Yahoo's Not A French War Criminal, According To The Supreme Court

from the jurisdiction-questions dept

For nearly a decade, we’ve been discussing jurisdictional questions when it comes to the internet. It’s still not entirely clear what laws apply where, and there are definite risks of jurisdiction shopping, as people file lawsuits in countries that have nothing to do with the actual case — other than having internet available in that country. One of the first such high profile cases involved Yahoo and France. It’s illegal in France to sell Nazi-related products, and so Yahoo was sued because its US auction site (not its French site) had Nazi-related products for sale (something the company has since banned anyway). The big question, though, was whether or not Yahoo was bound to follow the laws of France for a US-based site. While the US courts looked into the jurisdiction question, French courts looked into whether it should declare Yahoo and its CEO as war criminals. Eventually, the French courts recognized this was silly and acquitted Yahoo and its then CEO of the charges (and again, on appeal), but the jurisdiction question still stood. Up and down the various levels of the US court system, though, the courts seemed to all agree that France had little jurisdiction over Yahoo’s activities in the US. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the US Supreme Court sees no compelling reason to hear the case itself, suggesting the justices are comfortable with the lower court rulings.

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Comments on “Yahoo's Not A French War Criminal, According To The Supreme Court”

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Greg says:

Re: It Must be a Game Plan

I think it should be mentioned that it wasn’t the French government that started the court proceedings but it was a private NGO who noticed that they could purchase nazi memoribilia on the internet, which is illegal in France.

They then reported this to the police who decided to act upon their complaint.

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Re: Re:


“Did they really think they had any influence with the US Supreme Court?”

What are you talking about??? What in that story made you think France cares, at all, about what the US Supreme Court says? It was two different courts with two different issues and completely independent rulings. Apparently, you are confused.


Frink says:

Re: Re: Re:

“the jurisdiction question still stood. Up and down the various levels of the US court system, though, the courts seemed to all agree that France had little jurisdiction over Yahoo’s activities in the US. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the US Supreme Court sees no compelling reason to hear the case”

That says to me that the French, and/or private French organizations, wanted the US courts to exert their authority over Yahoo to abide by French law.

War? Where was Normandy located? Could that have been German-occupied France in 1944? I could be wrong but the French appeared to be in a bit of trouble then.

Apparently you and I interpret things we read differently. Could be because I only drink California wine. Or it could be something else.

Tim Arview (user link) says:

Re: Re:

To Frink:

We sure showed the French how to fight a war when we went to Vietnam.

Oh wait…we lost that one, so let’s not talk about it.

I got a better idea. Let’s talk about how stupid your ancestral people are. I mean, we all know how dumb Polish people are, right? And the Irish with their tempers.

Stereotypes are wrong, people. It personally offends me to hear someone generalize about an entire culture like that.

Besides, I happen to like wine. So why don’t *you* STFU?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

lol…actually, the idea that the French being nothing but traitors and cowards has been going on since the beginning of France itself. Isn’t the only war they won themselves their own civil war? But I disgress..

As for the France vs. Yahoo ordeal….my lord….what a waste of time and money.

Jeff R says:


One minor nit…

Just because the SCOTUS declined to hear the case doesn’t actually legally mean anything. It’s common to hear it reported that they “Upheld” a lower court’s ruling by not hearing a case, but legally, it has no weight one way or the other.

The case would have precident value in the Circuit where it was heard, but a ruling in (for example) the 9th Circuit that was denied Ceratori has no legal value in any other Circuit.

Starky says:

I was actually hoping that this would get to the Supreme Court, so any similar disputes would have a notable precedent. It’s easy to overlook a small, local court ruling, but the Supreme Court ruling would be impossible to ignore, and would solve the problem for a while. However, it wouldn’t quite fix the problem with disputes in other countries unless it gained international support, or was backed by the threat of the U.S. attacking other countries and imperializing them if they dissagree. *cough*Iraq*cough*

Anonymous Coward says:

>>We sure showed the French how to fight a war when we went to Vietnam.

Dude, if it wasn’t for the French trying to keep all their pre-war colonies, there would never have *been* a Vietnam.

And anyway, the soldiers didn’t lose that war, it was us folks at home that prevented them from winning.

These and other wonderful facts about the way the world _really_ is can be found in books.

Lod says:

(I just have to say it)

Without France, America would never have won its war of independence. A fact often overlooked in your regular us history class and which I in fact did not learn until AP US History.

Think about it. Without France, America doesn’t exist in the first place. Might wanna stop dissing them now, eh 😉

Just trying to scatter some intelligence amongst the stupidity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: (I just have to say it)

France only enterd on the side of the colonies when it became clear after the battle of Lake Champlaign that the British position in America was untenable. The French merely helped shorten the war by blockading the British Navy and preventing them from evacuating the British troops after the battle of Cowpens.

Tom says:

France, Angels? My butt

A couple things about France that I am sure you Francophiles didn’t know:

– They still want the world to respect them so bad their teeth hurt from biting on a shell in escargot and the only word that comes out is a Francophized word ‘Internet” because they don’t have a French equivalent

– Viet Nam. Somebody made a valid point above regarding France and their colonial aspirations. Well, they screwed it up and we had to cleam up the mess. Besides, we did win the battles, just not the war because of a lack of public support.

