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Yahoo! Not Protected From French Anti-Nazi Laws 914

Posted by timothy
from the they-must-hate-speech dept.
snoopsk writes "An appeals court ruled that Yahoo is not protected from French legal attacks due to Nazi-related items sold on Yahoo's auction site. Backed by the ACLU, Yahoo intends to defend its First Amendment rights should a French court try to enforce French anti-hate laws. This case could have huge implications for free speech online if the French courts are successful in forcing Yahoo to remove this content.
"
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Yahoo! Not Protected From French Anti-Nazi Laws

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:06PM (#10062517)
    ... if you don't want to be subject to french law.

    Of course, the fact that france is enforcing an anti-nazi law is quite surprising.

    at this rate, france may actually do something about the anti-jewish hatred that runs rampant in france.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by surprise_audit (575743) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:07PM (#10062530)
    How big a presence does Yahoo have in France anyway?? And how hard would it be to block any browser that appears to come from France, if they even cared that much about it?
  • Re:too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saxton (34078) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:08PM (#10062535) Homepage
    Do you honestly think Yahoo would give up that easly? C'mon now. Do you think it would be cost-prohibitive to just shut down their french content? Why not try to figure out how we can diplomatically resolve this issue? I'm amazed the parent was modded to a 4.

    I'm personally interested in how this all shakes out with conflicting "freedom" laws.

    -Aaron
  • right... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hooded1 (89250) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:08PM (#10062539) Homepage
    So Yahoo is using the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the French, in France over their 1st Amendmants Rights gaurenteed by the United States Contitution. Yeah I can see that going well.
    Do you yahoo?
  • Uhhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suwain_2 (260792) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:11PM (#10062570) Journal
    I know we Americans are criticized a lot for being ignorant of other cultures, but this one might just take the cake?

    Yahoo intends to defend its First Amendment rights should a French court try to enforce French anti-hate laws.

    IANAL, but I'm pretty sure France isn't bound by the United States Constitution.
  • Jursidiction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tool462 (677306) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:12PM (#10062573)
    This case could have huge implications for free speech online if the French courts are successful in forcing Yahoo to remove this content.

    How so? This case would only have jursidiction in France. If worse comes to worst, just don't do business in France. It sets no legal precedent anywhere else.

  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:12PM (#10062576) Homepage Journal
    Ahh, but is that all that's required to evade French law? Some Internet-related laws extend (or try) to anyone that does business with residents of a particular country. Which means that the existence of French visitors (or customers) to Yahoo.com might be enough.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Saxton (34078) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:14PM (#10062587) Homepage
    With no French website and no local business units there would be no issue

    Why not just respect France's anti-Nazi law whilst doing business with the French?

    -Aaron
  • Re:Data Embargo... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:21PM (#10062653)
    Yes, "the most logical course of action" for any company should always be to cut revenue by as much as possible for no reason other than spite. Good thinking there, brainiac.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:21PM (#10062655) Homepage Journal
    Why do they even need to block French browsers if they don't have a specifically French presence? What exactly can France do to them in that case? Say "go away, or I will taunt you a second time?" It seems to be that in that case, France's problem would be with the French people.
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javaxman (705658) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:23PM (#10062673) Journal
    We in the US do not hide the Civil War, slavery, or even racism. Any insight would be appreciated...

    But we do a fine job of not mentioning the genocide of Native Americans, including but not limited to the fact that Indian Health Service routinely sterilized women as late as 1970 [egilman.com]. Recently we're getting a little better about this, as some modern advanced history books actually talk about stuff like The Longest Walk now, but this stuff happened much longer ago than WWII.

    Also, they're not ( in theory ) so much trying to cover up the *history*, as to keep the *current* bunch of Nazis from preaching the gospel of hate, and gaining acceptability through their icons. Not that such a tack is likely to work... but these laws are in fact not unlike anti-gang laws in the US. Except you can still *buy* red and blue bandannas. Just don't try to wear one to school...

  • Re:too bad... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:23PM (#10062674)
    Because not everybody agrees that we should ignore history. The French government should not have the right to make that decision.

    Think about it - how different from pretending that the holocaust never happened is pretending that swastikas don't exist?

    Perhaps they are still embarrassed at the way most of them ran away and the rest stayed to help when the Nazis invaded.
  • Re:Anti-hate law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:24PM (#10062679)
    This is no different from US "equal opportunity emplyment". When a company says that it is an equal opportunity employer it means that it does not discriminate against people based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc. But is does not mean that they do not discriminate. For example they can legally refuse to hire someone because they are an ex-SCO employee, while still calling themselves an equal opportunity employer.

    I guess if neo-Nazis had as many pressure groups etc as the Jewish people then neo-Nazis could get protection under anti-hate law, but I expect that currently it is OK (legally) to hate neo-Nazis or any Nazi artifacts.

  • by back_pages (600753) <back_pages@cHORSEox.net minus herbivore> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:25PM (#10062686) Journal
    Yeah, this'll probably get marked Flamebait for asking such a provoking question.

    I've got five shiny mod points at the moment, but rather than mod you, I'll take the time to point out that you don't have a "provoking question", you have a "groundless opinion". There's a difference. Thanks for playing.

    Seriously, the courts, Congress, and President surrender our national sovereignty like this? Are you fucking kidding me? I'm sure as hell not voting for Bush, but of all the bad things he's done, he hasn't surrendered "our national sovereignty like this".

    Maybe if France owned 9% of our economy... maybe if this involved oil... maybe if this involved actually going to war. What the hell are you talking about? This is a freaking WEBSITE that's selling junk on the INTARNET. Surrender our national sovereignty like this? You don't have a "provoking question", hell, you don't have "a clue".

    And there ya go - I posted instead of modded. You're welcome.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:27PM (#10062706) Homepage Journal

    How is a government supposed to stop people believing things in their country?

    According to the French government, by outlawing Nazi paraphenalia and memorabilia.

  • Re:Uhhh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by physicsphairy (720718) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:28PM (#10062720) Homepage
    Well, yahoo isn't bound by the French constitution. At least not unless their servers are hosted in France.

    I think the issue is the *sale* of goods to French citizens, regarding which Yahoo might appeal to the World Trade Organization. Of course, China sensor just about everything, and they're part of the WTO now, so I don't see much basis for classifying this as a trade dispute.

    But maybe instead of trying to pretend that they can "out-law" anti-semitism by "burning books" (hmm... who else can we think of who made books illegal that they did not agree with?) France might do something about people smashing/vandalizing synagogues?

