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Nazi trinkets not banned in France

Blame the bewildered judge

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Letters Surf Nazis Must Die!


In reply to Mr Davidson's email stating that Nazi memorabilia was banned in France. This is not true, but this fact failed to be recognized by most of the media, The Reg included. I pointed this out to Kieren McCarthy who made the mistake in one of his articles, but oops, he did it again the last time he wrote about this.

The only thing that you can't do with Nazi memorabilia in France is putting it on public display for any other reason than educational. So, Mr Davidson's suggestions of "putting on a play about Nazis, or a historical collection" are legal in France. Mind you, we have quite a lot of Nazi memorabilia in quite a lot of places, thank you. What Yahoo did that broke French law was displaying pictures of Nazi memorabilia for sale. This is punishable under French law by a fine of at most 10.000 FF.

But wait, this isn't what we heard ? Well, yes, "the misguided, anti-freedom Jews in France" chose to have to a civil lawsuit, not a penal lawsuit. Under a penal lawsuit, a judge has to follow strictly the letter of the law. So Yahoo would have gotten at most a 10.000 FF penalty. Not very glorious for a "cybercrime against humanity". Under a civil lawsuit, however, the judge can decide freely which measure will be taken against the offender. The problem is that civil lawsuits are usually used for determining a material compensation, not for dealing with a "cybercrime against humanity". Not very glorious either.

So what happened ? Well, apparently, the "fucking socialist French judge" (if he knew someone was uninformed to the point of depicting him as a socialist, our dear judge would probably die laughing) was greatly confused by what the opposite sides kept telling him, and he went completely overboard in his decision. There was a great deal of discussion about this (for those who are interested, and can read French, you can find a detailed explanation at http://www.canevet.com/actua/archives/di-127.htm, complete with the official law article covering this case), with most of the legal community heartily disapproving Judge Gomez' decision.

So, once again, no, Nazi memorabilia is not banned in France. That was simply a case of an overzealous judge, a thing that happens quite frequently, even in "the greatest country in the history of the planet", if I am not mistaken.

Regards,
Frédéric DEGAND

Seven Steps to Software Security

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