– Another side note that you may not ever see is that the French did far worse stuff to the Algerians in their war with them then anything the Nazis did to the Jews or the US did to Vietnamese for that matter. BUT WAIT!! The French Gov’t won’t talk about that because you can really see the French government for what it really is: a Hypocrite. Besides, they will avoid this topic like the plague because it shows them for what they truly are: yes, hypocrites.

– Besides, there isn’t any love lost when you consider that the French are spying on the USA just as hard as the Israelis and Chinese are and rank up there as one of our bigger intelligence threats even though they are our “friends”. Hell, they’ve proven that by how well they kept their noses out of Iraq while Hussein was in power.

– To bring this back around to the internet jurisdiction issue, if they have issues with Nazi stuff on Yahoo, they should learn from the Chinese Experiment in internet control. Yeah, that would go over REAL well and then they could control what the public REALLY is looking at.

Bottom Note: I lived close to the French border for approximately 3 years and the Frenchmen or women that live outside their metropolitan centers really don’t have the asinine ideas that generally prevails in the cities. In fact, they are wonderful people who actually try and help you speak their language rather than turn their noses up at you. I met many of them and absolutley enjoyed their company. So, if you visit France get away from the bigger cities and you will probably enjoy yourselves much better.

Fausta88 says:

Answer from France

Well, “interesting”article, is the word I choose.

You see, i’m French and I can’t decide if you guys are just pissed of by some part of our politic or by a bit of bad burger.

France never won war ? Well, It may be.

We had colonies ? Yes, they have been freed since.

Algeria ? We can speak about Algeria and tell there was slaughters there. Guilty we are.

We try to have a bigger plce in th world politic ? yes, of curse. It’s not you, American people, that can critizise this. We do have external prison like Guantanamo, so we don’t have to respect our own laws.

You values (including the reference to God, whoever he is) are not exactly our values.

We don’t care that you can buy nazi artifact in the US, but we don’t want to be able to buy them in our own country.

Your country was never occupied. You dont seem to understand what it is. And yet you (your government) try its best to occupy other country : Afghanistan, Iraq or impose your ideas of what isgood or Evil (!) to some other.

I write this with calm, without reproach. The facts you talked about arereal for some, but don’t feel that angelic about yourself.It’s laugh about in a lot of other coutries, not just France.

Az says:

Neutrality - Australia

Stereotypical American arrogant hypocrites.

You won WW2 right? All you, and you didn’t even have to jump in too save yourselves, you just thought you’d be friends and help out.

The French had a valid reason to address this issue; the US Supreme Court is not universal law either. When someone from overseas wishes too sell illegal material in your country can you not rule against its being legal in your country? Or would you dolts think its fine for someone to buy and use drugs because they are imported through the internet?

The idea of ruling against the CEO for war crimes is absurd but the premise of jurisdiction is a valid one.

An international Copyright and IT court should be set up to rule on these issues, with all digital information being free between countries it’s not feasible for these laws to be national anymore. And yes your arrogant American government can go have a cry that they don’t have a veto on that like the UN too.

(Btw, you did loose Nam; you may have won the battles, but in a guerrilla war large scale battles mean very little. You had nothing to win anyway, you can’t shoot an ideal in the face)

random guy says:

tech dirt?

first time i post here, but i follow the info here nearly every day….

Let us say that the reactions here are easily the most stupid ones i’ve seen in days….

Because they’re insecure with themselves they feel like attacking a country on every single occasion they have.


I have no love for the american govt (and even less for the current french govt), but the general issue french haters have is that they feel like govt = people…

That’s just stupid.

For your info shells and frogs cost an arm and a leg AND taste horrible for most french, who don’t hate america(the ideal behind the country) nor the americans just Bush administration (hey you had issues with Saddam, not iraquies, right?).

Also have you ever heard that justice must be separate from govt?

in france it’s meant to be that way, maybe it’s different in the us so don’t blame Fr govt for Fr court making stupid decision.

And learn that unless in a war you manage 0 death, you cannot win a war (just have some thought for the fallen soldiers family).

KTV says:

Big picture

I m amazed at the amount of people posting hate posts versus france instead of starting usign their brain.

The notion of juridiction over the internet is vital. If france can not sue yahoo US when Yahoo US sells nazi stuff. It means the US can not sue a russian site selling Kid Porn or an Afghan site selling opium etc.

There will always be somewhere in the world where wierd thigns are legal (kiddie porn being one of the finest examples). If companies based in those countries are allowed to sell world wide we open the door to an hugly bunch of problems.

I apologize for possible grammar errors in this post, i m … french.


Xan says:

On Wars.

“Americans” (I do not want to include Canada, they speak french, you know…) have won MANY wars…

They won the WWII… because Russia was not there. They did not fight. Fucking IGNORANTS.

And all the Europeans that fought for many years in many fronts were in fact just looking how the “Americans” were winning the war. You bitches.

