February 5, 1997 6:30 PM PST

Court bars site from infringing domain

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Planned Parenthood won the right today to block a Web site that falsely claimed to be the pro-choice organization's home page.

In a ruling today, New York Federal District Judge Kimba Wood barred the site's producer, Richard Bucci, from using the Web address www.plannedparenthood.com.

The organization filed the case on the basis that its trademark had been violated and will seek a permanent injunction against Bucci.

Trademark squabbles over domain names have been abundant among commercial sites, including fights over the trademarked names of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, a famous New York jazz club, MTV, and both Esquire and The New Yorker magazines.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a nonprofit reproductive health care organization that administers birth control, HIV tests, and performs abortions. It said it faced losing credibility with its more than 1 million patients.

"Once drawn into this deceptive Web site, Internet users were sold another false bill of goods--a book, hawked as being 'mightily objective,' but which is an antiabortion polemic," PPFA president Gloria Felt said in a statement today.

The site, which was still up this evening, contains articles and statements that completely reject Planned Parenthood's philosophies and practices.

For example, the site has an endorsement of a book entitled The Cost of Abortion, which states: "The Cost of Abortion proves abortion is not only destroying the soul of America, but its economic life, too." The site also disputes the Roe vs. Wade decision, which gave constitutional protection to abortion rights.

"We respect the right of Mr. Bucci to hawk his wares on the Internet, but not to infringe on our trademark and try to pass himself off as Planned Parenthood," Felt added.

Planned Parenthood is not the only controversial nonprofit to be impersonated on the Web. The American Civil Liberties Union was imitated by a site called www.aclu.com.

The Web address was slightly different from the real ACLU Web site, using the ".com" domain instead of the ".org" used by organizations. The site had a picture of the Unabomber and taunted the ACLU's practices. It has been taken off the Net; whether the ACLU pushed its removal has not been confirmed.

 

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