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Religious Technology Center v. Netcom Online Communication Service, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
907 F. Supp. 1361 (1995)


Religious Technology Center (RTC) (plaintiff) held copyrights in the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Dennis Erlich was a former minister of Scientology who became a vocal critic of the church. RTC claimed that Erlich infringed on RTC’s copyrights by posting portions of RTC’s work on an online bulletin board. The operator of the bulletin board used Netcom On-Line Communications, Inc. (Netcom) (defendant) to connect to the Internet. Netcom did not create or control the content of the information available to its subscribers. RTC asked Netcom remove Erlich’s access to Netcom’s systems. Netcom refused. RTC sued Netcom for copyright infringement. RTC argued its case on theories of direct infringement, contributory infringement, and vicarious infringement.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Whyte, J.)

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