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Yahoo/US Ordered to Respect French Law

By acestus in Internet
Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 07:38:21 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

In France, it's illegal to promote racism. Ever since WWII, they've been touchy on the subject, and rightly so. Yahoo, as we probably all know by now, has auctions. They've prohibited the listing of racist (Nazi, etc) materials on their auction site through Yahoo/France, to respect French law. Now, though, the French courts have reaffirmed their order to Yahoo: "Block the access of the French people to racism-promoting items on your American site."


I read about this today at CNN, although it seems to have been going on for some time now. As the article states, the court consulted a panel of experts who said, rightly, that blocking 70% of French users from the offensive material might be easy -- just block *.fr; it's the other 30% that will pose a big problem. Beyond that, how is Yahoo supposed to determine what to block? Must they block all auctions? Auctions that carry strings matching certain regexps? The whole site?

The big question here isn't just about Yahoo and France, or even about free speech. It's about jurisdiction. If this case stands as a precedent, the result would seem to be that every site must only allow itself to be accessed from locations where it is legal. Not only does this require that users' locations be transmitted with their requests, but it requires that service providers be familiar with the laws in all nations from which connection might occur.

Granted, there are workarounds to the access problem -- the French can just go through SafeWeb. But the issue here is the burden being imposed on Yahoo. If the Christmas Islands decide that photographs of Margaret Thatcher are pornographic, must Yahoo block access from *.cx and users from the Islands to these images? The only marginally acceptable solution I can imagine is to provide information via META tags to allow browsers to sort this out on their own. NUDITY=extreme, and so on. Perhaps even ILLEGAL_IN="cx nu ws". This is still a burden, but a lighter one. Then, if the user alters their browser to ignore these tags, they are the criminal, not Yahoo.

Perhaps I'm overdramatizing the impact of this decision, but I think it's worth the dramatics. It's also worth noting that I am typically conservative when it comes to "information wants to be free" arguments, but this seems excessive. And, as an American, I am disgrunted at the French.

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Is this a Big Deal?
o This is important. This means something. Yahoo should protest. 30%
o Yahoo should ignore the decision. 21%
o France is being typically ridiculous. This will pass. 31%
o France is doing the Right Thing. 8%
o You're an idiot, Acestus. 6%

Votes: 147
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Yahoo/US Ordered to Respect French Law | 169 comments (164 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Can france touch them? (2.58 / 12) (#1)
by enterfornone on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 05:30:22 PM EST

Assuming the servers are hosted in the US, how can France really enforce this?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Yahoo.fr (3.25 / 8) (#2)
by ucblockhead on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 05:34:45 PM EST

If Yahoo! were just a US operation, they probably couldn't, but since they have a French domain, I suspect they have some sort of presence physically in France, and are thus vulnerable. Perhaps this is why Yahoo is getting sued, and not E-Bay.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Easy solution then... (1.33 / 6) (#4)
by enterfornone on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 05:41:22 PM EST

Just have a seperate auction site on the yahoo.fr that only contains the legal auctions.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Makes sense to us, but not France. (2.62 / 8) (#6)
by ucblockhead on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 06:14:35 PM EST

The trouble is that countries have a nasty habit of trying to apply their laws worldwide whenever they can get a lever to do so. France is certainly no different from any other country here.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
They did that (1.70 / 10) (#10)
by delmoi on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 07:00:11 PM EST

But the froggs didn't seem to care...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
What happens if they kill yahoo.fr altogether? (2.33 / 3) (#30)
by Paul Crowley on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:56:41 AM EST

Replace yahoo.fr with fr.yahoo.com, hosted in the USA, and tell France they can piss off? Hosting in a sensible jurisdiction seems only reasonable. Supposing they close down all offices and bank accounts in France, remove all hosts based in France, convert all their Francs to dollars - is there anything the French courts could still do to them? Are there international agreements between the French and the US that could be used against them?
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Predictably, the France bashing begins ... (3.32 / 25) (#8)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 06:58:40 PM EST

And, as an American, I am disgrunted at the French.

When the US pulled the plug on a foreign based dot com site, voteauction, were you similarly disgusted?

The big question here isn't just about Yahoo and France, or even about free speech. It's about jurisdiction.

And the hot air flows freely again. The US has already made up its mind about jurisdiction; dot coms registered in foreign countries can get yanked anyway. This is old news, but when France starts probing the limits of its own jurisdiction (and may I add, by following due process in a court of law) there's the predictable round of France bashing.

Note that I'm not defending France's standpoint here; I do not believe that it is practical for content providers to run checks against possible violations of law in every country that might access their sites. In that respect I agree with the article. But I'm tired of seeing "As an American, I'm disgusted at the French" from a citizen of the country that applied US law to Panama and kidnapped Noriega, and bombed a Sudanese pharmaceuticals factory without warning because they had (mistakenly) decided they were possible accessories to the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings. I'm no lover of the French myself -- after all, they invented the word chauvinism -- but pot, kettle, black .