  • by Shihar (153932) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:28PM (#10062723)
    What a stupid comment. The point is not to enforce American laws but to not enforce French laws on the all of the internet. If France wants to set up their own Great Fire Wall, let them. There is no reason why the rest of the Internet needs to bend over backwards and kiss their asses. It isn't an American law being enforced, it is a stupid French law they are trying to shove down the throats of the rest of the Internet. In case it would be the French who are being the "OMFG imperialist!!!!111!!!!"

    The Internet can not exactly bend to the lowest common denominator. It can not be subject to the law of EVERY nation. Maybe France just needs to come to grip with free speech. Even better, I would just rather see Yahoo pull out of France. If France wants to censor its citizen, let them. If France wants to cut themselves off from the world because they fear there citizens are too dumb to make informed decisions without the government regulating what they can and can not see, let them. No loss for me.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bgog (564818) * on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:29PM (#10062728) Journal
    Because I simply do not 'respect' anyone who stomps on freedoms. (American laws included) You can't make memory of what the nazi's did go away by pretending it didn't happen.

    I can respect cultural differences but not forced laws that are wrong. Example. I respect muslim womens cultural choice to cover their head, if they choose. I DO NOT respect the government making it a law that they must or stoning them for not wearing them.

    Respect is earned by respecting others. They don't respect peoples freedoms, why should we respect their laws?
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:30PM (#10062736)
    This is not quite accurate - I have seen many original Nazi posters and other propaganda material in museums in Germany and in other countries in Europe.

    I think swastikas are good things actually. It makes neo-nazis easy to identify - forcing them to pick some other symbol is helping them to make a decision they otherwise wouldn't be smart enough to make. It would be as if all dog turds suddenly came with little red flags so you wouldn't step in them any more :-)
  • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuelNO@SPAMbcgreen.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:32PM (#10062762) Homepage Journal
    The courts actually said that Yahoo does retain it's first-amendment rights, but that France has to at least be allowed to bring it's complaint to court. (at which point Yahoo would be allowed to raise it's first amendment defence).

    If we were to protect Yahoo from any foreign complaint, then we'd have the opposite effecte where someone could just pick someplace where there was no laws to speak of to put up stuff like kiddie porn and 419 scams. (er, uhm, right).

    If we want the right to go after illegalities in other countries, then we have to allow the reciprocal right.

  • Re:too bad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KrisHolland (660643) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:35PM (#10062798) Homepage Journal
    "Why not just respect France's anti-Nazi law whilst doing business with the French?"

    And when will it end? Taking down all the sex education links to appease some muslim nations? All the news pages because it offends China's policy of keeping their populus ignorant?

  • Re:Data Embargo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swissmonkey (535779) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:37PM (#10062820) Homepage
    Good idea.

    And Yahoo will lose one of its biggest markets, what a great idea !

    BTW, you might not realize it, but most european countries have the same type of laws as France, so Yahoo would end up losing the whole european market, I'm quite sure they'd prefer to ban Nazi stuff instead of losing half of their market.

    Bad luck, the usual US bullying that work with small countries doesn't work with France and the EU, they're too big, you'll have to live with other people's opinions for a change
  • by mikeswi (658619) * on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:38PM (#10062828) Homepage Journal
    No more than French law applies to US company with headquarters and equipment within US borders.

    Regardless of the French government's opinion of its subjects, the French are not children and should not be treated as such. France will survive quite well if a Parisian wants to read Mein Kempf.

    We should not be forced to censor every piece of speech or expression that embarasses some other country. If that offends the thought police in France, Germany, China and other such countries, tough.
  • Re:Bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:41PM (#10062857)
    there are frequent occurrences of anti-semitic vandalism in france. it's on the rise

    Many people think that's the result of the anti-nazi laws and jewish protection laws. The act of criminalizing nazi *ideas* makes them attractive to a whole slew of mentally unstable people, and youth who are drawn to forbidden things.

    Just look at the US: we're let hate groups say whatever they wanted, and now the hate speech they spew out is banalized, and people look at them as the redneck morons they are. In France, the criminalization of hate speech and hate-related objects makes them dangerously attractive.
  • by thecampbeln (457432) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:46PM (#10062896) Homepage
    Shouldn't this be a job for their customs service?

    Something is happening in another country that is considered illegal activity within France (or where ever). Pot is sold in Holland, there are probably even places that accept phone or fax orders for said pot. But it's still happening in Holland! So if you as a country have a problem with this activity, you have two alternatives in my opinion: block all telephone traffic to said telephone numbers (or, in this case, all traffic to http://auctions.yahoo.com) and/or stop the pot at the border with your own customs service (or, blocking all traffic from http://auctions.yahoo.com).

    In either case, it's not a problem for the pot house in Holland. It's not (shouldn't be) their job to enforce the laws of every other country in the world, that is what the police and customs services for each country are for.

    You don't like something going on over there? Fine, make sure it can't get in here. Don't expect the people over there to give a flying #$% about your beliefs/laws/whatever (let alone take on the financial responsibility to ensure that your beliefs/laws/whatever aren't broken). It's up to your own government to enforce your own laws. If something is "skirting" the law and making its way into your country, simply cut off it's route into your country and everything is fine. You can't blame the pot shop or the government of Holland if Dutch pot makes its way past your customs service! It's their job to stop it from entering your country in the first place, else what is a customs service paid to do?

    On an aside, if I were a decision maker within Yahoo, I'd find it abhorrent that Nazi stuff was being peddled by my company by proxy. I would do my best to make sure it was no longer peddled due to my own personal beliefs. Only governments can censor, private companies can decide what they will and will not profit from. Of course, this has no bearing on the case from a precedent point of view, I just felt it should be said.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:46PM (#10062897)
    Hehe, you must be new around here. Mentioning jews, revisionists, nazis, Noam Chomsky and having a swing at the Bush administration in the same post tends to trigger moderators' BS-meter.

    Remember, moderators never read the post for more than 2 seconds, so if it even so much as looks suspicious, it's modded down. Even if the post says something constructive. Such is the Slashdot way, but I'm glad you read my post :-)
  • What is Freedom? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beldraen (94534) <.chad.montplaisir. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:49PM (#10062932)
    As part of ethics class, it was required to consider: What is freedom? You are absolutely right that most people spout off "I can say anything here in the U.S.! That's freedom!" But, you can't. One cannot lie in court, one cannot say false and malicious things against people, one cannot say words that will likely incite or generate a public disturbance, and so on.

    For every "freedom" we grant ourselves we must give up a freedom in cost. If we grant ourselves the ability to say anything, then anyone can say anything without merit. A common critique of "free speech" is that it leads to relativism, where there are so many people who say so many things (often contradictory and intentionally misleading) that it becomes practically impossible for any person to figure out what is true or not. In the end, people just accept practically everything they hear if it supports their opinion and rant if it doesn't. Not every country, in fact most don't, want the outcome we have in the U.S. and do not have an interest in letting anyone say just anything.

