Tom Cruise's Scientology video -- and Gawker's legal battle to host it

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81 Responses to “Tom Cruise's Scientology video -- and Gawker's legal battle to host it”

  1. JMike says:

    Re: Scientology being like other religions.
    There’s a few fundamental differences.

    1)Scientology excludes the poor. It doesn’t matter how much you believe, if you don’t have enough cash to progress through the levels, you’re in trouble.

    2)Secrecy. All other religions are about spreading the word of God. This is not. This is about using their texts to create a world they see as preferrable. Whether that means informing others or not. Which leads to three.

    3)Power. If this was just a secretive religion I would be less inclined to rally against it. However they are not. They are using their ties and contacts to influence Government policy, which means they are influencing our lives. Thus transparency is required.

    ====

    For me one of the more concerning aspects is the confrontation and aggression. When talking to Parkinson, Cruise says that ‘they might say that to you, they don’t say it to me.’ Clearly there is so much aggression behind him that people are afraid to question his belief and thus he is unwilling to doubt it. That scares me, and is echoed in the Panorama documentary that was shown a while back in the Uk, which also highlighted the intimidation tactics used by Scientology.

    Mike

  2. Takuan says:

    at least Discordianism makes good sense.

    AS for the $cientology mumbo jumbo and jargon, try the Operation Clambake site, it’s explained (for free!) quite well

  3. alisong76 says:

    The pseudoscience, drug and psychology bullshit I’ll chalk up to garden variety religious fanatacism, but scientologists are the only ones who can help at road accidents? That’s just bizarre.

  4. Jeff says:

    It’s interesting that Tom Cruise has received about as much attention here on Boing Boing as the UFO story. I think Boing Boing is hybrid of pretty pictures, fun tech and politics. Even an intellectual salon seems to thrive on strange attractors.

  5. JMike says:

    I profess ignorance on many subjects Al, please excuse my lack of coverage in regards to some of the other religions :D. However would you argue that my point is incorrect?

  6. funeralpudding says:

    #66 posted by Takuan:

    all these posts and not one mention of http://www.xenu.net/

    Cory thanked Xenu at the end of his post. He just misspelled it. Not to worry, we will trap his soul in a volcano for this transgression.

  7. HOTDAMN says:

    HOLY SHIT! “Either in the playing field, or out of the arena” What the fuck does that mean!?

  8. Tyler says:

    What a bizarre mixture of corporate speak, self help, and Access Hollywood style hype, no wonder some people are lapping this shit up. It’s interesting because they throw in Scientology terms like it’s part of our normal vocabulary.

    The narrator sounds like a cross between Don Pardo and some 40′s movie newsreel narrator.

  9. manuelmartensen.com says:

    @JMIKE

    1) just a different tactic in my oppinion.
    ————————————-
    Scientology excludes the poor. It doesn’t matter how much you believe, if you don’t have enough cash to progress through the levels, you’re in trouble.

    2) a world that hubbard favors vs. a world favored by god (as they say it). can you proof who is right? can you proof that to every livingbeing out there?
    ————————————-
    Secrecy. All other religions are about spreading the word of God. This is not. This is about using their texts to create a world they see as preferrable. Whether that means informing others or not. Which leads to three.

    3) so the vaticans pope is just a neutral fella? the catholic power is not steering something in the political field? both parties have their closed doors.
    ————————————-
    Power. If this was just a secretive religion I would be less inclined to rally against it. However they are not. They are using their ties and contacts to influence Government policy, which means they are influencing our lives. Thus transparency is required.

  10. tikk says:

    Denton’s fair use argument–the newsworthiness of the footage converted the work into fair use) is similar to the failed fair use argument by the Los Angeles News Service after it aired the now-famous footage of Reginald Denny being beaten during the 1992 LA riots. Los Angeles News Service v. KCAL-TV Channel 9, 108 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 1997). And LANS had a better argument for two reasons: the newsworthiness there outweighs the newsworthiness here, and here, Denton was arguably an active participant in making the footage news. And CSI could easily bring suit in the 9th Circuit because Defamer, which is also publishing, is located there. The one big upside for Denton is that Scientology would have a difficult time arguing damages, since the footage is four years old and not commercially distributed. But that won’t necessarily stop them from attempting to bleed Denton of lawyer fees. This is an organization that will spend $1000 to get your $1 if they think it’ll either set a precedent or brand you a criminal.

