March 05, 2017

The Mormon Church is Claiming Copyright Infringement to Hide Information From Members

In general, I don't have a problem with churches hiring lawyers. It would be naive to expect a large organization not to employ some lawyers or even a team of lawyers. The judicial system is complicated and I see nothing wrong with an organization hiring specialists to help that organization navigate through the system.

I do, however, think it's wrong for the Mormon church to use its resources to keep information from the general public and from the members who give so much time and money to the organization.

Here's an example of why I think the Mormon church is using its resources to hide information:

In early March 2017, someone from intellectual property office of the church sent a take down notice to MormonLeaks, a website that has been leaking internal videos and documents since October 2016. The documents hosted on the MormonLeaks website so far have included pay stubs to church general authorities (with social security numbers removed), information about the cost of furniture inside of temples, agendas and presentations from meetings of the church's apostles, and a number of other items.

What damage has MormonLeaks done to the church that the church needs to send a notice to them?

There is no question that the church would be justified in taking action in some cases.

Are the documents slanderous?
Are there forged or false documents included on the MormonLeaks website?
Were these documents made-up just to make the church look bad, so the church needs to defend its public image?

In the case of MormonLeaks, the answer to these questions is no.

The notice sent in March shows that the church is going after MormonLeaks with the claim that they are breaking copyright laws.

The take down notice can be seen here: 

The fact that they are claiming copyright infringement legitimizes these documents. It establishes that these documents are, in fact, used internally by the church and contain accurate information.

Given that these are legitimate documents actually used internally by the church, why do I think they shouldn't be able to claim copyright infringement?

What does it matter if their meeting agendas and pay stubs get leaked? These items aren't some sort of creative content. They are business documents showing the internal workings of the organization that one would expect an open and honest organization to give out freely. Does making that information available to the public damage the Mormon church somehow?

By issuing this copyright notice, the Mormon church is admitting that this information IS damaging.

It's not damaging because it's false.
It's not damaging because it's slanderous.
It's not damaging because it's a loss of trade secrets.
It's not damaging because it's a loss of control over created content.

The information is damaging because it's accurate information that the church would rather hide.

The Mormon church is either the one true church, as they claim to be to the members who they require 10% tithing from, or it is a corporation trying to make sure that the wizard stays behind the curtain.

I don't think that it's the one true church, and I think it's despicable that they try so hard to keep their members in the dark. The "prophets" of the Mormon church seem more interested in profits than in being open and honest. Why else would they care if this information became available to their tithe-paying members?

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