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Yahoo! Not Bound by French Court Ruling 423

Posted by Hemos
from the the-world-is-not-insane dept.
Klerck writes "Luckily, a US federal judge has ruled that Yahoo! is not bound by the French ruling that demanded that all Nazi memorabilia be removed from its auction site. It's a nice surprise to have a sensible ruling come out of a federal court in times like these."
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Yahoo! Not Bound by French Court Ruling

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  • Yeah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Juju (1688) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:38AM (#2537356)
    Now let's hope that a Thai federal judge will rule that Yahoo! is not bound by the US ruling that demanded that all Child-porn memorabilia be removed from its auction site. It would be a nice surprise to have a sensible ruling come out of a federal court in times like these.

    And no, I don't think this is funny!

    • Exactly.
      How did this pro-nazi memorabilia on ebay thing become the slashdot party line?
      ACLU lite? C'mon...
      • Because buying a dagger with a swastika on it no more makes you "pro-Nazi" than the five throwing stars in my closet make me "pro-Ninja".

        Many people buy and trade those things for the same reason they buy and sell Japanese swords, pistols and such, brought back by American GIs as souveniers.

    • don't be an idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

      by streetlawyer (169828)
      I'm sure nobody will be fooled by this, but I really must point out that child pornography is not legal in Thailand, and that the Thais are actually doing their level best to stamp out the child sex trade, with next to no help from the legions of fat American and German tourists who agree with Slashdot that domestic laws can't be enforced overseas.
      • That is actually not quite true. The German Police AFAIK like many other EU police forces has liason officers in Thailand that monitor these perverts in cooperation with the Thai police and arrest them over there if they catch them red handed. That is however not as easy as saying it and most of them get away. A more effective method has been to just monitor these groups and make lists of the names of suspicious tourist and search them thoroughly in Customs when they come off the plane in Germany loaded with porn and home videos. There have also been arrests of numerous people organising these tours. Which is why this filthy trade is beginning to move else away from Thailand at least the German part of it.
    • I can just see the to judges now, holding each other in contempt.

      "We find you offensive, and demand you pay us to relieve some of the stench of your offensive nature"

      In other times, disputes like this have led to wars.

    • Re:Yeah! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:06PM (#2538705) Homepage

      To take a less emotive (and less badly informed) example, the age of consent in Japan is 14. Let's say Yahoo! Japan [yahoo.co.jp] splashes some raunchy pictures of a 14 year old Japanese celebrity that push but don't break the boundaries of Japanese law.

      Explain why it would be right for a US judge to tell Yahoo! Japan to remove the images, simply because they might be viewed by US viewers.

      For bonus marks, go on to explain why this wouldn't make it right for (e.g.) an Afghan court to tell Yahoo! US to remove pictures of Hilary Clinton, because she's not wearing a veil.

      Here's the thing. The onus is on the government of the country of the viewer/purchaser to police their own citizen's actions. Trying to cut the "evil" off at its source is simply abrogating responsibility and exporting morality.

      France can tell her own citizens not to buy Nazi items, just as they can tell them not to use Anglicised words (and they do). They can tell any Yahoo! outfit operating in France to stop selling anything they like. But they have no more right to tell the US arm of Yahoo! to stop selling anything than the Taliban has to tell France to stop allowing women to go around unveilled just because Afhgan nationals might find pictures of them online.

      See how easy it is to use overblown, over emotive arguments to make any point? Won't someone think of the children! will get you modded up for making a point that anybody can understand, but if you make decisions based on the worst that might happen somewhere, then you'll end up living in a pretty stale little global village.

  • Irrelevant (Score:2, Informative)

    by Johnny5000 (451029)
    Well, the French law only said they cant sell that stuff from French yahoo servers. It only applies to France.

    And since this is US law, it's only going to apply to the US.

    Neither country has any say in what the other's laws are.

