Yahoo v. La Ligue Contre le racisme et L'antisemitisme (Internet Free Speech)

Landmark Case
May 06, 2002

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

In 2000, two French groups obtained a judgment against Yahoo in France under a French law that makes it illegal to engage in speech related to Nazism, including the display and possession of Nazi memorabilia.

The court ordered Yahoo to implement procedures that would prevent users from accessing material that violates French law, specifically concerning Nazi materials.

The court also rules that Yahoo must pay a penalty of $13,000 every day they are not in compliance with the order.

In response, Yahoo filed suit in a San Jose federal court, arguing that the French ruling was unenforceable because of the US Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech. The ACLU and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed an amicus brief in this case Yahoo v. La Ligue Contre le racisme et L'antisemitisme.

In September 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district court could not rule over the French organizations.

However, the Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear the case due to another amicus filing arguing that US Courts do in fact have jurisdiction to protect the speech of US based speakers.

In the Jan. 12, 2006 decision the Ninth Circuit Court remanded the decision back to the lower courts.

Case Developments