Slashdot story on Wired - And Beat Goes On!

18 Mar 2001

Xenu Do, But Not on Slashdot
by Declan McCullagh
Wired News
Mar. 17, 2001 PST


The geek-culture destination Slashdot.org said on Friday that it deleted a post in response to legal threats from the Church of Scientology.

Scientology's notoriously litigious team of attack attorneys successfully pressured the site's editors into erasing a discussion board message, which allegedly contained copyrighted material.

"While Slashdot is an open forum and we encourage free discussion and sharing of ideas, our lawyers have advised us that, considering all the details of this case, the comment should come down," co-founder Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda said in an explanatory message to the site's readers.

Slashdot editor Robin Miller said in an e-mail that "this is not about freedom of speech, it's about copyright laws that we have to follow even if we don't like them. The only real solution is to get those laws changed."

Over the last decade, Scientology has gained a reputation for fiercely protecting its copyrights, including action against posters to newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, prompting many observers to complain about censorship through copyright threats.

The church is particularly eager to suppress information about Xenu -- the apparently evil space alien who is a character in the scriptures written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction author. In one famous case, Scientology sued The Washington Post -- and lost -- after the newspaper republished a short excerpt of the Xenu scriptures.

Last year, Slashdot took on Microsoft by refusing to erase allegedly copyrighted information about the Kerberos protocol.


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