Germany lost the war in Russia. That is a fact.

And USA AND the allies AND Russia finnish it.

That is History… you should read more… Russia did take part in that war. In fact… they did more againts the Nazis than the US. Assume that. It is ither historical fact. Loosers.

What the US did in Viet Nam is what they are doing in Iraq: to fuck everybody whit their fascist SHIT.

You lied to be able to invade a country. Lied to the world and lied to your own stupid people. Stupid bastards, you belief whatever a monkey tells at the TV.

War on terror… it is the same shit that the Domino effect.

Same ideals, same way: Guantanamo, genocide, tortures, ilegal weapons… It is almost exactly like Viet nam. And like in Viet Nam at the end you will lose the war… because you are corrupted and the ideals and the world are in the other side.

the only difference is that before you had Rambo, and now there are web pages with real photos and videos of what your fucking freedom fighters do to the people.

Now everybody misses Saddam because he was much better ruling Iraq than the US baked Iraquian shity government now is.

To win wars?

Yes… After 1945, a country without past and no colonies that was more or less loved and respected by the entire has become what now is: a pathetic joke.

Dear “americans” you are a joke now. You have lost the most important war: nobody respects you now.

On the Wine.

What the fuck about the wine????

You try to sell the nice Californian wine everywhere… STFO

Ignorant bitch

Simon says:

What do you expect

What do you expect from the decendant of those responsible for the beheading almost the entirety of 3 generations of the educated in thier country? (circa: French Revolution)

What you get is Id10t’s like this Xan bastard…..Hey when is your piece of shit country gonna start paying it war debt? Your WWI (yes World War One war debt that is?

France has nothing to contribute except communistic bullshit (communism has failed everywhere).

Turn the place into a glass parking lot for Euro-Disney and save everyone from future headaches.

random guy says:

What did YOU expect from macartism(sp?)

You fought in WW1 or 2? Did the french living now made the revolution?

Did you even fight Vietnam?

As far as i know NO ONE in France (except freakingstupid extrem right) is proud of what was done in Algeria!

And for the debt.. if Germany didn’t pay what was due to us, why should we?

Were did you see communism rising in France? stop spreading the BS and falseconceptions.

I bet you don’t even know a french guy >.> (if you do then you acted as a fool or he’s a jerk)

you’re only spreading the view that americans are arogants fools who don’t have have any history and try to piss people off…

And for you info, George Washington, after signing a treaty with france(after 1777), revoked his nation alliance when it was needed and backstabed the french in the back.

how come you don’t bring that too?

And i agree Xan’s intervention was unneeded (just as yours and some others)

Can we stop the blood feud and the sensless flamewar now?

More importantly : IT IS OFFTOPIC

Tom says:

Excellent Comments

Ah yes, the joys of finger-pointing, you get the rest of the world reminding you that you have three fingers pointing back at you and show you the errors of your ways. That and you get to read a few verbally-challenged people who have to express themselves in monosyllabic terms.

Well, to start, blah, blah, blah about the politics. The bottom-line I see about this court system is that hey, if you don’t want to see it in your country don’t let it be shown. But that smacks of absolutist control. And yes, I have to agree with whoever said it above. If something is illegal to your country then the obvious thing would be to NOT ORDER IT! Falls under the MOTFO maxim: Master Of The Freaking Obvious. And, I agree, if a website is offering Kiddy P0rn then you should ignore it rather than whine or bitch about it especially when you can’t do anything about it internationally. And, if someone in our country decides to download it (illegal that it is) they need to get their peepee schwacked and hard like what we try to do here in this country. Which is exactly what I would expect the French Gov’t to do to someone in their country who orders NAZI memorabilia from a website in the USA. This bitching in the courts about who has jurisdiction over that should just stick to their own country where the jurisdiction is valid and enforceable and not try and force it down someone else’s throat. Otherwise log a formal complaint through federal or diplomatic channels and try and get the respective government to help you out. I will also concede that, we as Estados Unidenses, tend to try and push our own ideals down other peoples’ throats too and we really shouldn’t. Sounds like need to establish a good case of agreeing to disagree agreeably and live with that.

I will reiterate my comments above in that I have no ill-will towards France. I have ill-will towards stupid people and unfortunately they tend to show their butt here on the internet. Mine has been shown too. Anyway, I will say that I don’t necessarily agree with what my country does in politics, however I believe strongly that if you punch a pacifist in the face often enough they will eventually defend themselves as we have finally begun since the whole Terrorism shebang started up back in 1979 with Iran.

As far as Iraq is concerned, well, as Olly used to say: “Here’s another fine mess you’ve (being the US Gov’t) gotten us into.” If you’re going to get involved make sure you have an exit plan and learn to realize that your idea of democracy may not be exactly what another culture views it as and then accept their opinions and implementations of that.

On that note, Bon Soir to mes amis from France. I really do appreciate your view even if I may wrankle you on occasion. So please be kind to me when I visit your country and speak in my poor French. We aren’t perfect and shouldn’t expect any more from anyone else.



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