Typical (2.70 / 17) (#16)
by Matt Hall on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 09:29:12 PM EST

It's typical in every K5 article for at least one person to, rather than actually contribute to the discussion, try and point out that the United States is a hypocritical bunch of folks that think Washington, D.C. is the center of the world. This time you are that person.

Other Americans at K5 are disgusted by such actions of our government as well (do you not read those articles or something?), but this time it is merely the French pulling the ridiculous stunt. They will be criticized likewise.

I have no patience for holier-than-thou political correctness in substitution of intelligent contribution.

[ Parent ]
Typical is right. (2.30 / 13) (#22)
by StatGrape on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:20:10 AM EST

How about this: icravetv, which is not an American company, was shut down by a US court in a similar situation. Did you whine and bitch then, as a country with no jurisdiction flexed its muscles? Of course not, because the US is the perennial good guy.

I suppose it's now your turn to downplay the laughably inflated American ego that apparently only you can't see. Like you said, it's typical in every K5 article - I couldn't agree more.

NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

Re: Typical (2.00 / 5) (#38)
by efarq on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 06:42:00 AM EST

How about this: icravetv, which is not an American company, was shut down by a US court in a similar situation. Did you whine and bitch then, as a country with no jurisdiction flexed its muscles? Of course not, because the US is the perennial good guy.

Interesting...do you have evidence of this behavior on anyone's part (not complaining). Or this merely another ad hominem attack, which seem to be increasingly prevalent on K5?

[ Parent ]

I am an Equal Opportunity Whiner (2.40 / 5) (#46)
by acestus on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:38:21 AM EST

I wonder, based on some of these comments, if my original article was whining. I try not to whine. However, I will say this in my defense, as I am being implicitly accused of caring only about wrongs done to the U.S., and not wrongs done by the U.S.: I never heard of this icravetv thing. If its servers were based outside of the U.S., it seems pretty stupid to me that the U.S. would try to stop them. As for the voteauction debacle, I think that, while voteauction offended me pretty deeply, the U.S. didn't have any right to revoke its domain or otherwise harass them. I'm not sure if I commented on the article on that, but I'm sure I moderated it up.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Typical is WRONG (1.50 / 4) (#59)
by fester on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:03:13 AM EST

Quit lumping all Americans into your shallow stereotype. There were plenty of us pissed off at the icravetv thing as well as the DeCSS fiasco, as well as with Carnivore, etc etc etc. The US gov't is just as guilty as the rest of these Big Brother countries. Congratulations on lowering the quality of comments on k5.

[ Parent ]
Okay. (none / 0) (#147)
by StatGrape on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:28:01 PM EST

It seems evident that there's no point in arguing anything with you, since you clearly didn't read the comment I replied to. So, well done, you win. I am indeed degrading the quality of comments at this site by offering a dummy-up smack to someone who sorely needed it.

NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]
Re: Okay (none / 0) (#164)
by fester on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 12:20:57 PM EST

I read and re-read your comment. There's no point in arguing because you are a bigot, and just plain wrong. Take your trash someplace else.

[ Parent ]
You miss the point. ... (none / 0) (#117)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 04:57:27 AM EST

The author in the original article said (among other things) "As an American, I am disgusted by the French." He did not say "I am personally disgusted by the actions of the French government." One may take the moral high ground on this issue on a personal basis, but not as an American. (Nor as a Frenchman, for that matter).

This is one of the reasons non-USans get so irritated by discussions on matters of freedom and politics: American debaters take the moral high ground not on the basis of their own personal convictions and actions, but on the basis of their passport. Stand up for your own opinion please, and stop hiding behind the flag.

Other Americans at K5 are disgusted by such actions of our government as well (do you not read those articles or something?)

On the contrary. In the voteauction discussion, as far as nationality was discernable (in discussion forums, a giveaway is spelling or usage of "we" as opposed to "you" or "they"), the majority of the critics were non-American, while most American posters confined themselves to the "dot com is US and falls under US law" position. Disgust? Hardly.

I have no patience for holier-than-thou political correctness in substitution of intelligent contribution.

Amen to that. Pot, kettle, etc.

[ Parent ]

Get real. (2.00 / 15) (#19)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 10:25:45 PM EST

First off, acts of war are not conducted according to the local law of the people you're committing them against. That's nothing new, and pretending otherwise falls under the heading "willful stupidity."

That said, please explain why a mistake on the part of the US justifies the same mistake on the part of other nations? Personally, I think national domain registries ARE under the jurisdiction of their courts, for obvious reasons, but we can pretend for a moment that this was wrong, so do explain.

Actually, I will go on an anti-France rant, or more precisely, an anti-most-of-Europe rant. Please explain to me(especially someone from Europe,) why nations that imprison or exile political dissidents, ban speech based on content, seize over half their GNPs to be redistributed to political lackeys, fail to recognize the right of free association, and spend most of their time "deploring" the actions of another nation which pays all the bills for their international aspirations for them should be given ANY credence when they turn around and criticize others? Please do, because I'm sick of hearing about how I'm an arrogant Yankee and I should just learn to sit down and shut up while socialists steal all my money and tell me what to think, what to say, and when to say it. I may not agree with Nazis or Communists, but I defend their right to believe and communicate what they will. I may not think owning a swastika flag is cool, but I don't think anyone has the right to ban it. Europe wails so much about rights and being modern and so on, so where's the beef? Put up or shut up. Quit telling me what an ass I am while you're over there with governments that behave like something right out of the 14th century. Quit talking in superior tones about rights when you have systematically eradicated that concept from Europe, if it ever even existed there. Where's it at, people?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
What is your issue with Europe? (4.12 / 8) (#32)
by spiralx on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:02:31 AM EST

Actually, I will go on an anti-France rant, or more precisely, an anti-most-of-Europe rant.

