Scientologists Upset At Mischaracterization Of Google Debacle

from the right dept

Back in March there was quite a lot of noise made about the Church of Scientology asking Google to remove certain pages from their search results – claiming that those pages contained copyrighted works. Apparently, the San Jose Mercury News wrote an editorial blasting the Church for suppressing free speech. In a “guest editorial” someone from the Church has responded, saying that the Merc mischaracterized the issue. They claim, of course, that it’s simply a question of copyright laws – and not free speech. The editorial goes on to make the same disingenuous claim (currently popular from the RIAA & MPAA) equating the theft of tangible goods with the sharing of digital goods as if this is an obvious fact. The “editorial” goes on to blame that “unethical minority” of internet users who is forcing “overregulation” on everyone else. It’s an interesting attempt to paint those who protest for free speech and fair use rights as being the cause of the problem. There are a ton of logical problems with the reasoning in the editorial, but I’ll just stick to the most basic one: the Church forced Google to take down links to content and not the content itself. The links themselves are not copyrighted. This is not a copyright issue. It is, pretty clearly, a free speech issue.

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