[LINK] Everybody wants to rule the Web
Fri, 19 Jan 2001 11:32:42 +1100 (EST)
This article is a very interesting look at the extension of laws
dealing with cyberspace outside a country's own borders.
Everybody wants to rule the Web
Thursday, January 18, 2001
Few cyberlaw cases have sparked as large an outcry as the recent
Yahoo France case, in which a French judge ordered the company to
block access to Nazi memorabilia offered in its auctions within
Free speech advocates reacted with alarm, arguing that the case is a
setback for free speech on the Internet that sets a dangerous
precedent for countries seeking to impose restrictions on speech
outside their borders.
That concern was heightened two weeks ago when Yahoo shifted its
strategy and suspended Nazi memorabilia auctions not only in France,
but for all its users, a move clearly designed to appease the French
court. The company is still pursuing legal action in a U.S. court to
nullify the application of the French court's decision.
Before launching into claims of free-speech chill and an unfair
assertion of jurisdiction, however, critics would do well to consider
how widespread the extraterritorial application of law is on the
In the United States both Congress and the courts have been willing
to extend U.S. law outside that country's borders. For example, the
Children's On-line Privacy Protection Act, which establishes
stringent privacy requirements for Web sites that target children,
applies not only to U.S. sites but to any Web site anywhere in the
world that is perceived to be targeting U.S. children.
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