    -J5K
    • Re:Irrelevant (Score:2, Informative)

      by Binestar (28861)
      Above is another example of someone who doesn't read the article in hopes of getting the elusive first post.

      The article specifically states the the French court ordered Yahoo! to remove all the auctions from all the sites that were *REACHABLE* by french citizens. This means even servers hosted in other countries. The United States has effectively told Yahoo! that the French courts order violates the first amendment and therefore is not enforcable.

      So the servers from Yahoo! hosted in France are still subject to the ruling from the French courts, the servers hosted in the United States are not.
      • Re:Irrelevant (Score:5, Insightful)

        by karmawarrior (311177) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:55AM (#2537423) Journal
        That just means that the French cannot persue the case through the US courts.

        If the French court chooses to levy a huge fine for non-compliance on the US side, and seizes Yahoo assets in France as payment, there's bugger all the US courts can do about it. If Yahoo continues to flout what the French court regards as the law, and the French court issues warrants for the arrest of Yahoo executives, then, yes, the US courts wont be used to extradite Yahoo execs, but European courts and those in countries with extradition treaties with France will be able to enforce this should these people ever leave the US.

        I don't agree with the situation. But then, I didn't think it was fair when Dimtry was arrested for activities that are perfectly legal in his own country that were performed in his own country. It's entirely hypocritical for the US to expect citizens of other countries to obey its laws globally, but expect its own citizens to be able to ignore those of other countries.
        • For the last time:

          1)Yes what Dimitry did is legal in Russia.
          2)His company tried to sell the software to Americans via an American hosted website.
          3)This broke American law.
          4)He is now being charged since he stepped on American soil.

          I totally agree that the DMCA is a bad law, however, if you host your site in the States then you are bound by that bad law.

          -Shieldwolf.
          • Except it's not his company. He's an employee.
              • Except it's not his company. He's an employee.

              An employee that retains copyright on the source code, if you bother to check. Yes, it's abhorent what's happened to him, but let's not weaken the argument that the DMCA is wrong for everyone by suggesting that it's only wrong for Dmitry because he's Joe Developer.

      • Mod parent up. The entire point is that the French judicial system does not understand that any site on the Internet is reachable by anybody anywhere. If they don't like that, they are free to cut all links to the outside world and shut the fuck up, being happy with their isolationist splendor. If on the other hand, they want to deal with the world in real-world-land, they can accept that they can only regulate companies actions in their own country and only have say over the assets of companies located physically in their country. If the servers aren't hosted in the country, they have no say, but they can tell their citizens not to go there or even make it illegal for their citizens to buy those items. They'll just find it impossible to enforce. Or work out an international treaty banning such items, in the same way international treaties exist against slavery, child porn, etc.

        • The entire point is that the French judicial system does not understand that any site on the Internet is reachable by anybody anywhere.

          Yes, they do understand that. That's why Yahoo are in trouble.

          f they don't like that, they are free to cut all links to the outside world and shut the fuck up, being happy with their isolationist splendor.

          That's not up to the French courts. Just as in the US, there's a seperation of powers in France - indeed in most democratic countries. The courts do not make the laws. The French government does.


          For now, if Yahoo wants to operate in France or if its executive employees want to visit any country where France can "get them", they'd better obey French law, however outrageously unfair that is.


          they can only regulate companies actions in their own country

          Someone ought to tell the US to do the same thing.

          There's two sides to this, a moral side and a legal side. As usual they're at odds with one another. The US court has moral right on its side, but it has absolutely no say over French law, its opinions are frankly irrelevent to French law, or French cases, except in the relatively small area of where the US government and French government has treaties allowing France to prosecute on US soil.

          Sucks doesn't it?
          • Your point is moot. Your point is that the French can pass any laws they want. For example, the French can pass a law that says "American pig dogs that fly on the Space Shuttle are subject to execution at will". Then they can try to enforce that when some American astronaut enters France.


            Likewise, they can arrest Yahoo executives.


