Unofficial English translation

This page is intended to encourage the exchange of ideas about the legal issues arising in connection with the facts of this case.

No warranties, express or implied, are given as to the reliability of the translation. The translation should not be relied upon for legal purposes.

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You are also invited to consult:

- a webliography prepared by Daniel Laprès of links to sites containing information related to these issues, and

- the text of the order of the French court on November 20, 2000 in French

- the text in French and in English translation of the order of August 11, 2000 in this matter.

- the text in French and in English translation of the order of May 22, 2000 in this matter.



Rendered on November 20, 2000


By Judge Jean-Jacques GOMEZ, First Deputy Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Paris, rendered in public at the hearing held in summary proceedings, by delegation from the Chief Justice,

Assisted by Sylvaine LE STRAT, Clerk of the Court.



42 rue du Louvre

75002 PARIS

Represented by Maître Marc Levy, barrister before the Bar of Paris, P 0119

The association UNION DES ETUDIANTS JUIFS DE FRANCE (UEJF), acting through its President Mr. Ygal Le Harra,

27ter avenue Löwendal

75015 PARIS

Represented by Maître Stéphane Lilti, barrister before the Bar of Paris, C - 1133


Yahoo! Inc.

3420 Central Expressway SANT-CLARA

California 95051

United States of America

Represented by Maître Christophe Pecnard, barrister before the bar of Paris - L 0237

Société Yahoo France

8 rue du Sentier

75002 PARIS

represented by Maître Isabelle Camus, barrister before the Bar of Paris - L 0237

Voluntary intervenor:

Le Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples - MRAP

89 rue Oberkampf

75011 PARIS

represented by Maître Didier SEBAN, barrister before the bar of Paris - E0057


Mr. Public Prosecutor before the Superior Court of Paris

4 boulevard du Palais

75055 Paris

represented by Mr. Bernard FOS, Substitute, and at the hearing of the case, by Mr. Pierre DILLANGE, First Substitute,

We, the Chief Justice,

In the light of our order of May 22, 2000 to which we make expressly make reference and according to which we ordered

1/ Yahoo Inc. to take all measures such as would dissuade and render impossible all consultations on of the service of auctioning of Nazi objects as well as any other site or service which constitute an apology of nazism or which contest the nazi crimes;

2/ and to Yahoo France to issue to all internauts, even before the latter were to use a link making it possible to pursue the search on a message informing such internauts of the risks to which they would be exposed if they pursued their search on such sites;

3/ the pursuit of the present proceedings in order to enable Yahoo Inc to submit for discussion by the parties the measures which it intends to take to end the nuisance and harm suffered as well as to prevent any future nuisances;

In the light of our order of August 11, 2000 included herein by reference as regards the facts and the arguments and claims of the parties;

In the light of the arguments presented by LICRA and UEJE, MRAP and reiterated at the hearing of November 6, 2000, which sought the objectives already presented in our priori order;

In the light of the arguments developed in their defense by Yahoo France and by Yahoo Inc. and which make the same claims as those presented in our prior order;

In the light of the report of the experts Wallon, Vinton Cerf and Laurie;

In the light of the memoranda submitted at the hearing and to which reference is expressly made;

After hearing the Prosecutor's oral arguments;

In the light of the documents submitted in evidence;

After having taking the oath of expert of Mr. Vinton Cerf, an expert whose name is not included on any list, Mr. Nortek, expert enrolled on a list but whose intervention in this instance is to translate the English in conjunction with Mrs. Kinder, expert enrolled on a list of experts in such matters;

As regards the claims against Yahoo Inc.

Whereas Yahoo Inc. argues:

- our court is not competent to hear this dispute;

- there is no way technically to satisfy the terms of the order of May 22, 2000;

- were such means to exist, their implementation would entail such an increase in costs for the company, that it might even put its existence in jeopardy and would in some way compromise the existence of the internet network, a space of freedom; which ill accommodates attempts at control and restrictions on access;

Whereas in support of such arguments of incompetence, reiterated for the third time, Yahoo Inc. argues that:

- its services are destined essentially to internauts located on the territory of the United States of America;

- its servers are located on the same territory;

- a coercitive measure against it could not be applied in the United States because this would contravene the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States which guarantees to all citizens freedom of speech and of expression;

Whereas, while it may be accurate that the site "Yahoo Auctions" in general is intended principally to internauts based in the United States given the nature of the objects put on sale, to the methods of payment provided, to the terms of delivery, to the language and to the currency used, the same are not true of the sites auctioning objects representing symbols of the nazi ideology which might interest and are accessible to any person who wishes to go to them, including French people;

