Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology are at war with the Internet in a case that proves the uneasy relationship between the believers of Xenu and cyberspace, an ongoing battle that has been waged for over a decade (see this, this and this). Those familiar with digital copyright may recall that the Church of Scientology has used copyright law before in order to remove websites which prove just how ludicrous the whole thing is.
Now Scientologists have allegedly tried to pull the infamous Tom Cruise video from YouTube, and as it is only natural, the Internet has collectively responded by making the video one of the most viral videos in the short history of Web 2.0. Imagine tens of thousands of geeks shouting “Help! I’m being repressed!” at the same time, and you get the idea. The video has been shown on the BBC and linked to from The Times Online, and it can still be found on YouTube in various guises. The word “backfire” does come to mind.
What the Church of Scientology was not counting on is that the environment has clearly changed from the early 90s, where content was offered on one or two sites, making it an easy target for litigation. In the era of the citizen-publisher, that is no longer possible, as users will replicate the infringing material, and any attempts to stop it will be met with opposition. Hackers have been attacking Scientology websites with DDoS attacks, and a day of protests is being organised on YouTube and Facebook.
I’m glad to report that this blog is thetan free since 2004.