Jehovah’s Witnesses threaten Irish blogger with damages (avoidjw.org)
scratchme1010, I think you're going too far when you say that Jason deserves to be sued if he violated the copyright law.
Absolutely not. If he is violating the law, he's holding the exact position, and having the exact attitude and posture than the WT, which is that the laws don't apply to them because what they are doing is bigger. He is to be hold up to the same standards that everybody else.
It's bullshit for the WT to say and act according to that, it is bullshit for him to do the same.
Just because it's something you like hearing or reading, or just because it's something that can be detrimental to the WT, doesn't make it LEGAL, doesn't make it RIGHT, doesn't even make it morally right. And yes, if he's violating the law knowing that he is, he deserves to get sued.
Don't like it? Form your own country with your own laws, or pay the guy for his lawyer.
Liking what he's doing doesn't make it LEGAL.
(And on and on and on you go with hypotheticals. People here love that shit!)
The world has a long history of whistle blowers. Those whistle blowers did make substantial changes in the world and brought things to public view. I don't see this much differently.
If the wt decides to come after people for exposing secret documents how do you think the world will see this? A 'church' with such secret documents that its own members can't see them? what are they hiding? The publicity along with all the recent publicity about the sexual abuse cases will just confirm to the general public that something is deeply wrong with this 'religion'. (we shall keep the Vatican out of this equation for this thread)
The wt has much deeper pockets than any individual 'apostate' but their public opinion budget is already in the red and always will be. How much deeper in debt does the wt want to go in the public view? One could say they (the wt) don't care but then why are they still trying to convert more people? $
All is fair in love and war and yes, some do consider it a war of sorts where the wt is concerned. Secret documents have changed the direction of wars and changed history.
It may be that the wt will sue.
One way around this would be for the person who puts the documents out there to make personal comments about each one or enlist some help in getting that done so it could be seen as commentary /fair use and not just a data dump. I'm not a lawyer, just a suggestion do your own legal research.
I would recommend mirroring the site or bouncing it from China, Asia, the East, Africa (maybe our Nigerian friends can help!) or where ever. Put it on the dark web for storage, I don't know, someone out there has the skills needed to do this.
I don't often go to wiki but thought I would look up whistle blowers of the past and this came up
scrtachme: If he is violating the law...
"IF" is the key word here.
The org waves their "copyright" around whenever they feel threatened but as far as I know, nobody has challenged them in court over their use of copyright as a censorship tool.
Law and legalities can and are challenged in court all the time.
This issue has never made it into the court system
I would like to see it go to court sometime. There are lawyers who believe that there is a sound argument for a secretive religion's literature being made public and distributed without commentary and without any changes whatsoever.
Gutenberg's Legacy: Copyright, Censorship, and Religious Pluralism
As one might expect, copying another's expression in its entirety usually weighs against fair use; however, the fundamental question is whether "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole" are reasonable in relation to the purpose of copying. Thus, in some circumstances, fair use may apply even when the defendant has copied the entire work, while in others it may not apply if the portion copied, though relatively small, constitutes the "heart" of the work.
Much has happened concerning copyrights since the above article was published in 2003, but this was the author's conclusion to his informative article on religious copyright:
History often repeats itself. Although both copyright law and freedom of religion have made considerable progress since the era of the Stationers' Company, when the Crown conferred the exclusive right to copy expressly for the purpose of promoting censorship, cases still arise in which copyright can serve to silence dissenting views. I have argued above that courts should discourage this misuse of copyright, and that respect for the beliefs of minority religions and of religious dissenters should inform the courts' analysis of several copyright issues. More specifically, when copyright plaintiffs claim that God or another supernatural being has authored the work in question, a commitment to religious accommodation and the doctrine of copyright estoppel counsels in favor of taking these plaintiffs at their word, without passing judgment on the truth or falsity of the claim. Moreover, in some contexts the merger doctrine should limit the assertion of copyright in religious texts, although courts must be careful to avoid creating a significant disincentive to the publication of these works.
Second, while the application of generally applicable copyright law does not violate the Free Exercise Clause, a respect for religious diversity suggests that courts should be more sensitive in their application of the fair-use doctrine to believers' needs to copy, adapt, and distribute religious works. Specifically, courts should be wary of copyright owners' assertion of copyright rights as a potential means of suppressing or inhibiting religious dissent. At the same time, this counsel hardly suggests that most uses of religious works should be exempted under fair use, and it leaves open the possibility that some uses should be regulated under a liability rule instead of under the more common property-rule regime.
