Supreme Court rejects Falwell appeal to stop Fallwell.com
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Monday April 17, 2006
The Supreme Court, on Monday, turned down an appeal of a case by Jerry Falwell to shut down a Website that bares an almost identical name but attacks the evangelist's views on gays and lesbians, RAW STORY has found.
Last August the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Christopher Lamparello was free to operate his website at www.fallwell.com because he had "not evidenced a bad faith intent to profit" from it (PDF link to Appeals Court opinion).
"We agree with the Fifth and Sixth Circuits that, given these circumstances, the use of a mark in a domain name for a gripe site criticizing the markholder does not constitute cybersquatting," the Appeals court said.
According to an Associated Press report, "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."
The A.P. also notes that "Falwell's Web site is more high-tech, with pictures of the minister, and sales material for books and videos," while "Lamparello's Web site is mainly in black and white, with no photographs or items for sale."
"This website is NOT affiliated with Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell or his ministry," reads a disclaimer at the top of www.fallwell.com, together with a link to the correctly spelled evangelist's Website.
Lamparello's site criticizes Falwell for using the Bible to support his contention "that gay and lesbian people are sinning and can change."
"This website was created as a way to help people understand why we so strongly disagree with Dr. Falwell," explains a page at www.fallwell.com. "This site is here to help you study the question of what the Bible really says about people who are gay, enabling you to reach your own conclusions."