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A publishing unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) will continue a copyright lawsuit against an evangelical ministry that counters Mormon teaching and history. The publishing unit won a decision January 27 against a move to dismiss the action, which claimed that Utah Lighthouse Ministry (UTLM), an evangelical outreach, infringed its copyrights.In December, a federal judge in Salt Lake City ruled that Utah Lighthouse Ministry could not post the addresses of other Internet locations containing text from the Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics. That document is published by Intellectual Reserve Inc. (IRI), a unit of the LDS that holds copyrights to publications and the LDS church's own Web site.Such an injunction could have a chilling effect on the interconnected nature of the World Wide Web. A majority of Web sites offer such addresses, usually as "hot links" a user can click to jump directly to a site.UTLM President Sandra Tanner says that "these were never posted on our site as [live] links; they were simply Web addresses."IRI's lawyer says UTLM violated protections the LDS church has under copyright law. "This is a case of copyright infringement; that's all that it's about," says Berne Broadbent, IRI's copyright counsel and an attorney with Kirton and McConkie, a Salt Lake City firm with LDS ties.Sandra and Jerald Tanner are former Mormons long active in evangelical circles.The IRI suit first sought to make the Tanners remove Web site references to how the LDS handles resignations from church membership."This is not a matter of giving people information," Broadbent says. "They knew [the Handbook] was copyrighted; they took an entire chapter and portions of two ...

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March 6, 2000

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