Visit to Google Today: Chuch of Scientology Uses DMCA to Remove Sites from Google

Jon O.
Thu, 21 Mar 2002 13:49:30 -0800


While I agree with your logic to a point, Google satisfied the DMCA
request by removing the links. The counter notification is used
to prevent this type of action in the first place. Therefore,
Google has agreed to Censor themselves and possibly use a counter
notification after the fact.

Touretzky's counter notification is to be used *prior* to any
material being taken down from the internet, while still allowing
safe harbor. bnetd used this tactic of getting a DMCA complaint,
filing a counter letter and never getting a response, thus allowing
the data to remain on the net.

(3) Contents of Counter Notification.-To be effective under this subsection, a counter notification must be a written communication provided to the service provider's designated agent that includes substantially the following:

(A) A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber.

(B) Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.

(C) A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.

(D) The subscriber's name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriber's address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.

Also, as regards system caching:

(b) System Caching.-

(1) Limitation on Liability.-A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the intermediate and temporary storage of material on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider in a case in which-

(A) the material is made available online by a person other than the service provider;

(B) the material is transmitted from the person described in subparagraph (A) through the system or network to a person other than the person described in subparagraph (A) at the direction of that other person; and

(C) the storage is carried out through an automatic technical process for the purpose of making the material available to users of the system or network who, after the material is transmitted as described in subparagraph (B), request access to the material from the person described in subparagraph (A), if the conditions set forth in paragraph (2) are met.

On 21-Mar-2002, Gordon Mohr wrote:
> Don Marti via linux-elitists via Jon O. writes:
> > > On March 20th, Google caved in to a baseless legal threat from
> > > Scientology's "Religious Technology Center", and removed the web
> > > site from all search results.  (Not just the cached pages.
> > > The links, too.  Try it.)
> I have been trying it, since this news came up, and the
> claim that has been removed from "all search results"
> is not true.
> Try a search on:
> inurl:xenu
> ...and you'll see that Google still has 1,500+ pages
> indexed. Searches on terms like "operation clambake" and 
> "scientology xenu" still return pages near the very 
> top.
> Also, try:
> ...and you'll see that they're still tracking 1,800+ links
> to
> The report that was "completely" removed from Google
> has been treated by many sources as "too good to check". (I've
> been told that briefly, was completely gone, but I 
> haven't seen a description of how that was verified or for
> what period that was the case.)
> Clearly, though, the top page and others that would
> come up high in a search on just "scientology" are still gone.
> Now, let's look at what actually happened. Scientology (hereafter 
> CoS) sent Google a DMCA-compliant notification requesting removal
> of copyrighted material. This starts a process outlined in the 
> DMCA where Google, in order to maintain its various safe-harbors, 
> is to notify the people responsible for the infringing content,
> giving them a chance to correct the infringement or otherwise
> respond. 
> Barring such a response from the alleged infringer, Google is 
> supposed to, by law, respect the duly-constructed takedown
> notification.
> However, with even a cursory response, Google can leave the
> material up unless/until the original complainant begins 
> action in a court of law.
> CoS has used these tactics before; Dave Touretzky even has 
> a handy "DMCA counter-notification" form-letter ready for
> anyone sucject to such a copyright infringement allegation.
> See .
> Now, the key point:
> Once that occurs, Google will have legal cover to re-add
> the pages. Until that occurs, the presumption is that the
> CoS's claim is valid. 
> After the counter-notification is delivered, and Google has
> time to evaluate it, the CoS will have to up the ante by filing
> an actual court case in order to impose any duty on Google.
> That ups the cost for CoS on many fronts. 
> I also have the impression Google has excellent copyright 
> lawyers, ready to battle for an expansive view of Google's
> right to index, cache, and link to most content. But these
> lawyers can't even be let out of their cages into court 
> until AFTER the DMCA-prescribed process follows its course.
> Save the march on Google for when the situation becomes 
> more clear.
> - Gordon