Jehovah’s Witness who posted criticisms on Reddit can remain anonymous, judge rules

by Tameria2001 110 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    Reading some of past landmark decisions is fascinating because I feel the more publicity this case gets the deeper the hole the Watchtower corporation gets into. It is all down hill from here for the WT's case:

    Determining the First Amendment Test.
    “It is well established that the First Amendment protects the right to anonymous speech.”
    Art of Living Found. v. Does 1-10, 2011 WL 5444622, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2011) (citing
    McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334, 342 (1995) (“An author’s decision to remain
    anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication,
    is an aspect of the freedom protected by the First Amendment”). Moreover, the protection for
    anonymous speech applies to speech on the internet. In re Anonymous Online Speakers, 661 F.3d
    1168, 1172-73 (9th Cir. 2011) (“[O]nline speech stands on the same footing as other speech –
    here is ‘no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied’ to
    online speech.”) (quoting Reno v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997)). “As with
    other forms of expression, the ability to speak anonymously on the Internet promotes the robust
    exchange of ideas and allows individuals to express themselves freely without “fear of economic
    or official retaliation ... [or] concern about social ostracism.” Id. (quoting McIntyre, 514 U.S. at
    “The right to speak, whether anonymously or otherwise, is not unlimited, however, and the
    degree of scrutiny varies depending on the circumstances and the type of speech at issue.” In re
    Anonymous Online Speakers, 661 F.3d 1168, 1173 (9th Cir. 2011). “[T]he nature of the speech
    should be the driving force in choosing a standard by which to balance the rights of anonymous
    speakers in discovery disputes.” Id. at 1177; see also Signature Mgmt. Team, LLC v. Automattic,
    Inc., 941 F. Supp. 2d 1145, 1154 (N.D. Cal. 2013) (noting that courts begin “by considering the
    nature of the speech before determining the appropriate standard”).
    Courts apply a rigorous or “most exacting” standard when the speech is political, religious,
    or literary. In contrast, commercial speech is afforded less protection. In re Anonymous Online
    Speakers, 661 F.3d at 1177. Where, as here, the speech touches on a matter of public interest,
    courts in this district have applied a stronger standard than if the speech were commercial. See
    Highfields Capital Management, L.P. v. Doe, 385 F. Supp. 2d 969 (N.D. Cal. 2005); see also Art
    of Living Found. v. Does 1-10, 2011 WL 5444622, at *7 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2011).
    In Highfields, the speech at issue was postings of “sardonic commentary on a public
    corporation; through irony and parody, these bulletin board postings express[ed] dissatisfaction
    with the performance of the stock and the way company executives choose to spend company
    resources.” Highfields, 385 F. Supp. 2d at 975. The speech also expressed disapproval or
    criticism of the corporation’s largest single shareholder. Id. The speech expressed “views in
    which other members of the public may well be interested” and that the speaker had the right to
    express anonymously. Id. The court noted speaker’s rights to speak anonymously on these topics
    were vulnerable and precarious and “close to the central societal values that animate our
    Constitution.” Id.

    If WT legal makes it known to the GB or service department who the mole is they are in some very deep doo doo. Darkspilver is now a Teflon Don thanks to this, I think this case will do tremendous harm to the Watchtower Corporation and all it other corporation as these become public in the shell game of who do you sue.

    These guys in legal got to be complete ass holes or ordered by complete ass holes to make these cases and hoping to win and put a stop to people leaking sensitive information to the public who have a right to know they are being scammed by a greedy fuck up mind control cult that abuses kids no less? To put it bluntly.

    This Watchtower attorney talks to the judge like a complete ass hole in denying the true nature of these kangaroo court proceeding orchestrated by them to punish those the WT don't like. Loser what a loser! Want a bet the Judge had google the WT corporation and knows of all the scandals and how they handle people to control them, and that they are full of lies and half truths. I'm sure the Judge has done some home work and know all about the WT corp. because it is easily found on the internet.

