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November 19, 2001 03:43pm
U.S. Circuit Court Rejects City's Motion for Rehearing on VoyeurDorm.com Case
Source: Entertainment Network, Inc.
by: Company Press Release

(TAMPA, FL) -- VoyeurDorm.com, a Tampa residence where coeds live in front of Web cameras that watch them day and night, will remain open after the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal by the City of Tampa of the Court's earlier ruling that said Tampa's zoning ordinances regulating adult businesses do not apply to cyberspace.

The Court's action last Thursday (Nov. 15) was announced today by Entertainment Network, Inc., the Tampa company that owns VoyeurDorm.

Judges of the Court of Appeals in Atlanta unanimously rejected a motion filed by the city in October that asked for a rehearing and rehearing en banc of the VoyeurDorm.com case by the full Circuit Court. The city had asked the appeals court to overturn a September decision by a three-judge panel of the court that concluded that VoyeurDorm.com exists only in cyberspace, has no impact on its adjoining neighbors and is therefore not an adult use under the city zoning laws.

Webcams at the dorm in West Tampa broadcast every aspect of the lives of a group of female college students over the Internet, 24 hours a day seven days a week. The city wanted to ban the dorm as an adult business since the transmissions sometimes offer glimpses of the women in the nude as they shower or dress. The Court of Appeals ruled last month that since customers do not visit the dorm, Tampa's adult use regulations did not apply.

The Court of Appeals' latest ruling came in a single sentence: "The Petition(s) for rehearing are DENIED and no member of this panel nor other Judge in regular active service on the Court having requested that the Court be polled on rehearing en banc, the Petition(s) for Rehearing En Banc are DENIED."

ENI's attorneys, Luke Lirot and Mark Dolan, praised the Court of Appeals, noting that the City had "wasted precious resources fighting a last ditch battle based on sexual innuendo rather than the law."

"The entire Internet world and anyone who utilizes the Internet for any form of commerce or business will benefit from the decision of all of the judges in this case," said David Marshlack, chief executive of ENI, which operates the dorm. "Like most home-based Websites that operate legally, VoyeurDorm has never had any impact on its neighborhood. We don't allow the public to enter the premises, no money changes hands at the premises, and we operate totally within all laws. This is an enormous victory for the Internet community." He noted that, "The City of Tampa has spent untold thousands of dollars in a futile attempt to shut down VoyeurDorm because somebody thinks there's a moral issue. In fact, VoyeurDorm is directly responsible for the creation of 180 jobs and the city for that reason alone should have been encouraging us, not trying to put us out of business."

Tampa-based Entertainment Network, Inc. is a leading supplier of content for the Internet.

Contact for more information or interviews with David Marshlack, or attorneys Dolan or Lirot: Ellie Reeve, 212-338-0050, elliereeve@aol.com

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