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A man who started a Web site to dispute the views of homosexuality espoused by the Rev. Jerry Falwell has won the right to keep his domain name. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in an Aug. 24 opinion, ruled that Christopher Lamparello’s site cannot be considered cybersquatting or trademark infringement because “Lamparello clearly created his site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to steal customers.” Lamparello started the site in 1999 after hearing Falwell express views on homosexuality that Lamparello found offensive. Falwell had argued that the site, which received substantially less traffic than Falwell’s official site, was likely to cause confusion for visitors even though it included a link to Falwell’s real site. Ironically, says Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for Public Citizen who represented Lamparello, the visibility of the litigation probably increased the number of daily hits Lamparello received. John Midlen Jr., of the Midlen Law Center, who represented Falwell, says he plans to ask the full court to consider the case.
Bethany Broida can be contacted at [email protected].

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