  11. zuzu says:

    Psychiatrists, who are not just medical doctors and are subject to all the ethical and professional codes that other medical doctors are, but also their own supplementary ethical codes.

    Legitimate anti-psychiatry criticisms exist apart from the Scientologist cooky talk. Check out R.D. Laing (e.g. The Politics of Experience), Theodore Lidz, Thomas Szasz, and particularly the Rosenhan experiment.

    Here’s a clip about R.D. Laing and the Rosenhan experiment from Adam Curtis’ documentary The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom.

  12. Merc says:

    FWIW, the background music is a loop from the remix Mission Impossible theme from the movie that Cruise starred in.

  13. bopsy says:

    Good for them. Scientology far too often uses the legal system to intimidate, but this seems like a pretty clear case of fair use.

    There’s a great parody video on Funny or Die (not the Jerry O’Connell one) here:

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/66706d3134

  14. aelfscine says:

    A reason I see all religions as essentially the same is that they are all a form of magical thinking; that is, you can make something up and have it be true. I can’t think of a single faith that doesn’t do this, and it’s the hallmark of all religious thought. What the actual beliefs are don’t matter much, since they can all be subject to being ignored/revised at any time, for any justification.

  15. number14 says:

    difficult time arguing damages? why, because people aren’t saying that this makes all scientologists look crazy?

  16. JMike says:

    @ Manuel

    1) Not sure what you mean by tactic. My arguement was that by excluding the poor, Scientology’s belief system can be called into question. If their way is the right way, why not share it with all? A counter-argument could be made with homosexuality and catholicsm, however Catholicsm does not prohibit a learning of Biblical texts because you are gay.

    2)I can not prove that any world would be prefect (although I would like more dinosaurs). However that’s not the point. My issue is with *them* deciding for *us* without ever sharing their great plan, or asking our opinion. You’ve actually kind of made my point. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists all share their plans and hopes for humanity and are open about their attempts to change the world. Scientologists are not.

    3)The catholic church has a lot of power, but I find the Evangelical’s much more scary. Check out Jesus Camp. But again this links back to 2. We know what most religions want, what their beliefs are, so we can predict/assume the actions they will take to that affect. We can also work backwards, from actions taken to motivations. Not with certainty but enough to raise flags on big issues. That is not the case with Scientologists, as we don’t know what they want.

  17. Bonnie says:

    I vote that Cory Doctorow start a religion next.

  18. antipax says:

    Anon must win the battle for Epic Justice.

  19. bbreader says:

    Biggest surprise is how boring it is.

  20. Iason says:

    @ Tikk:

    I don’t think anything about this is “unnewsworthy” (a/k/a “not of legitimate public concern”). Or less newsworthy than something else, or that there is any sort of legal scale of “newsworthiness” that Denton needs to worry about. See Shulman v. Group W Productions 18 Cal.App.4th 200.

    “Thus, newsworthiness is not limited to “news” in the narrow sense of reports of current events. “It extends also to the use of names, likenesses or facts in giving information to the public for purposes of education, amusement or enlightenment, when the public may reasonably be expected to have a legitimate interest in what is published.”” [Citing the 2nd restatement of Torts.]

    Gawker posted a video that was interesting to the public (as evidenced by all the brouhaha) about a very public figure (or, as CSI would have it, The Biggest Movie Star in The History of Everything, Ever!). That’s newsworthy enough. If “Denton was arguably an active participant in making the footage news” by reporting it, then reporters everywhere are in trouble. If, subsequent to Gawker’s reportage, a meta-news story about the fallout became, itself, news, then that doesn’t change the newsworthiness of the original piece.

    I’m not saying Gawker will win, I’m just saying that Gawker’s lawyers wouldn’t have any trouble arguing their way out of your argument that this case leaves Gawker worse off than LANS. And, since they’re lawyers, I’m sure they’ll find some way to distinguish it.