    Personal opinion: You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Allow free speech and it only takes a small number of people who are willing to twist things so far out of context that it becomes impossible to have an informed opinion (Bush v Kerry comes to mind). Disallow free speech and people will eventually come to a norm and threaten those who cross it regardless if it has merit or not (France on Nazism). As an American, I would like to say that freedom to speak is blessed thing, but with free speech being used to attempt to defend any action from responsibility these days, I'm not terribly sure we can tout this horn much longer.
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:52PM (#10062960)
    I totally agree with that.

    However, one thing that's more important then anything else is that Americans and American companies have to realize that their laws do NOT apply outside of their borders.

    There's nothing wrong with the First Amendment, but it's part of the American constitution, not the French.
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:55PM (#10062977) Journal
    Why do most European countries insist on covering up any history of Hitler?

    Could you spout more ignorant bullshit? To the people who moderated this up: this is completely inaccurate. I doubt that the poster could even label the countries of Europe on a map let alone tell you how modern European history is taught on the continent.
  • Case History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:57PM (#10062998)
    Yes, the 'offending material' was long ago yanked from yahoos french site. The French court is now trying to force them to take it down on their other sites as well. They asked the US court to tell the French court they couldn't do that, and the US court basically said 'we don't have the authority to give them orders... but if they ask us to enforce that order we'll laugh in their faces.'

    The trouble, of course, is that Yahoo wants to continue doing business in France, and the French courts seem quite willing to seize everything they own in France and pull every dirty trick they can think of to force Yahoo to knuckle under.

    Yahoo, and everyone else, should simply stop doing business in France until they come to their senses. It's a shame too, a great country in so many ways - but a country that doesn't recognise freedom of speech cannot be condoned.
  • Re:Bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:00PM (#10063020)
    You shouldn't forget that France has the largest Muslim arab immigrant population in all of Europe. Mutual dislike between Muslims and Jews is nothing particularly new, I'd wager.

    There is a strong anti-Israel sentiment in France, but despite what pro-Israel groups would have you believe, that isn't quite the same as anti-semitism, because it is motivated by national politics rather than religious belief/ethnic identity. Many French disagree with Israeli treatment of Palestinians, and ignore PLO terrorist tactics; just as we in the US take the opposite view, condoning IDF atrocities while condemning outright PLO activities.

    Neither view is wholly unbiased. France taking the PLO side is probably mostly due to domestic political lobbying by Muslims in France, just as our pro-Israel stance is mostly due to domestic political lobbying of Jews in the US.

    Anyone who has looked at the situation over there in any sort of logical way will recognize that both groups are pretty shitty to each other and both seem to feel that God is on their side. Not a recipe for long lasting stability or peace.

    At any rate, I am both Jewish and pro-Israel, American and of French descent (parents are French). When I go back to visit family I don't feel like I get any static from anyone about being Jewish, although I imagine (perhaps incorrectly) that some Arabs might have issues with it if they knew.

    But I can say that as a liberal-minded individual it annoys me that some pro-Israel groups attempt to leverage the cultural fear we all have of being "anti-semetic" in order to increase support for Israel, a la "If you don't support Israel, you don't support Jews. Nazi!" This has worked suprisingly well on a lot of Americans especially.

    I dislike it not because I don't want people to support Israel, but because I think people are beginning to realize that they're being manipulated, and equating "anti-Israel" with "anti-semetic" is very much degrading the notion of anti-semitism; if all you need to do to be anti-semetic is be anti-Israel, well, it doesn't take much, does it? And so suddenly we're lumping a lot politically-critical people who are otherwise not at all anti-semites in with the KKK. Kind of removes the utility of the term, imho.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:04PM (#10063050)
    ... you sure wield the word "freedom" like a true American!
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:04PM (#10063057) Journal
    Complete and utter crap. You really have no clue about how Europeans regard Hitler, the Nazis and World War II. Europeans don't try to deny Nazism, what they do (and this law is a clear example of it) is deny neo-Nazis the chance to use Hitler's Third Reich as a tool to spread hatred and evil today.

    I'm European. WWII history was taught to me at school, just as it's taught to every schoolkid from Iceland to Russia. Delude yourself that Europeans don't learn about Hitler if you want, but don't try and dupe others into believing it too.

    And, by the way, perhaps this is a great example of the pot calling the kettle black. Native Americans are so well respected and so well treated in the US today that the name of the NFL franchise in the nations capital is called the Washington Redskins. That's about as racially sensitive as having a team called the LA Niggers, yet nobody seems to give a shit outside the tiny minority of Native Americans still left.
  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:05PM (#10063063) Homepage
    I've come to the decision that to many of the moderators, any post they don't agree with is modded down as Troll or Flamebait. They seem to think that it's OK to use these mods to stifle all opinions except theirs. Shame, really, as Overrated would work just as well and be less likely to be meta-modded Unfair.
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fini (571717) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:07PM (#10063088)
    Nothing to do with covering up Nazism. The history of WWII, the death camps and Adolf Hitler get a lot of attention in general education. You can walk around most European cities and find plates in the street saying "Here so and so were shot down by the German army", "There so and so was tortured to death by the Gestapo". History is present in everyday life at an extent most USians cannot imagine.

    It's so present that professing Nazism today is now not considered as free speech. This ideology was given a try and resulted in tens of millions of people killed all over Europe. There's no more benefit of the doubt, no room left for public debate. The case is settled. Nazism is pure unadulterated evil. Its ideas do kill people and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.

    There is one thing you must know about Nazism to understand why it is actively repressed in Europe. Nazism emerged from a democracy (while Stalinism emerged from a dictorial environment). Germany's Weimar Republic may have been dysfunctionnal and rife with political violence but it was a democracy nonetheless. Adolf Hitler came to power by the polls and gained a large following by convincing people far more than by coercing them. So there is no illusion in Europe on the ability of democracies to deal with this kind of ideas by the mere virtue of democratic debate. We know all too well how totalitarian ideologies can fall through the cracks and use momentary difficulties to impose themselves. Hence, the will not give those ideas any breathing space.

    We know that democracies are fragile and must be defended. We learned that the hard way and that's a lesson I hope we'll never forget.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:14PM (#10063133)
    Are slashdotters so rampantly liberal that in ANY situation, the American MUST be wrong?

    When America attempts (foolishly, I might add) to enforce it's laws/standards on the internet, there's nothing but ranting from the slashdot crowd about arrogance and stupidity. But when the French do it, suddenly the "don't do business there if you don't like the laws" crowd comes of the the woodwork and starts arguing about the applicability of French law.

