seeded thousands of years ago for life by some alien warlord
o Said warlord will someday return to earth for some reason or another.
o There is an intergalactic war that's been going on for a few thousand years and the earth is somehow involved.
It's sad that scientology is as popular as it is.

L Ron the Moron (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519680)

I recall reading his sons Biography of him "messiah or Madman". Madman is more like it. his "religion" is nothing more than Computer Programming and a little psychology.

What is really sad is that there are people who can't see this fact, can't see that all this religion wants is your money, and fall for it. In florida they've already gotten away with a literal murder.

Nothing new for the Scientologists (1)

Rick Razzano (76194) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519681)

The Scientologists have done very well using the legal system to stop anti-Scientology groups from operating. They sued and won a case against CAN (Cult Awareness Network - one of the strongest opponents of Scientology), which bankrupted CAN, then they promptly bought CAN.

Hubbard / Heinlein UL (2)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519682)

There is a story (of Urban Legend quality) that Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard made a bet about who could come up with s wierd religion and get people to follow it. Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land, Hubbard wrote Dianetics. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Religion or Corporation (1)

Woodie (8139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519683)

Hmm,

I must admit to being only passingly familiar with the cult of Scientology. I do know that it's the brain child of recently deceased Sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard. However, actions like this certainly make them seem like that have a hidden adgenda. IIRC, Dianetics bears more than a passing resemblance to Eugenics.

1> Are they a "religion" under US law? If so, are they exempt from taxes? Do they enjoy all the other side benefits that other organized religions do in the USA?

The statement that:

"Since when do religions have trademarks?" really strikes an interesting note. If a religion can have a trademark, they are behaving awfully business like. If they do win a case like this, and manage to sue for damages, do they get to keep the money _tax-free_? I sure as hell hope not. Of course that'd be just the thing those crack-smokers are looking for.

- Porter

Re:No Free Speach! (1)

korc (11064) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519684)

Or that if someone did file a suit against it, the "Church" would countersue. This "Church" is the most disturbing display of man's inhumanity that I've seen...of course if you believe you're an alien being just trapped here on Earth, I guess it's not inhumanity, is it? :-)

I wish getting hackers to do anything coherent were not like herding cats---there are more of us than them, and we're smarter! (Justified by our belief in ourselves rather than a figment of a socially immature man's imagination.) Maybe if we just ignore them, they'll go away.

Re:... (2)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519685)

...and don't forget the celebrity appeal. IIRC, the Scientology folks have a habit of recruiting 'ollywood folks as members and spokespeople, although who's to say that they're being bilked as much as everybody else...

It might amuse y'all to know that there was, and probably still is, a Scientology office within walking distance of MS main campus in Bellevue, WA... both would appear to be profit-motivated, but only one admits it.

[Is Germany still cracking down on them? They once started treating it basically as a cult, but I seem to remember that some politcos over on this side of the pond got involved.]

That's 'bout the only physical presence of theirs I've personally seen; AFAIK, they've never recruited hear at Carnegie Mellon.

commercial reasons important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519686)

Though the religions has had its cult fanatics, I believe the main reason for internet vigilance is commercial. They charge several thousand dollars apiece for their psychotherapy classes and don't want that material circulating for free in the public domain.

Scietology is bullshit. (3)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519687)

The guys from Xenu have a distributed.net team that is doing fairly well.

Does anyone remember the movie Primary Colors?
John Travolta is a Scientlogist and apparantly he and some others in the production staff went to president clinton and asked him to pressure Germany to recognize Scientology as a valid religion. The carrot was this, if he did get them to they'd portray him in a more positive light in the movie.

Read the book, watch the movie, you'll see that there are BIG differences between the way that the main character is portrayed.

LK

What's the deal? (1)

Courier (91998) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519688)

This is nothing new. Just as the NAZI and all sort of werid and deranged people have done before these people are after control and power. I can't understand why people fall in with this kind of cults or such but as a history and psychology have shown time and time again.... People are not much better then lemmings. We are in one simple word stupid.

Re:in France, scientology --> jail :-) (2)

DanMcS (68838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519689)

Let's hope scientology will be banned here.
Let's hope not. No matter how much I disagree with someone (in the case of these crackpots, a whole lot), I would not wish to ban them.
  • It would make them more popular. Free publicity, they can claim oppression by the man, scream that their freedom of religion is being taken away, the whole nine yards. Anything that is banned gains a certain mystique. Then, they could tie up most any country in court for decades, and would.
  • I would not want _anyone_ to be banned from expressing their religious views. Just make them declare as either a religion or a business, similar to what was done to the Christian Coalition here in the US (well, that was political, but same idea), and force them to stick to it.

