French Court Says Lucent Liable Over Employee Web Site

from the uh-oh... dept

Earlier this week, we made fun of the blogging world for overreacting to a legal decision that didn’t really impact them, saying that service providers weren’t liable for libelous content produced by others. Now, however, there is a ruling from a French court that certainly could impact bloggers – in France. The court found that Lucent is liable for the website an employee created, even though it had nothing to do with Lucent. The guy created a site to air his grievances about a roads authority organization for southern France. It’s a typical mock-satirical site like so many others that are popular on the internet these days. However, the court decided that it can’t be satire because they didn’t find it funny at all (I wonder if you can request a judge with a better sense of humor). They also determined that Lucent was a responsible party because the guy created the site while at work – even though it wasn’t hosted on Lucent servers. Normally, this might be considered outside the scope of the employee’s work duties, but since Lucent (gasp!) lets people use the internet, the court believes they’re responsible for what anyone working for them then does on the internet. This is, of course, a ridiculous decision that could lead to all sorts of problems. If the ruling stands, then you imagine most French companies would be forced to stop letting people use the internet at work. Also, anyone doing something like blogging from work would make their company’s liable, which (I imagine) most corporate lawyers would complain about.

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