Copyright law is not cut and dry, especially when it is applied to religious texts.
It is premature to say that the owner of the website avoidjw.og is violating the law. That has not been established.
It is premature to say that the owner of the website avoidjw.og is violating the law. That has not been established.
Well, OrphanCrow, as they say, that is a matter for the Courts to decide in the relevant jurisdictions. But agreed: it is not as black and white as it may look.
That said, when any website goes beyond its own material and starts to include entire downloads of another organization's copyrighted material, it is a potential target for 'cease and desist' orders in the first instance and more stringent measures after that. This is not 'shock/horror' news - although it is predictably often reported as such.
The Courts are not interested in 'motives' or 'intentions' and are likely to come down hard in instances where websites have gathered for downloading entire sets of copyrighted publications.
To then 'counterargue', as some have done here, that the threat of Court action is an attempt to deny the Free Exercise Clause shows (willful) confusion over the issue at hand - which revolves around 'fair and proper' use of copyrighted material for the purpose of critique.
Again, I have yet to hear of any online discussion or website threatened with legal action for including relevant excerpts of secret documents in contrast to entire downloads.
Yes, Steve, that is for courts to decide. And, from reading Cotter's article, it is apparent that there are issues in the circumstances surrounding religious texts as opposed to secular texts that makes this case especially interesting.
A broad brush doesn't work when applying copyright laws to texts that are of a religious nature. There are several arguments that Cotter proposes that are applicable to making the case that full, unaltered copies should be made available through a different venue than the copyright holder. For purposes of research and subsequent critique, the entire authenticated copies have to be made public. The website in question offers many publications that cannot be found elsewhere because they are no longer in print.
The org has a history, as well, of altering their own text at times and declaring publications "old light" and making them inaccessible to most people. And, there is also the issue of public access. In spite of the org offering their pared down and selective downloads, there are many people who don't and won't access the org site because of their personal beliefs that contradict the philosophy of supporting a belief system such as the org offers and also are wary of offering personal details to an org they no longer trust.
I, for one, have made great use of the avoidjw website. I just wish it was faster to download, that's all. I support them making copyrighted org material available to anyone who wants it. The org brags that their literature is widely distributed. They give it away for free.
What the org is doing is clearly censorship
I like to look at the irony of the org claiming copyright protection on their religious literature.
On the one hand, they present their writings as "Truth" (capital "T"), and their followers accept whatever is written by the org as "fact".
"Facts" cannot be copyrighted
Fiction can be copyrighted. Creative works can be copyrighted. But I don't think that "God" is allowed to hold a copyright on this planet
If the org really wants people to accept that they have "Truth", then they need to drop their copyright blustering
Good points OrphanCrow - I would support any argument in which religious literature needs to be treated differently in terms of copyright than non-religious literature for the reasons you give - especially given claims made by religious copyright holders. The advent of the internet has opened up a whole new arena of issues (e.g., a religious organization electronically altering content to suit changing teachings etc so that old editions "disappear").
In terms of organizations having secret manuals - this aspect cuts to the right of an organization to maintain the status of such manuals - perhaps a separate argument from that of copyright.
I hope there is progress on these aspects - but in the meantime, I await with interest the outcome of sanctions against the avoidjw website.
Heck, Steve, the org could make the avoidjw website into an assembly experience:
"This poor unfortunate person make a mistake and ended up downloading several org publications from *gasp* an apostate website!! But, fortunately Jehobah's spirit was at work, and the holy spirit guided this man to "get the correct understanding" from the literature he read. Isn't Jehobah miraculous? He used an apostate website to spread the "Truth"!!!"
"And! he is getting baptized today!"
*cue clapping...wipe tears
I always wondered when the Org would start taking a page from Scientology's playbook.
Not cultish at all, oh no...
This poor unfortunate person make a mistake and ended up downloading several org publications from *gasp* an apostate website!! But, fortunately Jehobah's spirit was at work, and the holy spirit guided this man to "get the correct understanding" from the literature he read. -- OrphanCrow
How old memories are triggered is illustrated by my recollection just now of an occurrence at Bethel, circa 1970. One of my newbie peers was dismissed because, from afar, Dad was influencing him with "old light," that emanating from the discarded works of Joseph Rutherford. Apparently, the son was significantly influenced by JFR, via Dad, to have his Bethel personality corrupted, hence making his further stay impossible.
No Internet then, just phones and letters and personal visits . . .