Industry Attorney Marc Randazza Takes on the Mormons
SALT LAKE CITY — “Since the whole world is getting a boner about the fact that I represent porn companies, perhaps the porn side wants to say, ‘porn lawyer takes on the Mormons.’ ”
That’s what industry attorney Marc Randazza quipped to XBIZ after taking on as client the website MormonLeaks.io, which reposted a document that had been previously removed by a third party after counsel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it violated copyright laws.
MormonLeaks founder Ryan McKnight, a former Mormon who lives in Las Vegas, sought out Randazza’s legal help after the church sent him a takedown notice on March 1 after MormonLeaks published an internal PowerPoint presentation prepared for senior-level church officials.
MormonLeaks has posted more than 60 leaked documents or videos since it launched in December.
The PowerPoint presentation included a page titled, “Issues and Ideas Leading People Away from the Gospel,” and lists things on a scale from “Far Left” to “Far Right.”
The document apparently first appeared on document-sharing site DocDroid, which did remove the page.
On behalf of MormonLeaks, Randazza last week shot off a letter to Mormon church officials saying that the takedown order was bogus because the website obtained the document lawfully and had a right to distribute it in its capacity as a journalistic resource devoted to discussing facts about the church.
Randazza told church officials that the takedown notice was a misuse of the DMCA.
“We have a document about the inner workings of the LDS church, which someone decided they would rather keep a secret,” Randazza wrote. “Let us assume, arguendo, that my client did not have a right to distribute it.
"Even if my client were to never lay eyes or fingers upon it again, it would still be disseminated worldwide. You tried to blow out a single candle, but in the process, you knocked it over into a field of dried leaves," he wrote. "You may have extinguished that initial flame. However, your attempted censorship simply caused the document to be further reproduced and redistributed that even a hypothetical divine being could not possibly undo the dissemination.
Randazza told church officials in the letter that if they didn’t seek to file a copyright infringement claim against MormonLeaks that he’d bring a vigorous fair-use defense.
“We will have every right to engage in discovery in defending my client. Whatever it is you wish to keep a secret will now be not only disseminated on a few websites, but will become a matter of public record,” he wrote. “Further, this document will become a far more important story than it was previously. In fact, those who found the story of minor interest will now find the attempt at censorship even more interesting.”