Banning is not the solution.

www.scientology-kills.net (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519690)


So CO$ got 2 sites for the price of one this time.

Anybody remember www.scientology-kills.net [scientology-kills.net] ?

It had descriptions of incidents where people had lost theire lives directly (Remember Lisa ?) or indirectly thru this cults actions.

I have been watching CO$ on the net for years and this is definetly something that we must fight back. I hereby offer to mirror the site if anybody wants to send me the tarball.. ftp://195.115.63.44/Incoming/

--
Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

Re:I wonder. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519691)

Now that you have all been reminded of how badly scientologists behave will the tedious christian baiting stop?

No - Just because the Nazis were bad doesn't mean no one should have fought the Stalinists.

All proselytizing religions are evil by their nature (no matter what the intentions of their members). The others may or may not be, but that has nothing to do with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion and the damage it causes every day, which dwarfs the crap perpetrated by the Co$.

I have seen this first hand, a friend of mine was killed by christians because he was the wrong sort of christian!

TWW

Score one for free speech! (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519692)

It's a shite state of affairs when a small group of misguided, yet rich, people have the ability and the desire to silence all those who disagree with them. Such is the sad story of Scientology, and, unless some kind soul starts sniping them all off one by one, so shall it remain.

That could just be my evil body thetans talking, though. Maybe if I paid L. Ron a few hundred grand I could have that taken care of...

- A.P.
--


"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

Didn't work on ABC TV! Won't work on me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519694)

Large companies and groups try to do this.

In yesterday's Boston Globe [boston.com] there is a piece on the Metabolife Metabolife. Metabolife sued WCVB-TV (the ABC affiliate) and Susan Warnick for libel. The court threw it out.

Mattel is trying to shut me up! I received a $139k judgment against them in a lawsuit. This lawsuit is on my website [sorehands.com] . Mattel filed and continue with a countersuit for libel by my website. This is because the website [sorehands.com] states that they violated the FMLA, ADA, etc, which are the grounds for the lawsuit that they paid over $140k last month. They want to shut me up.

There are protection for ISPs in cases like this for websites. It is fair to use company names (even if trademarked) when talking about them. This will come out in the courts in relation to meta tags. The judges and juries will have to be educated on tags and search engines.

Injured geek wins against Mattel and Mattel still retaliates! [sorehands.com]

This should incur the internet death penalty. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519695)

Remember when people started blocking e-mail from IBM because IBM wasn't being responsive enough in tracking down a malicious SPAM?

I think that ISPs that start to censor their users based on defensive legal tactics should incur the internet death penalty.

Re:History doesn't matter (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519696)

Heck, in this case, you don't have to worry about the "our == U.S." bit - the Scientologists abuse public institutions all over the world. Weren't they the ones that got that Finnish anonymous e-mailer/news poster shut down a few years ago?

I'd advise anyone criticizing them to post AC, like me.

Re: ...moderator points when you need them (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519697)

Can't help with the points thing, but a small observation: I think that's what Rob designed the "meta' moderation system for -- so that if other folks disagree with how a specific moderator judges things, things will get balanced out. Maybe another moderator will see your post and agree, and add one of the other moderation codes.

Re:Libel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519698)

Actually, that IS illegal in the United States, but not in the same way. I'm aware of the strict "hate speech" laws in Germany, but here it's termed libel to accuse someone of being a criminal without basis(and that's what being a Nazi is IMHO). Now, if you were to say that a $cientologi$t was ACTING like a Nazi, that would be protected speech.

Re:"Hubbard" is trademarked? (2)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519699)

If memory serves, US trademark law explicitly forbids trademarking a term which is a "personal name", specifically to avoid issues like who was using "Smith" first. But, typically (like crappy patents) the trademarks get registered and then have to be overturned.

Taking this a step further than the "old mother" from the nursery rhyme, I recall a Hubbard Road in rural Idaho that presumably predates L. Ron (and was probably named for SOMEONE), and it occurs to me that there's a reasonably famous (!?) Glenn Hubbard running around these days (baseball pitcher?).







This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

Re:F**K Scientology (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519700)

Well I gues that shows how close to the truth that guy from www.xenu.net actually was...

Actually, I don't think there was anything NOT true there. :) Andreas Heldal-Lund is a great heathen guy. He's been working against scientology for years now. He's the leader of the norwegian heathen society in Stavanger / Norway.

