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French ISP responsible of "all content" 69

Farid writes " This has ben published by one one the major french news papers. A court has ruled against, a free hosting site, because someone put in his site nude photos of "Estelle Hallyday" a famous french model. The court thinks that the provider is responsible for "all the content of it's site", the provider say he can't control 30 000 sites ! Iris a french association for the promtion of freedom on the net has lauched a campaign against this ruling."
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French ISP responsible of "all content"

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  • by zztzed ( 279 )
    Looks like the Europeans are playing catch-up in
    the stupidity race.
  • Did we really need another reason to hate France?

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • does a fair job of translating it.

  • Posted by Assmodeus:

    umm...if the french fear expression then how come they have so many nude beaches?? i think they are just being french in this case... angry cause they have lost so many wars...who gives a damn...
  • This is like busting a landlord because a tenant committed a crime in an apartment. I thought les français were smarter than this.


  • That's an unfortunate comparison, what with "civil forfeiture" and all that nonsense.

    American judges (and the Supreme Court, and Congress, and law enforcement, and the Drug Czar, and Clinto-Stud, and ...) could use a visit from the Clue Fairy, too :)


  • I wonder if pro-choice advocates might start doing something similar to let people know who the people are that are inciting people to violence and harrassment. Maybe if they started writing down the plate numbers of the pro-lifers and posting them along with a list of doctors and patients who have been harrassed or killed, the lifers might get the point that it's not so much fun to be on the receiving end.

    If they want the law changed, then they need to take it to washington. Until then, the people they are harrassing and killing are law abiding citizens and don't deserve to be harrassed or killed. Yeah you can dislike them or even hate them, but you shouldn't be able to incite violence against them.

  • Yeah, for the moment. It'll probably go away in the name of the war on drugs or common decency, or to protect the children or some other idiotic reason. Just give it time. I have lost most of what little faith I had in the government to get things right. If they screw up a few more times I think I'll have to find someplace else to live. That'll be tough. Too many screwed up places. US policy decisions seem to be contagious too.

  • Unfortunately, if you cannot express yourself anonymously, you can't be free of persecution. Governments persecute people for speaking their mind all the time. How can you be guaranteed the right to speak your mind freely without some way of protecting that right? I bet if someone decided they didn't like the French government and gave people a bunch of reasons why, the government would see that site shut down real quick. Again, it happens all the time. Maybe not as often in some countries as in others, but the point is that there is no guarantee of free speech.

  • This must be a reaction to the legalization of crypto in France. The French seem to fear free expression so much that they have to have a way to stamp it out. Since the leadership has gotten past the crypto boogieman, now they will use the "ISP as guardian of our morals" threat.

    If upheld, it will do alot of damage to the smaller French ISPs. (Which may be what the French phone company wants in the first place...)
  • Yeah, right. Not to mention off topic messages :)
    Estelle (nonstanding what you think of her) has the *right* to sue to protect her "image".
    And someone *has* to be responsible for content. Just imagine another case, child porn or whatever. Do you think it should be allowed, since none is responsible ? Even libertarians among us should say no.
    It seems that the problem is that you could open an account on the server anonymously. So since justice couldn't sue the poster (who is the real guilty man in this history if you ask me), they sue the hosting site.
    Morality: now in France, you can open free sites, people can say what they want as far as they take their responsabilities, but you cannot open anonymous free sites if you don't plan de revue content before it goes online.
    (And 400 000 FF is a huge ammount of money for a free site; I understand the motive, but it's one or two orders of magnitude too much imho; Valentin doesn't look like a bad guy after all, just a bit too naive).
  • > a model...
    From what I've read those were "private" pictures, and I interpret that as pictures of the person, not the model.
    > (not to mention wife of Johnny Hallyday, no?)
    Daughter, afaik.
    > a public figure, and as such does not necessarily "own" her own image.
    Maybe it's just me, but I think one person can have many images; She's got a professionnal image (owned by her model agency ?), but that doesn't deny her from having the right for privacy, that is the right to protect her intimate image.

    The case is not very clear, but again, I don't think it's that _specific_ case that is really important.

  • I hate this.

