“Britnyspears” Web Site = Ticket To Prison?

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Charges against a Florida man will test a new federal law making it illegal to use misleading Internet domain names that draw minors to pornographic Web sites.

John Zuccarini of Hollywood, Fla., was charged in New York City with registering 3,000 domain names that included misspellings or variations of popular names like Britney Spears, Disneyland, and Teen magazine, the New York Times says. Anyone who mistyped one of the names on an Internet browser would be directed to a Web page barraged with X-rated advertising. The user would be “mousetrapped”–unable to exit from the site.

Zuccarini is the first person charged under the Truth in Domain Names Law, part of the “Amber Alert” legislation that recently went into effect. The Times says that last year, the Federal Trade Commission got a permanent injunction ordering Zuccarini to dismantle certain Web sites and pay a $1.9 million judgment.

Zuccarini allegedly was paid 10 to 25 cents each time a visitor to one of his sites moved to the site of one of the advertisers, earning him up to $1 million a year. The misspelled domain names used spellings like “Dinseyland,” “Teltubbies” and “Britnyspears.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/04/nyregion/04AMBE.html

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