Scientologist do have brains the size of dried grapes. (that's a free interpretation)

You're giving them FAR too much credit.



--

The US Constitution is just a sick, ironic joke (5)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519701)

While we were all distracted, arguing over whether or not Bill Clinton should be impeached and admiring the off-color stain on Monica's dress, congress quietly, and with no opportunity for public debate or comment, passed the Digital Millenium Copyright act into Law. They did this on a voice vote, so that no individual congress person had to go on record as having supported this legislation.

The result? Broad, sweeping, and hitherto unprecedented powers and rights were granted to so-called intellectual property holders, at the expense of individual rights of expression.

In this context, the first amendment to the US Constition (the right of Free Speach) has been effectively made null and void on the internet. This serves both the interests of government and large corporations, as it effectively silences undesirable speach in the one mass medium which they, prior to enacting this law, could not control.

Now, if anyone speaks out against any entity (government, corporate, or private) with money, the mere threat of litigation against them and their ISP is enough to silence them. With the new, broad rights this law grants, the litigation has much greater potential to succeed (though one would hope juries and judges would be smart enough to overturn the law were it to ever go so far). No individual, with house payments to make, children to feed, and a job to attend to, can afford this kind of risk, either monetarilly or in terms of time lost and possible effects on their career. The result: any entity with money now has an easy, well-defined, institutionalized method for denying the "average" (read: not wealthy) person of their constitutional right to freedom of speach, with any recourse and appeal denied to that individual through financial leverage.

Mirroring is a nice, feel-good short term solution to this (and it does do good, don't stop!), but realize this: there is similar, pending legislation in many countries we currently think of as "friendly". What will the net be like when there is no longer any place to run and mirror?

Our top priortiy should be the repeal of the Digital Millenium act in the US, the even more draconian legislation in the UK, and the prevention of such bills becoming law elsewhere in the world. This attack of speach is more subtle, more dangerous, and much more effective than the CDA ever was, and has effectively made the right to free speach on-line a farce of the worst kind.

Re:Why this case needs to fail (3)

gorilla (36491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519702)

Actually, in most cases they loose, cause they're making totally groundless complaints. For an example, try this site [priment.com] . Same subject. Same law. Scientology lost.

Most ISP's have caught onto the complaints being groundless, and for many years now they've been ignoring RTC's letters, however with the new law, the ISP has to shut it down regardless.

This is a sad day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519703)

Wow. I really liked that site. Of all the religions, pseudo-religions, cults, and just plain lunacy, I think I like the Church of Scientology the least.

This "religion" was started by L. Ron Hubbard, a guy who was reputed to talk about starting one's own religion as a way to make money.

The official church stance is that anyone who opposes the Church of Scientology must have a criminal background. If not, then they will make one up for the opposition.

These bastards are really scary folks. I am posting anonymously because I've met people who have been harassed by the COS for speaking out in opposition.

I am not much of a fan of organized religion anyway, but the COS goes waaaaaaay too far.

The answer to censorship is .... (3)

taniwha (70410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519704)

Xenu.net has been THE best resource of documentation about Scientology on the net period. And that's including the Scientology site.

A large part of this site is a collection of court and govermental enquiry transcripts combined with personal accounts of their experience

Behaviour like this by Scientology is par for the course their lawyers have atacked free speech at every turn in their war against the net - remember this started with one of their lawyers forging an rmgroup to remove a newsgroup - and was quickly followed with a police raid on one of the poster's houses where they hauled away all his computers - then searched them for evidence for a subsequent civil court case against him.

Anyway - the answer to censorship (or speech you don't like) is more speech - so tell your friends the things about Scientology that were (are) on xenu.net that Scientology doesn't want you to know:

  • It's a mind-control cult that attenpts to squeeze as much money out of its members as possible
  • It costs at least $360,000 to 'receive salvation'
  • The basic tenent of their faith which they wont tell you untill you have paid at least $100k is that 7 million years ago intergallactic tyrant Xenu shipped billions of people to earth, tied them to the top of volcanos and nuked them. All the worlds troubles are caused by us being haunted by the tourtured souls of these murdered space aliens - for large amounts of money Scientology will teach you how to exorcise yourself
  • abuse and occasional deaths of members have been reported - they run their own prison labor camps called 'RPF' at several places within the US (xenu.net contains a number accounts by people forced into RPF who had to do things like run around a pole in the desert each day)
  • They have their own paramilitary wing called the 'sea-org'
Xenu.net will be back - it's censored, not gone - in the mean time help do the work it was doing - tell all your friends and family about Scientology - make sure they know what it's about so they won't get sucked in

