Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Web Site Prompts Mormon Church to Sue Critics
Salt Lake Tribune 15Oct99 N1
By Sheila McCann: Salt Lake Tribune
A hearing is scheduled Monday in the U.S. District court regarding a
law suit that has been filed by Intellectual Reserve Inc. IRI filed the
lawsuit on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
against Jerald and Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministry for
violating copyright laws.
The Tanners run The Lighthouse Ministry in Salt Lake City, a
non-profit organization offering books, a newsletter and a Web site,
that disputes the Latter-day Saint Church's teachings and practices.
Until this week, the web site included pages from the Church Handbook of
Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, a guidebook
that was printed by the LDS Church in 1998 to assist its lay clergy.
Last Wednesday, IRI, demanded the removal of the pages from the
Internet and sued the Tanners in federal court. IRI is a Utah based
corporation that owns the copyrights and other intellectual property
assets used by the church.
IRI attorney, Berne S. Broadbent, said, "The core issue here is the
infringement of the copyrights." U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell
issued the temporary restraining order requiring the Tanners to post the
notice along with a requirement to delete the pages and refrain from
future copyright viloations.
IRI proceeded with the lawsuit because it wants the Tanners to post a
notice acknowledging they violated IRI copyrights and to ask readers to
destroy any portions they copied or down loaded. The Tanner's attorney,
Brian Barnard, argues that they have already removed the material and
added the notice by posting the IRI's demand letter. IRI believes
readers should respond to a notice from the Tanners themselves.
The Tanners claim they posted the information for inactive Mormons who
are interested in having their names removed from Church records. "You
can quit going, and never go for 30 years, and they still call you a
member," Sandra Tanner said. "The Mormon public has the right to know
what the ground rules are. It's something I have received requests on
for 40 years."
The Tanners asked to be removed from membership rolls in the 1960's
and were excommunicated for apostasy. Sandra Tanner believes LDS Church
members are currently interested in having their names removed from
membership rolls in objection to the church's lobbying against same-sex