            I am not denying the factuality of this statement. I'm simply pointing out that it is morally wrong, to an extreme degree. Yes, the US government has done the same thing on a few occasions, namely with Dmitry Sklyarov and the DMCA. I think this is an OUTRAGEOUS misapplication of the law as well and I despise the people here who are doing it.


            If the French government persists in trying to regulate the actions of other country's citizens while those citizens are not even in France, then the French are going to find themselves the most hated people in the globalized world (I know, I know, other countries hate the US, but we don't try to prosecute people for not following our standard of moral conduct in other countries, unless the crimes are of a massive or violent nature).

  • by Thnurg (457568) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:41AM (#2537369) Homepage
    So if an American website is not bound by a French ruling, then perhaps there's hope for a certain Russian Programmer accused of breaking US law.
    • by Raindeer (104129) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:01AM (#2537465) Homepage Journal
      Oh no, certainly not. Haven't you heard yet? American law nowadays applies globally. Since the United States is the most enlightened country in the world with the most enlightened leadership in the world, whatever they think up must be good for the whole rest of the world. Therefore a United States judge can actually overrule any anti-american corporation ruling anywhere in the world. [/Sarcasm]
      • "Since the United States is the most enlightened country in the world with the most enlightened leadership in the world"


        I work with a girl from India. She has lived in the US for three years. At first it disgusted her that men and women lived in the same buildings. But now all she always talks about how the us is the most enlightened country in the world. She said our laws protecting freedom of religion and protecting women are "so wonderful" and she thinks our culture (how we treat women and people different from ourselves) is amazing. She describes the USA as "the most civilized nation in the world." She fully supports the war and hopes we liberate the horrible human rights practices in middle-easter countries.


        My point is, don't go bashing it unless you have something to compare it to.

    • It's still illegal for Yahoo France to be used for Nazi items. It's still illegal to sell the cracking software in the US. If they would have just had the servers located in Russia, it would be a non-issue; but because they had their servers located in the US, they were then doing commerce *in* the US which was just plain stupid on their part, since everything then falls under US law. That is how Sealand is *supposedly* getting around legal issues, they are their own country, you put your servers in their country, then you are doing commerce in their country so any other country can't go in and legally shut you down.
  • For US sites, but the problem is that I think France could still fine/punish any Yahoo entity that is located IN france. All this does is say that if they send over a big fine to California, a judge there isn't going to make them pay it.


    So, I suppose what this does is make Yahoo move any business interests located physically within france to somewhere else. Which is fine, because I doubt all of europe wants to exclude large portions of the internet sector from doing business within their borders.

  • Question... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:45AM (#2537384) Homepage Journal

    Does it apply in reverse?

    Example: DeCSS is legal in France. If I post DeCSS on a US server and this server is a mirror of a French server, does French law and "backup copy" laws apply to the US site as well?

    No? Then this decision is nothing more than US protecting its huge mega-corporation. Yes? Then free speech is really better protected.

    Just my US$0.02... =)
    • This doesn't even make sense. The truly analogous question: should the US courts be able to force a French web site into removing DeCSS? Of course not!

      Should the French be able to force a US web site into removing something because it's illegal in France? Of course not!

    • Umm, your analogy makes no sense at all. This ruling is holding that French anti-Nazi laws do not apply in the U.S. As such, holding that other French laws - 'backup copy' laws, for example - also do not apply in the U.S. is entirely consistent. Holding, on the other hand, that they do (as you seem to imply they should to be consistent) would in fact be diametrically opposed to this ruling.
    • No, because they are 2 different servers. Just because they happen to have identical content doesn't even enter into it.

      You could probably make an argument around the term "backup", though, but I suspect that the legal definition of the word would not include mirrors.
  • This is nice to see that french laws can't affect a US company on the net. Now I hope that the same will apply with US laws and EU companies (or individuals).

    Who will take the bet with me that USA will go to great length to make it possible to extend THEIR laws to other counries in a purely unjust way for the rest of the world.

