Church of Scientology's Complaint to Globat

The Complaint vs. My Counter-Notification

Dear Sir/Madam:

Our office represents Religious Technology Center (“RTC”), Church of Scientology International (“CSI”), and Church of Scientology , Flag Service Organization (“FSO”), non-profit corporations with respect to intellectual property matters.

Religious Technology Center (“RTC”) is the owner of the federally registered trademark and service mark “SCIENTOLOGY”. The “SCIENTOLOGY” mark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office under registration numbers 1,755,441; 1,540,928; 1,342,353; 1,329,474; 1,318,717; 1,306,997; and 0898018. “CSI” is the licensee of the “Scientology” trademark. CSI, RTC and FSO” are non-profit religious organizations. CSI and its sub-licensees use the “SCIENTOLOGY” mark in connection with providing religious and humanitarian services and counseling, seminars, books, classes, and lectures, among others. These marks are also used extensively on the Internet. For example, many of these products, including a great number of books of the Scientology religion and services are promoted through various web sites, including “scientology.org”, “dianetics.org”, etc. CSI is also the owner of the copyrights of a number of photographs appearing in its various publications, including “Impact,” and “The Auditor”.

Likewise, FSO is the owner of the copyrights of a number of photographs appearing in its publications, including that of the “Freewinds.”

I. Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Materials.

We have been advised that one of Globat’s subscribers has placed several of CSI’s and FSO’s copyrighted photographic works on Globat’s website without our client’s authorization. These works can be found under the following URLs:

http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tombarba.html
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html
http://www.scientology-buffalo.org/pics/std/portal/events/indexb.jpg
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/00.png
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/01.png
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/02.png
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/scitech_thumb.png
http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/misc/scitech2_thumb.png

Your subscriber’s action in this regard violates United States copyright law. Accordingly, we ask for your help in removing these materials.

Our clients have obtained numerous permanent injunctions concerning Internet copyright infringements. In RTC v. Lerma, Case No. 95-1107-A, the court ruled in favor of our client, permanently enjoining the defendant infringer from posting our client’s copyrighted work on the Internet. A jury in the United States District Court in San Jose , California assessed damages in the amount of $75,000 against a Mr. Henson for copyright infringement for posting one of RTC’s copyrighted works on the Internet. Mr. Henson was also permanently enjoined by the court against further infringements. Three other United States courts have issued permanent injunctions against Internet infringements of similar works.

II. Unauthorized Use of Federally Registered Trademarks

This Globat subscriber has also placed RTC’s trademark, “SCIENTOLOGY” in big, bold letters across several of her webpages, as well as using it as a label in big letters across the top of each of her webpages (and is likewise using it in her domain name) and has done so without the authorization of our clients. These infringements can be found under the following URL:

http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com

The use of this registered trademark in this fashion has caused your subscriber’s name to be falsely associated with our clients’ registered marks as owner and creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source or sponsorship of this website in violation of United States state and federal law, including the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.  1125(a).

Likewise, our client’s trademark is famous, distinctive and unique. The use of the mark in this manner dilutes and tarnishes the distinctiveness of the mark in violation of the federal trademark antidilution statute, 15 U.S.C.  1125© and California ’s antidilution statute, California Bus. & Prof. Code  14330. See, Archdiocese of St. Louis v. Internet Entertainment Group, Inc., 34 F.Supp.2d 1145 (E.D. Mo. 1999); Mattel, Inc. v. Internet dimensions, Inc., 55 U.S.P.Q.2d 1620 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); Deere & Co. v. MTD Products, Inc., 41 F.3d 39, 43 (2nd Cir. 1994); Century 21 Real Estate Corporation v. Sandlin, 846 F.2d 1175 (9th Cir. 1988); Grey v. Campbell Soup Company, 650 F.Supp. 1166 (D.C. Cal. 1986).

The use of our client’s mark in this manner also constitutes an unlawful false designation of origin and as such, violates  43(a) of the Lanham Trade- Mark Act. This prohibits any use of another’s trademarks that is “likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person.” America Online, Inc. v. IMS, 24 F.Supp.2d 548, 551 (E.D.Va. 1998). See also, OBH, Inc. v. Spotlight Magazine, Inc., 86 F.Supp.2d 176 (W.D. New York 2000); (trademark infringement and trademark dilution found against infringer for use of registered trademark to divert Internet users to his web site); In accord, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Doughney, 263 F.3d 359 (4th Cir. 2001).

Moreover, disclaimers do not absolve one of liability. Disclaimers are viewed with “deep skepticism” and routinely found to be “insufficient to avoid liability for infringement.” Harley-Davidson, Inc. v. Grottanelli, 164 F.3d 806 (2nd Cir. 1999); ALC v. Sacha A. Lichine Estate Selections, Ltd., 45 F.3d 582 (1st Cir. 1995). Accordingly, we ask your help in removing our client’s trademark from this website.

I have a good faith belief and in fact, know for certain, that the posting of these works through your system was not authorized by my clients, any agent of my clients, or the law.

