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Yahoo! seeks protection against international liability

[JURIST] Lawyers for Yahoo! Inc. [official website] have appeared before the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking legal protection for US Internet portals displaying content which is illegal in foreign countries, but is domestically protected by the First Amendment [text]. The hearing, held Thursday before an 11-judge panel, concerned fines imposed on Yahoo by a French court [CNN report] four years ago for allowing web-users in France to buy and sell Nazi memorabilia via Yahoo! France [website in French]. While the sale of Nazi memorabilia is protected in the US by the First Amendment, French law prohibits such transactions. At the hearing, Yahoo! specifically asked the Court to prevent the collection of the fine, which now totals $15 million and grows by up to $15,000 per day. While some judges recognized the need for a legal shield, others expressed concerns that the action is premature, since the two French human rights groups that sued have not attempted to collect. Yahoo lawyer Robert Vanderet remarked that all US-based Internet portals, when developing their websites, need to know the possible ramifications for liability imposed by foreign courts. AP has more.

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