    They already sue EU people for creating and publishing the DeCSS, try to have EU pass "anti-terrorism" wiretaping laws... What else?

    I am a european citizen and the last thing I want is see those corporate bought US laws apply to me.... Hey, who wants to pay for other people's lack of action?

  • Confederate flag (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DebianDog (472284) <dan.danslagle@com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:53AM (#2537413) Homepage
    It is the same with the Confederate flag. You cannot bury or forget about history. The fact is the Nazis did very well in their efforts to turn Europe into one BIG Germany, killing millions in the process. Although the cause was wrong, it is a part of history that should not be forgotten.

    The same is true for the Confederate flag and associated memorabilia. The U.S. was at war with itself on policies, state rights, and eventually slavery. These facts should not be forgotten either.

    You will always have the Skinhead and Neo-Nazi types abusing the symbolism but, that is the cost of a free society.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't France itself a Nazi memorabila?
  • Jurisdiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:56AM (#2537428) Homepage
    How can a US court make a decision regarding enforcement of a foreign court decision? Likewise, how can a French court expect to decide the practices of a US company that hosts a site in the US? I hope that somebody in the respective govts wakes up and realizes that these decisions make no sense at this level.

    In a later ruling, the French court ruled that the US court ruling does not apply. (tomorrow) A US court ruled that the ruling of the French court that ruled that the us court ruling does not apply, does not apply. (next week) A French court ruled that the US court sucks.
  • by the_Bionic_lemming (446569) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:00AM (#2537452)
    I am a U.S. Citizen that hosts 3 web sites on a server Based in Canada. Who's laws will I need to follow? Are my sites considered free speech? Or do I need to provide a french translation on the site?

    This latest ruling, while all good in well in allowing operators to control their own content is just a baby step twords addressing the eventual evolution of laws governing the internet.
    • Well, acording to Quebec Law, if your site "caters to" Quebecers (whatever that means, i.e. presumably if you sell stuff that someone in Quebec might want to buy, you "cater to" Quebec), you must provide a French version of your site.

      Of course, /me stuck his tongue out at such silly laws, packed up, and left Quebec, legally depriving them of my tax dollars in the process.

  • This sets of an interesting precedent and something that I do not know if the world is ready to accept. It basically says that I can do, say, sell and buy anything I want so long as the country where I am doing the transaction allows it.

    So putting this into context. I could legally in US buy drugs so long as the transaction is carried out in Holland. Of course the comment would be "Gee Einstein how are you going to get the drugs to the US?". Well that is beside the point. What it says is that I can basically money launder because if the transaction occurs within a country that does not ask of the origin it is legal.

    Consider it this way. I make drug money. The money is considered income in a country that does not ask questions. The country asks for a 10% cut and calls the money legal. At that point I have the right to take that money into my own country. Of course US citizens may have problems because they have special tax laws. But if I was a non-US citzen living in the US I would be exempt (I think). So at that point I have legal money since I paid tax at source.

    Ok I may be over-simplifying some things, but the precedent is still set and freezing of terrorist monies may not be legal anymore. Interesting!!!
    • This sets of an interesting precedent and something that I do not know if the world is ready to accept. It basically says that I can do, say, sell and buy anything I want so long as the country where I am doing the transaction allows it.

      Exactly this is the key point of the issue. But not something which those making a fuss about where the servers might be or even what their DNS name is don't appear to understand.
    • I could legally in US buy drugs so long as the transaction is carried out in Holland. I don't think things are quite that wide open in Holland (actually The Netherlands) yet that you can legally run a web-site selling drugs, but if they are, I'm applauding... If you travel to the Netherlands, buy some pot, and smoke it there, that should be the concern only of Netherlands law. If you order pot from a web-site in the Netherlands to be delivered to the USA, then the moment it crosses the border it's a violation of US laws. But the USA should be prosecuting the US resident who ordered it and whoever tried to ship it to a US address (if the Dutch will extradite), not shut down the foreign web site. (The Clinton and both Bush administrations have tended to overreach their legal powers, I love it when one of our courts develops a spine and overrules them, and I would love to also see them slapped down in foreign courts.)

