What has been the Church’s role in protecting free speech and intellectual property rights on the Internet?
Since their founding in the 1950s, Scientology Churches have been defenders of fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech.
During the 1990s, the Church of Scientology emerged as an experienced, recognized voice in the debate surrounding the survival of both free speech and intellectual property rights in cyberspace.
The Internet offers a wealth of readily accessible knowledge, but as with any new frontier, the acts of a lawless few can jeopardize the promise of progress and compromise the rights and freedoms of the responsible, law-abiding majority. The Internet can be abused as easily as it can be employed for good. There are those who exploit children through molestation and pornography, commit fraud and other forms of commercial crime, invade zones of personal privacy and infringe the intellectual property rights of artists, musicians and thinkers.
In the late 1990s, the Church of Scientology stepped into the breach in defense of the free exchange of ideas and in the name of respect for the rights of everyone. For example, as a result of a watershed case involving the potential liability of Internet access providers, the Church pioneered a protocol to enable ISPs to respond quickly to Internet abuses without interfering with the privacy or free speech interests of the vast and lawful majority of Internet users.
Likewise, in court decisions in Europe and the United States, procedures were developed by the Church to reveal the identities of individuals responsible for transmitting unlawful material such as child pornography and counterfeit copies of intellectual property without unnecessarily intruding into the privacy of others. The Church’s experiences and accomplishments in this regard have been guideposts for legislators in many countries attempting to fashion laws and regulations affecting the Internet.
When reason and law have gone unheeded, the Church has taken legal action to protect Scientology intellectual properties from unauthorized copying and distribution, resulting in landmark legal precedents that secure and preserve the freedoms and legal rights of all who travel the information superhighway.
The result of the Church’s dedication has been to the benefit of both freedom and the Internet itself.