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Scientology Shuts Down Alternative News Site RINF

Jane Golding | 21.03.2008 04:27 | Other Press | World

Sorry if this is a repeat post, newswire is having trouble confirming post.


Scientology orders shut down of alternative news web site. Web hosting company complies without warning.

AT approximately 1:30pm yesterday afternoon an order was issued to shut down the British 'alternative news' web site ‘’ for the publication of anti - Scientology material.

The web site now simply displays ‘This web site is temporarily unavailable, although the Web server is functioning normally’.

Speaking via telephone last night ‘RINF’ founder, Mr Mick Meaney said “It’s still not completely clear what has happened but one thing is perfectly clear – the closure of the site is solely motivated by Scientology.

“At present the ISP has locked me out of the web site, my email accounts and the site databases. They are giving me very little information and will not deal with the issue until Tuesday. They expect me to remove some Scientology related content if I wish to remain on their web severs and avoid legal action,” he said.

“I am currently talking to an alternative ISP because ‘RINF’ is an open publishing site and I refuse to dictate what visitors can and cannot publish in this way.”

With an average of 200,000 hits each day, it is one of the world’s largest independent news web sites although less than 10% of those visitors live in the UK where the site is located. “The vast majority of surfers come from the United States. The shut down order came from a solicitor in New York so I can assume it’s the American branch of the Church that’s willing to take legal action against the site,” said Mr Meaney.

The 'alternative news' site is not alone in the battle against Scientology and this is not the first time Scientologists have used their influence to censor the Internet. and are among a series of web sites issued with DMCA’s to remove Scientology related content from their sites.

For past Scientology censorship see:

This time however, ‘’ was shut down without warning.

“In recent weeks a large number of Scientologists have emailed me and posted comments on the site demanding I alter some of the material because it encourages people to take peaceful action against the Church and presents it in a negative light,” said Mr Meaney. “These bully boy tactics will not work and I will absolutely continue highlighting the crimes of Scientology.”

Web host ‘Zen’ declined to talk about the suspension with non account holders. Mr Meaney claims that ‘RINF’ will be back online within the week.

Jane Golding


What really happened

23.03.2008 15:44

This is what actually happened:

1) an anti-Scientology opponent (this person has a long history of picketing the cult, has been under cult harassment, etc.) published a paper on his/her own personal website under a Creative Commons license that is not very restrictive.
2) scraped the paper, changed the title and removed the author's name, in contravention of the Creative Commons license.
3) the anti-Scientology opponent e-mailed the owner of and asked him to remove the paper or honor the terms of the Creative Commons license. This would have required the owner of to retitle the paper and correctly attribute it to the original writer.
4) fails to answer.
5) the anti-Scientology opponent then contacted's upstream provider and asked it to ask its client to either remove the paper or honor the terms of the Creative Commons license.
6)'s response was that the Creative Commons license didn't apply since the anti-Scientology opponent has an RSS feed on her/his website. (among other things).
7) the anti-Scientology opponent replied and laid out legal arguments asserting moral ownership over his/her paper and again reiterated that all s/he wanted was (a) either the paper come off entirely or that (b) honor the terms of the Creative Commons license and title the paper correctly and attribute it to its writer. is copied on all this correspondence between the anti-Scientology opponent and
8) what probably happened next is that told to do something about the problem.
9) apparently decided it didn't have to do anything about its problem.
10) removed the site.

The problem is totally that of The owner of the site, Mick Meaney, had no problem scraping (stealing) a paper that did not belong to him, posting it on his site, and after repeated requests to either (a) remove the paper or (b) honor the terms of the Creative Commons license and correctly title the paper and give the writer his due credit.

Meaney is merely an opportunist here, trying to make himself out to be a victim when in point of fact he had been given ways to rectify the problem, but he refused to do so. Meaney can correct his problem by properly attributing from where he is getting his content, but he'd prefer to merely take (steal) and hope that nobody complains. That's pretty rotten, taking someone's hard work and making it your own, particularly when complying with the terms of the Creative Commons license would have been so very simple. and Mick Meaney--not the victims here.

Anonymous Devil

perhaps I can clear things up

23.03.2008 17:17

'Anonymous Devil' is a friend of mine, and one with whom I discussed the actual events, and their addition is accurate. I posted about this myself on my site here [] and the article in question about which I complained is here [], and is about the Church of Scientology's practice of removing e-meter listings from eBay.

Unless there's some other content that published that related to Scientology and was complained about by Scientology, the removal is likely due to my complaint, and I've been a critic of Scientology for more than a decade. I do think that reacted rather harshly, as I only requested that they remove the article or comply with my Creative Commons license. From my perusal of, they regularly scrape articles from RSS feeds and republish them as their own, re-titling them and removing attribution to the original author. Regardless of where your opinion falls on online copyright issues--and mine is quite liberal, else I'd not publish content under a Creative Commons license--this is a despicable practice.

scott pilutik
- Homepage:


Display the following 13 comments

  1. Disinformation Site? — Chris
  2. chris — jackslucid
  3. Jack — Chris
  4. how dare you! — thetan, the man!
  5. who benefits? — truthseeker
  6. Cult? — a bloke.
  7. The Scientologists Are Here — Anon
  8. "the Scientology mod squad" — Chris
  9. "This domain is for sale." — Yngvi
  10. Oops — Chris
  11. Anonymous Devil — Chris
  12. That sucks — Chris
  13. hmmmm — Mick Meaney's son's mother