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Question posted on Religious Liberty League article, moderated, approved and answered:First Independent Church of Scientology requests a copyright and trademark license from the Church of Scientology (more precisely, RTC and CST), and has an alternative plan if rejected.
Religious Liberty League: A Path To Victory
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FICofS Request For License To Use Scientology Materials
The plan we developed involves a two-step process.
Courts have upheld copyrights and trademarks of religious materials and marks against use by independent factions. A constitutional issue is created, however, when the copyright and trademark laws cause a substantial burden in the exercise of religion. This entails proving that (1) use of the questioned materials are essential to the practice of the religion and (2) a reasonable effort has been made to obtain permission to use the materials.
Proof 1 can be established: FICofS is a nonprofit religious corporation with tax-exempt status.
Proof 2 was just set in motion. Lawyers on behalf of FICofS requested a license from the church to use all copyrighted materials and incidental trademarks needed to practice the religion of Scientology in letters sent to the respective corporate owners, Religious Technology Center (RTC, owner of trademarks) and Church of Spiritual Technology (CST, copyrights).
To view the letters, click here: Letter to RTC Letter to CST
We are not dependent upon the church granting the license. If it ignores the request or tells us to pound sand, we have our proof that a reasonable effort was made to obtain licenses. If it accedes to the request but makes an unreasonable demand for an exchange, we also have our proof.
Of course, in the off chance that it grants a license for agreeable terms, we will have achieved our aims.
The bottom line is that Religious Liberty League can create a safe space for the free practice of Scientology outside the church.
False Data Correction
Some false data exist in the independent field that should be addressed.
Copyrights In The Public Domain
One is the idea that the church lost its copyrights. Perhaps it lost some to the public domain, certainly not all of them.
Copyright laws have changed over the years. Those created before 1978 were covered by the 1909 Act which required a registration that could be renewed for two consecutive 28-year terms. In 1992, Congress made renewal automatic for works published between 1964 and 1978. The 1978 Act also extended the period to 75 years, and it was later extended an additional 20 years.
Some materials not covered by federal law are covered by state law, such as California’s Civil Code Section 980, which, for example, extends common law copyright law to audio recordings. (The 1909 federal law did not cover lectures.)
The point being, LRH materials must be examined individually to determine whether they have copyright protection. Pre-1964 works may be in the public domain either because a copyright was not registered or, if it was registered, was not timely renewed. Works between 1964 and 1978 are also questionable, and materials after 1978 are very likely copyrighted.
Lack of Church Enforcement
Another significant false datum in the field is the idea that LRH materials are now part of the public domain because it has all been published on the Internet and/or has been used by persons in the field who were not sued for copyright infringement.
The church, as with any other copyright holder, may engage in selective enforcement. The fact that it has not sued someone or has not been able to shut down every unauthorized use on the Internet does not prevent it from bringing an infringement lawsuit against anyone who delivers Scientology services in the field. If it hasn’t gone after field practices it is probably because they are small fries and not a threat in the larger scheme.
The music industry has the same problem. It cannot go after every Tom, Dick and Harry who shares music files on the Internet, and failure to do so has not resulted in loss of copyrights. Notice that the industry sure went after Napster (a music sharing web site) with a vengeance.
A similar false datum is that persons who are currently practicing in the field for longer than three years are safe from legal actions by the church. A similar response applies. If independent Scientologists are practicing Scientology in the field the chances are great that they are exposed to legal liability and are simply regarded as too small or ineffective to deal with.
FICofS is set up to become a central organization, to expand and last beyond the lifetimes of those persons trained inside the church, and to train a new generation of Scientologists in the correct application of the technology as developed by L. Ron Hubbard.
FICofS NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
The First Independent Church of Scientology belongs to those who take responsibility for it and make it happen. Our work is voluntary. No one has been compensated out of funds donated to either Religious Liberty League or to SaveScientology.com before it.
100% of all donations have been used solely to defer expenses.
We have paved the way. We will continue our efforts as long as there remains support for it. Much more in the way of donations will be required to make FICofS a reality.
The plan is to not open the doors until we have:* The technology in place, which means having a grade chart, courses and check sheets approved by the Technical Standards Committee (TSC). This is well in progress. The TSC is in the final stages of approving a grade chart which will then be published for feedback and comments.
* The management style and policies in place. We plan to create a committee of highly trained and experienced persons in both Scientology administration and non-Scientology enterprises to help on this.
Note: We will write an article or series of articles debunking the false notion that Green-on-White policy for the management of Scientology organizations is set in stone and subject to Keeping Scientology Working (KSW).* Key personnel recruited.
* A war chest sufficient to defend anticipated legal attacks from the church.
* At least six-months’ operating expenses, including staff pay, until the organization is viable.
So please contribute as much as you can, in any way you can.
Two Frequently Asked Questions
1. Whose church is this? Answer: no one’s, it belongs to those who step up and take responsibility for it. Who owns it? No one. It is a non-profit religious corporation.
Jim Fonda and I (the proprietor of Religious Liberty League) established it. I agreed to be a trustee along with him. We are acting also as a board of directors but we intend to appoint others. We are filling corporate officer positions temporarily until the board of directors appoints officers. The board will select an Executive Director at some point.
2. Are there plans to police the field? No. As long as Jim Fonda and I are trustees you can be assured that FICofS will strictly adhere to LRH’s admonition: “A militant org attitude to keep the field straight is silly.”
No doubt other FAQs exist. We will either address them in the Comments section below or update this article.
 HCO PL 29 April 1965, Issue III, Ethics Review
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License request letters to CST and RTC.
NOTE: The PDF versions linked above and immediately below are much more legible than the PNG conversions embedded below.
EDITED TO ADD CLEAR JPEG VERSIONS OF THE FIRST INDEPENDENT CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY LICENSE REQUEST LETTERS TO THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY (MORE PRECISELY, CST AND RTC) COURTESY OF MARIA SKLODOWSKA ON WWP.
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In each license request letter the First Independent Church of Scientology (FICS) states it "is willing and able to... be subjected to any reasonable restrictions that the licensor may impose on the license."
What restrictions would FICS find reasonable? What restrictions would FICS find unreasonably and presumably unacceptable?
Does FICS have any concern that it will wind up being a Church of Scientology Mission, or otherwise under the full supervision and control of CST, RTC, CSI or the corporate Church of Scientology generally, through IHelp or otherwise?
Merrell Vannier January 17, 2017 at 4:17 pm Reply
Reasonable versus Unreasonable. We can’t define it, but will know it when we see it.
Zero concern that FICofS will wind up being under the full supervision and control of CofS. Won’t happen.
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