      Similarly, the French police can arrest a French resident who bypasses the French Yahoo site to reach the US Yahoo server and orders Nazi memorabilia. They might also go after the shipper (which is not Yahoo, but some Yahoo customer), although US courts might not consider selling a swastika to be an extraditable offense...
  • The American Way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shanek (153868) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:01AM (#2537464) Homepage
    You can have the freedom to be a racist hate-monger all you want, as long as you don't play DVDs on Linux.

    (This message has been brought to you by the US Government, owned and operated by the MPAA, RIAA, et al.)
  • World Government (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dutchmaan (442553) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:02AM (#2537469) Homepage
    Situations like this are going to bring about an eventual world government. the case being that there seems to be a need now for some sort of *enforceable* world law or common standard between nations. War will never unify the world, but you can bet petty lawsuits will.
    • Situations like this are going to bring about an eventual world government. the case being that there seems to be a need now for some sort of *enforceable* world law or common standard between nations.

      Why is there a need?

      Since the beginning of time we've been telling people "if you don't like it and you can't change it, leave." Shouldn't that continue to be an option?

      Why would we even WANT a world in which people don't have the freedom to set up seperate countries so that those who have wildly differing beliefs can congregate together and live according to their tenets? Why would we want a world where, say, our economic laws are set by majority vote when the majority are from countries with shitty economies?

      Do you want the largest voting block in decisions about, say, your free speech rights to be China and India?
      • Why would we even WANT a world in which people don't have the freedom to set up seperate countries

        *blinks*

        Uh. People in this world don't usually have the freedom to set up separate countries because they disagree with the policies of their current country, last I checked.

        Do you want the largest voting block in decisions about, say, your free speech rights to be China and India?

        Yes-- it's called democracy. Do you really believe the Chinese don't understand free speech? They don't have free speech-- there'd be no problem if they were voting on these free speech decisions you mention, because they'd need to have votes. (I'm not too sure what India has to do with it.)

        • People in this world don't usually have the freedom to set up separate countries because they disagree with the policies of their current country, last I checked.

          Not any more, because all the land has been used up. But go back and recall how the United States of America got here in the first place.

          Now, you can pretty much find a country somewhere that's close to your beliefs.

          A perfect example is what's going on right now with Afghanistan. Do you want people who think there should be a government-mandated religion to be making your laws? Wouldn't it better if people who think there should be a government mandated religion could go to countries where that's the case, and those of us who don't could stay in countries where it isn't?

          I'm not too sure what India has to do with it.

          Over one billion people, that's what India has to do with it. In a few years they'll be bigger than China. If there were a world government, and it had any kind of citizen vote allowed, China and India would control every issue on every election. There wouldn't even be a reason to bother campaigning in the U.S.A., it'd be like a presidential candidate visiting Ada, Oklahoma.
          I don't want my freedoms to be determined by a vote dominated by 2 billion people who have completely different standards than I do. I don't want my vote stacked up against 1 billion Chinese on the question of whether I should be free to speak out against my government's policies. I don't want 1 billion Indians stacked up against me on the question of whether or not I get to eat beef.

          And I'm evidently not alone in this, based on the Indian and Chinese people I work with who moved here to get away from their countries' policies.

          Conversely, I wouldn't want to begrudge one of my American co-workers the right to move to China or India, if he agreed with their policies and would thus be more comfortable there.
        • by Flower (31351) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @11:01AM (#2537997) Homepage
          Yes-- it's called democracy. Do you really believe the Chinese don't understand free speech? They don't have free speech-- there'd be no problem if they were voting on these free speech decisions you mention, because they'd need to have votes. (I'm not too sure what India has to do with it.)

