Anti-Scientology protest material removed from YouTube following threats of legal action

The video sharing website YouTube has removed several anti-Scientology videos following threats of legal action. Wikinews found that at least 11 videos have been removed from the site following Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices served on YouTube by Dr. Oliver Schaper, Scientologist and self-described advocate of the Church of Scientology’s rights to free speech. Schaper, in an interview with Wikinews reporter Jason Safoutin, denied involvement in a previous run of DMCA requests involving similar video material. However, the videos in question bear a message that Schaper was the originator of the request.

According to YouTube the 11 videos were removed by direct DMCA requests from Schaper. The videos have been reported to be of anti-Scientology protests, recorded by various members of the group Anonymous.

In early September, an entity named American Rights Counsel LLC — which has described itself as a ‘rights group’, but without provision of contact details — requested the removal from YouTube of over 4,000 anti-Scientology videos. Many of these videos consisted entirely of self-made content by anti-Scientology protesters; others were quite explicitly extracts from official Church of Scientology footage. Users had initially speculated that Schaper was responsible for these requests; no evidence, however, has been obtained to this effect, nor has official comment been obtained from American Rights Counsel.