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Yahoo! loses Nazi trinkets case

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A French court has ordered Yahoo! to stop French Web surfers buying Nazi memorabilia on its online auctions.

The US Internet giant was told today it must prevent French people from visiting its English-language Web pages where items such as Nazi books, medals, weapons and uniforms are up for sale. The judge gave Yahoo! three months to figure out a way to implement this.

The company faces fines of 100,000 francs ($13,000) per day after the 90-day deadline if France isn't somehow locked out of their Nazi swap pages. Yahoo!legal-eagles had argued that the demand was not technologically feasible - Yahoo! doesn't control French users' access to its sites, plus French surfers can log on through ISPs outside the country. They also threw in the fact that California-based Yahoo! is US governed, and the action would go against the right to free speech stemming from the US Constitution.

But the French court ruled that Yahoo! France could block at least 90 per cent of users from accessing the sites with a filtering system.

Today's move crowns a seven-month legal scrap - the case was brought originally by two Paris-based anti-racism groups, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA,) and the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF).

In France it is illegal to display or sell anything that incites racism. ®

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