  • JeffT

    The issue is not whether or not DS has a right to speak anonymously. The question before the court is about limits on their ability to use some one else's words. I'm all in favor of fair use, as a writer I support copyright law. This will need to go to court for a decision.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower
    A little more of the case:
    Darkspilver presents evidence to show that revealing his identity to Watch Tower would
    chill his speech on the Reddit forum. He selected that forum because it was a place where he
    could communicate anonymously with other current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Dkt. 8-1, ¶
    5.) He is concerned that, if Watch Tower discovers his identity, the revelation of his identity
    would damage or destroy his relationships with friends and family who are active members of the
    Jehovah’s Witness community. (Id., ¶ 12.) Speaking anonymously is necessary for him to feel
    comfortable participating in open discussions about religious teachings and practice. (Id., ¶ 5.)
    Darkspilver has already stopped posting on the Reddit forum and will not begin again if his
    identity is revealed. (Id., ¶ 12.)
    Watch Tower disputes Darkspilver’s assertion that his free speech will be chilled by citing
    to statements made by other individuals posting on the Reddit forum stating that they would not be
    deterred from speaking and by the fact that the size of the forum has grown since Watch Tower
    issued the subpoena. (Dkt. 12-2.) Considering that this is a forum for former Jehovah’s Witnesses
    – people who have already left the religion and, presumably, the community – it is not surprising
    that some expressed that they would not be deterred from speaking if their identities were
    revealed. But select quotes from others do not undermine Darkspilver’s expressed concern over
    speaking openly about his views on Jehovah Witness’ practices. Moreover, to the extent other
    current Jehovah’s Witnesses are publishing anonymous posts on this Reddit forum, they also
    might have concerns similar to Darkspilver.
    Watch Tower further argues that Watch Tower is not Darkspilver’s local church and has no
    ability to excommunicate him from his local congregation. (Polidoro Decl., ¶ 10.) Nevertheless,
    Darkspilver has expressed substantial concerns over having his identity revealed to anyone in the
    Jehovah’s Witness community. The Court finds that Darkspilver has demonstrated significant
    Case 3:19-mc-80005-SK Document 18 Filed 05/17/19 Page 12 of 18

    Un ited States D istric t Court

    No rthern Distric t of California

    harms if his identity were revealed publicly or even if it were revealed to Jehovah’s Witnesses in
    his congregation.
    On the other hand, if Watch Tower cannot determine Darkspilver’s identity, Watch Tower
    would lose its ability to enforce its copyright. However, in evaluating the balance of the harms,
    the Court finds that it should address Darkspilver’s defense of fair use. As the Ninth Circuit has
    made clear, although Darkspilver bears the burden of demonstrating fair use, “for purposes of the
    DMCA – fair use is uniquely situated in copyright law so as to be treated differently than
    traditional affirmative defenses. . . . [F]air use is ‘authorized by law[.]’” Lenz, 815 F.3d at 1153;
    see also id. at 1151 (“Fair use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law.”)
    Moreover, because fair use is a non-infringing use authorized by statute, a copyright holder must
    consider the existence of fair use before issuing a takedown notification under the DMCA, which
    is required before obtaining a subpoena. Id. at 1153; see also 17 U.S.C. §§ 512(c)(3)(A),
    512(h)(4). If Darkspilver’s posting of the advertisement was fair use, then it was not infringing
    and Watch Tower suffered no harm.
    Moreover, the fair use doctrine is also relevant because Darkspilver is asserting a First
    Amendment right to comment on the advertisement. As the court in Art of Public Living
    explained, while copyright infringement is not protected by the First Amendment, “copyright law
    contains built-in First Amendment accommodations.” Id., 2011 WL 5444622, at *6 (quoting
    Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186, 219-20 (2003)). Of those protections or accommodations of the
    First Amendment, “[p]erhaps the most important is the doctrine of fair use, which allows the
    public to use copyrighted works ‘for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
    teaching . . . and scholarship.’” Id., 2011 WL 5444622, at *6 (quoting 17 U.S.C. § 107) (citing
    Elvis Presley Enters. v. Passport Video, 349 F.3d 622, 626 (9th Cir. 2003) (“First Amendment
    concerns in copyright cases are subsumed within the fair use inquiry.”); see also Nihon Keizai
    Shimbun v. Comline Bus. Data, Inc., 166 F.3d 65, 74 (2d Cir. 1999) (“First Amendment concerns
    are protected by and coextensive with the fair use doctrine.”).
    “The fair use exception excludes from copyright restrictions certain works, such as those
    that criticize and comment on another work.” Mattel, Inc. v. Walking Mountain Prods., 353 F.3d
  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    8 hours ago
    Me: A good lawyer could have baited the judge into asking Polidoro if its true that people are disfellowshipped for no longer believing that the WT is God's Sole Channel of Communication on earth. It would have been awesome to get Polidoro's answer to that question on record.

