Google Makes Scientology Infringement Demand Public

Google has made public the letter it received from lawyers demanding removal of Scientology related content from its search engine, complete with a list of allegedly infringing URLs.

Google provided a copy of the letter from law firm Moxon & Kobrin to online rights watchdog Chilling Effects, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and University of San Francisco law school clinics. The organization published the full text of the letter on its site, removing only the names of the letter's sender and recipient.

The letter provides explicit allegations of both copyright and trademark infringement on pages published on the site Operation Clambake (, a well known and highly vocal critic of the church of Scientology.

Accompanying the letter is a chart setting forth each of the alleged infringements, including both a description and the URL of each page. For pages that Google has removed from its index, you can simply cut and paste the URL into your browser address window to access the page directly from the web site.

Google search results also now provide a direct link to the takedown letter on the Chilling Effects web site in response to specific queries.

For example, this query:


Returns about 1,250 results from pages that are still in the Google database. But the following message appears at the bottom of the result list:

"In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 6 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results."

Links to Google's DMCA policy page, and to the text of the takedown letter are highlighted in this message (see below).

Google's policy is now to send copies of all notices of alleged infringement to third parties, such as, that will make them available to the public, confirmed Google spokesperson David Krane.

Google Asked to Delist Scientology Critics

The text of the letter sent to Google by the law firm Moxon & Kobrin, with a chart identifying the specific pages the firm alleges infringe its client's copyrights and trademarks.

Google's Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy

Google's policy on the DMCA, with instructions for sending them both an infringement notification and a counter notification.

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

A joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and University of San Francisco law school clinics. Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity.

Google Embroiled In Scientology Debate
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2002

Google found itself accused of censorship last month, after it removed some pages from an anti-Scientology web site in response to a legal request made by the Church of Scientology. Danny Sullivan takes a look at how the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act was involved and its implications for web searching.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Online search engines news
Google preps search tools for developers...
Interactive Week Apr 15 2002 11:23AM GMT
Online marketing news
Spammers hide behind a friendly face...
ZDNet Apr 15 2002 10:38AM GMT
Internet features
How to Fix the Dot-Government...
Wired News Apr 15 2002 10:37AM GMT
XML and metadata news
Microsoft turns up heat on XML technology... Apr 15 2002 9:41AM GMT
Online content news
Whats Wrong with Kids Web Sites...
Newsweek Apr 15 2002 8:29AM GMT
Online portals news
Insiders: Two Yahoo execs cash in for big gains... Apr 15 2002 5:45AM GMT
SK Telecom to Acquire Lycos Korea in August...
Korea Times Apr 14 2002 2:20PM GMT
Online search engines news
AlltheWeb Correction...
Research Buzz Apr 13 2002 11:39PM GMT
Domain name news
Esther Dyson on Internet Privacy, Policing, ICANN and Investing...
Wharton reg Apr 13 2002 7:54AM GMT
Online search engines news
Search engines main traffic channels... Apr 12 2002 11:39PM GMT
Internet: international news
Euro parliament says no to Web site blocks... Apr 12 2002 12:57PM GMT
Online marketing news
Anti-spam law upheld in Calif. court...
Interactive Week Apr 12 2002 11:16AM GMT
Domain name news
ICANN warns of domain dispute swindle... Apr 12 2002 8:39AM GMT
powered by