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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wikimedia Foundation receives copyright infringement claim from Mormon Church

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The Wikimedia Foundation has received a copyright infringement claim from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. The infringement claim is in reference to a URL used as a source in a Wikinews article about Mormon Church documents leaked to the website Wikileaks, titled "Copy of handbook for leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints obtained by Wikinews". The URL was originally cited as a link in the sources subsection of the article. The Wikimedia Foundation is a donor-supported non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia and Wikinews. This is the first time that the Wikimedia Foundation has received a copyright infringement claim regarding an article published by Wikinews.

The Wikinews article, originally published on April 19, described material in the Church Handbook of Instructions. The work is a two-volume book of policies and is a guide for leaders of the Mormon Church. Wikinews obtained the Church Handbook of Instructions from Wikileaks, a whistleblower website which publishes anonymous submissions of sensitive documents while preserving the anonymity of its contributors. Wikileaks describes the material as significant because "...the book is strictly confidential among the Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka LDS in short form) bishops and stake presidents and it reveal [sic] the procedure of handling confidential matters related to tithing payment, excommunication, baptism and doctrine teaching (indoctrination)."

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14 comments:

Russtafarian said...

Incidentally, I'm a believing Latter Day Saint who's read a few pages of the said "manual" in my day. You'll find yourself bored to death with it. They're guidelines at best, with such scandalous information about how members are left to their own discretion about what constitutes an honest tithe, about how folks need to be baptized by immersion, and that teachings need to be primarily from the scriptures...dude, this information can be had by spending two seconds in a church meeting.

Furthermore, as one leader of the Church put it: As good as the manuals are, we ultimately make our decisions through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I know of cases where even the President has directed a subordinate to carry out an action, the subordinate feels inspiration that he should not and reports the same back to the President. The President tells him that such inspiration always rules supreme.

Start hiring better hackers, friends...this stuff is old news.

Zelph said...

I have read it, and found it pretty much a big snore, and I really don't see what the big deal is, or why the church wants to keep it so secretive.

Scastoroil said...

Zelph,

I'm sure the Church is just making sure other intellectual property is respected. If they let this go, despite its copyrighted nature, then it would be more difficult to protect other material that is more sacred to the Church.

Anonymous said...

The Mormon Church is one of the few law abiding churches. I'm sure if wikileaks had published the Book of Mormon, which is publically available, the Mormon Church would have reacted in the exact same way.

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