Yahoo Decision Has Commerce Implications

Share this content:
While civil libertarians hail as a free speech victory the ruling by a federal judge that Yahoo does not have to comply with a French order to keep its citizens from viewing Nazi-related content on Yahoo's site, the ruling has important commerce implications as well.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that the First Amendment protects content generated in the United States by American companies from being regulated by authorities in countries that have more restrictive laws on freedom of expression.

"There are two issues here: one's a free speech issue, and the other's a jurisdiction issue," said Marc Roth, an attorney at Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner, LLP in New York, who specializes in Internet marketing issues. "It appears that the U.S. court's position is you can't have one jurisdiction dictate for the entire world what's acceptable on the Internet. If you're a U.S.-based Web site, you're subject to U.S. law."

While passive U.S.-generated and based site content has been deemed out of foreign courts' jurisdiction, outbound marketing efforts still may fall under the law of the land into which it is sent.

"If you are promoting your auction to French residents in an e-mail, that may be a different story," Roth said. "That's not passive on your Web site. That's making affirmative efforts into another jurisdiction."

Companies also must consider what assets they have in foreign jurisdictions when deciding whether to comply with their laws on their Web sites.

"If you do [have assets there], you risk those assets being held by the court in that jurisdiction," Roth said.

France's Union of Jewish Students and the International Anti-Racism and Anti-Semitism League sued Yahoo last year for allowing swastika flags and other Nazi collectibles to be auctioned on its site.

A French judge ordered Yahoo to prevent French users from accessing Nazi-related material. Yahoo then banned hate-related items from its auction pages.

In May, eBay Inc. also banned the sale of Nazi items on its pages.

Loading links....

Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here