  21. burny says:

    Recieving stolen property??? Ummmmm what about OPERATION SNOW WHITE? THEY are the f—ing theives! This cult needs to be STOPPED! After viewing this video at PopSugar a few days ago, I went to YouTube and found several interesting videos about the ‘religion’ (CULT)! Some creepy stuff!! They will RUIN you (even causing death) if you are against them! Just search for Scientology deaths or go over to YouTube and find the video about the Cult Awareness Network (they TOOK IT OVER!) I cannot believe that people are so easily brainwashed!

  22. likwidflame says:

    Videos are down now. Happened while I was watching it. FYI.

  23. number14 says:

    really? there may not be a legal definition of newsworthy, but I can’t imagine that anyone would actually argue that an interview with a celebrity is more newsworthy than the police beating a man. And it would have to be more newsworthy since the video of the police beating wasn’t newsworthy enough. And even that is the best case Denton can hope for given that the fact that something is “newsworthy” is almost certainly not a good enough reason to violate copyright.

    Surely no one actually thinks that as long as something is interesting to the public anyone can violate copyright and post it on their site. you’d get laughed out of court if you tried that. “well your honor, when i hosted the new jay-z album 2 million people downloaded it from me, proving that the public was interested in it, and jay-z is a public figure, so clearly i have the right to post it.”

  24. Dave Hecht says:

    from my friend steve, a livejournal with all the videos including the incredible “Freedom of Valor Medal” presentation to TomTom by Scientologist head honcho David Miscivage.

    http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/19413610.html

    “the whole panoply”

  25. Takuan says:

    fascinating. Normally I would think drugs,but there seems to be no evidence. This person is in grave danger of a complete psychotic break (to use a term that only partially fits)

  26. likwidflame says:

    Sorry, Videos 2 and 3 are down. Does anybody else have these?

  27. PetiteSalope says:

    A whole lot of words that say absolutely nothing. Scientologists really like to use the phrase “improve conditions” a lot, though.

  28. Gareth Branwyn says:

    I had a good LOL out of your filing it under “Happy Mutant.”

  29. wrybread says:

    #1: Would you say the same thing if he were talking about Christianity instead of Scientology? I say this is just garden variety fanaticism, and hey, it appears to be working for him, so who am I to judge.

    Besides, at least he appears to honestly believe his spiel unlike, for example, Pastor Ted

  30. doggo says:

    I think the main problem with COS, and other religions and their sects, is the malevolence that their members have for non-members.

    ‘Course this appears to be human nature, in that humans seem to always find a group to be a part of, and discriminate against non-members, be it religion, ethnicity, politics, sports teams, or neighborhoods.

    Scientology takes it to the extreme, actively hunting down and trying to destroy critics.

    And you couldn’t have a discussion like this on Slashdot, ’cause Slashdotters are evil incarnate. They’re nothing like Boingers.

  31. Rider says:

    You want tax exempt status you don’t get to copywrite your lunatic teachings simple as that. Really that should be law.

  32. Takuan says:

    yes, I would. I have observed various individuals in the throes of organized religion “testifying”. This person is cutting the last thread.

    Those with large coteries depending on them can be kept going longer than lone individuals (Elvis, Micheal Jackson, Howard Hughes to name a few.)
    The end result will be the same.

  33. tikk says:

    @Iason:
    While newsworthiness in and of itself may not be a fair use factor, two prongs–purpose and character of use, and the nature of the copyrighted work–*are* factors, and under both prongs newsworthiness is often considered.

    If the defendant’s purpose and character of the use is news reporting, that would weigh in their favor in the overall fair use analysis.

    As for the nature of the work itself, the fact that footage of the Reginald Denny beating was “factual and informational” weighed in the defendant’s favor, according to the Ninth Circuit. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough, however. But it’s easy to see how something that was more “factual and informational” would be given more credit under this prong. You can perhaps argue that “factual and informational” is distinct from “newsworthy” but I think the differences are semantic.

    The nature of the Scientology video is only factual and informational in the meta sense that everything Tom Cruise does becomes news. The gibberish he’s spouting is the actual content and has little bearing on our lives. And certainly less factual and informational than the compelling footage of the LA riots at issue in LANS. A court would likely view the nature of the work differently than the work in LANS, and not in a way that favored Denton. My argument that Denton participated in making it news is perhaps weak, but I still think Denton’s relationship to this particular piece of news is distinguishable from the TV station in LANS broadcasting the Reginald Denny footage, and again, not in a way that favors Denton.

