Posted Saturday, August 12, 2000

Quick navigation

Alphabetical index (text)

Agence France Press

Paris, August 10, 2000

French Court to rule on Yahoo! Nazi auction sites


PARIS, Aug 9 - A French court could set judicial precedent on Friday when it decides whether to force the US Internet company Yahoo! to bar French users from accessing its sites on which Nazi memorabilia are auctioned.

Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez ordered Yahoo! on May 22 to make it 'impossible' for French users to access sites that contravene national laws against promoting racial hatred.

The judge is to say on Friday how he will oblige the company to comply with his ruling, unless he asks for further expert opinions.

Even if he asks for more information, Gomez could still fine Yahoo! for not having implemented filtering techniques to keep French users out of sites auctioning Nazi memorabilia.

Yahoo! told the court on July 24 that no filtering system could be one hundred per cent effective in keeping people away from such sites.

Yahoo!'s French site,, currently offers no Nazi memorabilia, but that does not stop French web surfers from accessing Yahoo! auction pages which routinely offer hundreds of Nazi artifacts - from Swastika flags and Nazi daggers to replicas of Zyklon B gas canisters used in Nazi death camps-- through the global site

Filtering systems do exist which allow Internet providers to know in which country the surfer is accessing the web, and thus keep them out of particular web sites, but these can easily be bypassed, Edelweb, a French Internet security company said.

But another company, Infosplit - cited by the co-plaintiffs, the League against anti-semitism and racism (LICRA) - said their technology could keep 95 per cent of surfers from a particular country from a web site.

"What we are being asked to implement is disproportionate," Christophe Pecnard, a lawyer for Yahoo! France said.

Executing the May ruling would necessitate a 'complete revamp of Yahoo!'s site', he said, and 'not a single method' is fail safe.

LICRA has long asked that a 200,000 euro ($A311,318) fine be imposed for every day Yahoo! does not implement a screening system.

French prosecutors also demanded a fine against the company, even if the court takes more time to conduct expert tests.

LICRA also wants Yahoo! France to post a warning on the illegality of the auctions, telling users to disconnect immediately.

"We're not absolutists," Marc Levy, a lawyer for LICRA said. A screening system 'with faults' would satisfy the organisations, he said.

But the Jewish Students Union of France (UEJF), a co-plaintiff, sharpened its tone.

"If you can't filter out the Nazi material then get rid of it", Stephane Lilty, a lawyer for UEJF said.

"Stop selling clothing scraps belonging to deported Jews for a few bucks, available on the Web around the world," he said.

Related items on this website:

 Surfwatch, the ADL's pet Internet filter.

Further links

CBC News, August 11, 2000 Judge calls for arbitration in Yahoo! lawsuit

PARIS - A French judge said Friday that he needs more time to decide whether Yahoo! Inc. is responsible for online racism.

MSNBC Home, August 11, 2000

Judge seeks advice on Nazi auctions: Orders investigation into how to bar French surfers

REUTERS -- PARIS, Aug 11 &emdash; A Paris judge ordered on Friday independent experts to investigate how to bar French Web surfers from tapping into on-line sales of Nazi memorabilia on Web sites accessed using the giant Internet portal Yahoo

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

David Irving's ACTION REPORT

© Focal Point 2000 [F] e-mail: Irving write to David Irving