          But I don't want to live in a democracy and in the USA I don't. And I don't want another culture that, while they may understand free speech, doesn't want free speech. You are aware that many cultures out there do not feel free speech is an admirable or useful goal.

          And what makes you think that a world government would be a democracy? Or a Republic? Would|Should China or India (and this is why the parent mentioned India btw) get more votes because they have a larger population? If the US votes in a few people that based on region is that any better than if China elects by a party committee?

          Nearly a couple of decades ago, my Eagle project was the recreation of a WWI veterans monument for the town's historical society. My troop and I made the forms,dug that hole, poured the concrete, put the names of the dead onto it. Those people, and members of my family who were in WWII fought and died so I could enjoy the rights I currently have. Now that I have a son of my own I want him to inherit those benefits and the burdens of responsibility that come with them.

          I'm not giving up those rights just because some other country doesn't think the effort to be responsible with free speech is worthwhile.

    • Situations like this are going to bring about an eventual world government.

      Microsoft: We are your merchant. We are your church. We are your state.

      Interesting sig for your post. Imagine...

      I pledge allegiance, to the Box, of the United Software of Microsoft. And to the EULA, with which we consent, one Platform, Under Gates, Universal, telling us where we want to go today.

  • Sensible Ruling??! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ducon Lajoie (30475) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:08AM (#2537502)
    It's funny to see this described as a sensible ruling. Well, the ruling is not surprising, and I'm personnally quite happy with it. But it clashes big time with the rules US courts have developped regarding the application of US law abroad, especially when it comes to anything Internet or telecom related.

    So far, american courts have used the most far fetched factual elements to tie any dispute to US jurisdictions and apply US law to them.

    Now what? All national laws are equal, but some nationality are more equal than others?
  • I know most people don't agree with me about the whole 'Nazi' issue.

    With that said, let us get to the issue. If Yahoo! wants to do business in France, don't they have to abide by their rules?

    Isn't this American-we don't have to-all your culture are-Pax Americanus crap getting us in enough trouble?

    When you've got a company like Yahoo! something tells me that it isn't a free speech issue, but more of a money issue.

    Everyone is trying to find DMCA loopholes, but what about other issues. Can I order pot seed from Holland? Nope. It's something that is illegal here, and I wouldn't expect the Dutch to rule that they can send seeds just because they want to.

    It seems that we try to push our so called freedom on people so much and they end up wanting to kill us.

    The American Dream: Growing up from the gutter and getting to the top, just to tell people Screw You!
    • If Yahoo! wants to do business in France, don't they have to abide by their rules?

      There's the rub--if you are in France, but connecting to a Yahoo! server in America, are you doing business in America, or France?

      America, because you are essentially contacting an American company. It's like ordering from a mail-order catalog. The problem is, this makes it nearly impossible to inforce the French law. Even if they stop Yahoo! France, all one has to do is connect to an American server and purchase away.

      • if you are in France, but connecting to a Yahoo! server in America, are you doing business in America, or France?

        Well, among the things which happens in those cases, is that you have to pay import duties. Same thing which happens if you order from a mail-order catalog. I should think, in the same way, the French government can demand that prohibited items are not imported, and issue fines to the companies which break their import laws.

        I don't think that would be an impossible law to enforce, after all it works just fine for taxes.

        Of course it's up to them, to disallow businesses operating in France to sell certain items, but they shouldn't have the right to do that with sites which are not in France. However if a company makes the decision not to sell certain items, rather than having to check a variety of import laws, well that's their decision.

        I wonder whether a french vibrator company would have the same problems delivering to Alabama? :)

    • More than likely we have a trade agreement with Holland that says something to the effect that companies there cannot ship what the US designates as contraband into the US. So somebody trying to buy pot seeds will simply never get them. It doesn't matter if you order it from the Internet or High Times.

