Mar 15, 2017

MormonLeaks reposts LDS Church apostasy presentation, rebuffs faith's copyright violation claim

LDS Church
The Salt Lake Tribune
March 14, 2017

MormonLeaks » Site reposts faith’s apostasy presentation and rebuffs church’s copyright-violation claim.

The MormonLeaks website on Tuesday reposted an LDS Church PowerPoint presentation dealing with the roots of apostasy, such as pornography, campaigns to ordain women, challenges to the faith's history and general "lack of righteousness."

The site, which has generated past headlines by displaying restricted church papers on topics ranging from the salaries of Mormon apostles to rules governing calls home by missionaries, had taken down the presentation after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints threatened legal action March 1.

Based on a copyright-violation allegation, it marked the first time that the Utah-based faith had turned to its attorneys to challenge MormonLeaks' revelations in the four months the site has been up.

On Tuesday, the site reposted the material, along with a letter sent Monday to Barry Taggart, a representative of the LDS Church's Intellectual Property Office.

In the letter, MormonLeaks' Las Vegas-based attorney Marc Randazza contends the site "obtained this document lawfully and had a right to distribute it in its capacity as a journalistic resource devoted to discussing facts about the LDS Church."

The site was founded in December by Ryan McKnight, a former Mormon who lives in Las Vegas. Previous materials leaked through McKnight, including widely circulated videos of briefings given to LDS apostles, have proved to be credible.

Randazza, asserting the March 1 "takedown notice" was a misuse of copyright law, asked the church to continue its "reasonable" policy of the recent past of seeming "to handle criticism and commentary with admirable grace, tact and class."

Specifically, Randazza pointed to the faith's reaction to the biting musical parody "The Book of Mormon" as "inspiring in the context of religious tolerance/intolerance of free speech." He praised the church for tolerating the Tony Award-winning play's "criticism and mockery."

"At this point, my client is willing to let bygones be bygones," Randazza writes. "If your client is willing to step back from the brink, and to cease efforts to censor this material, my client is willing to refrain from bringing a claim [of abusing copyright law]."

A representative for Taggart's office said Tuesday the church would have no comment on MormonLeaks' latest actions.

In his previous letter, Taggart warned McKnight to "act expeditiously" to remove the PowerPoint item from the Internet, arguing that it "contains material not authorized by the intellectual property owner, its agents, or the law."

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