Feeds

Scientologists gag Google

The DMCA kills again

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Web search outfit Google has caved in to demands from the 'Church' of Scientology demanding that it delete URLs from its database directing Web surfers to certain pages maintained by Xenu.net, a well-known CoS critic.

In this case the dreaded Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has provided the pretext for censorship. Scientology shysters have persuaded Google that it's liable for copyright infringement because Xenu has mirrored excerpts from sacred texts which the cult guards jealously as its intellectual capital.

At issue here is a fairly undefinable limit to fair use, which ensures that we may, if we please, quote a passage from CoS scripture and ridicule it, but not re-publish it. But there is no pre-defined limit to how much copyrighted text may be reproduced for purposes of analysis, criticism, satire or argumentation. The best guidance is the law itself, but this is ambiguous, and appeals to the amount quoted in relation to the whole work. No baseline safe ratio is suggested.

The usual practice is to quote as much as needed to illustrate a point, and no more. The Cult claims that Xenu has quoted more than fair use allows; Xenu feels it's quoted just the right amount to make its points.

However, Google was served with what appears to be a legally-proper DMCA notice, in that it is signed under penalty of perjury and asserts that the complainer has a good-faith belief that copyrights are being violated, so it had no choice but comply.

Google removed references to the disputed pages, but in its eagerness to capitulate to the CoS threat also removed the Xenu.net home page. That little oversight has since been corrected. A Google search for Scientology now yields the Xenu home page in its fourth result, while a search for Xenu yields the home page in its first result.

In order for Google to catalogue the disputed pages again, the Norwegian-based Xenu.net would have to file a counter-notification, which it is apparently unwilling to do lest it become subject to US court jurisdiction. As things stand now, the home page is now listed, and the disputed pages are still available. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.