Paul Polidoro is a lawyer based in Patterson New York, on a compound owned and operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. He legally represents his religious group’s entities in various cases. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton is probably his most famous case. In that United States Supreme Court win in 2002, he successfully defended his religion’s right to continue to go door-to-door unimpeded by a registration process that attempted to prohibit canvassers going in and upon private residential properties. It would be reasonable to conclude that such a win put him on a pedestal among his peers in New York.
It’s quite likely, due to the superstitious nature of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that the legal department may believe Paul Polidoro has Jehovah’s backing because of his US Supreme court win in 2002. Therefore, they may think that he is best positioned to win against Jehovah’s Witnesses who are committing “global theft of [Watch Tower’s] intellectual property” (Case 7:20-mc-00119-CS, Document 19, page 2 of 6).
On February 27, 2020, Paul Polidoro on behalf of Watch Tower requested the issuance of a DMCA subpoena so that they could acquire all identifying information of a user who goes by the name “JW Apostate”. On the same day, they also sent an email to YouTube to remove the alleged infringing works.
The material in question was five videos entitled, Congregation Accounting Training Videos #2, How Can You Support LDC, Congregation Accounting Videos #1, Whose Leadership Can You Trust, and Choose Your Apps Wisely.
On March 13, 2020, an individual claiming to be JW Apostate submitted a motion to quash Paul Polidoro’s DMCA subpoena. In it, mixed between some of the spicier language, she/he referred to the Stratton case. If nothing else, this motion to quash gave JW Apostate a voice. A spicy voice.
Needless to say Polidoro moved to oppose the motion to quash. In his documents filed March 26, 2020, he claimed that “without knowing the true identities of the infringers who are illegally posting Watch Tower’s copyrighted works, Watch Tower is unable to defend its copyrighted works against these infringements.” This may be true, without an identity it’s impossible to defend a copyright claim. However, Watch Tower has issued no less than 60 DMCA subpoenas since June 2017.
Furthermore, in Polidoro’s latest filing, he admits that the “information obtained from these subpoenas has, thus far, provided little in the way of information necessary to identify a potential defendant”.
At the expense of being pedantic, he claims that JW Apostate’s view of “an all-volunteer workforce” is more accurately described as “unsalaried members of a religious order” and supports this claim by referencing The Watchtower, September 1, 2015, page 6. There is nothing in that reference that proves “unsalaried members of a religious order” produce videos, or produce anything for that matter. And the reality of the matter is, these “unsalaried members of a religious order” are all Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On a side note, if you read The Watchtower article in its entirety, it says that the Watch Tower “will never beg or petition men for support” and goes on to say, “We have not wavered from that policy”. How many donation requests have been issued since Polidoro has been fighting JW Apostate? Have a read through the letters issued to elders and congregations here in that time period. Also have a look at this news report published on JW.org where they are using a 74 year old lady as an example to illicit funds electronically from other elderly members.
Polidoro says further in his submission that “undertaking litigation … is carefully considered because Jehovah’s Witnesses’ efforts are “supported entirely by voluntary donations.””
Polidoro, in his Declaration, states that the alleged infringing videos are shown at congregation meetings, or used at congregation meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In other words, Polidoro admits that the videos are created by Jehovah’s Witnesses and used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Who are donating to support the video production work? Is it not also Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Who are Watch Tower intending to sue for the alleged “global theft of its intellectual property”? The only persons who are sharing or distributing Watch Tower materials are Jehovah’s Witnesses for Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is no theft unless to steal from oneself is theft.
Essentially, the Watch Tower, who relies on donations from Jehovah’s Witnesses, is using funds donated by Jehovah’s Witnesses to sue Jehovah’s Witnesses who are distributing the material produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Paul Polidoro might want to consider sharing the verses at Philippians 1:15-20 with his superiors. It might save them some embarrassment. Not least, he would not want to find himself as a fighter against God, or see his credibility knocked off a pedestal and dumped into a trash can, spiritually speaking. Unless of course, the intellectual property of Jehovah’s Witnesses isn’t about “proclaiming the Christ out of love” but is produced for some other reason?