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France rules Wiki not responsible for site contents

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A French judge has ruled that Wikipedia is not responsible for defamatory content it hosted on its website.

The open source encyclopedia was facing action for damages from three people described as homosexual by the website. Each wanted €69,000 in damages, according to AFP.

But Judge Emmanuel Binoche said that under a 2004 law Wikipedia was not responsible for information it was unaware of. The allegations against the three were removed.

In a written ruling, Reuters reports, Binoche said: "Website hosts cannot be liable under civil law because of information stored on them if they do not in fact know of their illicit nature."

One of the claimants said he had emailed Wikipedia before getting his lawyer involved, but the encyclopedia denied receiving his mail.

Wikimedia Foundation, the umbrella organisation for all of Wiki's incarnations, welcomed the verdict and said the site always tries to react quickly to such problems. ®

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