Re:Its mirrored (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519705)

Where's the mirror? I don't see a link?
Did the mirror remove the offending meta tags?
And if so, why can't xenu.net do the same and avoid
the whole lawsuit hassle?

they're evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519706)

They vigorously attack anyone who has anything to say about them that isn't complimentary. It's common, accepted (encouraged) practice for them to dig deeply into the private life and past of anyone they deem an enemy, and expose embarassing personal facts, or try to create legal problems. They're not a religion. They're a science fiction book gone awry, horribly. I mean, have you ever read any of their supreme religious truths? They believe that human suffering is caused by alien spirits that arrived here before the beginning of man. The organization was started by a science fiction author who is quoted as having observed that the best way to make lots of money is to start your own religion. Argh.

Unfortunately, participating has danger... (2)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519707)

The cases have come up have had some rather distressing results, and I agree that it is important to be aware of what is going on.

Unfortunately, to actually participate in significant ways runs people into the risk of arousing the ire of the Scientologists, and with the size of their army of private investigators and lawyers, this represents a significant risk, and one that not everyone will be willing to risk.

It might appear attractive to try to "twit" them; that is only acceptable if:

  • One feels extremely strongly about them, and is willing to risk suffering the consequences, or
  • The risks of consequences are low.

Of course, providing formally anonymous support ( e.g. - help with legal fees) to those that are "fighting fights and risking loss" might be a decent method...

EFF where are you? (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519708)

As a regular reader of xenu.net and a staunch
critic of $cientology I have to wondere where
the hell is the EFF. This is one of the first
real cases out there where they can prove their
metal and worth as an orginization to actually
defend our online rights. This is a case that
can certainly make or break the EFF... maybe
that is why they are being so quiet on this one.

$cientology must be stopped, and they must be
stopped now.

On a side note for any $cios reading. As soon as
I dig myself up one of your DC7 looking lil' ol'
spacecraft I'm going fly home and kick Xenu in the
head for setting off all those nukes in the first
place and messing with mother Earth. (For those
that don't know the above bunch of smack is
atually accepted truths in the higher ranks of
$cientology).

---
Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...

Re:in France, scientology --> jail :-) (3)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519709)

And there is a pending request to ban the scientology organisation ... Let's hope scientology will be banned here.

Is this really what we want? The people who joing this cults tend to be 1) more intelligent than average, 2) very idealistic, 3) want to help solve the world's problems. [I'm going to have to a blanket reference here to The Margaret Singer Foundation [singer.org] hopefully still there, this has been found in several studies of former cult members.]

The individuals in a cult are not nescessarily evil or bad. Some of the things they do are evil because they are in essense brainwashed. In other words, the members aren't evil individually, collectively they can do a great deal of harm to other individuals and to communities, governments and so on.

But do we want to ban them? Do we want to cross the line that Hitler crossed?

If so, how do we prevent non-Cult religions from being banned because they practice "strange and bizarre rituals"? (mediation, chanting, ritualistic canabalism...{ahem}...and so on, an important question to myself, a Buddhist).
We need to reach a balance between preventing harm and religious tolerance.

Disclaimer: My brother started trancenet.org [trancenet.org] , a cult tracking website. He is the one who first raised these concerns to me.
Also, according to discussions I had with an anon scientologist in '95 I was declared an SP (suppressive person) sometime in '94-'95 due to my participation in alt.religion.scientology... but I have no confirming evidence...

(So if you are a scientologist, you are currently out-tech just by reading this post that is trying to be tolerant!)

Re:Scientology? Isn't that the L. Ron Hubbard Reli (2)

Reinoud (33024) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519711)

Scientology is definetly not something to laugh. My ISP has been in court with them since 1995 and the battle continues...
See this page [xs4all.nl] for a list of what happened until now.

They still continue to call themselves a religion. Critics say the reason for that is only tax. The Scientology movement is considered a criminal organisation in several Europe countries, and in Germany members are not allowed to do any work for the state...

You are a bigot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519712)

Period.

Think about it: s/christian/black/gi

Re:History doesn't matter (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519713)

Yup that was them. That was a really weird situation too. People tried to shut anon.penet.fi down because a lot of kiddie porn passed through it. That failed. But when people used it to critisize the scientologists...poof it went. I personally find their behavior childish and terrifying. I wonder how long it will be before I have a lawyer calling me up.

Re:Scientology? Isn't that the L. Ron Hubbard Reli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519714)

What is Scientology anyway?

