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Falwell Wins Vs. Gay Activist's Web Site

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Falwell Wins Vs. Gay Activist's Web Site

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that a gay activist must stop using a variation of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's name in the address for a Web site critical of the conservative television evangelist.

In a ruling released Tuesday, federal Judge Claude Hilton said the domain name for the site, fallwell.com, was "nearly identical" to the registered trademark "Jerry Falwell" name and was likely to be confusing to Web surfers.

Hilton said the site's operator, Christopher Lamparello, intended to divert people from the Jerry Falwell Ministries' Web site "with the direct intent to tarnish or disparage" Falwell. He also ruled that Lamparello, of New York, sought to make a profit by selling a book on the site via a link to Amazon.com.

Lamparello's site criticizes Falwell's stance against homosexuality and includes a disclaimer that reads, "This Web site is not affiliated with Jerry Falwell Ministries."

Falwell lauded the ruling.

"This person for whatever reason is hostile to the message of the gospel I preach and was therefore trying to do damage to the message I deliver," he said in a telephone interview.

Lamparello's lawyer said he planned to appeal.

Last year, an Illinois man gave up the domain names jerryfalwell.com and jerryfallwell.com after Falwell threatened to sue in federal court. Those domain names now link to Jerry Falwell Ministries' Web site.

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