19 October 2005

Vile Scientologists Strike Again.

The Church of Scientology, know for high profile member Tom Cruise, is threatening to sue an upstart website with the domain name: www.scienTOMogy.info, a site critical of both Tom Cruise and his faith. What makes the Church of Scientology particularly vile is the way it abuses the legal process to harass its opponents, in matters like this one.

The lawyer who is bringing this frivilious suit is "Church of Scientology attorney Helena Kobrin, a partner in Moxon & Kobrin law firm" according to the article.

The Church of Scientology has a long history of abusive litigation to harass critics under the guise of intellectual property litigation (a subscription only article on Salon.com referenced here expands on this review). For example:

The letter isn't the first time Scientology lawyers have claimed that websites had violated its trademark. San Francisco anti-Scientology activist Kristi Wachter received a similar letter from Kobrin four years ago after she registered the domain name www.truthaboutscientology.com.

Wachter said Tuesday that, after an exchange of letters, the Scientology lawyers appeared to drop the issue. But a few weeks ago, she said, her Web host was forced to temporarily remove more than 600 pages from her site after Scientology lawyers accused her of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Act. When no formal legal challenge was filed after four weeks, the pages were restored.

Similarly there is this language from the IRS's Final Adverse Ruling of July 8, 1988 to Church of Spiritual Technology, (COST), pages 8-10 (via lermanet.com):

The past history of Scientology's operations suggests that the purpose of these organizations may be to disguise the fact that private interests are the ultimate beneficiaries of the reorganized operating structure....

And a judge wrote this in a memorandum opinion in an intellectual property suit brought against a Scientology dissenter in 1995:

On the first issue, the Court finds that the motivation of plaintiff in filing this lawsuit against the Post is reprehensible. Although the RTC brought the complaint under traditional secular concepts of copyright and trade secret law, it has become clear that a much broader motivation prevailed--the stifling of crticism and dissent of the religious practices of Scientology and the destruction of its opponents. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, has been quoted as looking upon law as a tool to

"[h]arass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harrass and enough harrassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."

A Canadian Senator, Honoarable Anne C. Cools, in 1996, even introduced a bill to amend the Canadian Criminal Code, S-4, aimed specifically specifically at a history of abusive practice by the Church of Scientology's attorneys in cases such as Plesh v. Plesh (1992) in Manitoba and Casey Hill v. the Church of Scientology and Morris Manning, in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1995, saying in support (the entire speach is worth reading):

The problem is the use of the court process and judicial proceedings by barristers for harassing and injuring others, that is, for civil molestation, without penalty. The deployment of court documents, court privileges and court proceedings as instruments of malice and injury should, indeed, be made criminal offences.

This continuing abuse of the legal and judicial process by certain members of the legal profession compels careful examination and scrupulous attention. The barristers in the Scientology case read like a list of the who's who of the legal profession in Canada. This case and the Supreme Court decision seriously questions the conduct of the barristers, one of whom, Clayton Ruby, was a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and, at the time, the vice-chairman of the Law Society's Discipline Committee.

Perhaps Scientology will sue and receive another high profile defeat in the courts. Even better, maybe someday, the Congress will adopt legislation to revoke all intellectual property rights of any intellectual property holder who repeatedly brings frivilous suits to enforce those rights.

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