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Judge to rule on French access to Nazi items
PARIS, France -- A judge is due to rule on whether the American-based Internet site Yahoo! can sell Nazi memorabilia to French Internet shoppers.
Yahoo! has argued during the landmark legal case that its U.S.-based site should not be required to comply with the French law that prohibits the sale or display of items that promote racism.
Its French-based site already complies with the law.
The outcome of the case could determine how national jurisdiction applies to the Internet.
The case began when two groups, angry that French people have access to more than 1,000 objects of Nazi memorabilia on the site, sued Yahoo! for breaking French law.
The French-language portal www.yahoo.fr does not carry the Nazi auctions, but French users can click onto the U.S. sister site and find Nazi and neo-Nazi material up for auction, which is allowed by the U.S. freedom-of-speech law.
A Paris judge ordered Yahoo! to pay fines to the Union of Jewish Students and the Licra anti-racism organisation, and then asked three experts to search for ways to filter French users from the site and all other sites deemed racist.
The three experts -- a Frenchman, an American and a Briton -- said it would be possible to detect 70 percent of Web surfers who use an easily identifiable French Internet service provider to access the auction site.
But it would be more difficult to detect the remaining 30 percent who use an international provider.
The experts said that attempting to block every racist site from French users would clearly be impossible.
Nazi web site gag 'impossible'
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