    I simply don't understand the liberal penchant for euro-worship. Who cares what the French think/do/say/smell like; did their ban on Nazi Regalia keep the German army from driving tanks straight down the Champs d Elysees? Nope. Will it do anything to stop Neo-Nazis? Nope.

    Laws are only as effective as the power to enforce them. France has absolutely no ability to enforce ANY decision they make, save for whining for the US government to enforce it, so why bother reporting the story?
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:14PM (#10063140)
    "You'll be surprised to learn that there is free speech in Europe."

    But it's perhaps not as liberally applied as it is in the US. As has been pointed out around here ad nauseam, most fundamental legal documents in Western countries say something to the effect of "the people have freedom of speech," essentially leaving it open to interpretation as to just how much freedom they are granted (by their government, presumably). The national charter in the US says "thou shalt not" to the national government with reguards to speech laws and another amendment forces all member states to follow suit.

    "Not only that, you will be surprised that there are far fewer people making use of their free speech to put forward outlandish theories."

    Apparently because it is illegal to do so. However, this begs the question of just who it is that decides what is outlandish and what is not, and what standards are used.

    And is it that fewer people believe these theories, or simply because fewer people feel safe to admit they believe them?

    "Name another industrialised nation where creationism is even being discussed as a topic for public school curricula..."

    Somebody else's state, somebody else's problem. That's one of the nice things about federalism.

    "Anyways, there's always limits to free speech, even in the home country of the first amendment (think slander, think inaccurate advertising (like Jay's vs. Lay's in Chicago a few weeks ago))."

    How does freedom of speech equate to freedom from responsibility? Essentially, all the amendment says is that the government can't keep you from putting your foot in your mouth. And even then, in the case of slander, most (if not all) state constitutions guarantee that the truth can never be considered slander.

    "What's more, the European press didn't censor itself in the runup to the Iraq war."

    What are you looking for, free speech or forced speech? If you want the latter, please refer to the amendment three below this one.

    "What good is free speech if it's unpatriotic to criticize the president's warmongering?"

    The fact that it's not government-mandated.
  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:16PM (#10063157) Journal
    It's not a matter of being less truthful. American media is LAZY.

    For example, here in California, a local radio show is the ONLY media outlet reporting on the many shennagins of the state government. Arnold calling them girly men was about 1/1000 of what the scumbags in the Scaramento statehouse deserve to be called. Evil, fascist, brainless, retarded, shit-filled, legal citizen-raping vermin begins to get in the same city as the ballpark, and this is coming from a avowed Independent. Honestly, if someone revealed tomorrow inarguable proof that the state legislature was comprised mainly of foriegn enemy agents whose goal was to destroy California economically, I wouldn't be the least bit suprised. It's either that or these people are the dumbest shits ever to walk upright.

    You click on the local news, and it's a laundry list of robberies/murders, vague weather reports and snowboarding cats. When they can be bothered to cover a press conference by a state official, it's just reported verbatim. No one ever challenges anything. No reporter ever asks something like, "Do you really think a new 75 cent a gallon gas tax even approaces the outer reaches of coherent sanity at this point in time, and have you considered how much revenue it will actually bring in when the California economy basically evaporates overnight?"

    And you can tell it's not bias. It's just laziness. Asking a followup question is just too much bother for them.

  • Re:Data Embargo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoffspear (692508) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:24PM (#10063201) Homepage
    Umm, you do realize that the French sent troops to Afghanistan, to fight against the people who actually attacked the US, and just didn't want to fight a country that was at best posing an imaginary threat to anyone in NATO, right?
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metalpet (557056) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:31PM (#10063253) Journal
    > Americans and American companies have to realize that their laws do NOT apply outside of their borders

    There's some irony in that since the case is about the French court system pushing their law on a US site on US soil meant for a US audience.

    However, the question remains:
    The internet is making borders seem more artificial than ever, yet behind each border hides a slightly different sets and rules to abide.
    This is probably not tenable in the long run.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rickbrodie (535715) <richard@sa m s a r i . org> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:39PM (#10063297)
    I'm lazy, so I'll repost a post I made yesterday [slashdot.org]:
    ...requiring the US to issue such warrants and gather evidence and hand it over to foreign police - for activities which are LEGAL in the US (for example France could demand investigations and data for Nazi item auctions)...
    Well, why should you have to physically be in France to be breaking it's laws. It may be legal to sell Nazi souvenirs in America, but it's illegal in France and Germany. If I try to sell Nazi items in France, I'm breaking French law whether I'm in France or not. I suspect that the French government is not interested in people selling such items simply from America, which would be available to the whole world France included. The are most likely interested in people selling the items specifcally to France. It's a bit of a grey area, and I haven't explained myself as well as I might, but it seems to me that such people are intentionally breaking French law, albeit remotely.

    And a second post [slashdot.org]

    If we were talking about any reasonable and legitimate crime then the US would have it as criminal as well
    I'm not sure that I agree with your assertion that, if the US doesn't have a specific law, then it is by definition a spurious, unreasonable law. That level of arrogance continues to amaze me, even now.

    Having said that, this wasn't my point. I was talking about intentionally breaking the law in another country from a "safe" state. It's like standing in your backgarden and throwing stones at your neighbour's windows. When you get in trouble, you claim that your neighbour cannot blame or punish you because you are allowed to throw stones in your own garden. Whatever you're allowed to do in your own garden, it's still wrong to break your neighbour's windows. Must your neighbour simply suffer the occasional broken window because your parents allow you to break their windows?

  • Re:Here's a link (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:42PM (#10063312)
    Who pays when you get sick?


    Who owns the land your house sits on, fucker? Your ancestors stole that land from its rightful owners and now you sit there complaining about not getting free health care? Fuck you, asshole.

  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:50PM (#10063380)
    what the whites did to us was shitty, no doubt...

    but compared to most any other invading race at that time, you pick, germans, french, chinese, english, even portugese... it was comparable. that is what tended to happen in that stage of history.

    my only problem is that our genetic diversity is now large enough to support ourselves as a distinct race, but this is also happening all over the world in australia, africa, and south america.

    but anyways, too many people try to play the victim. how far back do you want to go as far as grudge-holding?

    as far as the sterilization in 1970, im not saying i dont believe you, but such things were not widespread past ww2. now before that, i have some amazing stories to tell about my grandparents and before that, but I've ranted enough. We have had 70 years, several generations, to get over it.

    Now look at any other 'genocided' culture, jews, slavs, whatever. They've managed to move on. Look to the future, not to the past.

    Turtle Mountain Anishinabe (ND), reservation land owning, casino money-getting, on the census as such.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xigxag (167441) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:52PM (#10063401)
    Look. I want to come over to your house. And I want to say "cock sandwich" in front of your wife and kids. Is it wrong for you to forbid me?

