Yahoo loses Nazi hate case

Yahoo has lost its long running bid to avoid liability for its web pages that are carrying items that break France’s "hate speech" laws.

Yahoo has lost its long running bid to avoid liability for its web pages that are carrying items that break France’s "hate speech" laws.

A US appeals court has reversed and dismissed a 2002 US district court ruling that said Yahoo was not liable for a fine levied by a French court for its failure to keep Nazi memorabilia off its web pages.

Although it lost the appeal, Yahoo said in response, “We are pleased that the court affirmed that US courts have jurisdiction when foreign plaintiffs try to impose censorship on US websites.”

In response to Chinese government concerns about its web portal being used to disseminate views against its regime, Yahoo released details of an e-mail account belonging to a dissident. That person was later jailed by the regime.

Despite losing the French case, Yahoo is unlikely to have to pay a fine of around $15m (£9m) for breaking the French hate speech laws.

In 2001, following the French judgment, Yahoo changed its policy to try and prohibit its Yahoo auctions or classifieds being used to offer items associated with hate groups.

Although that policy has not been 100% effective, with many items associated with the Nazi regime still appearing on its websites, the French organisation that sued Yahoo in 2000 says it will not press for payment as long as Yahoo continues attempting to address its concerns.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

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