t byfield on Wed, 19 May 1999 21:42:31 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Amazon knuckles under to Church of Scientology

    [it seems as though Amazon.com has decided not to sell a book 
     that's extremely critical of the Church of Scientology 'as a
     result of legal issues.' given the Co$'s long history of vig-
     orously pursuing its interests through legal proceedings--in
     other words, terrorizing its enemies--it'd be a shame to let
     them have their way so quietly with Amazon. the book in ques-
     tion is John Atack, _A Piece of Blue Sky_ (Carol, 1990; ISBN 
     081840499X). (forwarded with permission and encouragement to
     circulate far and wide.) --cheers, tb]

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To: silent-tristero@world.std.com
From: Chris Leithiser <cleithis@bc.cc.ca.us>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 12:04:34 -0700
Subject: Amazon Com censoring booklist?

I mentioned in an S-T discussion a few weeks ago that I was having a
"philosophical disagreement" with Amazon.com, but wasn't specific at
that time (although I did explain to a few individuals who mailed me

I think it's time to explain further.

I learned through the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology that the book
"A Piece of Blue Sky," by Jon Atack, had disappeared from the online
catalog at Amazon.  The book is available at Barnes&Noble, among others,
so it's not a matter of being "out of print."  (In fact, "oop" books at
Amazon should bring up a screen indicating that you can back-order them
from used bookstores.  "Blue Sky" doesn't.)

This was particularly intriguing because the cult has a long history of
threatening litigation over this particular book, considered one of the
best sources for information about $cientology.  They also have been
known to steal/vandalize it on public library shelves.

I provided the ISBN information to Amazon and, after two weeks, checked
back to discover that the book is still not listed.

I wrote a letter of complaint and received the following reply.  (Name
withheld by me).

To me, this goes beyond Amazon's playing fast-and-loose with reader
reviews.  It appears that "A Piece of Blue Sky" has been declared an

I am doubleplus unhappy.


Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com.

Amazon.com is a retailer and does not engage in censorship.  Our goal
is to provide as broad a selection of books, CD, and videos as
possible to our customers.  However, there are times when we must
remove titles from our catalog for legal reasons.  Typical examples of
legal situations that may require us to remove items from our catalog
include copyright violations and findings of libel or defamation.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please let us know if you have
any further questions or concerns--we'll be glad to hear from you.

Best regards,

<name withheld>
Earth's Biggest Selection

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To: silent-tristero@world.std.com
From: the potsmaster <silent-tristero@world.std.com>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 20:48:26 -0400
Subject: it's not ``censorship'' of governments aren't involved digest #1

		Re: Amazon Com censoring booklist?
			from "mirele (D.M. Holmes)" <mirele@xmission.com>


From: "mirele (D.M. Holmes)" <mirele@xmission.com>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 18:36:09 -0600
Subject: Re: Amazon Com censoring booklist?

 Chris Leithiser wrote:
> To me, this goes beyond Amazon's playing fast-and-loose with reader
> reviews.  It appears that "A Piece of Blue Sky" has been declared an
> unbook.
> I am doubleplus unhappy.

Well, the news is out...the book *has* been banned from amazon.com.

One of my online friends received the following email from amazon.com 
this afternoon.  While I am obscuring the name of the person who 
received the email, I am not obscuring the name of the person who sent 
it to him, because I think that when people do things like this, they ought 
to be named.  While I won't suggest a course of action to the denizens 
of silent-tristero, I know what I'm going to do.

Here's the letter:

Dear Mr. XXXXX,

Thanks for writing to Amazon.com.

I'm sorry to hear that you are disappointed by the removal of "A Piece
of Blue Sky" by John Atack from our catalog.  Our decision to drop
this title from our listings was a result of legal issues.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns.
Feel free to contact us any time--we will always be glad to hear your
questions or comments.  We hope to see you again at Amazon.com!

Best regards,

Sara Jarolimek
Earth's Biggest Selection


It should be noted that Jon Atack, the author of _A Piece of Blue Sky_, 
is enjoined from distributing the book in the UK, but his *publisher* and 
*bookstores* and *libraries* are not.  Nevertheless, Scientology has 
embarked on a campaign to get libraries to destroy their copies of _A 
Piece of Blue Sky._  The Scientologists are quite proud of this; you can 
see archived copies of the threatening letters at 

(BTW, if you're in the mood, you can go and check out the three 
separate pages that Scientology has on me at  
www.parishioners.org...not only am I a religious bigot, I am also the 
subject of a "Public Service Announcement" and I am "intolerant.")

Deana M. Holmes

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