    That's the issue here. The French people have laws, and if you want to conduct business with France, you have to obey them. Or are you seriously saying that the French government ought to be subject to American laws and values? This is France we're talking about, not some two bit country like Iraq or Bosnia that we can just invade any time we feel like.

    They don't respect peoples freedoms, why should we respect their laws?

    You're kidding, right? Respect freedoms? I wonder which government in the world incarcerates more of its citizens than any other? I wonder which government routinely violates the rights of other people in other countries more than any other?

    Anyway this whole topic is a tempest in a teapot. France isn't extraditing Yahoo. Nothing's really changed except that the 9th Circuit is going, "Er no, we can't absolve you against the French prosecuting you IN FRANCE. Duh!"
  • by swissmonkey (535779) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:07PM (#10063511) Homepage
    That's partly true, France certainly had economical interests in Iraq and it played a role in the government's decisions.
    Now, if you look at what the _people_ wanted in France/Germany/... you'll see that they all refused a US invasion and they didn't refuse it for these economical reasons, they refused it because they considered that it was ethically wrong.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:14PM (#10063576)
    Because I simply do not 'respect' anyone who stomps on freedoms.

    Apparently, however, you are willing to stomp on the freedom of foreign powers to govern themselves as they see fit. Presumably, these anti-hate-speech laws were passed through the French democratic process. How can you claim to love freedom while simultaneously denouncing something that was decided through a free vote?

    Insisting that all foreign nations govern themselves in a way that seems "fit" to your mind is tantamount to imperialism.

  • Re:Here's a link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:18PM (#10063611)
    That is absurd. "Redskin" may only make sense to 1% (though it is likely more), but if most of those are native Americans, they know they are being slurred. How can you say it is not an ethnic slur??
  • Re:Here's a link (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:22PM (#10063631)
    > Why do most European countries insist on covering up any history of Hitler?

    For your information, french laws in that matter don't do that. At all.
    Quite the contrary (at least they try to).

    They just force you to tell the truth about that period. It is considered too important to be allowed to lie about it.
    You have to remember that some people around the world (like Mel Gibson's father, here in the US) do not really believe that the concentration camps are responsible for "that many deaths among the Jews".

    For instance, in France, it is illegal to state publicly that gas chambers did not exist.

    The French consider that such lies about history should not be allowed. These laws are here to protect history, and to ensure that nobody forget or remember a "fainted" version of what really happened.

    You may disagree with this strategy, but at least you agree with their goal.
    It is a bit like forcing people to fasten their seat belt in a plane or a car. You protect someone (and the people around: hitting the driver from behind in a car accident may kill him, it has happened) against his own choices.

    But there is also another dimension: you want to protect the memory of those who died, since they are not here to defend themselves anymore.
  • by smcavoy (114157) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:26PM (#10063660)
    Was it love of the Iraqi people that caused the US to go to war? or was it the WMD? And if it was the love, where was it when they were dropping cluster bombs?
    oh yeah I forget, who armed Iraq?

    It is not even conceivable that the French (and MOST other US ALLIES) looked at the evidence for going to war, weighed it and it came up short? I mean it was proven that the intelligence that "caused" the US to go to war to "protect itself" was faulty.

    Maybe they just couldn't bring themselves to sending their countrymen to die, and condemn Iraqi's to become "collateral damage" that doesn't even get an official body count.

    But yeah, it could've been all about the money, why not that's what it's all about there in the US, right? Maybe they asked for a cut and were told to go fuck themselves with a baguette.
  • Re:Bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:33PM (#10063719) Homepage Journal
    Considering the fact that southern France was collaberating with the Nazis, I should think that they'd have not been that much more deprived than citizens of Germany during the war.

    The average Parisian lost 20kg during the Nazi occupation [news.com.au]. I could dig for something about southern France, but you get the idea.

    Aside from that, you seem to be supportive of France's attempt at purging "bad thoughts" from the minds of everyone on planet Earth

    No, I'm not.

    I'm, to the contrary, opposed to jingoist who act as though this was somehow a French thing. First of all, right there, you claim they are trying to "purge" the thoughts of, as you said, everyone on the planet. Whereas we are talking about a law that only applies to, surprise surprise, France.

    Your justification of your hatred of all things French is what I oppose.

    My feelings about that perticular law or that perticular case are not involved, this is about you jerks attacking a whole country, a whole people and culture, and acting as though you were justified, as if this were right.

    American courts and lawmakers will come to Yahoo's rescue and put the pompous French beaurocrats right back on their socialist asses.

    Yes, they are pompous.
    Its as though, you know, they want a company doing is business in their own country to obey the law of the land, and the company was responding by having the court of another country try to impose its own laws to a sovereign nation.
    Because, of course, since America is better than the rest of the planet, it's laws take precedence over all other laws. That is not pompous, oh my no!

    Otherwise, we may well see the content of the internet reduced to the lowest common denominator of PC-filtered non-offensive non-confrontational child-safe mind-numbing drool.

    Because, of course, laws affecting content on the internet [slashdot.org] are only passed in inferior countries, the Almighty, divine United States of America are above, amongst other things, passing such laws [fcc.gov].

    So lets see, your opinion is that the French people did not suffer during WWII, that they are pompous, that they want to purge the thoughts of the entire world, and that they should submit to U.S. law.

    My opinion is that you are a jingoist bigot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:35PM (#10063733)

    At that's to say nothing of the French journalist who got fired for pointing out that the French press were so incompetently pro-Saddam that the were talking about "terrible" American casualties and "fierce" Iraqi resistence right up until Saddam's statue was toppled.

    Reference please. Never heard of that.

    Moreover, I'm still waiting for a Fox journalist to say that its employer is not "Fair and unbalanced"... If one did, he would be fired instantly.

    So, for your point to be of some weight, you would have, at least, to show that the governement is responsible for that.

    Otherwise, this is business as usual. Do not disagree with your boss.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:41PM (#10063782)
    Please explain how refusing to hand a prisoner over to those you personally consider to use cruel methods, is dictating any law whatsoever.

    Bonus points if you know which country tries to dictate others' laws the most at this point in history.

    A gold star if you can remember which country's government tried to pressure the EU to ignore its own antitrust laws for our friends at MicroShaft.

    People here turn into idiots when someone mentions the french, why is that?

    (by the way, I agree with your decision, just not the rest of the bullshit)
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:48PM (#10063824)
    The act of criminalizing any idea ought to, all other things being equal, make that idea more appealing to thoughtful people. Criminalizing ideas is wrong, and one ought to make a stand for criminalized ideas whenever possible.