I declare under penalty of perjury that this information is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of RTC, CSI, and FSO in this matter.

I appreciate your help and prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Ava Paquette
Moxon & Kobrin
3055 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 900
Los Angeles , California 90010
Tel: (213) 487-4468
Fax: (213) 487-5385

Globat's Email to Me

Counsel wrote:

We have been informed of a potential copyright and/or trademark/service mark infringement on your website.

http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tombarba.html http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html http://www.scientology-buffalo.org/pics/std/portal/events/indexb.jpg http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/00.png http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/01.png http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/02.png http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/scitech_thumb.png http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/misc/scitech2_thumb.png

that is hosted on Globat.com’s network. The claimant’s notice and identity is attached to this email or copied at the bottom of this message.

Please note that section 17 of our Terms of Service (http://www.globat.com/legal/index.php?legal=user Agreement) we have the right and legal obligation to temporarily suspend or permanently remove access to a web site in the event that a claiming party provides us with a qualifying notice based upon the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DCMA”) (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/512.html). Such notice has been received by us today and we will temporarily suspend the website in question as required by law unless you voluntarily remove the content in question within seventy two (72) hours of this email.

If you believe that the Claimant’s allegation that you have infringed upon another’s copyright/trademark or servicemark is NOT justified you need to provide us with a written statement (known as a qualifying counter-notice) explaining your position. A proper counter-notice must contain the following information:

(1) Your full name, address, telephone number and physical or electronic signature;

(2) Identification of the material and its location before removal (see claimant’s email);

(3) A statement under penalty of perjury that the material was removed by mistake or misidentification;

(4) Your consent to local federal court jurisdiction, or if oversees, to an appropriate judicial boady.

If you provide us with a proper “counter-notice” claiming that the material does not infringe copyrights, we will then promptly notify the claiming party of your objection. Thereafter, the copyright owner needs to bring a lawsuit against you in District Court within fourteen (14) days to protect its rights. Unless the lawsuit is filed with proper notification to Globat.com we will restore access to your website in accordance with 17 U.S.C. 512(g)(2)(c ) of the DCMA.

Notice to Claimant

If it is determined that the copyright holder misrepresented its claim regarding the infringing material, the copyright holder then becomes liable to the service provider for any damages that resulted from the improper removal of the material in accordance with 17 U.S.C. 512 (f) of the DCMA.

My Counter-Notification

Dear Globat Counsel:

This letter constitutes a DMCA counter-notification as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3), in response to a complaint filed by Ava M. Paquette representing Religious Technology Center and the Church of Scientology. Ms. Paquette’s complaint lists 11 items which she claims are photographic images whose reproduction violates her clients’ copyrights:

1. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html
2. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tombarba.html
3. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html
4. http://www.scientology-buffalo.org/pics/std/portal/events/indexb.jpg
5. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/00.png
6. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/01.png
7. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/sgroi/02.png
8. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/wise.html
9. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/tech.html
10. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/scitech_thumb.png
11. http://www.buffaloscientologyinfo.com/images/misc/scitech2_thumb.png

My response to these claims is as follows:

Items 1-3 and 8-9 are text files, not image files, and the text was written by me. (Note that item 8 is the same as item 3, and item 9 is the same as item 1.) Ms. Paquette’s claims with respect to these files are patently false.

Item 4 is an image file located at www.scientology-buffalo.org. That is not my web site, and I have no control over that web site’s contents.

Items 5-7 are photographic images which might be owned by Ms. Paquette’s clients, but their use on my web site meets the four-pronged test for “fair use” defined in 17 USC 107.

Item 10 is not a valid URL.

Item 11 is a small amount of text from a Scientology publication, and clearly falls under “fair use”.

I therefore state, under penalty of perjury, that the allegations of copyright infringement with respect to all of the items mentioned in the complaint are false.

To complete this counter notification, I am providing the following information:

Name: Tanya Durni
Address: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Telephone: xxxxxxx

I consent to local federal court jurisdiction should the complainant wish to litigate this matter.

Electronic signature: /s/ Tanya L. Durni

In addition to her DMCA complaint, Ms. Paquette is also alleging trademark infringement/dilution with respect to the term “Scientology”. My use of the term “Scientology” on the above cited web pages is for purpose of commenting on her client’s own products and services; the term is not being used to mislabel any competing product or service. Therefore, Ms. Paquette knows perfectly well that my use of the term is covered under the “fair use” provisions of the Lanham Act, 15 USC 1125©(4). Her claims with respect to the Scientology trademark are a transparent attempt to stifle speech critical of the Scientology organization.

Trademark infringement is not covered by the DMCA, and Globat is under no obligation to remove any material in response to a trademark infringement claim, especially one as specious and malicious as this. Ms. Paquette has made similar claims against many other web sites critical of Scientology, but her client has never been foolish enough to proceed with litigation, knowing full well that any such action would result in swift dismissal and punitive sanctions.

Sincerely,

Tanya Durni

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