Special agent Sandra Carroll of the FBI's field office in Newark, New Jersey, said the sites had been asked to voluntarily remove the video "out of consideration for the family" of Pearl. "To my knowledge, most have voluntarily done that," she added.
She declined to identify all the sites contacted but said there had been only a couple. The only one she mentioned by name was ogrish.com, which shows a variety of macabre images.
The ogrish Web site states that the FBI "contacted our host Prohosters to inform them that they were going to sue us for putting on the Pearl video on 5-18-2002. We had no other choice than deleting the video. ... We live in a censored world."
Carroll said an FBI agent may have passed along information that the Pearl family was "looking at what legal remedies that they may have," including obscenity laws. But she said there is no legal prohibition against showing the video.
Pearl disappeared Jan. 23 from outside a restaurant in Karachi, Pakistan, while researching possible links between Pakistani extremists and Richard C. Reid, who was arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. A gruesome three-minute video was delivered to U.S. officials in Karachi on Feb. 21 showing Pearl's death.
Steve Goldstein, a spokesman for Dow Jones & Co., the owner of The Wall Street Journal, said that "when the family notifies us that they have seen a video on one of the sites, we pass the information on to appropriate law enforcement officials."
"We share the family's view that there is no good reason for anyone to ever see this video," said Goldstein.