    Of course, most reasonable people do not support Nazi ideas even where they're criminalized. But in general, criminalizing ideas makes them more attractive to those of us who side with unpopular sentiment against oppressive government.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tylernt (581794) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:13PM (#10064026)
    "It is specifically targetted at the French market"

    Doen't matter. If the servers are not in France, France's laws mean squat. Regulating web content on a server outside of France is outside of their jurisdiction.

    If the French feel so strongly about this, they need to build a Wall of France like the one China has, so they can protect their subjects er, citizens, from all that nasty evil content.
  • by danharan (714822) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:18PM (#10064064) Journal
    Hmmm... troll, but I'll bite.
    the UN Oil-for-food scandel) never get adequately reported in the French press.
    If Denis Halliday had received his fair share of press in the US when he resigned from administering that program, I could be convinced you had a point there. The whole topic was never adequately reported in the US press, even after years of activists trying to get issues to their attention.

    There's been so much propaganda about Iraq and OFF that we sometimes forget that OFF was itself a scandal, a thinly veil for genocide. Enforced nominally by the UN, it was the UK and US that refused to lift the embargo, precipitating the deaths of over a million Iraqis (according to UN agencies). OFF was always inadequate. After Halliday quit in protest, his GERMAN successor also quit... also mostly unreported in the US press, although you can be sure the Europeans paid a bit more attention.

    As some would rather not let you know why some Iraqis so hate your soldiers, it's easier to distract you with a petty scandal. Your media has also told you blatant lies [fair.org] - e.g. telling you Saddam Hussein expelled inspectors out while it was the UN that called them out before a US attack. Your media had reported the facts correctly when this happened in 1998, but in 2002 they couldn't be bothered to check their own damned archives.

    The US is a media island. You've been told so many lies that you are willing to march to the drums of war. And when told France's media is servile and heavily censored, you swallow it whole because you've never set foot in a French newsstand. Had you done so, and had you been able to read it, you wouldd have seen more diversity of opinion then you thought could exist. I'll not count the number of marxist splinter groups and right-wing nutjobs, never mind for a second the several Greens and the Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Tradition weirdos- just the diversity of mainstream papers would kick the ass out of your newstainment sources.

    And yes, I also have French citizenship, as well as Canadian, so I know I'm doubly suspect to your brand of trollish yanks. But I have to tell you your complaints about our media are going to fall on deaf ears until you manage to get respectable media yourselves.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:20PM (#10064085)
    I've been watching world news longer than you have been alive. Multiple News viewpoints where it is permitted by law.

    I see you are attempting Brit Humour with your duck analogy, but you logic is pathetically weak. Have you spent any time in highschool, or is all of your time spent on-line creating your persona?

    English and the American idiom is not my native language, so please forgive any improper grammer or spelling. I forgive your's since you are an American and a product of your Government schools.

    I'm 58, and lived 18 years in Europe, 8 in Korea and Japan, 15 years as a "government contractor" in Central America. I know what socialism and propaganda is. I survived the Iron Curtain! I lived through oppressive regimes - and I see the begining of the end in your country. I Remember Kruschev banging his shoe on the table and telling your President Kennedy that he will Bury you. He swore to destroy one whole generation of Americans, I think his prophesy is coming true.

    I am not a US citizen, Not a Republican or Democrat! I am a free thinking greencard holder in America right now. I post anon because I really don't give a damn about Slashdot's karma, just my own Karma!

    I cry for America when I see a Presidential Candidate in the country that defined freedom of the press and freedom of speech demand that his detractors be silenced.
    This is the man you want to run your country?
    A man who demands that any dissent be squashed?
    A man who will not open his records but demands that others show all?
    A Man who is worth over 1 Billion US Dollars yet he campaigns on class envy and pretends to be for the "worker".
    A man who believes he has all the answers for you and yet he does not have to follow the same rules.

    I see this kind of attitude in third world despots, I expect better from someone presuming to be elected President of the United States.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see!
  • Re:Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrowScape (659629) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:33PM (#10064178)
    See, the notion that religion has no place in school goes against the notion that you should be free to practice it. Religion is an integral part of who you are, it's not something you check at the door. Seems you're confusing "freedom of religion" with "freedom from religion."
  • by Uncertain Bohr (122949) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:37PM (#10064207)
    Come on. Grow up. When is the last time you were in a real war? You have absolutely no idea how how much of a shitty time this was for Europe. Comments like these and atitudes like yours is what causes history to repeat itself.
    Europe went through a lot of gruesome wars, and had a terrible experience with colonialism. This pretty much explains why they (that is the people) currently cannot stomach much o fthe US foreign policies.
  • Ahh, the USA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linuxhansl (764171) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:48PM (#10064264)
    Happily banning "bad" language and sexual content from everywhere, but fighting hard for Nazi hate propaganda to be protected by freedom of speech.
    The same is seen on US TV. It seems to be ok to slaughter dozens of people, but be "Oh God" if you can see a nipple.

    I, personally, do not believe that Nazi propaganda deserves this protection.

    That said, of course it is rediculous to subject internet sites to all laws of every country that can access them. That would make almost every site illegal as you probably can always find a country in which the content is illegal.

    If the french do not like the content, why don't *they* block it, or enforce it through *their* internet providers?!
  • Re:Precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aled (228417) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:57PM (#10064317)
    Well, US arrested a Russian hacker for doing something in his country that wasn't against his laws. Who set the precedent?
  • Re:Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goon america (536413) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:18AM (#10064482) Homepage Journal
    Just look at the US: we're let hate groups say whatever they wanted, and now the hate speech they spew out is banalized, and people look at them as the redneck morons they are. In France, the criminalization of hate speech and hate-related objects makes them dangerously attractive.

    Hooray for a priori reasoning! Do you have any evidence at all that hate speech is on the decline in the US while on the rise in France? No? Did you just whip this out of thin air because it sounded right, though a critical observer might have no objective reason to believe it?
  • Re:Pointless laws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goon america (536413) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:26AM (#10064545) Homepage Journal
    So, because part of the problem still exists, the solution must as a whole must not be worth it?

    Not that I necessarily agree with the laws, but this is a poor way to go about looking at the problem.

    Here's an analogy: murder is illegal. Yet there are still some murders! What a pointless law.

    Once again, I do not necessarily agree with the French laws.
  • Re:Data Embargo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:01AM (#10064780) Homepage Journal
    In case you haven't noticed, when you're the only superpower in the world you can do pretty much any fucking thing you like, any time you like.