    Of course, a court could also adopt your view that news is categorically news and no distinctions can possibly be made. But that still leave’s Denton a loser in the Ninth Circuit because in what way is Denton’s argument distinguishable from the defendant’s in LANS? I’m saying that Denton’s fair use argument is weaker than the defendant’s in LANS. If it’s only just as good, he’s still a loser there.

    The case you cite only addresses newsworthiness in a privacy law context and has no application to copyright infringement, which also, as you surely realize, is not a tort.

  34. phr33ksho says:

    Does he remind anyone else of Michael Scott? You could just have Steve Carell read back a transcript of this video, at least we could have some new office episodes.

  35. redbull_uk says:

    Can anyone tell me what the vid was made for, if not to be viewed by us unwashed masses ?

  36. MarkM says:

    For anyone who’s also troubled by the Christ’s
    –I mean, the Cruise’s– use of terminology
    (“KSW”,”SP”, “PTSP”, “tech”):
    http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/religion_theseeker/2008/01/fyi-on-ksw.html

    Cruise is living in the wrong time/wrong place;
    he’s so much more suited for being the head of some
    crusade or inquisition that self-righteously kills
    and converts many people in the name of his flawed
    cause. But thank god he’s in a position to do much
    less harm.

  37. TheBlessedBlogger says:

    I’m a big supporter of sensible copyright laws because right now few copyrights are being protected while others abuse the laws in the extreme. So if I want people to write sensible laws that are actually fair and at the same time want these laws upheld when my own copyright is violated I have to apply those laws to everyone regardless of whether or not I agree with what they’re doing. I haven’t watched the video because frankly I couldn’t care less about what fanatics have to say period. But the videos are copyrighted and are being used without permission or payment and should be removed. We can’t protest unfair copyright laws if we blatantly cherry pick who we think the law should apply to. Hypocrisy is not the way to fair laws.

  38. HarshLanguage says:

    #7: I’d guess it would be internal marketing. Probably shown to sucker… err, converts to encourage them to buy more courses, tapes, counseling sessions, etc. Gotta keep the money rolling in, since that was Hubbard’s goal for the “religion” in the first place.

  39. Takuan says:

    @54
    I’m with you. Doctorowvism? Boingology? First Ichor Temple of the Orthodox Coryites?

    Let’s run with this.

  40. Iason says:

    @ #14:

    There is a legal definition of newsworthy. I used it. “Of legitimate public concern.”

    And, yes, reporting and commenting on the news is “a good enough reason to violate copyright.” Even if you put it in such inflammatory terms. Let’s take it to the law in question. 17 USC 107:

    “. . . the fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, . . . is not an infringement of copyright.”

    Then the law lists out some criteria we can use to determine whether this use counts as a fair one.

    In any case, my point was that there isn’t really a “newsworthiness scale.” One thing isn’t more newsworthy than the next, at least not as far as the law is concerned. It’s a check box. “Is it news? Yep. Check. Move on.” Tom Cruz saying crazy stuff = news. “Hosting the new Jay-Z album” = not “criticism, comment, or news reporting.” Not by any definition.

  41. Christmas Jones says:

    So, the music playing along in the background is obviously the theme song to “Mission: Impossible,” originally composed by Lalo Schifrin. I don’t know who holds the rights to the MI theme, but I’m betting it’s not the Church of Scientology. I’d also guess the L. Ron Fan Club didn’t ask permission or pay royalties when they made their doofy little Zombie Tom video. Who’s up for a countersuit!

  42. striped_pants says:

    defamer.com also has the video still up, even after legal threats.

  43. Elysianartist says:

    WTF is up with the saluting each other!?!?

  44. scissorfighter says:

    Wow, that is one messed-up dude. Too bad, really.

    As for the fair-use argument, I think Gawker might be on the wrong end of the stick. Claiming that hosting a copyrighted work in what appears to be its entirety is “fair use” is a quite a stretch. As a trained journalist I can tell you that it doesn’t matter if it’s newsworthy; the fact that “Atonement” won a golden globe award for best drama this year is newsworthy too, but try hosting the complete picture and see what happens. This posting by Gawker of the Scientology video would be very unlikey to pass the test of “amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole,” as set forth in the fair use doctrine.

