LE SECTICIDE
L'ANTI - SCIENTOLOGIE antisectes.net

Scientology loses domain battle

CANADIAN BUSINESS
FRIDAY, JULY, 2000

Internet arbitrator gives name to Freie Zone, a splinter group of the church [of scientology]



JOHN PARTRIDGE
The Globe and Mail

The controversial Church of Scientology has lost a fight over an Internet domain name to a renegade sect that swears allegiance to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard but split from the church nearly two decades ago.

An arbitrator operating under a new international system set up to resolve fights over Internet monikers has refused to award www.scientologie.org to the Religious Technology Center (RTC). Based in Los Angeles, RTC's roles, its Web site says, include protecting the church's copyright and trademark, and monitoring and enforcing the "purity" of how its doctrines are taught.

Instead, in a decision made late last month, the arbitrator ruled that the disputed Web address should stay in the hands of its current owner, Freie Zone E.V.--Free Zone Association--because it has a legitimate right to the name and has not behaved in bad faith.

Freie Zone, based In Germany, registered the domain name in 1995, but has not been able to use it since September, 1996, when the registrar put it "on hold" at RTC's request, the decision says.

The decision says Freie Zone appears to be a "renegade group of the Church of Scientology" that was founded in about 1982 by "'Captain' Bill Robertson, apparently the 'right arm' of L. Ron Hubbard at the time." The decision quotes the association as saying it split from tile church in 1982, when RTC took over the organization and "thousands" of Scientologists either left or were expelled.

Freie Zone's stated goal is to support Mr. Hubbard's philosophies. However, it explicitly disassociates itself from the church's "official and unofficial" organizations because it disagrees with its practices and interpretation of Mr. Hubbard's works.

In a complaint filed in May, RTC accused Freie Zone or being an "underground" organization whose purposes include interfering with the centre's activities and those of its affiliates. It alleged that the association had no legitimate right to use the disputed domain name and had instead set up the site in bad faith to attract Internet users away from legitimate Scientology sites.

However, the decision says that in its submission, Freie Zone contended it set up the site to sell reprints of a German book called Scientologie--Wissenschaft von der Beschaffeneit und Tauglichkeit des Wissens (Scientology--Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge), which was published in 1934. The association said it had obtained exclusive rights to the book from the heirs of its author, Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz.

The arbitrator, Bernard Meyer-Hauser, a Zurich lawyer, said in his decision that the book appears to be based, at least partly, "on the same or similar philosophical sources as L. Ron Hubbard's own philosophy when developing the Church of Scientology. However, he added that: "On the other hand, it was L. Ron Hubbard who seems to have first used, the word 'Scientology' to describe his philosophy in 1952."

While ruling that www.scientologie.org is "confusingly simillar" to some of RTC's trademarks, Mr. Meyer-Hauser found that the rights to the Nordenholz book had indeed been licensed to Freie Zone and "these rights appear to be even older than the complainant's trademarks." He also found that using the Web site to disseminate information about the book and its underlying philosophy "appears to be a legitimate interest in itself."




The controversial Church of Scientology has lost a fight over an Internet domain name to a renegade sect that swears allegiance to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard but split from the church nearly two decades ago.

An arbitrator operating under a new international system set up to resolve fights over Internet monikers has refused to award www.scientologie.org to the Religious Technology Center (RTC). Based in Los Angeles, RTC's roles, its Web site says, include protecting the church's copyright and trademark, and monitoring and enforcing the "purity" of how its doctrines are taught.

Instead, in a decision made late last month, the arbitrator ruled that the disputed Web address should stay in the hands of its current owner, Freie Zone E.V.--Free Zone Association--because it has a legitimate right to the name and has not behaved in bad faith.

Freie Zone, based In Germany, registered the domain name in 1995, but has not been able to use it since September, 1996, when the registrar put it "on hold" at RTC's request, the decision says.

The decision says Freie Zone appears to be a "renegade group of the Church of Scientology" that was founded in about 1982 by "'Captain' Bill Robertson, apparently the 'right arm' of L. Ron Hubbard at the time." The decision quotes the association as saying it split from tile church in 1982, when RTC took over the organization and "thousands" of Scientologists either left or were expelled.

Freie Zone's stated goal is to support Mr. Hubbard's philosophies. However, it explicitly disassociates itself from the church's "official and unofficial" organizations because it disagrees with its practices and interpretation of Mr. Hubbard's works.

In a complaint filed in May, RTC accused Freie Zone or being an "underground" organization whose purposes include interfering with the centre's activities and those of its affiliates. It alleged that the association had no legitimate right to use the disputed domain name and had instead set up the site in bad faith to attract Internet users away from legitimate Scientology sites.

However, the decision says that in its submission, Freie Zone contended it set up the site to sell reprints of a German book called Scientologie--Wissenschaft von der Beschaffeneit und Tauglichkeit des Wissens (Scientology--Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge), which was published in 1934. The association said it had obtained exclusive rights to the book from the heirs of its author, Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz.

The arbitrator, Bernard Meyer-Hauser, a Zurich lawyer, said in his decision that the book appears to be based, at least partly, "on the same or similar philosophical sources as L. Ron Hubbard's own philosophy when developing the Church of Scientology. However, he added that: "On the other hand, it was L. Ron Hubbard who seems to have first used, the word 'Scientology' to describe his philosophy in 1952."

While ruling that www.scientologie.org is "confusingly simillar" to some of RTC's trademarks, Mr. Meyer-Hauser found that the rights to the Nordenholz book had indeed been licensed to Freie Zone and "these rights appear to be even older than the complainant's trademarks." He also found that using the Web site to disseminate information about the book and its underlying philosophy "appears to be a legitimate interest in itself."

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