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Dead Jehovah's Witnesses Rise, Decry Current Watchtower Legal Tactics
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PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania - Past leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect have begun to rise from their graves, apparently awakened by the current legal activities of the Watchtower organization they helped found and support. "When I relinquished my earthly life in nineteen hundred and sixteen, I assumed that honorable men would carry on the work that I had begun," said an opaquely corporeal Charles Taze Russell, founder of the sect, "But the past century has shown my trust to be sadly misplaced."

Former president of the Watchtower, Joseph "Judge" Rutherford commented, "When I heard about this most recent attempt to 'frame mischief by law', I first rolled over in my grave. But even that wasn't satisfying, so I decided to come forward and see if I might not dissuade my brethren from this most noxious course."

The catalyst for their return was the Watchtower's decision to sue a former member for publishing quotes from their publications (http://quotes.watchtower.ca ), contrasting former beliefs with current ones, and highlighting prophetic statements that have failed to come to pass. "With all due respect to the risen former leaders, it's a simple matter of dilution, confusion, and copyright infringement," said the current President of the Watchtower Max Larson, "The defendant is publishing our copyrighted materials without our consent in an attempt to embarrass us. We are simply exercising our rights under Canadian law." But according to the web site operator, his site is not meant to embarrass the Watchtower. "I used to go door to door with this stuff," he said, "They never threatened to sue me then. In fact they chastised me more than once for not doing it often enough! But as soon as I start pulling in-context quotes out of their publications, categorizing them to show people what Jehovah's Witnesses have taught over the years, and make those quotes freely available to everyone, that's when they turned on me."

Canadian law expert Michael Fargill says that the Watchtower may have "grabbed a tiger by the tail. When it comes to publishing quotes from copyrighted works, you have to start examining intent. Is the quote being used out of context to slander the author? Is it being used to generate a derivative work for profit? Or is it being used to make a legitimate point about the author? Without a firmer legal basis for the case, I suspect the Watchtower leaders will very soon find some high-profile egg on their faces. This is simply an unwinnable case."

The Watchtower -- the publishing corporation used by Jehovah's Witnesses -- is seeking over $100,000 in damages. "I remember stating to the effect of, 'If the Lord fails to provide funds, the Watchtower should be discontinued,'" admitted the slowly fading Russell, "But my heavens, I never meant to extract it by law from the flock!"

[Author's note: Unbelievably, the Jehovah's Witnesses really are suing a man for simply publishing quotes from their publications. The legal filing can be viewed here. Does it scare anybody else that they go door to door offering one set of information about themselves, while going to court to prevent other information they've printed from being seen? Why the secrecy? Go to the site and find out, while you still can: http://quotes.watchtower.ca]
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