Whereas, moreover, and as has already been ruled, the mere visualization in France of such objects constitutes a violation of article R-6456 of the Penal Code and therefore constitutes a nuisance to internal public order;

Whereas moreover, such visualization obviously causes grief in France to the plaintiff associations who are justified in seeking its cessation and reparation;

Whereas also, Yahoo says that it aims at a French audience since in response to a connection to its auction site from a computer located in France it responds by dispatching advertising banners in French;

Therefore the links of attachment in this case with France are sufficiently established, such as to make our court perfectly competent to hear the claim;

That the eventual difficulties of execution of our decision on the territory of the United States, invoked by Yahoo Inc. cannot of themselves justify in and of themselves a preliminary objection based on lack of competence of the court;

That this argument will therefore be rejected;

Whereas, with respect to the argument developed by Yahoo and which is based on the impossibility of implementing the technical means such as would satisfy the terms of the order of May 22, 2000, it is opportune first to cite the conclusions of the panel of experts which appear on pages 62 to 76 of their report;

"Opinion of the experts


The undersigned experts wish to emphasize that their role has been limited to answering the technical questions asked by the Court. In no way, their answers should be considered as a support , whether technical or moral, for the decisions of the court or, a contrario, as a criticism thereof.

The context

On may 22, 2000, Yahoo France and Yahoo Inc. were found liable by the Superior Court of Paris in the following terms:

" (The Court) Orders Yahoo! Inc. to take such measures as will dissuade and render impossible any and all consultation on of the auction service for Nazi objects as well as any other site or service which makes apologies of Nazism or questions of the existence of Nazi crimes;

Orders Yahoo France to warn any and all surfers consulting, and the foregoing prior to use of the link enabling him to pursue his search on where the result of his search, whether via the arborescence, or through the use of key words leads him to sites, pages or forums the title and/or contents of which constitute a violation of French law, as well for consultations of sites which display apologies of Nazism and/or exhibit uniforms, insignia, emblems reminiscent of those which were worn or exhibited by the Nazis, or offering for sale objects or works the sale of which is strictly forbidden in France, it must interrupt the consultation of the relevant site lest it incur the sanctions stipulated by French law or answer to actions initiated against it;

Yahoo France has stated that it has executed this decision. Yahoo Inc. has argued that there does not exist a technical solution enabling it to fully respect the Court's ruling.

A panel of experts was then appointed to enlighten the Court with respect to the various technical solutions which might be implemented by Yahoo Inc. with a view to executing the decision of May 22.


The internet is a combination of several hundred millions computer networks and associated sites which are interconnected throughout the world. Routers are computers used for interconnecting these networks. It is estimated that there are one hundred million portable computers, desk computers, organizers, mobile telephones, etc.

A body of procedures was defined from 1973 to 1980, under the authority of the research laboratories of the American Army, (DARPA). These procedures, known under the name TCP/IP, are the heart of several hundred million protocols used on the Internet.

At the end of the 1980s, the CERN conceived the web (WWW) which exploits complementary procedures, the http protocols ad the HTML language, to implement this system of global sharing of information.

The application which are the most prevalent are electronic mail (e-mail), forums (newsgroups), chat rooms, auction sales, telephony, video and radio on line and many other services.

A common misunderstanding consists in saying that internet services are provided by the Web. In fact, the Web is just one of the facets of the Internet.

Internet which began a an experimental project used and developed by computer science researchers has within ten years become a world-wide commercial enterprise. Internet service providers (ISPs) have built and exploited networks open to the public. The private networks of universities, of firms, and even home computers are interconnected by suppliers of internet service within a global network. Certain service providers have specialized in the supply of access to users of the telephone interconnections. Others are specialized in the supply of access to used of television by cable, to users of ISDN lines, to users of ADSL, local loops, etc. . . These providers are generally called Internet Access Providers. They generally offer different portal services, electronic mail, information, etc. . .

Each unit connected to the internet must have an IP address. At the outset, certain organizations had obtained stocks of addresses from MANA. These stocks were divided into sub-groups attributed to their customers. These addresses might be fixed for the units connected permanently or temporarily for users of the telephone commuted network, or mobile units (portable computers). These addresses are comprised of 32 bits structured in two parts. The network part and the individual part. WAP telephones do not each have an IP address. The WAP protocol uses a bridge to convert the WAP address into an IP address and vice versa.

IP addresses are represented by four series of octets converted into decimal numbers from 0 to 255.

