Scientology Crime Syndicate

On 23 Apr 1999 08:23:41 -0700, in alt.religion.scientology you wrote:

I see no one who was there has to date posted a report of the Erlich pretrial hearing yesterday; this is the information I received on IRC from those who were there:

* Whyte made a ruling of the 19th that the OT materials could no longer be considered 'trade secrets' and would have to be refiled openly, which means they would be available for public view, but not copying, which effectively destroys CoS' attempt to define those levels as 'trade secrets.'

* An argument relating to threads in newsgroups and how this affects the principle of fair use will be allowed to be presented by Morrison and Foerster.

* Whyte was observed to be displeased in sidebar when Rosen attempted to use the Henson case as a precedent.

* Claims and counter-claims will be split. There will be a bench trial on the copyright claims--Scientology is no longer seeking statutory damages. There will be a jury trial on Dennis' counterclaims.

* The trial is currently scheduled to proceed for May 4; however, Whyte is also presiding over a major criminal trial at this time, and so he intends to limit both sides to a total of 16 hours of presentation each, including cross-examination, but not including closing arguments, in the copyright claims.

* Whyte tentatively approved RTC's motion for Helena Kobrin to testify, and said that the cross-examination of Kobrin will not be stopped should it venture into attorney-client issues. He stated that Morrison and Foerster's witness list was, in his opinion, too long, and dealt too much with what is wrong with Scientology, rather than the immediate issue.

* The trial will be open to the public, and will not be closed should "secret material" be discussed. Whyte apparently intends to allow arguments that the numerous filings of portions of one whole amount to fewer actual different pieces of copyrighted material than Scientology alleges.

Overall, it seemed like a pretty good day for the good guys! The newsgroup thread fair use argument is important, and it's very good that Whyte is recognizing that the nature of discussion on the Internet includes broad fair use. The open trial and denial of trade secrets were also victories for Dennis' side; neither side was happy with the 16 hour limitations. RTC and its representatives were judged to be very unhappy by those who attended the hearing.


Charlotte L. Kates CLKates@aol.com
FLINESonline: Freedom from Scientology

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