    I’m all for fair use, and better yet, Creative Commons! But when someone has a legitimate claim to copyright protections, even if they are a crazy lunatic fringe group, those protections should be enforced.

  45. number14 says:

    I think your distinction is artificial. Jay-z says some crazy stuff on his albums. He talks about killing people in half his songs. In this video Tom Cruise is shown talking over music. (Copyrighted music actually, and just because the scientologists may have broken that copyright doesn’t mean Gawker can, but that’s another issue) I guarantee I could find a music video for a band that is extremely similar in almost every way, there are plenty of bands that have singers that just talk over music, most people think that’s all rappers do. So you want to argue that if the content of the album is sufficiently “crazy” I can host it because it’s “news”? I guess you’ll probably want to clarify that it only counts if the content isn’t intended as a joke or a performance, or maybe it only counts if it’s not art but something like an interview is fair game. Well great, I can’t wait for the courts to get to decide what’s “crazy” and what’s not, and just nullify the copyright if they decide that it’s “crazy”. By this standard I can almost certainly host anything ever written about conspiracy theories, after all, most of those are “crazy”. Hell, I’d like to see someone argue why I can’t host anything ever written about religion. How will the court justify allowing one religion’s believers to maintain copyright on their videos, while another group loses their copyright because they’re “crazy”?

    Finally, I don’t understand how you’re justifying your check box news or not news argument. Your argument is Tom Cruise talking is news, so check, but using the tape of a man getting beat by the police lost in court, and if it’s news you would win, so a man getting beat by police isn’t news, no check?

  46. Peter Swimm says:

    Also i think its funny the mainstream media only picks up on this once someone like gawker has the “balls’ to stick up the cots. Don’t get me wrong though, i still hate gawker, but kudos!

    I had a similar issue when i hosted my friends parody/accurate Scientology children’s book he created for a college project:

    http://www.xenu-directory.net/critics/vodicka1.html

  47. severinarson says:

    He’s not insane. He makes perfect sense, and this is how this statement can be palatable: watch the video again, but pretend that he is talking about his struggles with repressed homosexuality (which I believe is in fact what he is talking about). You will be amazed at how much it makes sense. This isn’t meant to insult him at all, I’m just telling you, the reason why it sounds like he’s not really talking about anything is because we think he’s supposed to be talking about scientology. ostensibly, yes, but psychologically, no. Try it and comment back on how the reinterpretation works for you!

  48. number14 says:

    also, as you can see from your quote it says “. . . the fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for … news reporting, . . . is not an infringement of copyright.” which is obviously different from if it said “the use of a copyrighted work for news reporting is not an infringement of copyright. Note particularly that it still says it has to be fair use, not that any use for news reporting is fair. As I read 17 USC 107, it says there can only be fair use if it’s for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research”. If it’s for one of those reasons then whether or not the actual use of it for that reason was fair depends on four factors. Gawker is a commercial site so it fails the first one, it included the entire work, so it fails the third one, and obviously the Church of Scientology can’t sell it since it’s now available for free, so it fails the fourth one. So at best they could win number 2, but I don’t see how that would outweigh the other factors.

  49. CapnMarrrrk says:

    better synched videos (all 6 parts) can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/Nomoresci

    “Our crusade against the eradication of psychiatry…” LRon H. Christ man! That’s crazy talk

  50. kuanes says:

    “i’m the only one who can help” at the scene of an accident…

    what does that even mean?

    EMTs/First Responders are just window dressing?

    christ, this guy creeps me out.

  51. zuzu says:

    Doesn’t anyone else realize that hosting these videos on YouTube won’t exactly encourage people to download them and redistribute them for after Google lays down the banhammer?

    What ever happened to hosting actual video files, easily retrieved over HTTP (perhaps with wget), in say MPEG-4 format???

  52. guruscotty says:

    You know, normally I’d just laugh something like off – especially since Tom has Clearly jumped the shark. Despite the possibility of stupid legal precedents arising from something like this, it’s just funny as all hell to see the loonies at the COS desperately try to hold their guts in after being sliced open.

    Mind you, if I was batshit crazy, I’d probably try to hide it, too.

    Seriously, if you look at the hand-drawn note RLH wrote, it’s obvious he was sketching out a sci-fi book with a weak plot, not forming a religion.