This representation is not very convenient and creates a system for associating name to an address. These names, which each correspond to an address, are called domain names. The conversion of a domain name into an IP numerical address is achieved in within a body of data distributed over the Internet (DNS). These DNS servers proceed by arborescence and are specialized according to the nature of the services ^provided (COM, .org, .edu, .gov, etc. . .) and according to countries (.fr, .uk, .sf, etc. . .).

But it must be understood that there is no rule of correspondence between the countries in domain names and the numerical IP address. For example, does not correspond to an IP address of the French network.

Consequently, the extension of the domain name does not make it possible to determine to which network the IP numerical address belongs.

On the other hand, the allocation, originally carried out by MANA, then by ICANN, of IP addresses to internet service providers (ISPs) follows an arborescence which goes from, for example, the principal network, to a sub-network, to an access provider then to a local user.

It is possible to go backward from a determined IP address to an access provider, to a sub-network and to a principal network.

Therefore, certain organizations and certain service providers maintain data bases which make it possible to find the coordinates of a network, of a sub-network, of a router or of a site from its IP address.

The DNS system offers access providers, to sites, etc. . . the possibility of registering with their coordinates their geographical location in the form of latitude and longitude. This is not an obligation.

The exploitation of the geographical locations of IP address holders is nevertheless of great interest, not only to aim advertising but also to ensure that the web develops harmoniously.

Several service providers have available the technology and the data bases which make it possible to geographical identify such and such an address whether fixed or even allocated dynamically. Several among them have introduced themselves to the Court's panel of experts to maintain that they had available the technical means making it possible for Yahoo Inc. to execute the obligations imposed upon it by the Court.

The problem

To respect the terms of the ruling finding it liable and prohibiting access to auction sales of nazi objects, Yahoo must:

1/ identify the geographical original and nationality of internauts seeking access to its auction site

2/ prevent French internauts or those connected from French territory, to learn of the description of nazi objects being auctioned and a fortiori to bid.

On the geographical origin and nationality

The general case

The interrogation of a web site by the public consists in putting into relation a user's work station (personal computer or other) with an intended site.

This operation involves the intervention of different categories of intermediaries: the supplier of access, the routers, one or more intended sites.

It is opportune at this stage to recall that the user's work station, the access supplier, the routers and intended sites are identified on the network by an address conform with the internet protocol (IP).

Whereas IP addresses of access suppliers, of routers and of intended sites are fixed, in the sense that there is a permanent bi-univocal link between and IP address and its holder, this is not the case for the address attributed to the work station of the user. This address is dynamically attributed, in a non-permanent manner, by the access supplier at the time of the connection.

But, the access providers may only attribute IP addresses which have been allocated to them by the net authorities. Such addresses follow an arborescence as was said above. The micro-computer of the internaut is given an IP address attributed to a supplier of access which belongs to a sub-network, which belongs to a network.

The panel of experts questioned the AFA, the association of internet access and service providers, to learn what fraction of internet connections carried out by access providers which do not provide IP addresses which are identifiable as French.

The answer was 20.57% as of September 30, 2000.

The panel also asked the AFA to what extent its adherents were representative of access providers operating on French territory.

The answer, according to a Médiamétrie study of March 2000, is "87% of internauts connecting from their homes use an access provider which is a member of the AFA.".

It may be added that for reasons of telephone costs, French internauts mainly use the services of access suppliers which are present in their country.

It may therefore be estimated that almost 70% of the IP addresses attributed to French internauts may be associated with certainty to a French domiciliation of the access provider and be filtered.

This indeed is the fact which makes it possible for Yahoo Inc. to post franco-french advertising banners on its auction sales site.

Annex B of this report shows the path of the connection of an internaut to the site of destination via the access provider Club-Internet (Grolier) using the PING and WHOIS functions of the internet.

The exceptions

There are numerous exceptions.

A large number, of the order of 20%, arises from the multinational character of the access provider or the fact that it uses the services of an international ISP or private communications network.

The case of AOL is in this respect significant. AOL uses the services of the UUNET network. Dynamic IP addresses are attributed by AOL appear as being localized in Virginia where the headquarters of UUNET are located.

Therefore, the work stations of users residing on French territory appear on the web as not being located on French territory.

The same applies to several private networks of large corporations (intranets) where the real addresses are encapsulated and carried in such manner the address known y internet site is that of the end of the tunnel.

Other exceptions arise from the desire of certain users to conceal their actual address on the web. This, there have arisen anonymization sites the purpose of which is to replace the actual IP address of a user with another address. In such cases it is not possible t know the geographical location of the customer of the access provider since its address may not be know. The only localization known would be that of the anonymization site but this is of no interest in the matter at hand.