      I would expect the same thing to happen with people auctioning Nazi stuff on Yahoo. Shipping it to France should entail it going through customs and being intercepted by the government. Just because it's available on the Internet doesn't mean you can get the actual product. If this scenerio holds, the best people are doing in France is window shopping.

      In an ideal situation this is how it should work imo. Whether it does in the real world I have no clue. This isn't an area I'm very familiar with.

  • Perhaps it would be better if common sense would be applied in law...

    Why should we be glad for this ruling ? It does not further our cause in free speech.. you can't explain things like Sklyarov did but you can evengalize nazi dogma's.. which one is worse for our youth, our FREE world?

    This ruling is one of the many things that show us there is a gap between common sense and the law.

    More and more i am becoming to see the US government as a subsidiary from a company.

    Presidents are even campaigning with money donated by companies but yet people still believe they are doing things for the good of all... the companies don't donate large sums of money if the weren't sure they would gain anything..

    Same with the law... Now Microsoft (which, through it's c*o's, donated large sums to the election fund of GWB)has been allowed to make a deal and Yahoo can go through with auctioning rejectable material. But if they convict Sklyarov
    it is only because of one reason.. CORPORATE GREED!

    Isn't it time that lawmaking should be done with common sense instead of money? Lobbying used to be a side thing people with similar interests did.. today you can hire a professional lobyist whether he or she has the same interests or not.. it has become an industry on it's own.. perhaps those who make laws should be made to publicize their agenda's and bookkeeping? Not just to a few but to all who want's to..

    Then maybe we see common sense returning to our laws..

    BTW.. this is not applicable to the US only.. it is the same for europeans as well..
    • Why should we be glad for this ruling ? It does not further our cause in free speech.. you can't explain things like Sklyarov did but you can evengalize nazi dogma's.. which one is worse for our youth, our FREE world?

      It's not about "evangelizing Nazi dogmas;" it's about acknowledging that they have the right to express their views. The idea is that if views that have widespread opposition are protected, freedom will be protected across the board. The irony is that the unpopular speech is protected, but many of our more basic freedoms are still being restricted.

      • Okay.. i stand corrected...

        I do know that when i want to have my free speech i am obliged to let someone else with different views have that same right..

        But where is that right in the Sklyarov case? Wasn't that freedom of speech? Say.. i reverse engineer a program (which is still legal over here in Europe) and i pay a visit to the US and freely speak about it.. i would like to think that my right of free speech would still be upheld...

        In the case at hand (Yahoo vs France) i think it is something similar.. in the US Nazi's may do what they want.. in France they are not allowed to even give the salute... so.. when US courts decide that another country can't do this they should also take a look at themselves and waive the sklyarov case.. i believe that when it will be otherwise europeans will view the US with different eyes.. (at least for some countrys)

        Now, don't get me wrong. it is not US bashing here.. i just don't believe that this ruling is just..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:28AM (#2537579)
    On one hand, the US can go on and impose their laws (Helms-Burton, etc.) on other countries when these are just doing something that they simply don't like (like talking to Cuba or any other country on the US blacklist), something that does not hurt the US in any way.

    On the other hand, when the actions of US companies have a direct impact on what goes on in other countries, go against the laws of said countries (like prevention the spread of hate litterature), the US entities are not bound by the laws of other countries.

    What the french judge said, at the urging of jewish activists and other anti-racism groups, was basically "do whatever you want in *your* country, but abide by our laws in *our* country". In this Age of the Internet, where so-called "local" actions can have global consequences, this was not un-reasonable.

    The only signal that non-americans get out of this is that the US thinks its above anyone else, that it can do as it pleases wherever it wants to do it and that it has little respect for laws and customs of other countries. That it thinks it has "the right" to interfere in other countries' affairs (Helms-Burton, their very active involvment in the recent Nicaragua election, etc.), while other countries can't say anything on the activies of US companies and/or can critisize (sp?) moronic decisions of the US gov't (Kyoto, etc.).