    I say tax all religions for the mafiaso they are. That should keep them distracted long enough that we evolve into a Star Trek utopia of the future, rather than some depressing episode of Paradox.

    I wish America got the criminals and Australia got the Puritans (and promptly burned them).

    "If she weighs less than a duck, she's a witch!"

  • I can't read french. Can someone tell us poor unilingual slobs the general gist of it?

    -- SG
  • Even so, since when has France *ever* made any major contribution to the world? Oh, right, they helped kick off World War One. And EuroDisney.
    And let's not forget the Maginot Line.
    "Hey! *This'll* keep the German Army out!"

    -- SG
  • I can't believe this actually happened. I'll bet 10 bucks that the people who made this decision have never seen a computer before the trial.

    Altern provided free fast email (POP3/SMTP) until some spamming assholes took advantage of them. They didn't show any ads on the web pages, they didn't add anything to email messages. Their admin pages didn't have any ads either. In fact, there wasn't a single image on any admin page. To open an account, all that was required was a username and a password. They didn't get a single penny.. err centime out of hosting lamers like me.

    Just more proof that the world is ruled by assholes and flaming morons.

  • scroll down to where it says translation services

  • This is like busting a landlord because a tenant committed a crime in an apartment.

    Or it could be viewed as being similar to a bar being responsible for people who drink teh the point of extreme intoxication on the premises. Since there is no expectation of privacy when you put up a web page there is nothing stopping the "landlord" from looking in to make sure you're not selling drugs out of your apartment.
  • If upheld, it will do alot of damage to the smaller French ISPs

    Not at all. If anything this will hurt the larger ISPs. Small providers will have no problem keeping an eye on the content of a couple of hundred sites but a large provider (like, say, the phone company) would have to hire dozens of full-time people to monitor 30 000 sites.
  • should the owner of a bunch of high-rise apartments (or his/her hired security people) go from door to door each day, checking to see that the tenants aren't selling/consuming dope, cheating on their taxes, getting HBO illegally, abusing their kids, downloading warez, carrying illegal handguns, etc?

    The difference is that when you rent an apartment there is an expectation of privacy which prevents the owner from doing searches for illegal activity whic is why they are not responsible in this case. If, however, the renter rented a street display window and committed crimes from it then the owner would be responsible. It may be difficult to police but then I suppose the point is that only responsible people should be in the business of providing - not just any dip with a trunk line.
  • Yeah, I guess he just didn't get teached good as you.
  • While an American is showing just how stupid he is...

    Thanks for slowing the German advance for all of three weeks in WWII

    Thanks for deciding to join WWI in the last few months and WWII in Europe in the last two years.

    I'm a big fan of "Vichy" France

    I'm a big fan of McCarthyism

    Wasn't it an Exocet missle fired from a Mirage jet that the French sold to Iraq which almost sank the USS Stark?

    Weren't the rest of Iraq's arms largely bought from the US?

    Those Tomcat pilots really appreciated your denial to fly through your airspace on their way to bomb the crap out of Libya

    I'm sure the civilians that were getting bombed because your president got his cock sucked really appreciated it too.

  • I don't seem to see where I goofed up.

    The word "miseducated" does not exist - perhaps you meant "uneducated" or even "poorly educated."
  • What ever happened to personal accountability?

    Where in the article is the line "and the person who put the page up is getting away scot-free"? Nowhere - that's because it's not happening. The person who put the page up is getting prosectuted, but so is the company that turned a blind eye (or didn't bother to turn an eye at all) to what he was doing with the public and open
    Why not blame the phone company then for transmitting the images? It would make just as much sense.

    NO, it wouldn't. The service that the phone company provides is one which is protected by privacy laws. Since the telco has no way to monitor what goes over its lines it cannot be held responsible under the law. Obviously something that is made public (like, say a webpage) isn't protected under privacy laws and the provider therefore had the responsibility to ensure that what was being made public was not illegal. It is exactly the same, under the law, as the owner of public advertising boards being responsible to make sure that the person who rents the board does not put something pornographic or hate-based on it.