Examination of the solutions proposed by the specialists in the trade

All the solutions proposed rested on an exploitation of the geographical information of the sites which have one or more permanent addresses. These bases are constituted for part from information obtained from DNS servers and for part from information gathered by the providers themselves.


The experts were able to observe that Infosplit was incapable of geographically locating the users of AOL France the server of which was located in the United States, for the reasons evoked able.


Relying upon principles similar to those of Infosplit, this system is also incapable of localizing internauts using a network for which the access provider attributes dynamic IP addresses which do not correspond to the actual geographical location of the user.


This solution relies upon the exploitation of the geographical data obtained from the system of localization by satellite (GPS).

It is totally inappropriate in the case at hand since rare are the internauts who have a GPS peripheral coupled to their work stations.

Internauts' declarations on their honor with respect to their nationality

Since, because of the exceptions cited above, no technique for filtering makes it possible to identify all French internauts or those connected from French territory, the panel of experts has considered the opportunity of having internauts subscribe a declaration on their honor as to their nationality.

Such a declaration might be subscribed upon the first connection to the site in dispute, in this case, the Yahoo auction sales site, by an internaut the IP address of whom belongs to one of the exceptional régimes mentioned above.

A message (a cookie) placed on the work station of the internaut would enable the internaut to avoid having to renew his declaration at the time of each connection.

Exploitation of nationality by Yahoo Inc.

This is the second part of the problem. What to do once the nationality or the place of localization of the work station are known?

The measures to be implemented depend on the facts of each case. They may not be generalized to all sites and services on the net.

In the case at hand, the site to taken into consideration is It is hosted by GeoCities IP address, localization 37°, 352 latitude North. 121°.956 longitude West, GeoCities network registered by Yahoo, 3400 Central Expressway, Suite 201, Santa Clara, CA 95051.

This site is a site for the sale by auction of miscellaneous objects and not just nazi objects. The characteristic of this type of site is to enable the internaut to find easily the objects he is looking for.

It seems that in order to respect the terms of the decision of May 322, 2000, Yahoo must not allow internauts of French nationality or calling from French territory to access such objects.

If, at the end of a search carried out by a request sent by a French internaut, one or more nazi objects described as nazi objects by their owner have been selected by the search engine, they must be hidden from the internaut and excluded from his search results.

But, obviously, it is not possible for Yahoo to exclude a priori the objects which might not have been described by their owners as being of nazi origin or as originating from the nazi period, or the characteristics of which might not have been brought to the attention of Yahoo.

The verifications carried out by the panel of experts have confirmed that numerous nazi objects were indeed presented as such by their owners.

A more radical solution is also possible. It would suffice that the search engine not execute the requests, transmitted to the URL, which include the word "nazi" and which emanate from internauts recognized as French or declared as such.


"To describe the information carried by the net which makes it possible to determine the geographical origin of calls."

The internet protocol (IP) associates the IP address of the transmitter and that of the intended party with each packet of information transmitted. The intended party is thus capable of knowing the IP address of the transmitter. There are three classes of IP addresses (A, B and C) a description of which is included in Annex P.

The first par of this address makes it possible to identify the network and the sub-network to which belong the access provide of the transmitter. These networks may be either national or multinational.

According to the Association Française des Fournisseurs d'Accès (AFA), we may consider that 80% of the addresses which are attributed dynamically by the members of this association are identified as French. A contrario, 20% are not.

Among the information carried over the net, only the IP addresses of the transmitters make it possible to determine the geographical origin of the calls. 80% of the addresses attributed dynamically by access providers which are members of the AFA may be identified as being French.

But, it needs to be pointed out that the geographical origin of which notice is taken is that of the site of the access supplier called by the internaut. Nothing prohibits a user to call from France, by telephone, to an access supplier the telephone number of which is origin. In this event, the IP address attributed dynamically will most likely be identified as foreign. It is also possible for a foreigner to call an access provider located in France and to have himself attributed a French IP address.

However, we may estimate, in the present state of affairs, that more than 70% of IP addresses residing on French territory may be identified as French.

The experts emphasize that nothing justifies the conclusion that it will remain this way in the future. Encapsulation is developing, service and access providers are going international and internauts are more and more looking for ways to protect their privacy.

"To state if other information, originating in particular from telephone operators or cable operators may be exploited both by access providers as well as servers domiciling the target sites to determine the origin of calls and, in such case, to describe them."

This information carried by the operators of telecommunications services and cable-operators, but not carried over the internet. Therefore, the intended sites may not be identified.