As I heard it, L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein were sitting around having a few brewskies and discussing religion. RAH made a comment that it would be impossible to create a new religion in the modern era. LRH replied with "wanna bet?" (NOT a direct quote! And I might be mistaken about the brewskies, too...) So then, Scientology, at its root, is the result of a bet.

oh and I forgot .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519715)

An item I forgot:
  • One of Scientology's main goals is 'to clear the planet' which basicly means world domination and installation of a Scientology civil government - at which time they plan to "get rid of the SPs - the 2%" in otherwords they have advocated a 'final solution' for those of us who have spoken out and wont go along with the plan [this by the way is why they are in such trouble in Germany - the Allies left Germany with a constitution that doesn't allow German groups to advocate taking over the world ....]

Re:History doesn't matter (2)

scrytch (9198) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519717)

> If they lose, they take it to a higher court.

Actually, they do not. The entire cult of scientology could be destroyed by a single hostile ruling from a high court. The Ku Klux Klan, for instance, is more or less defunct as an organization in some areas, because of a court ruling (and some really screwy technicalities). Whether or not you agree with the logic, scientology knows the risk of losing in a federal court, or, L.Ron forbid, the supreme court.

What they do is get around the law. After a court kept public documents in place when they were challenged by the scientologists, they now have cult members dedicated to doing nothing but keeping the materials checked out and in circulation all the time so the public can never see it.

Futile, really... The Cult of Scientology is already the object of ridicule in the USA, outright hostility in Germany (having been relegated to the same political realm as Nazis), ineffectiveness in the area of information control, and one of the biggest makers of martyrs since McCarthy.

I know the cult reads slashdot. You're going down.

Re:Not Surprising - Scientology Has Done this Befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519719)

> Remember the anon.petit.fi (or whatever it was) the anonymous remailer was shut down by scientology.

And now we have double-blind cryptographically strong remailers instead. Progress rolls onward...

Son of A... (offtopic) (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519720)

Posting so my moderation here cancels (hopefully, IIRC thats how moderation works)

I accidently moderated you down when I meant to mod you up. I think it's that wheel on the MS mouse that screwed it up.

Sorry 'bout that.



john (smacking my head on my desk)

Re:Hubbard / Heinlein UL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519721)

There were people present when the bet was made, it was for $20.00 and everyone thought it was all a bad joke. Heinline actually paid the $20.00 by the way! - posted as Anonymous Coward (most of those present then, are not present now!)

Re:It's about time Scientology got shut down (1)

flatrock (79357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519722)

As long as they are considered a religion, no one will mess with them. The Constitution protects freedom of religion, and Scientology has got a lot of money to spend on lawyers and propoganda.

Re:"Hubbard" is trademarked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519723)

Then why is Billy Joel a registered trademark?

yup (2)

taniwha (70410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519724)

anon.penet.fi - a Scientologist in the US posted about his own 'church' anonymously - they sued to get his name (and did!) - the anon-remailer was shut down because the person who ran it felt he could no longer maintain his promise of confidentiality

Re:Hubbard / Heinlein UL (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519725)

Whereas the version of the legend that I read was that Poul Anderson, Niven and Hubbard were gathered in a bar at some science fiction convention having a drink after some panel meeting. They got into a discussion of science and religion and Hubbard bet the others that he could start a religion bassed on pseudo science and make it so convincing that people would fall for it. A few years later Scientology was born, and the biggest scam in the world today started taking place.

Religion and open source... (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519726)

There are lots of religions in the wide world: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sub-Genius, etc. All of these seem to have one thing in common: the works that they consider their "sacred scriptures" are not copyrighted. I mean, you have to pay money to get a Bible, but nobody screams about "copyright dilution" or "trade secret violation" when a "Bible Verse for the Day" appears in a newspaper.

The problem with the so-called "Church of Scientology" is that they have declared many of their works to be "copyrighted." As a result, they only allow people to be able to read these works after they've shelled out big bucks for initial "training," and afterward they are not allowed to divulge any of this information.

The religions that I mentioned above are all secure enough in their faith that their works are available for any to read and even criticize. I can only guess that Scientology is unable to compete this way.

Now, if we substitute the word "Microsoft" for "Church of Scientology," and the phrase "source code" for "religious writings," it makes me wonder: does this seem to anyone else to be a similar situation with the open source idea?

Re:The US Constitution is just a sick, ironic joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519727)

> Now, if anyone speaks out against any entity (government, corporate, or private) with money, the mere threat of litigation against them and their ISP is enough to silence them.