    Point being: Nobody puts Gawker in the corner. I’ll make sure I post links to the videos and forward emails to friends. If I can start my day by making life a little worse for the Cult of Tom, then it’s a good day.

    Peas. out.

  53. Kyle Armbruster says:

    He has completely lost his mind. He doesn’t even make sense. He’s just really angry all the time.

    And yeah, I have known (okay, full disclosure: been) many, many Christian fanatics. They aren’t this bad. For one, if you want to know what a Christian or Mormon or Jew or Muslim or any other religious person believes, you can just go down to your library and read their texts. Hell, they’ll probably even give you their texts. They won’t act like they’ve got secret knowledge hidden away behind a wall of money. It keeps them honest.

    Scientologists are worse than most, because these are people who have self-selected to be gullible to the point of financial ruin. Note how few of these people are highly educated, despite all their huffing about “study tech.” It’s insane. Cruise is a dumb high school jock who would fall for anything. Well, and he has.

  54. sirdook says:

    Re: Wrybread (#3)

    Christians who talk with the same kind of unquestioning certainty – who think they can ‘save people’ from medicine they need – come off as equally delusional. See for example Kirk Cameron: http://www.wayofthemaster.com/ The guy’s a bit wacky.

    Or look at religious broadcasting. The only thing that holds back the feeling that most of those guys are out of their minds is the recognition that many of them are scam artists.

    In general fanaticism often comes off looking like mental illness. I would speculate that mental illness often lies behind fanaticism (religious or otherwise), but I don’t know whether there is any evidence for that.


    By the way, in video IV – what is it that Tom Cruise can do at the scene of an accident that no one else can? And whatever it is, why does he just stop when he happens to see one? Shouldn’t he seek them out (I’m sure there are plenty around ? If he’s that indispensable why is he wasting his time making movies instead of looking for car crashes?

  55. sirdook says:

    Telling quote from the end of video 4 (Right at 9 mins)that should be used by anyone responding to cease and desist orders on hosting the videos:

    “A Scientologist can be defined by a single question: Would you want others to achieve the knowledge you now have?”

  56. zuzu says:

    I’m all for fair use, and better yet, Creative Commons! But when someone has a legitimate claim to copyright protections, even if they are a crazy lunatic fringe group, those protections should be enforced.

    “I download something from Napster, and the same guy I downloaded it from starts downloading it from me when I’m done. I message him and say ‘What are you doing? I just got that from you’; he replies ‘getting my song back, fucker’.”
    bash.org

    “intellectual property” (i.e. copyright, patents, and trademark) are a legal fiction. The “free rider problem” is not a problem; you just need a viable business model (based on creating new things instead of selling copies of old things).

  57. Castorp says:

    All I can think of when watching the video is him in MAGNOLIA

  58. number14 says:

    how is it fair use to post the entire video?

  59. trr says:

    Can’t see the videos anymore. Bummer.

  60. zuzu says:

    You know what crazy is? Crazy is majority rules. Take germs for example. Eighteenth century, no such thing, nada, nothing. No one ever imagined such a thing. No sane person. Along comes this doctor, uh, Semmelweis, Semmelweis. Semmelweis comes along. He’s trying to convince people, other doctors mainly, that’s there’s these teeny tiny invisible bad things called germs that get into your body and make you sick. He’s trying to get doctors to wash their hands. What is this guy? Crazy? Teeny, tiny, invisible? What do they call it? Uh-uh, germs? Huh? What? Now, up to the 20th century, last week, as a matter of fact, before I got dragged into this hellhole. I go in to order a burger at this fast food joint, and the guy drops it on the floor. James, he picks it up, he wipes it off, he hands it to me like it’s all OK. “What about the germs?” I say. He says, “I don’t believe in germs. Germs is a plot made up so they could sell disinfectants and soaps.” Now he’s crazy, right?

    Twelve Monkeys

  61. charliekkendo says:

    Kyle, that’s a very good point. I can’t think of a single other religion in which you have to pay to read the texts or participate in the practice.

    Some of you have also made good points about fair use, too (a topic I don’t have a very deep understanding of). I’m all for Scientology going more public with its content – the more the merrier, in my opinion.

