ScienTOMogy.info has received cease and desist letters from the church, threatening to sue the New Zealand-based Web site for copyright infringement, according to various sources.
“You are hereby on notice that the registration and use of this domain name in this fashion has caused your name to be falsely associated with our client’s registered mark, SCIENTOLOGY,” notes a legal letter posted online. “The fact that you have changed one letter (“m” instead of “l”) does not protect you from trademark infringement.”
The site — which mercilessly ridicules Cruise, his engagement, and his devotion to the controversial religion — has posted a disclaimer of sorts:
“YOU MUST UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING BEFORE CONTINUING: Obviously www.scienTOMogy.info has ABSOLUTELY NO connection whatsoever with the Church of Scientology, it’s [sic] affiliated organizations or, needless-to-say, Tom Cruise. It is designed for commentary and criticism within the limits of Free Speech. All content should be treated as opinion and all trademarks/copyrighted material herein are owned by their respective trademark owners. The Scientology site is [link to site]. Thank you. You may continue…”
What’s even more disgusting about the Church of Scientology’s oh-so-scientific campaign against free speech--something the Internet is all about, by the way--is that ScienTOMogy is only part satire, and what is satire is clearly labelled “SATIRE.” Two-thirds of the main page consists exclusively of downloadable video evidence of Tom’s manic panic to save the world from, I don’t know, rational thinking? There’s the Matt Lauer interview, the Oprah interview, the Access Hollywood interview...even a press conference or two thrown in for good measure. How exactly does the “Church” of Scientology plan to prosecute this website for defamation of character when the bulk of their “defamation” consists of their own star client’s televised insanity?
And if these people have the answers to complete enlightenment, then what the fuck do they need to threaten their detractors for? If they’re so scientific, then they would welcome a conversation that allows all perspectives--even those that choose to voice their criticism through satire, a time-honored method of illuminating the weaknesses of a society or school of thought. If they’re actually a “church”, whatever happened to forgiveness and compassion? They might not agree with it, but in the spirit of generosity, shouldn’t they just let it go?
It’s interesting how they’re apparently not a cult, and yet nothing about them is remotely charitable, humanitarian, or vaguely thick-skinned. I never hear about the Church of Scientology giving money and resources to those in need outside of their own organization. I never hear about them counseling people who are feeling lost or in crisis to seek help. I never heard about them giving money after the tsunami, the hurricanes, or the earthquake. I never hear about them going into Calcutta and caring for the sick and dying with their own hands. I never hear about Scientologists who forsake all worldly pursuits in order to do the work of God. I do hear the Church of Scientology, and their little shaggy-haired manchild spokesperson, Tom Cruise, repeatedly telling people that they are ignorant, misguided and doomed to a life of failure, alienation and suffering because of these “hopeless” flaws that they are too stupid to fix for themselves. I hear the Church of Scientology, instead of giving to charity, repeatedly criticizing those in this country who could benefit most from it--children, women, the mentally ill, the homeless, the hungry, the lonely. Jesus, Moses, Muhammed, the Buddha--all these had a legacy of compassion, forgiveness, generosity and unconditional love. Even for morons like Tom Cruise, even for those who promote the dangerous ideals of Scientology; and this is why threatening the good-humored and well-meaning authors of a satirical website is the very pinnacle of their hypocrisy.
Visit ScienTOMogy.info and show your support.
EDIT: Incidentally, we have reason to believe that changing one letter in the name of a domain does protect an author from copyright infringement.
UPDATE: The site is now apparently down. I think between all six billion of us earth residents we can scrape together the bus fare so a posse of at least ten can get to Los Angeles in time to shit on Mr. Cruise’s front porch before breakfast. Once again, it’s amazing how some of the most “enlightened” minds in the world are so incapable of acting like grownups, or you know, taking a joke?
Additionally, I’ve been surfing around the web getting different opinions on the legal merit to the claims of what appear to be the ambulance chasers of planet Xenu, but the general consensus is that the complaint is bullshit. Whatever legal grounds they may have are incredibly shaky, given that this site openly admits it is satirical in nature--and even directs to the real scientology site, a generous gesture to say the least.
To revisit their open disclaimer at the top of their page:
(screencaps to be posted soon, I still have the page archived)
“YOU MUST UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING BEFORE CONTINUING: Obviously this website has ABSOLUTELY NO connection whatsoever with the Church of Scientology, it's affiliated organizations or, needless-to-say, Tom Cruise. It is designed for commentary and criticism within the limits of Free Speech. All content should be treated as opinion and all trademarks/copyrighted material herein are owned by their respective trademark owners. The Scientology site is here [link]. Thank you. You may continue...”Explain to me how, then, these attorneys managed to bully the site into submission? It really is quite the spirit of L. Ron Hubbard, isn’t it? Next thing you know these attorneys will be calling for cease-and-desist on the grounds that the author of a detracting webpage is a Communist, or worse, a Jew.
Let’s stop these fuckers, shall we? First step, carrying on Scientomogy’s crusade to get the Church of Scientology’s tax-exemption status revoked.