Scientology censoring the Internet
According to a March 24, 2002 article in the Berliner Morgenpost by Michael Remke
Even the US media, who are known to uncritically accept anything the Scientology Church says, have mentioned the word "censorship" when it was learned that Scientology's lawyers were prohibiting google.com from linking to pages that were critical of the US cult. Google, the search engine that gets the most clicks in the world, had to bow to demands from Scientology lawyers or face endless court proceedings.
According to the article, the pages that really upset Scientology were www.xenu.net and www.clambake.org . Scientology's attorney's threatened to charge google with copyright violations, asserting that google linked to the web pages without their permission. Using the copyright logic, said Don Marti, publisher of Linux Internet magazine, any company could have ban pages it did not like.
Google.com saw no way out but to bow to Scientology. It said in a letter that if it would not have removed the links, then it would have been faced with a never-ending court process whose prohibitive cost would make the outcome insignificant.
Ripple effects feared
According to a March 22, 2002 article by Der Standard of Vienna, Austria,
the well-know search engine Google had to remove several pages of Operation Clambake from its index. Scientology had invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Operation Clambake operator published the letter from Google that said which URLs had been removed from its index because of alleged copyright violations. No further information was given.
In the meantime, Operation Clambake itself is back in business. When you enter "Scientology," it comes up number four. But Scientology critic Keith Henson expressed his fears that, in the future, many pages will start disappearing from the Google index, because they view the pages as copyright violations. For some time, said Henson, critical sites no longer show up on the first page when "Scientology" is entered on the search engine. Scientology seems to be using a technology called the Google Bomb. What that means is that Scientology has constructed a giant network of sites all linked to each other, which gives a higher rating in search lists.
Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as invisible ink
According to a March 21, 2002 article by Matt Loney and Dietmar Mueller of ZDNet.de,
The Scientology cult is using the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act to remove some pages from Google's index. The targets are pages that are critical of Scientology. According to a statement by webmaster Andreas Heldal-Lund of Xenu.net, the search engine informed him that it had to delete the link to his site. Scientology had complained that diverse texts were being used without permission. Xenu.net operates under the name Operation Clambake. This name comes from the scriptures of science fiction writer and cult founder L. Ron Hubbard, who explained in "History of Man," that humans come from clams, whose pains and fears they carry with them to this day.
Heldal-Lund explained that the pages contained secret cult material which, if people knew what it contained, would keep them from ever joining the cult. He said he thought the public had a right to be informed. From Google's point of view, if they would not have removed the links, they would have had to confront the Scientology cult in court, which they did not want to do, regardless of whether they won or not.
Loney and Mueller further reported that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in the USA in 1998, and that the entertainment industry used it to exercise nearly unlimited power over anything they wanted protected.