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Yesterday we listened in on Lloyd Evans, Mark O’Donnell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation talking about Watch Tower’s attempt to “dox” Darkspilver, who has posted critical information about the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization at Reddit. We’ve seen Witnesses say in our comments that Watch Tower should have the right to defend its copyrights, and that ex-JWs who violate those copyrights deserve to be taken to court. But taking a look at the actual documents filed in Darkspilver’s case reveals how much Watch Tower is on a mission to intimidate critics rather than defend its proprietary material. We’re going to show you the full page from that motion which shows what Darkspilver is accused by Watch Tower of posting at Reddit. (Please note, Watch Tower lawyers, this is a full page, in context, of a privileged court document.) As you can see, Darkspilver is accused of posting a short amount of text under the headline “What Gift Can We Give to Jehovah?” on the back of one of Watch Tower’s publications eliciting donations. He believed it represented a sudden shift in the way JW.org asked for money, and, as EFF explained, it generated considerable debate online. Now, if Watch Tower believed their copyright on this small amount of text was being violated, they could make a takedown request with Reddit. Instead, the organization believes that this is such a violation of its rights, it has subpoenaed Darkspilver and Reddit in order to get his identifying information. “This case is not about suppressing Darkspilver’s public criticism. He can say whatever he desires. However, he cannot infringe Watch Tower’s intellectual property in the process,” the Watch Tower’s attorneys wrote in a response to the EFF’s motion to quash. Really? Watch Tower is going to this effort and expense because it’s so damaged by that small amount of text on the back of a magazine being put online, or is it what the text said that really matters, that Watch Tower was stung by the revelation that it was more openly soliciting donations online. Both documents, EFF’s motion to quash, and Watch Tower’s response, are really interesting documents. Give them a look yourself and let us know what you think about the arguments in each of them.
On Friday, May 25, 20/20 will do "something special" for longtime co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas. You can call it a going-away party (10/9c, ABC). After 22 years at ABC (14 with the newsmagazine), the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning veteran journalist heads to A&E, where she’ll work under their new primetime banner, A&E Investigates. Tell us about your first two A&E shows. They’re the first in a nine-part series called Cults and Extreme Beliefs(premieres Monday, May 28, 10/9c). Each episode centers on a person who recently left the group we focus on. Our premiere looks at the [so-called “self-help”] NXIVM ring that made headlines when leader Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack, a high-ranking member, were indicted for sex trafficking. We talk to Sarah Edmondson, who feels enormous regret that she recruited so many people into NXIVM and we follow her as she reaches out to some of them. And the second episode? It’s about an apocalyptic cult called Twelve Tribes. Our contact is a woman born into the group, cut off from the outside world. She now helps people to escape. What have you learned about these insular communities? That many of those involved are bright, well-meaning and incredibly altruistic. Some of these groups exist alongside modern society, with no one noticing. For instance, we profile the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has a history of protecting alleged child molesters because they don’t believe in going to the police.