Canadian lawyer threatens suit over NWO 35

I received the following notice on Friday, July 17th from Tim Sinnott, the Canadian copyright agent for the Church of Scientology (seen here in its guise as 'L Ron Hubbard Library', a Doing Business As alias for the Church of Spiritual Technology). In this letter, Mr. Sinnott claims that I have infringed his client's copyright by posting OSA Network Order 35, since, as a non-published work, complete reproduction - even with commentary - is not considered 'fair dealing' under Canadian copyright law. Or so he suggests.

For the moment, I have removed all but two paragraphs of the original text of the NWO in question, but left the commentary intact. I'll be seeking advice on just how much original material can be used, and will edit the page accordingly, since, as a writer, I have no interest in blatantly flouting copyright law. (I do, however, also hold the concept of 'fair dealing' in high regard, and will take full advantage of it, as far as the law allows.)

Interestingly, Mr. Sinnott has claimed copyright over only one work. When Helena Kobrin threatened Perry Scott, the original creator of these pages, her claims of copyright were far more extensive. I am not sure if this is an omission on the part of Mr. Sinnott, or if Canadian copyright law differs in this regard. If he should contact me regarding the other documents, I would, of course, look into the matter.

I would also like to thank the folks at Storm Internet Services for support above and beyond the call of duty for an ISP in this matter. While they, like I, have no interest in getting involved in litigation with the CoS, they have shunned the kneejerk reactions demonstrated by some other providers so threatened.

Date: 17 Jul 98 15:03:35 +0000
From: Tim Sinnott <tsinnott@bereskinparr.com>
Subject: Unauthorized Use of Copyright Materials
To: "Kady O'Malley" <tallulah@storm.ca>
Message-ID: <980717.150335@bereskinparr.com>
X-Mailer: QM-Internet Gateway 1.0.1
X-Priority: 4
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset="us-ascii"
X-UIDL: 7aa3ae3b05eeb2cc224c27bf35e9087a
Status: RO

July 17, 1998
YOUR FILE KO
OUR FILE 9138-15


By Fax (613) 995-5795
Confirmation by Registered Mail

Ms. Kady OMalley
160 George St.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 5W5

Dear Ms. OMalley:

Re: Your Unauthorized Use of Copyright Materials

We represent the L. Ron Hubbard Library, in connection with its Canadian copyright matters. Our client is the owner of the copyright to a number of literary works, including an unpublished work entitled OSA NW Order 35. Copyright subsists in Canada in this work, by virtue of Section 5 of the Canadian Copyright Act and the Berne Convention.

We understand that you have reproduced the aforesaid work on your web page on the internet, in Canada. Although you have inserted commentary inbetween passages of the aforesaid work, you have reproduced the entire work. Under Canadian law, quotation of a work in its entirety is not fair dealing, and the addition of commentary does not make such use a fair dealing with a work. Your actions therefore constitute copyright infringement, pursuant to Section 27 and Section 3 of the Copyright Act. Copyright infringement is a serious legal offence, for which various civil remedies may be obtained, including an injunction, damages or an accounting of profits, damages for conversion, and legal costs.

We therefore demand that you immediately remove all copies of the aforesaid work from your website and from any other internet sites or pages on which you have posted such work or authorized the posting thereof. We also demand that you provide us forthwith with a written undertaking that you have ceased and will desist in the future from infringing the copyright of any of our clients literary works.

We add that we have advised our client that the Copyright Act includes certain criminal offences, in addition to civil causes of action for copyright infringement. Under Section 42 of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly distributes infringing copies of any work in which copyright subsists, either for the purposes of trade or to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright, is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine or imprisonment.

Our client is prepared to waive its claim for damages and costs, if we receive your fully cooperative response no later than 30 July, 1998. Otherwise, we will advise our client to take whatever legal action may be necessary to fully protect its rights, without further notice to you.

Yours truly,



Timothy J. Sinnott
Bereskin & Parr
Barristers & Solicitors
Box 401, 40 King St West
Toronto, Ontario
/hs

cc: Storm Internet Services

 

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