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Attorney says federal court should hear Hendrix case

The dispute, between the musician's family and a Land O'Lakes man, is over Internet rights.

An attorney representing the estate of rock star Jimi Hendrix has asked that a lawsuit over the Internet use of the Hendrix name be moved out of Pasco County to a federal court in Tampa.

Attorney Alexander Anguira filed papers late last week asking Circuit Judge Maynard Swanson to move the case to U.S. District Court.

The suit was filed against Experience Hendrix, a Washington state company formed to oversee the commercial use of Hendrix' name and music.

Cyber-speculator Denny Hammerton of Land O'Lakes registered the Internet site, then sued Hendrix' heirs when they complained to a United Nations panel that oversees the use of domain names.

Hammerton has also sued the rock band Jethro Tull for the same reason. He has repeatedly declined to speak with the Times about his lawsuits and posted a notice on one of his Internet sites telling reporters to "F+++ OFF!"

But Hendrix's sister, Janie Hendrix, said protecting her brother's name and the rights to his image and music is important to her family.

"It's like somebody kidnapping your child and then holding him for ransom and saying now that I have the child, I can do whatever I want," Hendrix said shortly after Hammerton filed his lawsuits. "The child doesn't belong to that person. Cyber-squatters look at themselves as real estate purchasers, but a domain name isn't real estate. My brother's name isn't real estate."

Using a name that Jimi Hendrix made famous by his own creative efforts isn't just available for whoever grabs it first on the Internet, she said.

Bill Drew, an Oregon attorney for Experience Hendrix who speaks for the organization, said moving Hammerton's suit into federal court provides a fair venue for an out-of-state company to deal with a case because the rules are the same in all federal courts, whereas local laws differ from state to state.

Anguira's request notes that Hammerton's suit cites several federal laws and constitutional issues that would be best dealt with at the federal level.

No trial date has been set in the case.

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