French telecommunications operators systematically transmit the telephone number of the caller to the terminal of the person called. This information is not exploited in real time by the access provider. It is retained temporarily in a file for future searches. It is thus possible to know, a posteriori, after analysis of the history of the connections, what was at any one time the number of the caller to whom was attributed such and such an IP address or vice versa.

Cable-operators may also; upon request, but a posteriori, associate an IP address, which they have at a given moment, associated with the local site of their customer.




"To describe the filtering procedures which may be implemented by Yahoo to prohibit access to internauts operating from French territory to the sections which might be considered illicit by the French judicial authorities;

In the event that no technical solution might guarantee a filtering at 100% reliability, to supply all technical elements and elements of fact which make it possible to appreciate the extent of filtering likely to be obtained for each of the procedures of filtering described by the consultants.

More generally to provide all technical elements and elements of fact making it possible for the court to cause to be respected the access restrictions order against Yahoo Inc."

The experts considered that for a technical solution to be effective, it must be adapted to the case at hand. The Yahoo companies exploit a number of services (annex G) on the net, from personal pages (GeoCities) to astrology (Yahoo astrology) including finance, etc. . . Most of these sites do not appear to be concerned by the is dispute.

The decisions of the Court and the claims do not describe with precision only the auction sales site. No claim is made against other sites and services of Yahoo with sufficient precision to enable the experts to propose technical solutions which are adapted and functional.

The experts limited therefore, in the present state, their answers to the case of auction sales (Yahoo auctions).

They also excluded the examination of other technical measures which might be imposed upon third parties, not party to these proceedings. Neither the case of Proxy servers, nor the parametering of navigators of internauts are included in the mission conferred upon them by the Court.


These experts note that, in the present state of development of the internet, that:

1) The numbers supplied by the AFA, cross-referenced with their personal experience, justify these experts in thinking that 70% of the IP addresses of French citizens or residents on French territory which may be correctly identified by specialized service providers such as info-Split, GeoNet or others, using specialized data bases.

2) Yahoo! Carries out a posting of advertising banners targeting internauts which the company thinks are French and that it has available the technical means enabling it to identify them.

3) Approximately 30% of the IP addresses attributed to French people may not be correctly identified using the above mentioned techniques.

4) Numerous sites, most often relating to national defense (cryptography); do not authorize access to certain pages of the site or to downloading of software until a declaration of nationality has been obtained from the internaut.

5) "Cookies" are in general use and make it possible for certain information to be reseized by the internaut each time it consults a site. Anyone trying to destroy a cookie or to prevent its registering knows perfectly well that his consultations will be longer on the sites which transmitted them.

6) The nazi objects are generally described as such by the sellers using the word "nazi", in the description of the object which appears as a sales argument.

Therefore, these experts consider that in addition to the geographical identification already practiced by yahoo to target its advertising, it would be appropriate to cause internauts whose IIP address is ambiguous to subscribe a declaration of nationality.

This declaration on one's honor would apply only to internauts the IP address of whom could not be identified as being associated with a French ISP (for example, multinational ISPs such as AOL, an address emanating from an anonymizer or an encapsulation in a an address attributed by an intranet server).

This declaration might, at the discretion of Yahoo, be subscribed either on the home page of its auction sales site, or only in the event of a search for nazi items; if the word nazi appears in the user's search, just before the processing of the search by the search engine.

In such circumstances, these experts consider that one cannot reasonably maintain that this would have negative effects on the performance levels and the response times of the server hosting the Yahoo auction sales site.

The association of the two procedures, geographical identification of the IP address and declarations of nationality, would probably make it possible to reach a rate of filtering close to 90%.


We reiterate below the dissenting part of the opinion of the expert Vinton Cerf, such the latter expressed it himself:

"It has been proposed that users identify where they are at the request of the web server, such as the one(s) serving - or There are several potential problems with this approach. For one thing, users can choose to lie about their locations. For another, every user of the web site would have to be asked to identify his or her location since the web server would have no way to determine a priori whether the user is French or is using the Internet from a French location. Some users consider such questions to be an invasion of privacy. While I am not completely acquainted with privacy provisions in the Europe Union, it might be considered a violation of the rights of privacy of European users, including French users to request this in formation. Of course if this information is required solely because of the French Court Order, one might wonder on what grounds all other users all over the world are required to comply.

