We have found a path to victory!
And we have taken the first step down that path.
But, first, let’s define our terms.
We define victory as “the ability to freely practice the religion of Scientology.” Since we must be able to use the materials developed by L. Ron Hubbard in order to practice the religion, the free practice of the religion means to do so without the threat of legal sanctions.
By “incidental” trademarks we mean those such as use of the word “Scientology” that are essential and integral components of the religion.
An Important Distinction
As we have repeatedly pointed out on this web site, and on its predecessor site, SaveScientology.com, there is a profound difference between the “church” of Scientology and the “religion” of Scientology. See, for example, our article An Important Distinction.
Preservation of the technology cannot occur without a central organization (or church) that will maintain a standard. Scientology central organizations are unique because of their inherent cross checks and balances, combining the delivery of the technology with ivory tower case supervision, examination of technical results and correction (if necessary) and internal ethics standards.
The reason the church has failed is because David Miscavige usurped all these administrative checks and balances (in addition to corporate checks and balances which could have prevented or remedied it).
As we have previously stated, the “church of Scientology” is really David Miscavige doing business as the church of Scientology. The technology, policies and practices of Miscavige are what have trashed the reputes of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.
In order to handle this situation, Religious Liberty League embarked on a project to break the monopoly over the use of the copyrights and trademarks of the religion by the church so that the religion can be freely (and correctly) practiced by persons outside the church
In furtherance of this project, and toward that aim, we assisted in the establishment of the First Independent Church of Scientology (FICofS). We will continue to support and assist FICofS as long as it aligns with and remains aligned with the religion and aims of Scientology.
Breaking the Monopoly
Obviously, the religion of Scientology cannot be practiced at all without use of the materials developed by L. Ron Hubbard. Most of these materials – contrary to a false datum prevalent in the independent field – are protected by copyrights and trademarks owned by various legal entities known collectively and colloquially as the “Church of Scientology.”
Religious Liberty League engaged lawyers highly specialized in the fields of copyrights, trademarks, First Amendment law, and litigation. We instructed them to determine how we could break the church’s monopoly over the use of Scientology materials so that FICofS and all its eventual authorized churches, missions, field groups and field auditors can freely practice Scientology.
That endeavor is very costly and time-consuming. It consisted of research into every prior legal ruling in courts throughout the United States that involved breakaway churches or groups who were sued for copyright and trademark infringement over the use of materials owned by the mother church.
But it resulted in a path to victory!
We kept the results of this legal research confidential… until now!
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).
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
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