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The Church has emerged as an experienced, recognized voice in the debate surrounding the survival of both free speech and intellectual property rights in cyberspace. For example, as a result of a watershed case involving the potential liability of Internet access providers – who provide the facilities that enable all participants to access the Internet, whether for socially beneficial or ultimately destructive purposes – the Church pioneered a protocol to enable access providers to respond quickly to Internet abuses without interfering with the privacy or free speech interests of the vast and lawful majority of Internet users. Likewise, in court decisions both in the United States and abroad, procedures were developed by the Church to reveal the identities of individuals responsible for transmitting unlawful material such as child pornography and counterfeit copies of intellectual property, without unnecessarily intruding into the privacy of others. The Church’s experiences and accomplishments in this regard have been guideposts for legislators here and abroad who are attempting to fashion laws and regulations affecting the Internet.

Through Freedom magazine, the Church has investigated and exposed a number of now-notorious Internet outlaws who threatened those freedoms by their lawlessness in the on-line world. The Church has also pioneered innovative protocols with Internet access providers that facilitate the free exchange of ideas, information and public debate on the Internet while securing the intellectual property rights guaranteed by law to the creators of works of public interest. When reason and the law have gone unheeded, the Church has taken legal action to protect Scientology intellectual properties from unauthorized copying and distribution resulting in landmark legal precedents which secure and preserve the freedoms and legal rights of all who travel the information superhighway.

The result of the Church’s dedication has been to the benefit of both freedom and the Internet itself. As leading Internet columnist and attorney Jonathan Rosenoer noted, “the Internet will never expand if people don’t have the ability to protect their creative works under a strong copyright framework. The Church of Scientology’s cases are helping to develop it.”

Church members also work alongside top cyberspace experts such as “father of the Internet” Vinton Cerf and pioneers on legal aspects of information access to find new ways to protect the Internet from abuse. Observing that technology generally possesses – or can create – the solutions to the problems of cyberspace, the Church supported initiatives which ultimately led to software which enables users to “screen” or block undesired content, without the need for government intervention or censorship.

Solving problems of speech should not – indeed, must not – involve abridgment of freedom of speech. Thus the efforts of Church members contribute significantly to the strength of the Internet and help to keep it free of burdensome regulation, while protecting the rights of those creative individuals who generate new ideas and works of art and scholarship.


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