Another complaint about the idea of asking user for their location in that this might have to be done repeatedly by each web site that the user accesses - yahoo cannot force every web site to make this request. When a user first contacts the server(s) at - or, one might imagine that the question of geographic location might be asked and then a piece of data called a cookie might be stored one the user's computer disk. Repeated visits to Yahoo sites might then refer to this cookie for user location information. The problem with this idea is that cookies are considered by many to be an invasion of privacy also, as a result many users either configure browsers to reject storage of cookies on their disk drives or they clear them away after each session on the Internet - thus forcing the query about geographical location each time the user encounters a Yahoo-controlled web site. Again, Yahoo would have no way to force a web site net under its control to either ask the location question or to request a copy of the cookie containing the location. Indeed, it would open up a vulnerability for each user if arbitrary web sites were told how to retrieve the cookie placed there by the Yahoo sites.

It has been suggested that the filtering need only apply to users accessing the Internet from French Territories or by users who are French citizens. It is not clear whether the jurisdiction of the French Court extends to actions taken by French citizens who are not in French territory at the time of their access to Internet.

For these and many other reasons, it does not appear to be very feasible to rely on discovering the geographic location of users for purposes of imposing filtering of the kind described in the Court Order".

Thus done, closed and signed.

In Paris, on November 6, 2000

Vinton Cerf Ben Laurie François Wallon

Freely translated into French: "It has been suggested that internauts specify where they are located upon request of the web server, such as or There are several inconvenient aspects of this approach. One is that internauts may deliberately lie. Another is that each internaut would have to be questioned to know his geographical localization since the server has no way of determining a priori whether the internaut is French or resides on French territory.

Certain internauts consider this as an invasion of their privacy. I am not completely up on the provision guaranteeing the protection of privacy in the European Union, but one might consider that to request such information would violate the right to have European internauts', including French internauts', right to privacy. Naturally, of such a request were to emanate solely from a decision of a French court, one might ask why other internauts over the whole world should have to comply with the rule. Another criticism of the idea of asking users their localization is that it would have to be repeated on each web site to which the internaut were to access - Yahoo cannot force all sites to respect this request.

When a user contacts or one may imagine that the question of localization might be raised and that a cookie might be placed on the disk of the internaut. This cookie would be used to know the localization of each new visit of the yahoo sites. The difficulty is that cookies are considered by many to be invasion of their privacy, and so many internauts program their navigator to refuse cookies on their disks or even to erase them after each internet access - in this case, the question of the localization will be raised each time that an internaut visits a site controlled by Yahoo. Again, Yahoo does not have the means to oblige a site which is not under its control o request the localization or the refer to the cookie. Obviously this would render more vulnerable each internaut were it to be said to any web site to search for the cookie placed by the yahoo sites.

For this and for many other reasons, it does not seem very functional to rely upon the search for geographical localization to impose filtering such as is descried in the decision of the court."

Whereas it appears from the arguments that physical localization of an internaut is possible on the basis of the IP address;

Whereas Yahoo Inc. attempts to render these conclusions totally inapplicable by opposing the contents of a separate note of the of the experts, Mr. Vinton Cerf;

But whereas first of all at the hearings devoted among others to testimony of the consultants, Mr. Vinton Cerf, admitted the feasibility of such geographical localization in the terms and conditions of the report and in the proportions which are indicated in the report, of which he approved the contents;

Whereas, moreover, his separate note of November 5, 2000, of which Yahoo invites us to take note, does not contradict the conclusions of the report; that it contents itself to expose one the one hand that it would be "incorrect, in any case such as to induce in error", to affirm that it would be possible to determine with great reliability the physical localization of an IP address, the terms "great reliability" being taken to mean, apparently, a degree of reliability far above the degree retained by the report which is of the order of 70% and on the other hand that the panel of experts ahs also admitted in its entirety that the reply which had been provided on this point could only relate to the auction site selling nazi objects and that it could not be the object of extrapolations to sites and services under the control of Yahoo;

Whereas it is opportune to recall moreover that Yahoo Inc. has already implemented geographical localization of French internauts and those operating from French territory who visit its auction site since it systematically post advertising banners in French to the attention of such internauts which it has the means to locate; that Yahoo Inc. may not validly sustain that the technology to be implemented in this case would be "crude" without any reliability, unless it were to be supposed that Yahoo had decided to spend money to lose it or to trick its advertisers on the quality of the services and performance to which it had committed itself , which does not seem to be the case here;

Whereas, in addition to the geographical identification which it has already been showed is used by Yahoo Inc. the report of the experts suggests that there be subscribed by those internauts the IP address of whom is ambiguous (transition through an anonymiser (site which guarantees anonymity) - or attribution of IP addresses by AOL Compuserve which do not take account of the country of origin of the subscriber) a declaration of nationality, in reality a declaration with respect to the geographical origin of the internaut, that Yahoo Inc. might require either at the moment of the consultation of the home page, in the case of a search for nazi objects, if the word "nazi" appears in the request of the user, just before the treatment of the request by the search engine;

