Landmark Education vs. a link on Apologetics Index

The video Landmark Education does not want you to see

Something odd is going on in Landmark Education’s fight against a video documentary that was recently posted online at websites such as YouTube, Google Video and the Internet Archive.

The film, entitled Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus), was produced by a French TV news program, Pièces à Conviction [Incriminating Evidence – rnb] . It features hidden camera footage shot inside a Landmark Forum event in France and a panel discussion on whether or not the organization is a “cult.”

The video was posted on Google Video, YouTube and the Internet Archive, among other Web locations. Landmark’s subpoenas seek to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to force Google Video and others to identify who posted the film.
– Source: Landmark Education sues Google over video

Landmark Education claims the documentary violates its copyright by showing large portions of its copyrighted Landmark Forum Manual.

Not so, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is challenging Landmark Education’s legal moves:

A review of the video makes clear that the documentary does not contain a copy of the leader manual referenced in Landmark’s letters. Rather, it is a news documentary critical of the Landmark organization in France. Moreover, even if Landmark’s copyrighted works were visible in the documentary, any such limited and transformative use of a copyrighted work for purpose of criticism, commentary and news reporting is self-evidently fair use and, therefore, noninfringing.
– Source: Landmark and the Internet Archive

The EFF page referred to above includes links to relevant documents, including EFF’s Draft Motion to Quash Landmark SubpoenaPDF file

It also includes a link to the video in question. Yes, the documentary is still available online, as anyone with basic Google skills can ascertain.

Landmark to Apologetics Index: Remove the link

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.

This seems a good place to mention that EFF recently posted a news item titled, Self-Help Group Bullies Net Critics.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is fighting a controversial self-help group’s coordinated, illegal campaign to silence Internet critics.

San Francisco-based Landmark Education, known for its Landmark Forum motivational workshops, is trying to suppress an investigative television news piece critical of its methods. Landmark contends that the documentary infringes its copyright in the Forum course, while citing to copyright registration of the Forum leader’s manual. Using the alleged copyright violation as a pretext, Landmark subpoenaed three websites hosting the video — the Internet Archive, Google Video, and YouTube — seeking the identities of the anonymous uploaders. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows a content owner to issue a subpoena for the identity of an alleged infringer without first filing an actual lawsuit.

“This is a classic example of using a bogus copyright claim to squelch free speech,” said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. “To the extent that the documentary uses any Landmark material, that use is clearly non-infringing. Landmark is simply trying to use the streamlined DMCA subpoena process to obtain the identities of its critics.”

Landmark’s efforts are being challenged on multiple fronts.
– Source: Self-Help Group Bullies Net Critics

In turn, Landmark Education has distributed Press Releases like this one: Landmark Education Takes Action Against Copyright Infringement.

EFF Responds to Landmark’s claims

Last week, EFF announced that it was fighting against Landmark Education’s campaign to identify individuals who posted a French documentary, entitled Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus), that was critical of the Landmark program, and included hidden camera footage from inside a Landmark Forum event in France.

EFF is currently talking with Landmark in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution about Landmark’s DMCA subpoena to Google. In the hope that we can resolve this without need of litigation, EFF has held off on filing its motion to quash that subpoena.

In the mean time, Landmark responded to our press release, according to Red Herring magazine:

“While we appreciate the work of the EFF, the allegation that our copyright claim is bogus is entirely inaccurate,” [Art Schreiber, general counsel for Landmark Education] said. “The facts are clear that the Landmark Forum program has for many years been copyrighted. Materials covered by this copyright registration were included throughout the video.”

While we appreciate the kind words, we disagree with Mr. Schreiber’s copyright analysis. To the extent that the documentary includes any materials copyrighted by Landmark, that use is clearly for purposes of criticism and commentary, i.e., a non-infringing fair use. Yesterday we released a draft of our motion to quashPDF file, which explains in detail (see pages 11-16) why Landmark’s copyright claim does not hold water. Indeed, it’s not even a close call. Sorry, Landmark, but your claim is still bogus.
– Source: EFF and Landmark: Cards on the Table

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.

Landmark Forum’s Internet Censorship Campaign Goes Down Under

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday November 17, 2006.
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