    Yes, you're absolutely right! /R/o/m/e/ /S/p/a/i/n/ /F/r/a/n/c/e/ /B/r/i/t/a/i/n/ America is so powerful that no one will ever be able to challenge our hegemony! We are invincible!
  • Re:Bravo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lordofthemoose (716655) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:03AM (#10064789)
    Well, I understand what you mean, but that's not the way people think in France: it seems we're debating over cultural differences (meaning that each of us is right in his own way).
    In France, religion belongs to the private sphere of your life and is not a public matter. Church and State are separated, there is no "in god we trust" on our banknotes and a church wedding has no legal value (you need to go the mayor). This separation between church and state is fairly old and is a very important thing over there.
    One of the consequences of these things is that religion (a private thing) is not to be broadcasted at school, which, being a state school in a secular country, doesn't want to have any link with religion.
    Note that you still have the possibility to go to private schools (which are not necessarily expensive, since teachers in private schools are paid by the state as well) in which religion will play a part and will be taught.
    Now, as to your comment,
    the notion that religion has no place in school goes against the notion that you shouldn't be free to practice it. Religion is an integral part of who you are, it's not something you check at the door.
    Well, this is precisely where the cultural difference appears: when the French public system was designed, this is precisely what people had in mind. France has a strong history of anti-clericalism. Religion, is something you're supposed to check at the door.
  • by swissmonkey (535779) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:14AM (#10064864) Homepage
    Bad luck I'm not french.

    I bet fucking grass is even greener over there and everyone gets up in the morning with the solemn promise to leave the world a better place at the end of the day.

    Nope, they just consider that you're not allowed to invade another country without a valid reason, something the US government doesn't understand it seems.

    As for this oldtimer fighting for their freedom, yep he did, like the french helped you get your independance.
  • by thecampbeln (457432) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:41AM (#10065030) Homepage
    First of all, see "WalMart". By no means am I agreeing with their (in my opinion) draconian view on stocking/selling certain items, but their company's value hasn't seemed to suffer in the slightest (maybe it's because too many of my fellow Americans agree with their version of draconianism).

    In response to your first paragraph... I'd, frankly, be willing to loose the neo-Nazi segment of the market. Hell, even if it pissed off the KKK and we lost them too, I'd be ok with it.

    In response to the second paragraph, see "free market". If s/he (the decision maker that is) was high enough and felt strongly enough and was able enough to stop selling those related items, then fine. If the market decided that we as a company went too far then the company would loose money. Maybe then the money-grubbing... err... stockholders would see fit to "restructure" at that point (as it is well within their right to do so).

    In response to the third paragraph... as was put forth in the original post, it'd be up to Franc... err... Israel to block the shit they didn't like. It's their right, but it's also their prerogative to keep what they don't like out of their country.

    In my opinion, only governments can "censor". Companies can and damn well should be able to decide what they do and don't make money off of. Just because hard-core porno DVDs exist doesn't mean I should expect to pick them up at the local Christian (or Muslim or Buddhist or what ever) book store next to the latest Dalai llama or Billy Graham DVD or from the snack kiosk at the local elementary school.

    I do agree with your point when it is in relation to governmental censorship. Once a government decides to ban "gangster rap" because it's "too violent", it is a very short and very slippery slope to them also banning other violent tales [google.com] in other genera's of the arts (books, in this case).

  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by perlchild (582235) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:50AM (#10065084)
    Because Yahoo does business on behalf of others, and cannot enforce laws selectively(yet) while tracking the origin of both sides of the buiness-transaction-to-be.

    I'm still laughing at the "defend their first amendment rights" though, it's a FRENCH court, they have different constitional rights there, an American in France does NOT have a first amendment right to defend. Let's keep the terminology straight people, Yahoo wants to protect what it perceives as the right of free speech of it's business associates, without needing to control their business practices for legality in the French jurisdiction.

    To reduce to the absurd, let's pick J. Random Country where Cocaine is legal, J. Random Citizen of said country wants to show an advertisement for a site hosted in his country, can he purchase a google ad for it? Would he be framed for accessory to commit a crime in the USA? Would some district attorney try to get google too? Unfortunately for Google, and for Free Speech. the answer to both questions is most likely yes. In fact, the Great Chinese Firewall is based on exactly this principle: what's legal to display in China is not the same as in another country.

    What Yahoo would be smart to do would be to filter content by country, with the filters managed by an agent of that country, it would act responsibly with regards to the courts, but it wouldn't need to know what exactly is legal to show in country X.

    Yahoo is unlikely to do so for some time for:
    a) in some cases, Yahoo makes a profit off transactions, so removing items might remove revenue
    b) dynamic filtering of dynamically-generated, yet human-input-sourced web pages is non-trivial and might cost a pretty penny in hardware and software and effort to implement.

    Being sure you can't be sued for what your clients do however, can be considered priceless.
  • This is news??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadmos (793363) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:04AM (#10065142)
    To a typical slashdotter this news reads:
    Beware! French governement revokes freedom of speech of USA citizens.

    To people who use their brain:
    French government enforces local laws on companies conducting commerce in France.

    If Yahoo markets itself to french citizens and conducts commerce with french citizens (to buy nazi related material), yahoo, *by choice* is subjecting itself to the law of France.

    What would you have otherwise? Yahoo be immune from litigation in all countries bar the USA just because their HQ is in the US? Wake up, if you choose to do business in a country you are subject to the law of that country (having a website end in .com means *nothing*).

    But hey if you are too stupid to think, I have a large tower with great views situated in prime real-estate in the middle of Paris for sale...
  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zenthax (737879) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:06AM (#10065154)
    Look. I want to come over to your house. And I want to say "cock sandwich" in front of your wife and kids. Is it wrong for you to forbid me?

    That analogy is not completely correct. Yahoo is not intruding on French homes and pushing Nazi merchandise. It more along the lines of you going into someone's home and demanding they act a certain way. After all it is France who is visiting yahoo's website. If France fines yahoo so offensive they should just go and firewall yahoo, after all I think they have every right to. Would people be pissed, hell yeah. But France has no right in demanding that yahoo conform to their laws.
  • by morzel (62033) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:01AM (#10065426)
    If your description of France is correct, then France does not have "free speech".
    Even while the US has "free speech" in the constitution, how much of it do you guys get in real life? (assuming that you are from the USA, of course)

    Besides the whole Political Correctness issue (which seems to have risen to Kafka-esque levels in the US), I'm pretty sure that there are dozens of laws that can be used to shut somebody up (including sending 'm off to a prison many countries consider to be infringing against Human Rights conventions!). When defending 'free speech', in the end it all comes down to who has the best (most expensive) lawyers, or has paid the most campaign money.

    France has anti-nazi laws because of the horrible impact WW2 had on all people involved, just as you guys have made your own country less free to nail them terrorists after 9/11.

    Are these good laws? For some they are, for others they aren't... But they both were the result of a 'democratic' process, and ultimately it is up to you (the individual voter) to overturn them if they are not in your best interests.

