Yahoo! fixed with two month deadline by French courts

Suzanna Kerridge, Paris correspondent

Suzanna Kerridge, Paris correspondent

Yahoo! has been given two months by the French courts to devise a method of blocking French users' access to illegal sites. In the French high courts, Judge Gomez ordered tests be carried out by experts to determine the feasibility of filters on the site. Yahoo! has been fighting for the right to offer access to auctions selling Nazi memorabilia following allegations from the International league against racism and anti-Semitism (LICRA) that such an act was "an offence to the collective memory of the French people." In May, the judge ruled Yahoo! had acted illegally by exhibiting and selling objects with racist overtones. Speaking in its defence, Yahoo! said it was against the American constitution to make the US-based operations comply with the court order. But LICRA claimed Yahoo! had acted in bad faith and should be fined $189,900 a day for non-compliance. LICRA lawyer Stephane Lilti said she was demanding "the hard disk be cleaned in the name of morality and French law." She claimed a company called Infosplit could offer a filter that would block out 95 per cent of surfers from the offending site. Only hours before the court hearing began, Yahoo!'s French language site, fr.yahoo.com, blocked access to auction sites offering Nazi memorabilia. However, the objects were available through yahoo.com.