    How do you propose that ISPs should go about policing millions of web pages

    How many ISPs do you know of that have millions (or even hundreds of thousands) of subscribers. Not too many - only the big suckers like AOL or MSN. They would suffer, but then they can afford to hire a dozen people to check out web accounts fulltime. The smaller ISPs wouldn't have a problem at all since the vast majority of subscribers don't even have web pages.

    Do you have even an inkling of the magnitude of effort that would require?

    Of course I do, you like tit. I own and operate an ISP.
  • Well, I sugest you check out the Oxford English Dictionary [], the definitive dictionary of the english language, and try to find "miseducate." I wouldn't hold my breath.
  • Perhaps the Judge isn't familiar with what it takes to maintain your own professional website, let alone trying to maintain and monitor all of their clients sites.

    I think it's crazy, and the only logical explanation I can think of is that the judge doesn't quite understand how the deal works.

  • Finally, a time and a place to stick it to the Frenchies. Atleast in the US ISPs are protected from such liability by the CDA (the portions that were not struck down). ;P
  • We certainly have some weird legal judgments,but
    we managed to suppress death penalty in contrast
    with (most of) the US and that is an achievement
    of another magnitude compared to the responsability of a Web site...
  • They must think the administrators there are some kind of gods if they can watch over all the content on 30,000 sites. That's just crazy. Hopefully this ruling will be reversed, I just can't see how this is 'right', then again, not everything is 'right' either. This is like saying that Rob would be responsible for all the posts on /., which I'm sure is why we have that little ' All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-99 Rob Malda.' disclaimer on the bottom of every page, sigh.

    My site contains 100% GPL'd source code :)

  • I just submitted this to Rob (forgot to this morning). It seems that a Florida abortion clinic is suing Compuserve because anti-choice demonstrators wrote down the license plate numbers of patients visiting the clinic, then used Compuserve to download personal information (telephone, address, etc) about the patients, and proceeded to harass the patients (and sometimes their parents who had not known their daughters had been to the clinic).

    Now I'm as pro-choice as the next guy, but public records are public records are public records, whether you look through a folder at the DMV, or whether you do a search through Compuserve. Individuals ought to be able to opt out of having this information available. In fact, they can opt out in Florida, but Florida does not tell people that they can. In Massachusetts, they changed the law recently so that only cops, courts, and private eyes can get the info.

    Is it the telephone company's fault when someone gets harassing phone calls? Only if they screwed up and divulged an unlisted number. Why should Compuserve, or especially little ISPs, get in trouble over content?
  • Yeah, in a wave of RIGHT WING TERRORISM not seen since the assassinations of the 60's... abusing
    GOVERNMENT RECORDS in the name of STALKING is "free speech".

    Oh, I absolutely agree that abusing government records and stalking in the name of free speech is apalling. But should the clinic be suing Compuserve ???

  • The web hosting service should get page owners sign an agreement that if the service is sued over the content of their page, the person responsible for the page will have to pay the damages, as part of the conditions for service.

  • French people piss me off....
  • This ruling goes to show that once again when you put a smart attack lawyer, a poor defence lawyer and a technology illiterate judge you are always going to have a result that is stupid.

    I just hope that someone manages to over-turn this ruling!
  • French Fries.

    Hey ! Those were invented in Belgium !

    A Belgian citizen
  • Hey weren't the French slaughtering "civilians" in Vietnam long before the U.S. got the opportunity.

    While I'm on my anti-French rant:

    1. Thanks for slowing the German advance for all of three weeks in WWII.
    2. I'm a big fan of "Vichy" France.
    3. Wasn't it an Exocet missle fired from a Mirage jet that the French sold to Iraq which almost sank the USS Stark?
    4. Those Tomcat pilots really appreciated your denial to fly through your airspace on their way to bomb the crap out of Libya.
    5. We've been appreciating your nearly constant threat of your Security Council veto. I know you must have a buttload of military hardware your itching to sell to Iraq once the sanctions are lifted.

    Hey, with allies like you, who needs enemies?

  • Thanks for deciding to join WWI in the last few months and WWII in Europe in the last two years. Hey thanks for throwing the party. My grandfather really enjoyed the party favors being passed out at that little shindig at Normandy.
  • According to this (which cites the Canadian National Defense Ctr), Canada sent 1,086,343 men to war in WWII. U.S. sent 16,112,566 to war. Assuming your "10 times the population comment", its a little obvious that we sent more than our fair share.

