Meanwhile, a French filmmaker is suing Google for hosting a controversial documentary about alleged cult the Landmark Forum on Google Video and YouTube. The unnamed plaintiff seeks $193,000 in damages, but the lawsuit poses a much larger threat for Google in the form of precedent.
Zeropaid is a popular P2P news site.
You should be able to see the story submission here:
If you vote for it it will come out of the queue faster.
Apologetics Index, the parent site of Religion News Blog, is an annotated directory of research resources on religions, religious sects, cults, Large Group Awareness Training programs, world views and related issues.
In its entry on entry on Landmark Education, Apologetics Index includes a link to the video. When the video was removed from Google and YouTube, we updated the link to point to an Australian website at which the video is still available.
The other day we received a letter from a lawyer in Amsterdam on behalf of his client, Landmark Education. Landmark Education requests that we immediately remove the link to the video in question because, they allege the documentary violates Landmark copyright by ‘reproducing large portions of its copyrighted work, the Landmark Forum Manual.’ The letter suggests that our link to the video encourages third parties to violate Landmark Education’s copyright.
Since we are not convinced that Landmark’s claims regarding copyright violations are correct, we have not removed the link to the video from Apologetics Index.
I haven’t watched the vid to the end yet. I’m dying to dig into it later tonight; the little I saw looks meaty. The French have the same concerns about Landmark that I do: that it’s a pack of know-nothings who declare themselves a “self-help group” in order to bypass the regulation demanded of psychologists. I wouldn’t call them a “cult” (hate that word), and wouldn’t accuse them as being as corrupt as Scientology. But the scam is the same. Take innocent people’s money in order to train them to walk, talk and act like the rest of the robots you churn out - then declare them “happy” and “well-adjusted” and “clear”.
It’s amazing how much money you can make off of other people’s suffering, isn’t it? And all it requires is a gaping hole in your brain where your ethics ought to be.
Recently we posted a link to a French TV documentary about Landmark Education. We were subsequently contacted by an attorney for Landmark Education, requesting that the link be removed since, the letter claims, the documentary includes copyrighted material from the "Landmark Forum Manual."
We are currently in the process of obtaining legal advice regarding the legality of our direct link to the video in question. While we do not encourage nor condone copyright violations, we await the outcome of the EFF communications with Landmark Education before we decide whether or not to remove our link.
Once word about my story got around, popping up in an online Landmark newsgroup, it somehow made its way into the office of Art Schreiber, general counsel of Landmark Education Corporation.
Schreiber responded swiftly with a 10-page letter advising me of his "serious concern" that I might defame Landmark. What followed were six pages explaining why Landmark is not a cult, a page of why Landmark cannot be said to brainwash its enrollees, a page and a half of why I must not defame Werner Erhard or est, and a tedious summary explaining that should I "leave Landmark and its programs depicted in a false light ... Landmark is fully prepared to take the appropriate legal action."
He included 23 letters of recommendation from happy Forum grads; a letter like mine addressed to Self Magazine, whom Landmark sued in 1994 for calling The Forum a cult; a newspaper article describing a lawsuit by Erhard's daughter against a San Jose Mercury News reporter; and statements from Margaret Singer, author of Cults in Our Midst, and Cynthia Kisser, former director of the Cult Awareness Network, that Landmark is not a cult. Landmark has sued them both.
Landmark advocates self-expression. Surely, I thought as I hung up the phone, I'm not being discouraged from expressing myself.
CEO Harry Rosenberg recently noted that "in the United States, we have altered the public conversation about our work and our enterprise. For example, it is no longer possible for informed people or publications in the United States to pin pejorative labels on us." [/color:85f747bb70]
"Altering the public conversation."[/color:85f747bb70] The phrase sends a chill up the spine of anyone who thought it was OK to speak freely in this country without fear of being sued into silence.
Landmark says that Erhard has nothing to do with The Forum. But the license Landmark obtained from Erhard enabling them to produce The Forum is in fact owned by Erhard, and is scheduled to revert to him in 2009.