CIX Status: Scientology v. ISPs [cr-95/11/16]


(Moderator's note: CIX is the main organization in the U.S.
representing Internet service providers.  The full text of the posting
is in our ftp site in the Net-Suppression directory at the end of the
Church-of-Scientology-Raids article.--Andy)

Sender: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>

My comment:

I think that this will be an increasingly important issue for ISPs
and for cyber rights in general, as various groups use the ambiguity
of the copyright and intellectual property laws to beat Net providers
about the head and shoulders.

The letter  and post from Bob Collett below frames the issue very clearly.



below is a synopsis of the status and history of the copyright
infringement cases between the Church of Scientology and ISPs, and
CIX's associated activities.

Best regards.

Bob Collet
President, CIX

Dear CIX-members:

below is a synopsis of the history and status of complaints by the
Church of Scientology against ISPs FACNET, Digital Gateway Systems
(DGS) and CIX member Netcom.  As we did with Prodigy v.
Stratton-Oakmont appeal, CIX counsel, Piper and Marbury, will provide
a thorough amicus, i.e., friend of the court brief, to support the ISP
case.  The following, provided by Piper, describes ISP areas of

Bob Collet
President, CIX

===== Suits By Scientologists for Internet Postings May Determine
Liability Rules for ISPs

 A series of law suits brought by the Church of Scientology in U.S.
courts for postings of religious texts on the Internet pose another
liability threat for ISPs arising from the actions of their customers
or subscribers.  These suits are part of a larger effort by the
church, which also has taken legal action in Finland and the
Netherlands, to halt the posting on the Internet of certain materials.

 The exposure that ISPs face in these suits underscores the dangers
posed by overly broad interpretations of the Copyright Act, and make
real the concerns CIX has voiced regarding new copyright legislation
introduced in Congress.  This new legislation, introduced by Senator
Hatch and Congressman Moorhead at the request of Patent Commissioner
Bruce Lehman, would alter the Copyright Act and, unless amended, would
clearly hold ISPs liable for any infringing communication carried
through their systems.  Action on this legislation is not expected
until next year.

 In the absence of new legislation, the decisions in these
cases" will set legal precedents on the liability of ISPs under
copyright law for the actions of their customers or subscribers.
Consequently, in addition to lobbying for changes in the proposed
copyright legislation, CIX will continue to monitor the developments
in these cases and intends, where appropriate, to file "friend of the
court" briefs to ensure that the judges are fully aware of the impact
their decisions will have on the future of the Internet and the ISP

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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