Friday, July 08, 2005

Decision Scientology Case Delayed

Today the Dutch Supreme Court should have given its decision in the highly anticipated Scientology-case. Over ten years ago the Church of Scientology invoked its copyright against writer Karin Spaink and XS4ALL to prevent the (re)publication (on the internet) of the so-called Fishman Affidavit, a critical testimony from a former Church member about Scientology's treatment of opponents, containing materials copyrighted by Scientology. Legal proceedings have been unwinding ever since, with Scientology's claims being rejected time and again by every court.

XS4ALL now claims in a press release [Dutch] that
"on the last moment Scientology tried to withdraw [its appeal to the Supreme Court]. XS4ALL and Spaink have resisted this with all their strength. [...] It's in line with Scientology's strategy to withdraw itself from lawsuits it has started. XS4ALL hopes that the Supreme Court will not accept this tactic."
Scientology obviously hopes that it will be let off the hook, because it was set up for a defeat by the Supreme Court's main legal counsel, the "Advocaat-Generaal". In March he noted in his advice to the Court that Scientology's copyright might not only yield for the freedom of information, as set out in art. 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. More subtle, he advised that Scientology can not prohibit the "further communication to the public or reproduction" of the material, since it had been available for two years in the library of an American District Court (based on art. 15 b of the Dutch Copyright Act, which sees on prior publication by a public authority). For an analyses of his advice and the Scientology case, see this earlier post: Scientology Set for Defeat at Dutch Supreme Court.

Now the "Advocaat-Generaal" has to write another advice: whether Scientology may withdraw from the case, after which the Dutch Supreme Court will make its definite decision. One may expect the "Advocaat-Generaal" to judge this request fairly and keep his cool, seeing his well-crafted and laborous advice being give the procedural finger by Scientology. Still, I'd put my money on a just a delay for another defeat of the Sci-Fi sect.


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