    Simon: Good for who? It would do absolutely nothing for the case as it's little to do with religious freedom and everything to do with copyright.

    It has little to do with neither. I don't think anyone gives a flip about some chart that DS posted. The copyright case is an excuse to out an insider critic embedded deep within Watchtower because he no longer believes their prophetic claims.

    The trap the WT set could easily be turned around so that they fall into it themselves. There is an opportunity here. The anonymous identity issue that Darkspilver is raising isn't his real issue just as the copyright issue isn't the real issue for the Wt.

    The real issue is that if a person no longer believes that the Watchtower is God's sole channel of communication on earth, they must be required to say goodbye to all of their family and friends if they wish to exercise this freedom of thought. The public and the legal system is mostly unaware of this and this is the whipping stick the WT seeks to protect with this action.

    Once that is exposed publicly, or if we get the WT to outright lie about their God-like claims, EITHER WAY WE WIN. Then everyone is that much closer to the day when the cost analysis to the WT may encourage them to abandon this hideous thought-crime punishment, hence making "copyright infringement" (wink, wink) unnecessary.

    The fact is, that an American digital media company believes that they alone are God's Sole Channel of Communication on earth and any who disagrees with them (especially those brought up in it) are punished with the severest form of emotional and psychological abuse - banishment from family and friends.

    THAT IS THE ISSUE HERE. Both the need for anonymity and "copyright infringement" problems disappear once freedom is restored.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    It seem that the Watchtower corporation has been given the proverbial White Elephant in this case good luck WT in this one, you need it jehobabba left the building.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
  • lastmanstanding

    If even 1 of the lawyers acting in behalf of WT is a non-JW, then it gets interesting.

    That lawyer would likely also be disbarred and fined along with WT lawyers

    if WT lawyers revealed to WT the identification DS.

    That lawyer would have to take action against WT lawyers and WT.

    .... and that would be interesting.

  • blondie

    lastmanstanding, I agree. I wonder if it were the case of jw attorney, employed by a non-jw firm did such a thing; would he fired and then lose his license?

  • sir82

    So not even Polidoro can disclose Darkspilvers identity to his fellow JW hotshots. The big question is....will he

    obey the judge or not.

    What is one of the JWs' favorite scriptures?

    "We must obey God as ruler rather than men."

    If the WT attorney is a JW, he will find a way to get the info to Darkspilver's elders.

  • LV101

    The defendant's attorney made point to judge how confidential/locked up documents get revealed -- something on that vein as I couldn't stay awake. It's interesting taping but I couldn't stand listening to the JW attorney for WT - he did seem to be doing a decent job but we all know the cult's evil will prevail.

    We can google WT attorney's name and find out if he's with a decent firm/sole practitioner, whatever, but how can this remain confidential and a higher court can toss that obstacle out. I doubt the atty would be disbarred under religions' rights to run roughshod over everything. Although not a copyright issue it's still scary for Darkspilver.

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