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Supreme Court turns away Jerry Falwell's Web case

By The Associated Press
04.18.06

WASHINGTON — Evangelist Jerry Falwell yesterday was unable to persuade the Supreme Court to take his appeal of a case that sought to shut down a Web site with a similar name but opposite views on gays.

Falwell claims that a gay New York City man improperly draws people to a site by using a common misspelling of the reverend's name as the site's domain name.

A federal judge sided with Falwell, who runs a Virginia-based ministries, on grounds that Christopher Lamparello's domain name was nearly identical to the trademark bearing Falwell's name and could confuse Web surfers.

But last year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and said that Lamparello was free to operate his "gripe site" about Falwell's views on gays at www.fallwell.com. Lamparello "clearly created his Web site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to steal customers," the court said.

The Jerry Falwell Ministries site is: www.falwell.com.

Falwell's Web site is more high-tech, with pictures of the minister, and sales material for books and videos.

Lamparello's Web site is mainly in black and white, with no photographs or items for sale. He says that Falwell is wrong in preaching that gay people are sinners who can change. At the top of the site a disclaimer reads: "This Web site is NOT affiliated with Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell or his ministry."

Falwell's attorneys have fought over domain names in the past. Three years ago, an Illinois man surrendered the domain names jerryfalwell.com and jerryfallwell.com after Falwell threatened to sue for trademark infringement.


Previous
4th Circuit allows Jerry Falwell critic to keep domain name
Three-judge panel overturns lower court ruling that gay activist violated trademark laws by using misspelling of evangelist's name in Web site address. 08.25.05

Related

Falwell gets rights to Web addresses

Illinois man who set up parody Web sites using pastor's name turns over Internet domains after Jerry Falwell threatens to sue again. 06.20.03

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