  • Re:too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:03AM (#10065434)
    > "I wonder which government routinely violates the
    > rights of other people in other countries more
    > than any other?"
    >
    > France

    Wrong. Do your own research to find out. The Amnesty International report is a good place to start. Also look at the list of country who refused to sign the International War Crime Court treaty, then try to deduce who is committing war crimes today and doesn't want to be prosecuted.

    All the best.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:07AM (#10065455)
    Everybody including yourself is misunderstanding.

    The French courts are trying to enforce French laws. So far nothing wrong with it, in fact this is what they *have* to do. If some law start not being enforced then the whole edifice crumbles (oh, that's against the law, but doesn't matter...)

    Now maybe the law is bad and uninforceable, this is a different issue and not for the courts to decide. So far they are doing their job.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:24AM (#10065515)
    I believe this is a cultural artifact. In many nations you can be married to someone as young as 10 or 11. In the US this is child abuse. You can try to openly justify and display your practice of the marriage at 10 years of age in the US and see how long it will take before you get locked up.

    In France and Europe in general neo-Nazi movements are alive and well. Freedom of speech on the Nazi issue is not going to help. If you remember, during the last French presidential election Jean-Marie Le Pen came second behind Jacques Chirac. Le Pen is an outspoken fascist and the more he talks the better he does, to a degree. Remember that Hitler was an excellent public speaker.

    If you have a solution to this very serious problem I'm sure a lot of French people would like to hear it. Just mumbling "freedom of speech" without realizing that in the US that freedom is also severly curtailed in some areas (increasingly so in fact) also for good reasons is not helping.

    The idea behind this law is that there are some kind of hate speech that should be prohibited, and for better or for worse the sale of Nazi artifacts is bundled into this, presumably for the reason that collectors have more to sell than just artifacts.

    I wonder what the situation is in Israel, I'm pretty sure that it's at least as restricted as in France. Would you complain if it was an Israeli court who was after Yahoo?
  • by Zarkonnen (662709) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:57AM (#10065639) Homepage

    "If it were, they would surely capitulate instantenously."

    You know, writing a phrase like this basically says "Yes, I buy into the anti-French propaganda. Yes, I'm amused by jingoism thinly clothed in humour."

    This whole "French surrendering" thing really isn't improving European perceptions of Americans...

  • by pedicabo (753738) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @03:57AM (#10065640)
    It's hard to think how that term could be used legally here in the UK. It's harder still to imagine why anyone, anywhere in the english-speaking world, would want to use it except as an insult.
  • Man.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @04:12AM (#10065697) Homepage
    ...how much crap which basicly can be summed up as "The French laws are stupid and they shouldn't enforce them".

    The US is certainly not against prosecuting international companies with an US presence or even those without an US presence. For example De Beers, convicted in an US anti-trust suit despite having no US presence. Thus, no funds to cease which is really the difference here.

    Let us, for the sake of argument say I was running a drug company, headquartered in a foreign nation. In the .us site, I sold nothing but FDA-approved drugs. In the .com (not US specific) site, I was selling everything and anything legal under the laws of my HQ country. Shipping to the destination of your choice. You think my US presence wouldn't get sued? You think my US assets wouldn't get ceased? The US is perfectly able and willing to do just what France is doing. Except that it is the French doing it to you, not the other way around.

    Appealing a French case in US court? If you think that's a good idea, just wait until the French court appeals the US case. If you find that to be a "violation of your sovereignty", maybe you'll understand why the French would think the same.

    Following the same principles as the De Beers case, yahoo.com could be sued in France even if there was no yahoo.fr. It's just that the French courts actually have something to collect. Don't like it? Well they're behaving like US courts. We don't like that either.

    Kjella
  • by Neduz (713874) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @04:18AM (#10065720) Journal
    Except I don't remember the Cubans ever starting a world war and killing millions of people.
    But your right: every country has its restrictions on what can and cannot be sold. In the Netherlands you can buy pot legally, which is prohibited in most countries I know (of course, that doesn't mean pot isn't being sold there too). In Texas you can't buy dildo's (of course you can, but they label it "educational aids").
    And in fact, I don't think restricting the sales of Nazi stuff is that bad. I mean, Nazi's are all about hatred. Making a whole nation hate a certain group of people can end up very bad (jewspalestina, muslim fundamentalistsunited states, catholicsprotestants, ...).
  • I hate nazis (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mistermax (684685) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @04:48AM (#10065819) Journal
    freedom os speech yes, thought polluting bile no.
  • Re:too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eunuchswear (210685) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @05:18AM (#10065886) Journal
    Yeah, but they're trying to enforce it on a non-French entity.
    This [yahoo.fr] isn't a French entity?

    This address:

    Yahoo! France
    11 bis, rue Torricelli
    75017 PARIS

    isn't in France?

  • Re:Here's a link (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:05AM (#10066291)
    Also...
    Another aspect of those laws is memory.
    From U.S., a few million people came to Europe to rescue us. Thanks. A lot. But while many of you died for us, very few lived under occupation.
    Here in Europe, everyone over 60 lived the terror. Everyone over 70 can name friend/families who died. Many old people who have forgiven germany (and others) crimes still wince when they hear a german military anthem, cry when they see a svastika tatoo. Those law are as much about neo-nazy movement as they are about respect to the dead and their fight. People fought to rid Europe of nazism and oppression and current law prohibit the display and selling of those items in memory of that fight.
    I wasnt alive during that war. For me, a German dagger is a nice knife. For older people, its a symbol of dead and oppresion , and trading/displaying it hurt them. Ence those law.
    Beside this, people and corporation doing business in a country must respect local law. A car drived by someone working for a german society cannot drive at 200mph on an american highway. Yahoo cannot sell or offer to sell nazi memorabilia to french people.
    The World wide aspect of the web make this complicared, since yahoo have no easy way to know to whom it is displaying the sale offer, and france have no easy way to filter illegal offering. So, court fight ...
    But stop crying about 'covering up history'. the only problem, and the interesting one, is about local law aplication in internationnal web dealings. And i suspect many lawyer will spend many hours and money on this for many years ...

  • Re:too bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trifthen (40989) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:16AM (#10067667) Homepage
    Actually it would be like someone bringing their wife and kids to *your house* and demanding that you not say "cock sandwich" or any other arbitrary phrase that vexes them. In this case, you're free to throw them out of your house, and they are free to leave.

    Oh, and "cock sandwich".
  • by autophile (640621) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:53AM (#10068120)
    On the other end, nudity and sex in particular are very much less frowned upon. We are bemused be the drama in the US over prime time tits, especially since prime time murders are so common.

    America was settled by religious fanatics, so murder is OK, but nudity and sex are not.

    --Rob

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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