  62. certron says:

    I’m not really sure what I can add to the discussion that hasn’t already been said, but a while back, when I was researching a Wheatstone Bridge (Ohmmeter is a link in common), I came across the E-Meter, which then took me to Free Zone… This absolutely blew my mind, that there are people and groups of people practicing Scientology outside of the Church of Scientology. They sell cheaper E-Meters, for one thing, but they also seem to have a more open point of view:

    A November 2004 press release published by the International Freezone Association cited what it says was a command written by L. Ron Hubbard himself: “… before you go, whisper this to your sons and their sons: ‘THE WORK WAS FREE. KEEP IT SO.’” (capitals as in press release).

    If you are at all curious, check out the “Origin of the term ‘Free Zone’” section.

  63. Takuan says:

    all these posts and not one mention of http://www.xenu.net/

  64. bardfinn says:

    Ever ask a Scientologist /why/ they’re trying to “crush” psychiatry?

    Some representative answers I’ve gotten:

    “They have no ethics.” (note: To a scientologist, “ethics” has a specific meaning different from what the rest of us use)
    “They are enemies of mankind.”
    “They’ve created drugged victims of millions.”
    “They’re part of a conspiracy to keep humans subjugated.”

    - mixed in with a variety of lies and evasions.

    – Psychiatrists, who are not just medical doctors and are subject to all the ethical and professional codes that other medical doctors are, but also their own supplementary ethical codes.

    I could just go on and on /however/ others have done so at length and everyone can use Google.

    Long live fair use and news reporting!

  65. grey not grey says:

    Re: Sirdook (#19)

    “…what is it that Tom Cruise can do at the scene of an accident that no one else can?”

    It’s called an “assist”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assist_(Scientology)

    “L. Ron Hubbard’s Assists Processing Handbook lists over 130 different Scientology Assists, giving “detailed instructions for assists to handle toothaches, a fight with a spouse, nosebleeds, newborn babies, people with fevers, even a person in coma”.”
    -from the wiki, referencing this:
    http://www.rehabilitatenz.co.nz/pages/assists-handbook.html

  66. teflon says:

    Ha ha – its so funny to make fun of religious people. I really hope BoingBoing starts putting up more posts like this. I’d like to see some videos of other celebs who believe in a higher power so we can make fun of them too.

    Lets get some Islamic commentary, or Hebrew, or Catholic, or Evangelical fool stating their belief in the imaginary powers of their faith so we can mock them too.

  67. Star Breaker says:

    Scientology is such bad science-fiction. That cheesy logo, the 1950′s radio play narrator, the freaking ‘Freedom of Valor’ award. My god, it’s like a cereal brand cross-promotion.

    Why can’t a talented insane sci-fi author start a wild and woolly cult. You know, like Norman Spinrad? That would rock.

  68. Takuan says:

    yer on, though $cientology is still more of a common scam – give er another century or two to qualify as an organized religion

  69. HarshLanguage says:

    #67: Enough is known about Scientology’s origins, goals, methods, teachings, etc that there should be considerable doubt that it deserves special status as a religion. So mocking Scientology isn’t anything like mocking a mainstream (dare I say “real”) religion. Face it, it works more like a money-making scheme than a real religion, because nothing in Scientology comes free. And at its core, it’s based on a science fiction story (*literally*) that they desperately want hidden from public knowledge, along with basically everything else about the organization.

    I do feel for the everyday “believer” in Scientology – the ones who aren’t movie stars. I know I called them suckers earlier, but that doesn’t mean I think they should suffer at the hands of a pseudo-religion that is mainly trying to take their money, not save their souls.

  70. Takuan says:

    and why shouldn’t we openly say truthful things about “main-stream” religion?

  71. Simon Greenwood says:

    Guruscotty@17: There’s no ‘if’ about it. It’s a religion invented by a science fiction writer.

  72. Al Billings says:

    Mike says:

    2)Secrecy. All other religions are about spreading the word of God. This is not. This is about using their texts to create a world they see as preferrable. Whether that means informing others or not. Which leads to three.

