Yahoo and the Nazi Court Battle

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Thread Title:
International law on the Net
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Multiple sources are reporting that the Appeal Courts have agreed to rehear the long protracted battle about whether Yahoo (an American company) can be sued in France, for breeching French law.

From Associated Press

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it would rehear some arguments in a 5-year-old lawsuit against Yahoo by two French human rights groups, which are trying to ban the sale of Nazi-related items on any Internet site viewable in France.

Personally I can not wait to see the outcome of this as it will help (or possible hinder) the age old question of "What laws are relevant for an internet business?"

The arguments are multiple, but Yahoo is definately breaking French law. The question is that Yahoo is a US based company that operates a site accessable in France. Does that mean it can be sued in France for something that is legal in the US?


Between suing Google and Yaho

Between suing Google and Yahoo, sometimes I think France would be best off just cutting the internet off at the border and only letting French sites reference each other...

More seriously, this is a fight of the legal systems. The fact that Yahoo operates under US law means nothing once it hits the French border, anymore than a US tourist would be immune to French law while in France.

Of course, the reverse is also true. French law extends ONLY to it's border. If they make a ruling that would force a company change it's operations and, for example, affect what *I* see (as a non-French citizen), then I have issues with a foriegn country affecting *my* rights in *my* country.

There are 2 ways to handle this:

1. Set up an internet version of the border patrol and customs, and inspect everything entering and leaving the country, just like it works off-line. This is the direction they are going in now, IMO.

2. Agree to special rules for the internet that allow information to move freely. Although I favor this myself, I don't see politicians and advocacy groups being happy with the loss of power.

In short, I think it's going to get worse, not better.


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