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12/1/2006
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Landmark Drops Copyright Infringement Subpoenas On Google And Anonymous Critic

Landmark sought a subpoena to find out who posted hidden camera footage from an event held by the French branch of the organization.

A self-help group has dropped its attempts to claim copyright infringement and identify an anonymous online critic by serving subpoenas on Google and the Internet Archive.

An anonymous critic of Landmark Forum posted hidden camera footage from an event held by the French branch and posted a version with English subtitles on YouTube. The creators classify the piece as a documentary. It is highly critical of Landmark's forums, which are billed as personal growth seminars.

The documentary shows verbal attacks on participants who remain with organizers for 72 hours and can't leave unless first gaining permission. Those tactics have led many, including the Australian Cult Awareness & Information Centre to label the group a cult.

Landmark, also known as EST, sought subpoenas in California courts under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA allows people to subpoena for the identity of those who allegedly infringe on copyrighted material without filing a lawsuit for infringement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has an ongoing campaign to stop abuse of the DMCA, intervened on behalf of the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive.

After a series of letters and talks, Landmark agreed this week to withdraw its subpoena to Google and the Internet Archive in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic that the critic would not re-post the video.

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