    Mike, I’m a Buddhist. “God” has nothing to do with my religion. A singular, monotheist “God” has little to do with many world religions. Let’s try to look outside of the Judeo-Christian mindset (including Islam) once in a while. :-)

  73. sirdook says:

    Telling quote from the end of video 4 (Right at 9 mins)that should be used by anyone responding to cease and desist orders on hosting the videos:

    “A Scientologist can be defined by a single question: Would you want others to achieve the knowledge you now have?”

  74. whatifhesgotapointedstick says:

    Was it just me or did he say absolutely nothing in that 9 and a half minutes? It was very nonspecific and indistinct. What the hell is he talking about?

  75. batwing says:

    This is not a ‘religion’ it’s a scam and intimidation network. LRH clearly states that the whole thing was a way to make money.
    Seriously dangerous, these folks:

    Wikipeida: Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology’s name for a project during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents. This was also the operation that exposed ‘Operation Freakout’, due to the fact that this was the case that brought the government into investigation on the Church.[1][2]

    Under this program, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly-placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second in command of the organization), pled guilty or were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States vs. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F. Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).

    The “Snow White Program” was written by L. Ron Hubbard [3] as an attempt to reduce or eliminate unfavorable reports on Scientology, the Church of Scientology, and Hubbard himself, especially those held by government agencies such as Interpol and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Hubbard himself was named by federal prosecutors as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for his part in the operation; extensive records of his involvement exist, though many Scientologists claim his directives were misinterpreted by his followers. [4][5]
    Scientology documents known as “Snow White Operating Targets” describe the agencies to be targeted. Other planned elements of the operation included petitioning governments and the United Nations to charge government critics of Scientology with genocide, on the theory that official criticism of the group constituted “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction”.[6]
    [edit]Results of the investigation

    FBI raids on Scientology properties in 1977 not only turned up documentation of the group’s illegal activities against the United States government, but also illegal activities carried out against other perceived enemies of Scientology..

  76. Bren says:


    “Scientology is such bad science-fiction. That cheesy logo, the 1950′s radio play narrator, the freaking ‘Freedom of Valor’ award. My god, it’s like a cereal brand cross-promotion.
    Why can’t a talented insane sci-fi author start a wild and woolly cult. You know, like Norman Spinrad? That would rock.” ~ #48 Star Breaker

    How about Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the … ” almost-trilogy? The Religion, a quite sane one actually, called “Earthseed.” Tenet 1) “God is change.”

    The religion established was both individually and collectively empowering. Quite an accomplishment right there. Even if you’re not a fan of the series itself (sadly cut short due to OB’s death) you have to admit the religion had both internal logic and human appeal …. without all the rediculous dogma and denial of facts-before-your-eyes.

  77. manuelmartensen.com says:

    i am all in for not liking scientology, but for me it is just another religion. i don’t understand the hype. never did:

    scientology does all their their stuff behind closed doors. the catholics do most of it IN FRONT of their closed doors.

    not a big difference to me. just different tactics.

    now, i guess me calling scientology a religion just like the catholics is not very appreciated by a lot of fellas out there, but who gives?

    just another bunch of people who try to bring their religious idea to the people. at scientology you give 10% of your income, at the catholic curch you can get rid of your sins by talking to one of their employees.

    i don’t know which deal is more silly, and which is more clever. both gangs make a lot of money. a lot of money. one has the simple rule that you must drop 10% of your income (pretty easy to do the math here), one has a complicated network of rules for your lifestyle, which—in most ways—leads to dropping money to them as well, in this way or another.

    both business models work. but the catholic system sells better to the customer, because their money system is a psychological masterpiece: designed with the clients unconscious actions in mind.

  78. themindfantastic says:

    Scientology has quite a few very enthusiastic adherents that honestly it will last quite sometime, and the longer a ‘religion’ lasts, even if they believe something what we think is silly. It will eventually be generally accepted, Mormonism is still kind of ‘kooky’ to most but in the State of Utah you don’t make too many jokes about it out loud. Scientology, don’t say anything bad about it in Clearwater… cause thats just asking for problems. In time maybe they will have enough adherents in Florida it will be the Scientology state?

    Honestly someone should write a breakdown of these files in a non biased manner even just to explain all the language that they use, because they throw around a LOT of acronyms which mean zero to everyone who isn’t a scientologist, with that information people themselves can make their own mind up about things…

    No I am NOT a Scientologist, I’m Discordian and have been for the last 16 years.

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