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Papal Web Sites Dispute in Court

January 14, 1999

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A Web site with information on Pope John Paul II’s upcoming visit and links to sexually explicit material confuses people and infringes on the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ trademark, Catholic officials say.

``It sends a very confusing message to people,″ said Monsignor Ted Wojcicki, coordinator of events for the pope’s visit here.

A federal court hearing was held Wednesday to determine if the site, created by Seattle-based Internet Entertainment Group, should be removed permanently from the Internet. The hearing was continued to Jan. 19.

IEG’s Web site, called ``Papal Visit 1999,″ included John Paul’s schedule for the Jan. 26-27 visit, the only known stop in the United States this year.

The site also had links to adult entertainment venues in St. Louis and a link to IEG’s erotic Web site, Clublove.

The Archdiocese complained that the site infringes on its trademark, Papal Visit 1999, and U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh ordered the site removed.

IEG lawyer Leonard Frankel argued for the temporary restraining order to be lifted. He said the site includes a disclaimer that says the page is not affiliated with the Catholic Church, the Vatican or the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which has its own site on the visit.

``They have yet to show any confusion in this case. They have a problem with the context of the pages with the adult entertainment,″ Frankel said.

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