Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]


I never expected all this hoopla (and you can quote me on that!). The hoopla I’m speaking of is for the 45,000+ ‘unique visitors’ to this site yesterday, from Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, Guy Fawkes, and Emma, all to read my post on Scientology’s abuse of eBay’s VeRO system. You all caused me to lose sleep while I tried to reconfigure the bandwidth of the site; the site crashed but was back up within ten minutes. I also received a few emails, some with interesting points I’ll try to address later.

One thing I would like address up front, however, is that the title of the Slashdot article linking here is a bit misleading. The VeRO program doesn’t quite give Scientology access to eBay’s database–it’s an administrative tool whereby VeRO members can remove listings. It’s not a slight distinction and should at least be pointed out. That said, it is true that the VeRO program allows rightsholders to police infringements themselves without interference from any human at eBay; these dynamics (including the prohibitive cost of responsive litigation by sellers) dictate a scenario where overreaching is inevitable.
Another point a few emailers made is that the DMCA safe harbor rule would come into play here, and if sellers wanted to restore listings that were removed, all they would need to do is counternotify. This is true only in the context of an alleged copyright violation, however. Trademark and patent law are not covered by the DMCA safe harbor provision, and it is trademark and patent which has served so far as the bases for removal when Scientology has complained, based on emails and conversations I’ve had with affected sellers. So counternotifying is generally not an option for sellers of e-meters on eBay. See the EFF’s Safe Harbor FAQ for more on this.

Comments are closed.