STAMPING OUT FREE SPEECH
For the second time in two years Elan Vital Incorporated - an entity registered
as a charity operating for religious purposes - has sought to close down web
sites that contain factual information that is embarrassing to Prem Pal Singh
Rawat and the Elan Vital organisation that supports him. In 2003 Elan Vital
Incorporated tried to intimidate the hosting company of the web site Ex Premie
Org by spuriously claiming copyright infringement -
Chilling Effects website
PATTERN OF ATTACK
Ex Premie Org.
provides an online archive of Prem Rawat's career as a Guru, and subsequently
an Inspirational Speaker, the timing of the 2003 copyright complaint was
significant - it came just before Prem Rawat embarked upon a series of high
profile events in the US and Europe.
The 2003 attack on Ex Premie Org. failed, the material complained about was
already in the public domain and subject to Fair Use provisions. Prem Rawat's
organisations have since tried to undermine the principle of Fair Use (link).
The target of the most recent DMCA attack is the Prem Rawat Maharaji Info
PRMI provides a history of Prem Rawat's career specifically for the media and
for research. All material at PRMI is provided free for fair use and it's
substantive content consists only of original writing by contributing authors.
On 9th June 2005 PRMI was
shut down by the PRMI hosting company in response to an apparently valid
made by the General
Manager of Elan Vital Incorporated, Larry Leblang. However, EVI's complaint was
subsequently determined by the hosting company to be
resulting in the PRMI website being brought back online on 13th June 2005.
Having failed to
permanently deny PRMI Internet presence, Larry Leblang and EVI then set about
making a further attack, submitting a redrafted DMCA notice which saw PRMI face
further down time while a Counter notification was issued by PRMI.
As with its 2003 DMCA
attack against Ex Premie Org, Elan Vital made no effort to respond to the
Counter notification issued by PRMI. This lack of response suggests that EVI
was pursing a complaint that it knew to be groundless and was employing the
complaint as legalistic device to deny PRMI Internet presence.
Prem Rawat has sought to
ally himself with the principles of the United Nations,
it remains to be seen whether he is prepared to apply those principles to
himself and his organisations. Further abuse of the DMCA regulations by Elan
Vital will demonstrate the level of Prem Rawat's integrity.
For a general discussion
on merits of the DMCA see
and for an analysis on recent case law concerning the illegal use of the DMCA
procedures click here.
MOTIVATION AND TIMING
As with the 2003
complaint the timing of the unfounded attack on PRMI seems significant. Prem
Rawat was about to embark on a series of events which his Prem Rawat Foundation
and Elan Vital organisations would use to promote Rawat's image as a
philanthropist and philosopher - much of the material available on the PRMI
website brings in to question both Prem Rawat's 'philanthropic' motives and his
personal values. The 'unavailability' of PRMI was certainly of benefit to
those concerned that the media might refer to the material presented on PRMI and
draw unflattering conclusions about Prem Rawat.
Prem Rawat's June/September
Thursday June 16, 2005 United States Miami | Peace Is Possible Prem Rawat will
be the keynote speaker at an event sponsored by Miami-Dade Community College for
the benefit of the United Nations World Food Programme.
Venue: James L. Knight
Location: 400 SE Second Avenue
Friday July 1, 2005
- Sunday July 3, 2005 United States Miami Beach | 3 Days with Maharaji has
accepted an invitation to speak at an event in Miami Beach. This event is open
to everyone around the world who has been taught Maharaji's techniques for
finding peace within.
Venue: Miami Beach Convention Center
Sunday July 17, 2005 United Kingdom London | Maharaji in London Maharaji has
accepted an invitation to attend a public event at the Wembley Pavilion in
London on Sunday July 17th. (proposed Open to all.
Registration details to follow.
Venue: Wembley Pavilion
Friday July 29, 2005
- Sunday July 31, 2005 Portugal Lisbon | 3-Day Event with Maharaji has accepted
an invitation to attend an event at Pavilhão Atlântico, Parque das Nações,
Lisbon, Portugal from Friday 29 July to Sunday 31 July 2005. Everyone around
the world who has been taught Maharaji's techniques for finding peace within is
warmly invited. The event will start on Friday late afternoon and end on Sunday
Tuesday September 27, 2005 - Friday September 30, 2005 Australia Peak Crossing,
Queensland | Amaroo Event
Venue: Ivory's Rock Conference Centre
Elan Vital Incorporated : http://www.elanvital.org/
The Prem Rawat Foundation : http://www.tprf.org/
Ex Premie Org. : http://www.ex-premie.org/
Mike Finch - personal website of former long term Rawat supporter:
THE LEBLANG COMPLAINT
The hosting company name
and the names of its representatives have been removed
VIA EMAIL AND FEDERAL
EXPRESS June 7, 2005
Re: DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement on
Dear Mr. *****:
I am the General Manager of Elan Vital, Inc. ("EVI") and among my
responsibilities is the policing of intellectual property belonging to EVI.
EVI is the holder of a wide range of copyright interests in a catalog of
intellectual property including copyrights for which it receives protection
under the laws of the United States and over 80 countries around the world.
EVI has expended considerable resources acquiring, promoting and protecting
this intellectual property.
It has come to our attention that your server at ******* hosts a large Web
site (the "Infringing Site") (located at http://prem-rawat-maharaji.info)
dedicated to an ongoing series of acts that violate the proprietary rights of
EVI. Specifically, we have learned that Infringing Site which is hosted by
your company, unquestionably and unlawfully violates EVI's valid and
subsisting copyright interests.
This Web site, and the constituent pages therein, makes up a virtual library
of infringing works, including dozens of photographs, works of visual arts,
and literary works. We also note for the record that this illegal use of your
hosting services is in direct violation of your purported Terms of Service,
which allegedly proscribes infringement. Please consider this letter a "Terms
of Service" complaint as well as notice under 17 U.S.C. xA7 512 ("the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act" or "DMCA")
Pursuant to the DMCA, we assert and hereby place ***** on notice that the
communications in question are in violation of our client's proprietary
rights. Failure to act in accordance with the DMCA may result in damages and
injunctive relief being awarded against ***** for vicarious infringement.
As required by the DMCA, we hereby state that we have a good faith belief that
the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the
copyright owner, its agent or the law. The information in this notification is
accurate. Further, under penalty of perjury, I represent that we are
authorized to act on behalf of EVI in policing its proprietary interests.
In light of the above, we demand that you immediately remove or deny public
access to the infringing Web site. We also request that you provide us with
written assurance within 72 hours of receipt of this letter that such
compliance has been effectuated.
Finally, we respectfully remind you that the infringing Web site may be
reinstituted only upon fax or mail service of a counter notification that
fully complies with the stricture of Sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the DMCA,
1) The infringer's
signed consent to suit in the United States Federal District Court; and
2) Waiver of
jurisdictional challenge. This notice, and the Schedule attached hereto shall
not be construed as a waiver of any claim in part or in whole by EVI, it’s
licensees, licensors, or any affiliated entities, and all rights under common
law and statute are expressly reserved whether or not suit has been filed in
the past or is filed in the future.
If I may answer any
questions or provide further information, please call me at your earliest
convenience. I look forward to your assistance.
Very truly yours,
Elan Vital, Inc.