    Then don't wonder why the US is so hated abroad -- and contrary to Dan Rather said on Letterman's, they don't hate the US because they envy it. They hate it because it can be such a idiotic bully, at times.
  • US and the world (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mop (30370) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:34AM (#2537603)
    We can conclude, from the combination of Yahoo and Skylrov cases, that:
    • an american citizen can travel and break any law wherever he is in the world, as long as he doesn't break an american law
    • a non-american citizen in his own country can't break an american law, whatever the laws in his country.
    • Actually, the pattern is that regardless of the laws in the US or other countries, US corporate interests are paramount. I find it hard to believe that this is deliberate on the part of all judges, but it seems to be the rule, nonetheless.
  • dmitri (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kel-tor (146691)
    quote: "Today the judge basically he said it was not consistent with the laws of the United States for another nation to regulate speech for a U.S. resident within the United States," Worth said.


    but it is legal fo the us to regulate the 'speech' for a russian resident outside of the United States, and like wise it is legal for the US to regulate the auction of the software just because some Americans were able to buy it?

  • The US Court ruled that Yahoo isn't bound by the French court's decision...

    So, then... is the French court bound by the US court's ruling?

    It's a good ruling for information and freedom, but I'm puzzled by the international law ramifications, particularly jurisdiction issues. Maybe someone can help me out...
    • No. Unless they have treaties stipulating such, but they probably do not.

      What it does mean, 'tho, is that any enforcement of the French law is probably going to be done without the assistance of the US judiciary. If Yahoo! has operations over there, well, they could be penalized -- but don't expect the US police to seize US-located assets of Yahoo! and send them to the French. And remember that a ruling is meaningless unless it has a real effect -- in this case, there may not be unless Yahoo! either has assets in France (or any countries that cooperate with it) or was planning to do so.

      Same way, incidentally, that Skylarov wouldn't have been arrested if he hadn't bothered showing up here, because the Russians had no interest in enforcing our laws on him, but he did.
  • ICraveTV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mike_K (138858)
    So when US courts shut down ICraveTV a couple of years ago, they had no right to do so?

    I think I'm going to Canada and opening an ICraveTV-like website. Now, when major networks take me to court, I'll point to this ruling and laugh.

    Oh, wait. Major networks will sue me and win anyway. Money talks, and both of these rulings went in favor of US companies. The day when US courts actually recognize that people in other countries (and non-US citizens) should have the same rights (and responsibilities) as US citizens is far away. Right now, if you're an outsider, you already lost.

    m
  • It's a nice surprise to have a sensible ruling come out of a federal court

    I see *no* niceness whatsoever when it comes to spreading nazi shit around any piece of the globe.

    (This is apart from the fact that I believe that, if the opposite was the case, the US would be bombing France by now....)
  • so happy for decss (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tom (822)
    I'm so happy about this ruling. if yahoo in the US is not bound by french law, then surely /me in Germany is not bound by silly US laws like the DMCA, right?

    uh, right?

    why is it that I have this feeling that this knife doesn't cut both ways? or will I be receiving a court document soon (to add to the other 1000 or so pages) that'll tell me I'm dismissed from the California DeCSS suit?

    not holding my breath. the ruling is, of course, obvious. at least until the hague convention [lemuria.org] gets passed, which will invalidate it and make all those silly foreign lawsuits enforceable locally. that will be a day! finally you can sue everyone, everywhere for pretty much every imaginable reason.
  • The French ruling is similar to Helms-Burton Act [us.net] where companies or individuals who trade in Cuban expropriated property outside of the United States are not allowed into the United States. Similarly, the French government is saying that a company that facilitates the trading of nazi memorabilia outside of it's country cannot exist in it's own country.

    The judgement from the U.S. judge means nothing. If France wants to throw the French division of Yahoo out of the country, there is little it can do. If the french government fines Yahoo, then they either have to pay or pull out of France. All the U.S. ruling said is that if they pull out, France can't get them to legally pay the fines.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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