Falwell Gets Rights to Web Addresses

Associated Press/June 19, 2003

Lynchburg, Va. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell says he has won the rights to two Internet domains that use his name after he threatened to again sue the man who set up the parody Web sites.

Falwell said Wednesday that an Illinois entrepreneur decided to turn over jerryfalwell.com and jerryfallwell.com rather than face further legal action. The sites spoofed Falwell's views on the Bible and his fund-raising methods.

No one answered the phone Thursday night at a listing for Gary Cohn, of Highland Park, Ill., and messages left with his attorneys were not returned.

The TV evangelist has been trying to gain legal rights to the domains since early last year, when he filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization. That agency ruled against him.

Falwell later sued Cohn in federal court in Virginia, contending that the Web sites were libelous and an instance of illegal cybersquatting. That lawsuit was dismissed in March on jurisdictional grounds. Falwell was threatening to file suit in Illinois.

Falwell said that after the Virginia suit was dismissed he and his lawyers discovered the name Jerry Falwell had been trademarked with Falwell's talk show "Listen America" several years ago.

That trademark was key in getting Cohn to surrender the domain names, said Jerry Falwell Jr., general counsel for Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.

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