FW: Net censorship, access cost increase, and IntellectualProperty alert!

Oleson, Rex R. (oleson@roo.susqu.edu)
Sun, 6 Apr 1997 22:24:32 -0400

This is something that I thought all should be aware of.
Read it over.


>From: FACTNet International[SMTP:factnet@rmii.com]
>Sent: Thursday, April 03, 1997 5:44 PM
>To: factnet@RMI.NET
>Subject: Net censorship, access cost increase, and IntellectualProperty
>Net censorship, access cost increase, and Intellectual Property alert!
>Every netizen or organization that wants low cost net access, net
>free speech, and uncensored e-mail has a high stake in a court
>case soon to be decided in the litigation war involving Scientology,
>the Internet, and a nonprofit electronic library and historic archive
>called FactNet.
>An emergency Internet and legal issues briefing has been prepared for
>you and/or your organization at (www.factnet.org). Factnet's Board of
>Directors urgently asks your help to promote both media coverage and
>a vigorous dialogue among netizens on the immediate and substantial
>threat this briefing discloses to the future of the Internet.
>To help understand the importance of this briefing to Internet costs,
>Internet slowdowns, Internet intellectual property and Internet free
>speech please find the following media quotes.
>"If the church's (Scientology's) lawsuits prevail...future providers
>of bulletin boards and newsgroups on the World Wide Web, as well as
>the companies running such subscriber services as Prodigy, Compuserve,
>and America Online might be forced to monitor or restrict information
>simply because they fear being sued...If system operators are liable for
>the content of the postings, it will lead to censorship...It would change
>the whole idea of how the Internet develops -- it's that important."
>--Shari Steele, attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as
>quoted in "The Net: Copyright or 'Free Press'?" Newsday, 10/10/95
>"Besides the technological curtailment of free speech, a skirmish like
>this one has the potential to completely disrupt the online operation not
>only of individual users, but also of entire networks overloaded by
>traffic their circuits were never designed to handle."
>--Colman Jones, "Freedom Flames Out on the 'Net: Who Launched the
>largest-ever Sabotage of the Internet?"
>"Other [Internet] users have reported mysterious incidents: investigators
> visiting their neighbors, strangers attempting to get into their telephone
>records, e-mail sent to their sysadmins asking that their accounts be
>closed down. How did we get to this, in a free country?...
>"It turns out that a belief in free speech and an interest in
>Scientology may involve you in the bitterest battle fought across
>the Internet to date. A fight that has burst the banks of the Net
>and into the real world of police,lawyers, and armed search and
>seizure. Ultimately, however, the drama doesn't matter: the real
>issues here are the boundaries of free speech and the future of
>copyright and intellectual property in the face of a
>technology that can scatter copies across the world in seconds...
>"Whatever the motives, when computers are seized because they
>contain allegedly purloined intellectual property, messages are
>intercepted as they traverse the network, or the security of anonymous
>remailers is pierced by police, the days of the Internet as a cozy,
>private, intellectual cocktail party are over. .."
>--Wendy M. Grossman, "alt.scientology.war," Wired, 8/95
>Lest anyone doubt Scientology's intentions, an article in the most
>recent issue of an internal Scientology magazine called "High Winds"
>proudly trumpets "groundbreaking lawsuits against both copyright
>infringers and the computer service companies that served as
>electronic conduits" for them. It goes on to predict "landmark
>decisions" in which, "for the first time, Internet access providers
>will be held responsible for any copyright infringements posted
>through their facilities."
>"The Internet is an information age tool that empowers individuals and
>reduces the need for a large, authoritarian government. It empowers the
>poor with an unregulated world of entrepreneurial opportunity...
>Information and the new frontier could create a more fair, peaceful
>society The free flow of information is central to America's foundation,
>and '90s technology only enhances it. Unfortunately, it's all big threat
>to those in power who rely on the control of information to secure
>their lofty positions. No matter what they call it, free speech is the
>issue." --Wayne Langsen, "Raiding Free Speech," Boulder Weekly editorial.
> 8/24/95
>PLEASE help protect our mutual Internet freedoms by appropriately
>forwarding this briefing to your personal or organizational network
>of individuals, newsgroups, listservs, net media, and net watch
>organizations where it hasn't appeared yet.
>Your timely attention to this critical briefing is appreciated,
>The Directors of Factnet
>Boulder Colorado USA
>P.S. Factnet has been reconstructing its electronic files since they
>were sabotaged and returned to us by court order after the Scientology
>raid. Our original mailing lists consisted of individuals and organizations
>who had viewed materials or had an interest in Scientology's Internet
>abuses and other human rights abuses. Because of the raid we are not
>fully certain that our reconstructed mailing lists contain what they
>originally contained or have been reassembled back into the proper lists.
>These reconstructed mailing lists are far to important to the battle for
>Internet free speech not to begin using again just because they were in
>Scientology's possession.
>If you have received this alert and you have not previously reviewed or
>been interested in any information on these issues let us know and we
>will immediately correct the situation. We ask your understanding if
>there has been an error or duplicate mailing. Try to imagine someone
>illegally seizing all of your computers and computer files then searching
>and altering and destroying parts of them. Finally you get it all back
>to you in boxes and pieces. That's what happened to Factnet. Over the
>last 12 months with minimal resources it has had to reconstruct 6
>gigabits of its deliberately disordered returned libraries and files.