March 21, 2002 11:35 AM PST

Google pulls anti-Scientology links

Google was accused Wednesday of effectively removing from the Internet a Web site that is critical of the Church of Scientology after it deleted links to some of the site's pages from its search engine.

The popular search company said it removed the links after it received a copyright-infringement complaint from the Church of Scientology. Andreas Heldal-Lund, Webmaster of the site, said in a Usenet posting that the complaint demanded that Google take down a large number of references to different parts of

"The complaint mentions a ridiculous list of addresses, which successfully removes the whole site from their engine," he said.

Search engines routinely remove links to URLs, or Web addresses, upon request to avoid litigation. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), sites cannot be held liable for copyright infringement provided they promptly take down content flagged by a copyright holder. Much of that activity has targeted links to MP3 files that turn up on search engines.

Digital rights advocates said the Church of Scientology's takedown request is noteworthy because it underscores potential conflicts between the DMCA and free speech.

"The danger is that people will attempt to silence critics under the guise of copyright infringement," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In the case, the removed links led to pages that contain material copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. On his site, Heldal-Lund defends this use of copyrighted material, saying that he believes Scientology survives "through the protection afforded it by copyright laws in a way that copyright laws were not designed to address."

A representative for the Church of Scientology could not be immediately reached for comment.

The right to link has been the subject of several high-profile lawsuits, including a dispute between hacker publication and the motion picture industry over code known as DeCSS that can theoretically be used to crack DVDs. In that case, a federal judge in New York held that links to the DeCSS code violated the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA, which bars trafficking in software that can be used to defeat copy protection. That decision was upheld on appeal.

Another linking case under way in New York involves MP3 search service, which is challenging the DMCA's notice and takedown provision. The case, filed in May 2000, is pending. MP3Board had created a delisting feature allowing copyright holders to pull offending links automatically, but the move did not mollify copyright holders, who were upset that the search engine included results from peer-to-peer exchanges such as Gnutella.

The EFF's von Lohmann said search engines are not required to comply with takedown notices, but that most do to avoid the risks of litigation.

"Search engines can't take on every copyright holder," he said. "It's hard to say search engines should pay for this fight themselves."

Google noted that has some recourse. "Google provides Webmasters the ability to have their content reinstated if they submit a counter notification to Google," the company said in a statement.'s Heldal-Lund said this would require the services of a lawyer and would be prohibitively expensive.

Matt Loney reported from London; Evan Hansen reported from San Francisco.


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What's next? Remove all links to HISTORYOLOGY?
Yeah - I much prefer Historyologists to Scientologists.

The Church of Historyology: <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by crst (1 comment )
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Will they take down Mynetics next?

I like the Mynetics folks better than The Scientology folks.
Posted by mynetics (2 comments )
Link Flag
Striaght Up Cult
Scientology is obviously a cult. I don't understand how people can not see this. All I know is that it needs to be stopped and I will personally back any operation to, in their own words, "destroy" it's existence.
Posted by Viva_La_Rob (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Any organization the supports a cult needs to be boycotted.

Stop using google search. Sell your google stock. Ditch your gmail account &#38; google homepage.

PICK a replacement for the above and we all need to promote it as a anti-cult alternative.
Posted by dirtyanon (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hold the boycott.. google fight back at the Co$...

While Google complied with the church's request, it also quietly began to defend its freedom to link.

Now, the church's tactics might have backfired, because when the search site receives a request to remove a link, it also forwards a copy of the legal request to a civil liberties site called

Google still links to Operation Clambake's homepage and Google's search results are based in part on links to a site.

Due to the media attention brought by the case more sites now link to Operation Clambake and a search for information on Scientology now brings up the site second only to the church's official homepage.
Posted by dirtyanon (4 comments )
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What about the new Mynetics?
This is a self help site to ease stress and other mind alements.
Posted by mynetics (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
really, scientology is all a joke. who the hell beieves something like that. i do not 'dislike' other religions because they have an backed up story of how we came to be on the planet earth. scientology is a load of ******** and all that beleive in this crap is so very fortunate i am not in charge of your country because if i was i would start with immediate action towards this...........there would be NONE of u left.
Posted by William143603 (2 comments )
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scientology is a load of ****. it doesnt tell us anything even close to believable about how we got to earth. who in thier right, unclouded mind would believe in this? all that believe in scientology are so very fortunate that i am not in charge here, because if i was......................there would be NONE of you left.
Posted by William143603 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am VERY disappointed by Google's actions regarding the Church of $cientology. Not only did they remove the above-mentioned links but they continually CANCEL the you-tube accounts of those who produce anti-$cientology videos. Do they cancel anything pro-$cientology? Hell, no! It's truly a shame when a company like google, with their vast resources, would run and hide from the Co$ like a bunch of cowards. Shame on you Google! Innocent children are being horribly mistreated DAILY because of the Co$. Since the execs at Google are clearly NOT part of the solution, this only makes them part of the problem.
"All that is Required for Evil to Prevail is for Good Men to do Nothing." -Edmund Burke
Posted by MSpaz71 (1 comment )
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I believe the definition of a cult are: 1: formal religious veneration : worship 2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual ; also : its body of adherents 3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious ; also : its body of adherent s 4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator &lt;health cults&gt; 5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book) ; especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion---- as of merriam-webster....
Anyway of these definitions, the 3rd is the one I am assuming you are referring to when you say they are "obviously a cult".
By that same definition (including the first to also)... I would say every religion is a cult?they are ALL spurious. I seem to hate scientology as much as everyone else here, and maybe it is the craziest premise for a religion.... but seriously, cannibalizing your god every sunday? koshering your meat by hanging it upside down and slitting its throat? 72 virgins for blowing yourself up? coming back as an ant or a sea urchin because you failed your gods and couldn't attain moksha? Living in the 1600s perpetually? ETC ETC ETC
ALL religions are ******* insane and based on spurious, irrational beliefs and immoral "morality", every religion with an "s" in it should be replaced with that $ sign you guys seem so fond of using for scientology, because they are ALL cons for money, power or manipulation of the masses.
Posted by tgrimreefer (1 comment )
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Um no honey I believe you are wrong. I know this article is old but I want to clear something up for other readers who may read your comments and get confused. I believe it's the signs of a cult and not so much the vague definition you provided. Some of the signs are:

# Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

# No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

# Isolation from society

# Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

# There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

# Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

# There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

# People in cults speak almost entirely in "loaded language". Language invented by the cult.

# The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

All of these which fit the cult of $cientolgy. Any organization that doesn't allow members to leave on their own free will or instructs members to end all contact with family members not in the cult are dangerous and need to be destroyed.
Posted by dja1a (1 comment )
Link Flag
cons for money? thats just false. Basically all churches, synagogues mosques, what have you, are non-profit organizations. the preacher/minister/rabbi/whoever rarely gets paid enough to be considered rich. they usually get paid a stipend thats enough to get them buy. so who is getting all this money?
Posted by Bobroudav (155 comments )
Link Flag
"Google was accused Wednesday of effectively removing from the Internet a Web site that is critical of the Church of Scientology after it deleted links to some of the site's pages from its search engine."

Turns out they did but that they were overdoing what was asked from them by the Church of Scientology (that tried to get a page or two down that had copyrighted material on them).

Anyway, it's 2009 now, and has this nice ad campaign running that brought me here(via
Posted by Jeff_Smado (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Only criminals post copyrighted material on the internet. No two ways about it.
I have been a scientologist for 23 years. My life has continuously improved. The above negative posts are, I guess, from religious zealots who prefer to attack an organization that is doing an immense amount of good in the world, than do something about it themselves. Ask yourselves, attackers, What are YOU doing? We are creating literacy programs that teach little kids to read, who would not have otherwise had the chance, bringing legal drug pushers under control, exposing abusive psych hospital practices, exposing human rights atrocities, promoting ethical behavior, freedom to chose in religion, and many other things.
And, If you find it impossible to live and let live, you have a problem, And it isn't Scientology.
Posted by Tom9595 (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow, what a plethera of accomplshments for an alien society. If you've been a member for 23 years, you need to swap to my First Church of Jimmy Buffett. Your religion has really done NOTHING and will continue to do NOTHING! Most religion is hoaky, but COS takes the cake for crap for religion. Think i will write a Bible for my new church called, "Humans are from Earth, Scientologists are from Krypton", or was that Superman? Does he)Superman of course) have a religion? My religion involves tequila and a beach of naked girls....hmmmm No training...and no BS!!! And you guys formed a religion off of copyrighted material. OH yeah, L. Ron signed it over from Krypton right?
Posted by wantmyownreligion (2 comments )
Link Flag
First of all Scientology is not a religion. The people of France just proved that in court (BY LAW). People who believe in Scientology are weak minded who are easily manipulated and brainwashed. Try having a mind of your own. Believing in ALIENS is not a religion and being forced to pay for classes so you can "Clear" is not religious. That's called being conned and scammed. You must be simple minded to believe that cult called Scientology helps you in any way. Just look at psycho Tom Cruise being the main person. They choose celebrities to make the weak think they can be like them when all they really do is take people's money and give them fake promises. Try looking at Jason Beghe. He was the favorite of Scientology for so long until he finally saw what was really going on. He took his blinders off and saw the so called "church" was filled with greed and lies. Paul Haggis finally saw the truth behind the cult too. Get a clue! Scientology is a cult. Always has been and always will be. L. Ron Hubbard was a con man. Its in the books (police files, FBI files). A so called religion started by a conman who just wanted to con idiots into giving him money. I feel so sorry for you being fooled for the past 23 going on 24 years Tom 9595. Psychitary is not evil. Scientology is. Some people need mental help (Scientologists especially). WHO ARE YOU TO SAY WHAT TYPE OF HELP THEY NEED OR DON'T NEED? GET A REAL LIFE. What about the abusive Scientologists that lock people up in a room and let them die? SCIENTOLOGISTS ARE THE CRIMINALS. WHAT CRIMES HAVE YOU DONE CRIMINALS? STALKING? MURDER? FRAUD?
Posted by Scientology_is_a_CULT (1 comment )
Link Flag
Posted by artchazin (2 comments )
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Posted by artchazin (2 comments )
Link Flag
I am going to start the First Church of Jimmy Buffett. All it requires is flip-flops, margaritas, and some weed. We all read "A Piece of Salty Land" and talk about crazy people and actors who believe we came from a spaceship. Me, I crawled from the ocean, not from Krypton. And my religion will be free, and all services are beachside... we can even move to Clearwater, Fla., they may have some building space for lease soon!
Posted by wantmyownreligion (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't understand how a religion can have "copyrighted material." Who's up for copyrighting the bible? I call Genesis!
Posted by Bobroudav (155 comments )
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