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French court orders prior restraint of Yahoo U.S.-based auction site

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  1. Prior Restraint

    NMU         FRANCE         Prior Restraints         Nov 21, 2000    

French court orders prior restraint of Yahoo U.S.-based auction site

  • A French court ruled that Yahoo must prevent French web users from visiting sites that sell Nazi memorabilia.

A French court ruled that Yahoo must prevent French web users from visiting its U.S.-based auction site that sells Nazi memorabilia or face heavy fines for each day it fails to comply.

The ruling affirms a lower court ruling that found Yahoo violated French law by allowing access to online auctions of Nazi memorabilia through its U.S. website. Yahoo complied with the law for its France-based website, but the U.S.-based website allowed the auctions. Yahoo argued that its U.S. website should not have to comply with French law.

Yahoo also argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to comply with the ruling, noting that blocking searches using terms such as “Nazi” would filter out legal sites, such as references to Anne Frank’s Diary or history sites. Yahoo also argued that French users could avoid content controls by searching with other terms, such as “Hitler” or “Third Reich.”

The suit against Yahoo had been filed by the French Union of Jewish Students and the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.

(French Union of Jewish Students v. Yahoo) AG


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