Yahoo has asked a federal judge to declare that a
French court's recent judgment against the company cannot be enforced in the
United States. That judgment, issued in November, ordered Yahoo to block
Nazi-related material from appearing on auction sites in France or face daily
fines of 100,000 francs, about $13,800. French law prohibits the sale and
display of racist material. Yahoo, based in Santa Clara, Calif., filed the
request in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The company argued that the order
violated the First Amendment and that enforcement was inappropriate because the
posted material was not intended for French viewers. Officials for the company
have also argued that it is technically impossible to block French citizens
from viewing material on Yahoo's United States site, www.yahoo.com. The fines
will take effect 180 days after the judgment is served in the United States, which
Yahoo officials expect in the next few weeks.
Correction: December 25, 2000, Monday
A report in the Technology Briefing column of Business Day on Friday about Yahoo's objection to a French court's judgment against the company over the sale of Nazi-related material on its auction sites misstated the effective date of the fines. It is 90 days after the judgment is served in the United States, not 180 days.