The Church of Scientology has been in a losing battle with the Internet for nearly two decades, ever since the first critics started revealing the sordid details of the organization on Usenet newsgroups. Of late, zealots have been using the Digital Millenium Copyright act to squelch dissent on YouTube — with four thousand bogus takedown requests sent in a few hours. Because of YouTube's automated system to respond to such complaints, all those videos and channels like Mark Bunker's XenuTV were pulled from the site. Counter-claims have since been filed and many of the videos and accounts restored. Videos included the one above with ex-Scientologist Tory Christman explains how the church uses members to help censor dissent online. What could YouTube possibly do to stop this abuse?The company's hands are largely tied — there is no provision in the DMCA that allows sites and ISPs to confirm the provenance of claims. Issuers of bogus takedown notices can only be held accountable after the fact in court, and while it's not clear, YouTube would have to be wary of exposing to itself to more liability if it manually monitored cases. For instance, in Bunker's case, his XenuTV channel has been taken down and restored multiple times. Because either through flagging or phony takedowns, the automated system rewards the whims of "concerned citizens" who may well have an axe to grind. What YouTube can do is help users affected by illegal copyright notices go after the liars. Individuals acting alone with no legal or financial support would have an uphill battle against L. Ron Hubbard's disciples. But YouTube could certainly lend both lawyers and money to a possible class-action suit, either directly or through a proxy like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (so as not to offend a paying advertiser). While rightsholders are given a warning that issuing false claims could result in a perjury conviction by the automated takedown system, until someone actually pays the price its just that — only a warning.