    Are you then telling me that the U.S. sent 15,000,000 men to the Pacific theatre for island hopping campaigns?


  • Here's a little excerpt from the book World War II: The War Against Germany and Italy by Charles B. MacDonald (

    Some indication of the magnitude of the responsibilities they carried is apparent from the fact that late in the war General Bradley as commander of the 12th Army Group had under his command four field armies, 12 corps, and 48 divisions, more than 1,300,000 men, the largest exclusively American field command in U.S. history.


    Hmmm. It appears the peak strength of Canada was only 780,000. Therefore, the Americans exceeded in a single command the entire Canadian contingent in World War II.

    I personally don't want to downplay Canada's participation in World War II, but I'm not going to stand by and let you spew unsubstantiated crap while trying to belittle the U.S's contribution to the war effort.

    In fact, I didn't have to look hard to find out this information. I suggest you do so in the future.

  • You are rather thick aren't you?

    Not only did I debunk your original assertion, but it is quite clear that I was only referring to a +single+ command.

  • ... the US was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Are you saying that the U.K., Canada, remenants of the French, Dutch, Belgian armies, while leaving the vast majority of the heavy material behind at Dunkirk, could have successfully launched the D-Day invasion?

    Give me a break, I think the U.S. represented one big friggin straw.

    Please drop the Napoleon complex it just makes you look like an idiot.
  • Some guy mirrored the stuff and added a little ironical comment for the model.

    In fact, this is a lawyer case. They are a pool of lawyers that know a bit about the internet (when their colleagues don't) and its "juridic holes", and they make money out of it.
    Previously they sued and won a child who had put online a JavaScrip version of Raymond Queneau's "cent mille milliards de poèmes".

    Now, my site is stuck here, as ftp's are down too.

  • Here's a general translation/summary of the article:

    The Court of Appeals of Paris is fining 405,000 Francs in damages on behalf of Estelle Halladay, because one of the sites that hosts had nude caricatures of her, originally published in the magazine Voici. Valentine Lacambre, the provider of is being blamed in this lawsuit, not the author of the web site.

    Last December, in another lawsuit, the ISP Le Village was sued over a webpage featuring gory pictures from horror films. Estelle Halladay's lawyer, said that the provider of is as responsible for's content as the owner of newspaper would be. Jacques Bitoun, a lawyer specialising in new technologies, said that the provider must check over the content of their websites, and take action when necessary.

    Providers, alarmed by this lawsuit, point out that it is impossible to control all the member pages. They point out that anyone can post anything, and the simplicity of doing this and the huge number of providers makes such control impossible. Michel Mayer, owner of the web host Multimania, which currently has 70,000 members and gains about 300 per day, said providers cannot be held responsible for the sites they host, because members can change the content at any time, so it is financially and humanly impossible to control it all. "If I had to control all the new pages on my site," says Lacambre, "I would [rather?] die."

    The condemnation of is suprising. Admittedly, two providers were sued in 1996 because illegal images were found on discussion forums that they hosted. But, since then, the situation has calmed down: the majority of web hosts have set up strict anti-porn charters, and have removed pornographical, pedophilical, and anti-governmental sites. Besides, Valentine Lecambre removed the images of Estella Halladay before her lawsuit in April of 1998. Before this suit, when a lawsuit over questionable content was brought about, the host was not blamed, and, instead, helped the legal authorities in locating the member who's site is in question. Such happened to Michel Mayer, over a site that illegally posted music.

    For the moment, Valentine Lecambre has denied any new members from joining A petition for the reversal of the Court of Appeal's decision has been put online on the Web. Iris Association has called for a "huge international mobilization" over this case. And, according to Gilles Gavez, there are "more than twenty other sites" where you can get these pictures.

    ===End of Translation===

    Sorry for any errors in this translation. Please support, as I also heve a web site there. The member who's site is in question should be held responsible, not the provider.

  • Ok, to clarify the issue: they were NOT nude photos. They were drawings/caricatures of Estelle nude.

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