Yahoo! fights French action over Nazi memorabilia

Out-Law News | 25 Jul 2000 | 12:00 am |

The internet portal Yahoo! maintains that it is technically impossible to exclude French users from web sites auctioning Nazi memorabilia, even though these activities constitute a breach of French anti-racism laws. Yahoo! may be fined over £100,000 per day if it fails to comply with the court order.

The case against Yahoo! was brought by the Union of Jewish Students and the International League Against Racism on the grounds that it is illegal in France to sell or display anything that incites racism.

In May, the French court ruled that Yahoo! should pay the two anti-racism groups $1,000 each and ordered it to block French users from all sites offering Nazi memorabilia.

Yahoo! has not complied with this ruling, although it is reported to have exhibited content warnings on certain web pages indicating that by viewing the pages, French users may be in breach of French law.

A three-hour hearing was held on the matter yesterday and the French High Court is expected to deliver its judgement on 11th August. The court will need to assess whether it is feasible to order Yahoo! to completely remove the offending web sites given that the offences charged are peculiar to French law.