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Federal judge finds man in contempt in cybersquatting case

By The Associated Press
01.25.03

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An anti-abortion activist who has registered Web site addresses derived from the name of The Washington Post and other well-known companies said he would go to jail rather than give them up.

The registered domain names include “thewashingtonpostjesus.com” and “the washingtonpostchristian.com.”

William Purdy, 52, of South St. Paul, uses the domain names to direct Internet surfers to anti-abortion Web pages.

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery found Purdy in contempt of her order last July that he give up registering domain names that take advantage of well-known trademarks such as The Washington Post, McDonald’s, Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola to direct Web surfers to anti-abortion sites.

Domain names are the common-language addresses for Web sites. Bitter battles often break out over who gets to use names belonging to companies, products or celebrities.

Thomas Olson, an attorney for the corporations, complained that since that order, Purdy has registered new names such as “washingtonpostspeaks.com” and “lovemcdonalds.com” that direct Internet users to Web sites that feature photos of what purport to be aborted fetuses. Purdy had previously been ordered to surrender names such as “mycoca-cola.com” and “mymcdonalds.com” that did the same thing.

“He’s continuing to flout the order right now, as we sit in this court,” Olson said.

But Purdy and his attorney, Douglas Altman, argued that the judge’s order was too vague and didn’t give Purdy enough guidance on what was permissible. Purdy said he would comply with a judge’s ruling on what sites he couldn’t register but complained that the judge was trying to take away his rights of free speech.

Montgomery denied a motion Purdy made last fall for further clarification of her order, saying it was clear enough. She said she would give Purdy one last chance to comply by a Feb. 4 hearing or be arrested.

“I’m going to jail,” Purdy said.


Previous
Minnesota abortion foe must shutter Web sites
Federal judge issues temporary restraining order requested by several large corporations seeking to protect their trademarks. 07.24.02

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Cybersquatting


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