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Net company abandons McVeigh Webcast

A company that sought to Webcast the execution of the convicted Oklahoma City bomber says it has decided not to appeal a court decision to bar the broadcast.

    An Internet company that sought to Webcast the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh said Tuesday it has decided not to appeal a federal court decision barring such a broadcast.

    After a federal judge rejected Entertainment Network's request to transmit the execution over the Web, the Tampa, Fla.-based company said it planned to file an appeal either to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, David Marshlack, chief executive of Entertainment Network, said his company did not have sufficient time to "mount an effective appeal" before the execution, which is scheduled May 16.

    "We believe we have brought an important First Amendment issue to the attention of the American people, the media and the courts," Marshlack said in a statement. "While it may seem macabre to some, the use of the Internet to transmit an execution goes to the very heart of constitutional protections against government secrecy."

    Entertainment Network, which offers Voyeurdorm.com and Erotixmall.com, was hoping to offer a live Webcast of the execution to millions of Internet users for $1.95. When the Federal Bureau of Prisons rejected its request, the company sued the Justice Department and the bureau.

    Although attorney Derek Newman argued during the hearing that the prison agency was acting unconstitutionally in barring Entertainment Network from Webcasting McVeigh's execution, U.S. District Judge John Tinder of the Southern District of Indiana ruled against the company, saying that the request was "unprecedented."

    McVeigh was given the death penalty for killing 168 people in the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City six years ago.