Industry Attorney Marc Randazza Takes on the Mormons

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, 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.”

View Marc Randazza's letter to Mormon officials