Dutch Attorney-General Supports Scientology vs Spaink Verdict

The Dutch Attorney-General advises against reversal of the last verdict in the Scientology vs Karin Spaink case (part of Scientology’s War on the Internet). A series of court battles between writer Spaink and the Church of Scientology has changed the copyright landscape of the internet in the Netherlands. In an early case, linking to infringing documents was considered infringement itself. Later this was reversed, although by then several unrelated cases (notably Deutsche Bahn vs Indymedia) had been decided on the basis of this judgement. On appeals, the court held that free speech sometimes trumps copyright: even though Spaink may have infringed on the Church’s copyright, she was allowed to do so to bring to light the doings of what she considers an evil sect. According to the XS4All document, not only did the Attorney-General uphold the decision that Free Speech can trump Copyright, but concluded also that there may not have been infringement. The Attorney-General feels a work can be considered published even if publication happened against the will of the author. In the Netherlands, the Supreme Court can only reverse previous decisions by lower courts. Before it renders a verdict, it asks the Attorney-General for advice — via Slashdot

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