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Web site operator sues Julia Roberts in domain dispute

The star of such films as "Notting Hill" and "Pretty Woman" is sued by the owner of Juliaroberts.com for her attempts to stop him from operating his Web site.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--Julia Roberts, star of such films as "Notting Hill" and "Pretty Woman," has been sued by the owner of Juliaroberts.com for her attempts to stop him from operating his Web site.

The Web site, operated by Russell Boyd of Princeton, N.J., contains news, satire and a parody of Roberts and things related to her, according to the lawsuit filed June 13 in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The World Intellectual Property Organization ruled May 29 that Boyd must surrender the domain name to Roberts, according to Boyd's Web site and the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Roberts is "using her influence" to disrupt Boyd's right to exclusivity of the domain name Juliaroberts.com.

"We believe that the provision of Internet domain names is fundamentally a human-rights issue, not an intellectual property issue," says the lawsuit, which asks a judge to stop the forced surrender of Boyd's Web site.

The lawsuit also names Web site registrar Network Solutions (NSI), recently acquired by VeriSign, for allowing Boyd to register the domain name and then allegedly failing to implement domain name policies in a "fair and evenhanded" manner.

Roberts and executives from VeriSign was not immediately available for comment.

Boyd's Web site is replete with debates about Roberts' move to force Boyd to give up the domain name. Boyd writes that he still appreciates Roberts and would love to have her as a friend, "but I will not roll over to her."

Copyright 2000, Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.

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