Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Internet users, legal scholars, and international observers have been predicting a clash over ideas on the Internet for quite some time. The truly global nature of the medium, the uncertain status of Internet jurisdiction, and the fact that international laws about speech are divergent have created a sense that a collision of ideology and practical legal concerns was imminent. These predictions were realized in May, 2000 when various human rights groups in France filed suit against the American internet giant Yahoo! Inc. over the posting and selling of Nazi paraphernalia on American Web sites that French users can access. This international legal conflict highlights fundamental ideological and legal differences between the United States and France, most notably the divide between the countries' rights to freedom of speech. This note explores the legal questions at issue in this monumental case, and discusses the effectiveness of various proposed solutions.