Berlin wrests control of German website name from US neo-Nazi

Expatica/October 8, 2004

Berlin -- Berlin has won a case against American neo-Nazi Gary Lauck for control of an internet domain name and is waiting out the compulsory 10-day notice period to close down the website, officials said in Berlin on Friday.

The decision marks a fresh victory in Germany's cat-and-mouse game with Lauck, who has created a series of websites with official-sounding names and packed them with photos of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

Lauck, who has been nicknamed the "Farmbelt Fuehrer" because his home is in Lincoln, Nebraska, this year registered a variant of the name "federalrepublicofgermany" without any spaces.

The German government owns the domain name

A panelist appointed by the World

Intellectual Property Organization's arbitration and mediation centred ruled that Berlin owns the term as a trademark and can take control of the domain name. Lauck did not defend the case.

The United States refuses to take action against Lauck, an American who was deported from Germany in 1999 after being convicted of inciting racial hatred. His site shows him in brown shirt, half- comb moustache and swastika armband.

The content breaches German laws against the revival of Nazi emblems or ideology. German Interior Minister Otto Schily has aggressively gone after Lauck using internet law in a series of cases since 2001 where Lauck had registered the names of German ministries.

In Berlin, deputy government spokesman Hans-Hermann Langguth said the latest usurped name would be transferred to German control after a 10-day appeal deadline.

"Until then we won't be able to stop the content being published under this domain name," he said.

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