Supreme Court Denies Falwell's "Typosquatting" Case
from the sorry-try-again dept
Jerry Falwell’s been waging an ongoing battle against people that run Web sites critical of him. His latest fight saw him sue the owner of fallwell.com, a site that decries his views on homosexuality, alleging it was typosquatting — improperly drawing visitors by using a common misspelling of his official falwell.com site. A Federal appeals court disagreed, and now the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, backing up the lower court’s ruling. Of course, the good reverend has never really been able to accept criticism, and since he can’t get around the First Amendment, he’s had to resort to other tactics, like alleging trademark abuse. But the judges in the appeals court made it clear that the criticism site made no attempt to confuse visitors, even including ample disclaimers and links to Falwell’s official site. It’s interesting to note that the same appeals court ruled against the operator of the “People Eating Tasty Animals” site that parodied People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Falwell or his supporters accuse them of political or religious bias by favoring what they consider a “left-wing” group. But the facts of the cases are pretty different, and in Falwell’s instance, the critical site makes it very clear that it’s not affiliated with Falwell, so the chances of a visitor being confused into thinking they were at his official site are pretty slim.