A nine-minute video featuring Tom Cruise excitedly proclaiming the virtues of Scientology was leaked onto the Internet. Gawker, YouTube, and other sites posted the video. The Church of Scientology's lawyers sent out cease-and-desist letters and emails to a range of re-publishers, most of whom removed the video. Gawker Media refused to comply.
On January 15, 2008, the Church of Scientology (through counsel) sent an email to Gawker Media alleging that posting the video on Gawker and Defamer (another Gawker Media site) violated its copyright and demanding its removal. The Church also asserted that "several criminal laws are implicated since this work was stolen," citing theft (California Penal Code 484 et seq); receiving stolen property (California Penal Code 496); and interstate transporting or transmission of stolen goods (18 U.S.C. 2314), but did not directly accuse Gawker of committing any of these criminal offenses.
Gawker responded to the Church via email, rebuffing the criminal claims and asserting fair use:
We are using this video in the context of news reporting and
critical commentary, which are uses that may not be authorized by your
client, but which serve the public interest. For this, and other
reasons, we believe our use is fair. We further do not accept that we
have broken any criminal laws in publishing it, and in any event,
several of the statutes you cite are inapplicable in this case.
The video is still posted on Gawker , and the Church is believed to be considering legal action .