NEED HELP! WTS accusing of copyright infringement

by Jourles 72 Replies latest jw friends

  • cat1759

    It is a great site. The Truth.

    I hope this all gets settled amicably.

    Keep up the good work!


  • blondie

    How did Kent (WatchtowerObserver) win his battle with the WTS?

  • Scully

    I think Kent actually won his legal battle with the WTS re copyright based on one argument:

    The "Flock" book is not distributed for financial gain. The WTS doesn't lose anything in terms of royalties or publication income by someone else making it available to the public.

    It is the same with BOE letters. These are corporate memos. They are not for sale. Jourles is not making any money in having them available for viewing. The WTS is not suffering financially as they do not make these letters/memos available for sale. In claiming damages for copyright violation, the WTS would have to prove financial losses as a direct result of the claimed infringement.

    " YOU are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let YOUR light shine before men, that they may see YOUR fine works and give glory to YOUR father who is in the heavens." - Matthew 5:14, 15 (NWT)

    Oh, the irony!!

    Love, Scully

  • somebody

    Hi jourles,

    I sent you a PM with information that might be helpful.



  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    Somewhere in what I was reading last night I saw that possession does not grant ownership. Because the letters were written to the elders does not make them the property of the body of elders. The WTS retains the ownership and therfore has the right to say what happens to them


    Off-shore hosting won't work. Copyright laws are pretty similar world wide


    The letters are not for public consumption. They were written to the B0E and would be considered private and therefore would not fall into public domain as you suggest. Copyright infringement included making copies of the materials and distributing them even if credit is given correctly. A typical copyright statement states

    Copyright 1985-2003: Lee Marsh The material on this site shall not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without permission of the publisher.

    Posting the material on the internet is "stored in a retreival system or transmitted by any means".

    The issue here really isn't whether we have a right to post these corporate letters. We don't. Personally I think it is great that they are out there. But Jourles is taking a risk. So far the WTS has contacted his ISP and has asked the material be removed. The ISP has said they will terminate the service if offending material is not removed.

    Jourles has bought himself some time. That's it. The WTS could go after him in a court of law. Since they are in all countries they can file court cases from all countries. They have the money to do it. Even if they didn't win the case Jourles would be doing the nasty court thing for a very long time

    Is it worth it?

    Are there other ways to make this info available to the public?

    I believe that after Kent removed the flock book from his site it wandered around not staying in any one place too long. I could be wrong but I think I read that on Kent's site. Actually this is the statement on Kent's site as it is now

    This is the secret Elder Manual - The Watchtowers secret book that no rank and file Jehovah's Witness will ever see - unless they read it here. The Watchtower has tried to make the police remove it from the Watchtower Observer - with no success. Please take a look. As you see - we do have the book in many languages!


    The readers will know the history. The Watchtower did their best to close down the Watchtower Observer, and they wanted the "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" off the net. As a result, they filed a complaint against the editor of the Observer and Jan haugland to the Norwegian police - a case they lost. Today the book is all over the net, and on this site itself you can find the book in many languages.

    In an article on Kent's site called "Unfair use" alleged he has the following posted

    The Norwegian branch of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York filed criminal charges against ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Kent Steinhaug and Jan Haugland of Norway in 1997. The charges alleged that Steinhaug and Haugland posted copies of Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, a confidential manual for elders. The charges were later dropped, and the volume is still available online.Mark A. Kellner | posted 3/30/01
    Even though the WTS lost the case Kent still went through a lot of trouble to keep the material posted. And it was gone for a while during the problems
  • DannyBear

    Unfortunately the WTBS like any other billion dollar corporation, has at it's ready a fully staffed legal dept (unpaid).

    True to corprate form, they can and will invest time and money in squelching bad press. They have the will and the means.

    Throughout their history, they have been fortunate in the arena of litigation. Their success at defense/plaintiff has not changed much to this date.

    Here's hoping that the tide will turn very soon.


  • garybuss

    The legal types here know the elements. I hope they comment. It seems to me the Corporation would not want to go to court to prove financial loss due to secret Corporation letters being used by critics. Wouldn't the subject letters become part of the court record? And to prove loss, wouldn't the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation need to bring their financial records to court and be made a part of the record and available to the public?

    If I had that kind of server problem I would ask Kent in Norway. He went through all this with the corporation. He might know of a server in a country where the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation is not viewed very favorable. They do not control the planet . . . . . yet.

  • expatbrit

    It would seem that if a work has no commercial value and no actual damages are caused, there isn't much the WT can do, except tie you up in court and try to get legal costs from you.

    You might try the defence that they are simply being vindictive. Also, I think (but I'm not sure), that you could make a defence that making the work public is for the public benefit, even to prevent harm to the public.

    Or you could just ask Kent to host your


  • SpannerintheWorks

    Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the Watchtower Society

    made a fuss over this. They would have to make public a lot of the

    material that you are possibly copyrighting!


  • kgfreeperson

    I don't know anything about mirroring sites, but if that's possible, that seems essential in case your provider decides to shut you down, not wanting flack from the Watch Tower. I know the Scientologists got a lot of bad publicity trying to shut down people for publishing their stuff. I don't know if it ever did them any damage, though. But what with the bad publicity about the sexual abuse, maybe it would be easier to get papers to pick it up?

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