Mind you, this asinine law is only applicable in the US. Data Havens, anyone?

Re:History doesn't matter (1)

DanMcS (68838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519728)

What they do is get around the law. After a court kept public documents in place when they were challenged by the scientologists, they now have cult members dedicated to doing nothing but keeping the materials checked out and in circulation all the time so the public can never see it.
That'll be a little harder to do if the US court system ever joins the modern era and puts documents online en mass. Maybe the good cultists will just run DoS attacks then ;)

Yes, but not on the ISP (2)

jflynn (61543) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519730)

I agree it's irritatingly spineless for these ISPs to roll over at the slightest hint of legal action, but really, you have to see it from their point of view. Most are shoestring operations that couldn't even dream of putting up the needed legal costs. The big ones just look at the bottom line, and see nothing much added for defending freedom of expression. More's the pity.

Lets put the blame where it belongs and blackhole any site associated with anyone using these legal tactics as a form of censorship. This wouldn't be censoring the scientologists, more a widespread agreement not to listen to them as long as they persist in trying to suppress other's speech.

Re:Anyone got a new home for the site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519732)

> Anyone out there with the gonads (or ovum) to host this site?

Technically yer redundant, gonads are the reproductive organs of either sex (specifically testes or ovaries)

All right all right, i go now.

Re:Not Surprising - Scientology Has Done this Befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519733)


"A church enemy 'May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.'"

Re:The site is still accessible! (1)

Rupert (28001) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519734)

Please moderate this way up.

Or maybe not. We don't want to attract too much attention.

Anyway, apart from the front page it all appears to be there.

Re:Religion or corporation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519735)

For years, the IRS declared them not to be a tax exempt religion. Then suddenly the IRS reversed themselves and gave the "church" the religious organization tax exemption. Makes you wonder what their (the Scientologists') investigators discovered about officials within the IRS, that made them change their minds!

Re:Why this case needs to fail (1)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519736)

Most ISP's have caught onto the complaints being groundless, and for many years now they've been ignoring RTC's letters, however with the
new law, the ISP has to shut it down regardless.

Careful about overestimating the DMCA -- it only gives that broad, reaching ability WRT Copyright violations, NOT Trademark violations like were alleged here. If Xenu isn't redistributing any copyrighted materials of the Scientologists, the DMCA can't be applied....

Example: Suppose I put up a site detailing my experiences with drinking Dr. Pepper while eating eggs, and the extreme distress it causes me. Dr. Pepper couldn't go after me using DMCA just because I am referring to them by their (trademarked) name. If, however, I put the lyrics to one of their lengthy jingles (which I presume are copyrighted) up on the site, then they have a copyright infringement to which DMCA would be applicable.







This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

Re:Scientology? Isn't that the L. Ron Hubbard Reli (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519737)

Actually I beleive the story goes that LRH calimed that "the easiest way to make a million dollars is to start your own religion" .... of course he'd never heard of internet startups :-)

They got away with it in Bowfinger (2)

KillBot (116344) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519738)

THey should just rename any references from Scientology to mindhead :) I'm still amazed at how much of a slap in the face that movie was to scientologists.

Re:The US Constitution is just a sick, ironic joke (2)

nstrug (1741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519739)

Actually the Digital Millenium Act is even more draconian then the UK new Copyright Act. As you may have noticed from the recent DVD discussions, publishing information on copy-protection systems is tantamount to direct copyright infringement under the UK law, i.e. a civil offence. However under the DMA it will be a criminal offence.

Nick

It's not surprising. (3)

SweenyTod (47651) | more than 14 years ago | (#1519740)

I've been a critic of Scientology for about two years now. I'm lucky that I'm in Perth, Western Australia. The scientology popluation here is small enough that I can say what I want on my web site and not be subjected to the abuses that critics in other parts of the world are. And that is my main complaint about the organisation. You could stand in front of Billy Grahem or the Pope and critise them to their face, but speak out against Scientology, and they'll try their damnest to crusify you. Check out the story of Paulette Cooper [uni-wuerzburg.de] . She wrote a book about them, and according to the web page, the Church of Scientology tried to forge a bomb threat against Henry Kissinger in Cooper's name. This plan has become known as "Operation Freakout". It's real, and it's happening to people all around the world right now. Andea is a very public example of what's happening to a lot of people all around the world.

Re:Still some part of the site left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1519741)

I guess the Sintologists missed a page.
Here are the Meta tags. I find the description to be ironic.

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