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Anti-Abortion Extremist Faces Additional Cybersquatting Charges

Anti-abortion extremist William Purdy is once again facing charges of cybersquatting. Despite a temporary restraining order that required Purdy to shut down all Web sites with names similar to companies that have filed suit against him, Purdy returned to court this week on charges that he created another Web site with a domain name similar to a Washington Post Company site to force viewers to read his anti-abortion messages. US District Court Judge Ann Montgomery said that she would issue an additional restraining order against Purdy and ordered that he return to court next week on charges that he violated the original restraining order, according to the Pioneer Press.

In July, Purdy was ordered to shut down 30 sites with domain names that mimic several well-known entities such as the Washington Post Company, the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Coca Cola Company and link to his abortionismurder.org – a site featuring gruesome photographs of purported aborted fetuses. Five of the targeted entities have filed a joint lawsuit against Purdy to stop him from using Internet domain names that are “identical or confusingly similar” in order to direct viewers to his anti-abortion site. Since 1998, 16 lawsuits have been filed against abortionismurder.org by organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Brookings Institution, with charges of cybersquatting.

Despite protections against such activity granted to trademarked domain names under the Anti-Cybersquatting Act, Purdy claims that his actions are protected under the First Amendment. Purdy, who describes himself as an “abortion abolitionist,” has been arrested but not convicted several times for shouting anti-abortion slogans at former President Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Micahel Dukakis and others.

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Sources:

Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/4/02; Pioneer Press 10/4/02; Feminist Daily News 8/1/02

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