Whereas the experts, who contest the allegations of Yahoo Inc. with respect to the negative effects of such a control on the performance levels and the response time of the server hosting the auction sale site, estimate that the association of the two procedures, geographical identification and declaration of nationality make it possible to achieve a rate of filtering close to 90%;

Whereas, as regards the optimization of the filtering by association of key words, the experts were of the opinion during the hearings that it would no doubt be necessary in order to optimize this filtering to select some ten words associated with search engines of documents or used for searching chains of characters "and" "or" "except";

Whereas in addition to the measures suggested by the experts, it is appropriate to add the controls by Yahoo of the place of delivery of objects acquired by auction;

Whereas, in effect, a visit to a site for auctioning nazi objects is not just for the purpose of looking; that its purpose is often the purchase of objects, therefore, if Yahoo has not been able to identify with certainty the geographical origin, in the case at hand French, of the internaut, it will be aware of the place of delivery, and be able to prevent the delivery when same is programmed to be France;

Whereas, moreover, based on the linguistic version of the navigator, Yahoo Inc. might have available additional information on the nationality of the internaut,

Whereas it might nevertheless sustain that the use of such information would require that it modify the software it uses to manage its sites and a notable increase in the associated material resources;

That it adds that the filtering of all information at the level of the web server could only be implemented if it were possible to know that the prohibition would apply only to French internauts, lest internauts from the rest of the world be prevented from accessing the information published on such sites, which is not imaginable;

But whereas, first of all, it has been demonstrated that it has the technical operational means to carry out filtering;

Whereas, moreover, it has not demonstrated with a convincing projection, that the technical adaptation made necessary to control the access to the nazi objects auction site would entail a significant increase of the associated material resources;

Whereas, in any case, Yahoo Inc. has offered to cooperate with the plaintiffs; therefore, it has requested that notice be taken that it is willing to implement a system of scanning with the assistance of the plaintiffs, whose struggle it has always respected, in order that, when a site offensive is brought to its attention and on condition that it is manifestly intended essentially to French users, it might cease its hosting;

That to prove its good faith, it indicates that it has stopped the hosting of the protocol of the Sages of Sion, considering sufficient the link of attachment of such document with France due to the language of the work;

Whereas with a little good will, Yahoo Inc. may convince itself of the utility of extending this link of attachment to photographs and to descriptions of objects representing symbols of nazism;

Whereas according to the information in the experts' report upon request of the plaintiffs and which were not seriously contested, Yahoo already refuses on its auction site the sale of human organs, drugs, works or objects related to pedophilia, cigarettes or live animals, all of which sales are directly excluded and for just cause from the protection of the first amendment of the American constitution which guarantees freedom of opinion and expression;

Whereas it would no doubt cost very little for it to extend these prohibitions to symbols of nazism and such an initiative would have the merit of satisfying a requirements of ethics and morals which are shared by all democratic societies;

Whereas the combination of technical means available and of the initiatives which it can implement if only for the sake of elementary public morals therefore make it possible to satisfy the injunctions contained in the order of May 22, 2000 that is through filtering of access to the site auctioning nazi objects as with the service involving the work Mein Kampf which was covered by the formulation of order cited above within the terms "and of any other site or service which contains an apology of nazism";

Whereas a period of three months will nevertheless be allowed for compliance with this order;

Whereas beyond such period, it shall be liable to pay F 100,000 per day of delay until execution shall have been fully accomplished;

With respect to the claim against Yahoo France

Whereas the experts' report stipulates and suggests:

"Verify whether Yahoo France has indeed complied with the terms of our injunction contained in the order of May 22, 2000."

The order of May 22, 2000 stipulated in this respect:

"(The Court) Orders Yahoo France to warn any and all surfers consulting, and the foregoing prior to use of the link enabling him to pursue his search on where the result of his search, whether via the arborescence, or through the use of key words leads him to sites, pages or forums the title and/or contents of which constitute a violation of French law, as well for consultations of sites which display apologies of Nazism and/or exhibit uniforms, insignia, emblems reminiscent of those which were worn or exhibited by the Nazis, or offering for sale objects or works the sale of which is strictly forbidden in France, it must interrupt the consultation of the relevant site lest it incur the sanctions stipulated by French law or answer to actions initiated against it;

To execute the terms of the order, Yahoo! France has:

