The Associated Press. Sunday, August 13, 1995.
SCIENTOLOGY PUTS FAITH IN COPYRIGHTS
Washington (AP) - U.S. marshals seized computer equipment and files
yesterday from a Virginia man accused by the Church of Scientology
of posting its most sacred texts on the Internet.
Marshals also served Arnaldo Lerma, 44, with a restraining order
barring him from revealing more of the church's copyrighted
documents in a federal copyright infringment suit filed by the
church on Friday.
"What he was engaging in was a form of copyright terrorism," said
Helena Kobrin, an attorney with Scientology's Religious Technology
Center. "It's not OK to do this with people's copyrighted materials."
Last September, Lerma began placing court documents alleging
wrongdoing by the church, as well as some of Scientology's most
sacred texts, on international computer bulletin boards. The church
said he spread the information across the Internet and called that
a defilement of its texts.
Dave Branham, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said two
deputy marshals executed the court order yesterday morning.
Lerma's postings described abuse by former Scientology officials,
claims that Scientology brainwashes and defrauds members, and
details of the path to theological growth that the church says will
transform people into near-gods.
Founded 40 years ago by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard,
Scientology teaches that technology can expand the mind and help
solve human problems. It can cost thousands of dollars for initiates
to progress through the church's teachings and counseling.
Lerma has said he joined the church in 1963 and was forced out in
1978 after pursuing a romance with one of Hubbard's daughters.
Lerma of Arlinton [sic] could not be reached for comment yesterday;
no one answered his home telephone.
In addition to stopping Lerma's computer postings, the church is
also seeking damages of $100,000 for each of his alleged copyright
infringements. Kobrin estimated there were seven separate