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Yahoo disputes French order on Nazi memorabilia

IDG.net

June 19, 2000
Web posted at: 10:20 a.m. EDT (1420 GMT)

(IDG) -- Internet portal Yahoo has appealed a French court ruling ordering the company to block access to auction sales of Nazi memorabilia for all French Web surfers, a spokeswoman in the company's Paris office said Friday.

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"We have made an appeal last week to have the court decision be explained more in-depth. We are asking for more technical explanations on the subject," said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named.

In the meantime, Yahoo's U.S. site will not block access to any part of its auction area that may be offering Nazi memorabilia for sale, she said. The spokeswoman confirmed that Yahoo's U.S. auction site currently lists hundreds of Nazi and neo-Nazi objects, including swastikas, uniforms and medals. However, the company has banned auctions of Nazi memorabilia on its French site, http://fr.Yahoo.com/.

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Due to a French law making it illegal to exhibit or sell objects with racist overtones, a Paris court last month ordered U.S.-based Yahoo to report back on July 24 exactly how the company plans to block access to the Nazi material from French Internet users.

"We do not know how to do such a thing technically. The Internet is far too large," the French spokeswoman said. The company plans to report back to the court, but in the meantime, it has filed an appeal to the order to block access to its U.S site to French users, the spokeswoman said.

In an interview with Paris-based daily newspaper La Liberation published Friday, Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, said that, while the company's French subsidiary would respect French law, he doubted that French courts could make a U.S. company block French users from accessing the content of its U.S. servers.

Asking a U.S. company to filter access to a site based on a Web surfer's nationality is "very naive," Yang said in the interview.




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