  1. modified and completed the conditions of use which are accessible by clicking on the link "know everything about Yahoo!" which appears at the bottom of each of the pages on the site. The following paragraph has been added: "Also, if in the context of a search carried out on from an arborescence, or using key words, the result were to lead you to point to sites, pages or forums the title and/or the contents of which constitute an infraction against French law, given in particular the fact that Yahoo! France cannot control the contents of such sites and external sources (including the contents referenced on other sites and services of Yahoo! throughout the world), you must interrupt your search of the site in question lest you incur the sanctions provided by French law or have to answer legal actions initiated against you."
  2. Implementation, in the case of searches conducted by arborescence (categories) an advertisement thus formulated: "Warning: in pursuing your search your search on Yahoo! US you may be led to view revisionist sites the contents of which constitute an infraction against French law and the viewing of which, if you pursue it, will expose you to sanctions."

It has been observed that the conditions of use of Yahoo! were not systematically posted at the time of the first connection to such site and that moreover the link "know everything about Yahoo!" did not necessarily evoke the general conditions of use.

On the other had, the warning was systematically posted in the context of searches by category (for example, holocaust).

It is technically possible for Yahoo! France to compel posting of its conditions of use at the time of the first connection by a user to its site.

Yahoo! might also, in addition to or in replacement of the preceding measure, provoke the systematic posting of the warning cited in 2) as soon as is posted the link to

But, with respect to this last point, Yahoo! has pointed out that these were not the terms of the order. Accordingly, it will be up to the Court to interpret its decision. Contrary to what is maintained by Yahoo! "to warn internauts viewing, even before they use the link . . . " may mean that the warning must be posted each time the link is posted.

Whereas Yahoo France argues that it has fully complied with the terms of our order of May 22, 2000, in that it has modified the link subject of the plaintiffs' complaint, by installing the warning mentioned in the order on several links, and by reminding internauts of the conditions of use of the services which are accessible to users immediately upon their connection to and which since November 3, 2000 may be viewed on all the pages of, and by modifying the general conditions of use of the service by integrating a message which goes beyond even the prescriptions of the order of May 22, and this in the terms of the new article 6.2;

Whereas the initiatives of Yahoo! France are technically of a nature such as to satisfy for the most part the terms of our order of May 22, 2000, subject to the reservation however that the warning be mentioned each time the link is posted and "even before the internaut makes use of the link";

With respect to the other claims against Yahoo! France

Whereas the claims of LICRA, UEJF and MRAP seeking that Yahoo France ordered subject to payment of a fine in the event of non-compliance to eliminate all links between the site and the sites belonging directly or indirectly to Yahoo Inc. until Yahoo Inc. has fulfilled its obligations, are not matters for summary proceedings since the exists a serious dispute by Yahoo France as to their claims, which dispute takes the matter beyond the scope of our competence;



In public hearing in first instance, in the presence of the parties, we hereby:

- reject the objection to our competence presented by yahoo Inc.;

- order Yahoo Inc. to comply within 3 months with the notice including an injunction of our order of May 22, 2000 lest it be liable to pay 100,000 Francs per day of delay commencing as of the first day following the expiration of a period of 3 months;

- designate Mr. Wallon, 19 rue Decamps 75016 PARIS, telephone:, FAX: for the purpose of rendering an advisory report with respect to the implementation of the terms of the above order;

- set at an amount of 10,0000 Francs the provision for the cost of the consultant's report which shall be paid by Yahoo In. directly into the hands of the consultant within one month of this order;

- declare that should the provision not be paid in a timely manner, the matter shall be referred to us;

- recognize that Yahoo Inc. has decided to stop hosting of the protocol of the Sages of Sion;

- note that Yahoo France has for the most part fulfilled the letter and the spirit of the decision of May 22, 2000 which contains an injunction applicable to Yahoo France;

- order however that it cause to appear a warning to the attention of internauts even before they use the link to and the foregoing within 2 months of the note of this decision;

- order Yahoo Inc. to pay to each of the plaintiffs and amount of F 10,000 under the terms of article 700 of the New Code of Civil Procedure;

- declare that it is not appropriate to apply the above measures to Yahoo France;

We reserve for ourselves the eventual liquidation of the injunction;

We declare that that it is not appropriate to order any other measures nor to consider the other claims against Yahoo France;

We order that Yahoo Inc. shall bear the costs of the cause, except for those arising in connection with claims made against Yahoo France which shall provisionally remain for the account of each of the parties.

Done in Paris on November 20, 2000


The Clerk of the Court

Nicole Vouriot


The Chief Justice

Jean-Jacques Gomez