First Amendment protects Yahoo from French court.

In a case presenting novel and important issues arising from the global reach of the Internet, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed with Yahoo! Inc., a U.S. Internet service and content provider, that enforcement of an order of a French court against Yahoo's U.S. operations would amount to an unlawful infringement on Yahoo's U.S. constitutional right to freedom of speech. Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre le Racisme et L'Antisemitisme, 169 F.Supp.2d 1181 (N.D. Cal. 2001).

Among other activities, Yahoo operates an automated auction site that allows anyone to post an item for sale and solicit bids from any computer user around the world. La Ligue Contre le Racisme et L'Antisemitisme, a French association dedicated to eliminating anti-Semitism, obtained an order from the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris ordering Yahoo, a U.S. corporation, "to take all necessary measures to dissuade and render impossible any access to to the Nazi artifact auction service and to any other site or service that may be construed as constituting an apology for Nazism or a contesting of Nazi crimes." The court determined that the auction violated Section R645-1 of the French Criminal Code, which prohibits exhibition of Nazi propaganda and artifacts for sale.

At first, Yahoo said it would comply with the warnings portion of the order on, its French service, but that it would be technologically impossible to block French citizens from accessing without removing Nazi-related material altogether from the...

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