Again.

Please explain to me(especially someone from Europe,) why nations that imprison or exile political dissidents, ban speech based on content, seize over half their GNPs to be redistributed to political lackeys, fail to recognize the right of free association, and spend most of their time "deploring" the actions of another nation which pays all the bills for their international aspirations for them should be given ANY credence when they turn around and criticize others?

I don't know, I don't live in a country that does that. Maybe you're thinking of a different part of Europe, like China or something.

Please do, because I'm sick of hearing about how I'm an arrogant Yankee and I should just learn to sit down and shut up while socialists steal all my money and tell me what to think, what to say, and when to say it.

Why would socialists steal all of your money? Last time I checked America wasn't particularly socialist in its economic policy, and it's not like there's some kind of "Socialist Crusade" to convert the whole world to the One True System of economic policy... Whilst you seem to have a real thing about socialism, many others don't, and starting baseless rants about it isn't really very constructive.

Then again, at least this time you didn't claim that Europe will starve to death in the next 30 years because of socialism.

I may not agree with Nazis or Communists, but I defend their right to believe and communicate what they will. I may not think owning a swastika flag is cool, but I don't think anyone has the right to ban it.

Wow, me neither. And I'm from... *gasp*... Europe. Will wonders never cease?

Europe wails so much about rights and being modern and so on, so where's the beef? Put up or shut up.

The only beef around here is your beef with Europe by the looks of things. Frankly I think the French are being somewhat rediculous, and whilst I can see where they're coming from I think that they're doing nobody any favours by atttempting to suppress all mention of Nazism. Suppression and revisionism never work in the long run, and generally acheive exactly the opposite because they prevent people from becoming informed.

Quit telling me what an ass I am while you're over there with governments that behave like something right out of the 14th century. Quit talking in superior tones about rights when you have systematically eradicated that concept from Europe, if it ever even existed there.

I don't think you're an ass, I just think you've got a decidiely warped view of Europe and just a few issues about socialism. It's all right, everyone can be wrong sometimes.

Besides, Europe may lack rights in relation to your Constitutional rights (although this is a matter of opinion), but at least we're moving towards more rights, whereas America seems to be moving towards less rights in the name of the "War on Drugs", "protecting the children" etc. etc.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Europe: where's the beef? (3.25 / 4) (#37)
by Paul Crowley on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 06:22:28 AM EST

Actually, that's a rather touchy subject at the moment...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1033000/1033371.stm
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Heh, I was going to mention that... (2.25 / 4) (#39)
by spiralx on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 06:44:13 AM EST

... but I forgot all about it in my rush to produce a sarky reply to trhurler's Europe-bashing :) But I have to say, it couldn't happen to a nicer country, especially considering they still ban British beef...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Okay, let's see... (1.50 / 2) (#51)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:17:55 AM EST

Were you or were you not quite upset when imports from Mainland Europe brought rabies to Britain?

Can you understand why my government might be equally concerned about allowing us to eat products that may be tainted by a far more dangerous disease?

[ Parent ]

*sigh* (3.20 / 5) (#58)
by spiralx on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:01:50 AM EST

Were you or were you not quite upset when imports from Mainland Europe brought rabies to Britain?

Well it wasn't ideal given that Britain had remained free of rabies for so long, but when you're trying to encourage free trade then this sort of thing does happen.

Can you understand why my government might be equally concerned about allowing us to eat products that may be tainted by a far more dangerous disease?

Yes, but the point is that France didn't change its own practices after the BSE outbreak over here, they've only just banned livestock feed containing animal products. Rather than taking these precautions, they've merely gone on about how they can't trust British beef even after we acted to prevent further cases. And now it turns out that more and more cases are appearing anyway.

I'm not saying it was handled well in this country, it wasn't, but France hasn't handled it any better despite trying to hold the moral high ground for the last few years. And unfortunately, French beef is a much larger part of the economy than British beef...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Just to clarify, I'm an American (1.50 / 2) (#60)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:11:28 AM EST

I can see where, given some of the the things that have been posted, you might have that misunderstanding. I only skimmed the article in question, and assumed the statement "couldn't have happened to a nicer country" to be a reference to the US, home of Yahoo.

AFAIK, the US is in fact, however, still restricting imports of British cattle, and it's not sure how the whole thing is going to end up. Certainly, there is no one good or ideal solution!

[ Parent ]

Okay, but my point still stands I think :) (3.33 / 3) (#64)
by spiralx on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:41:36 AM EST

I only skimmed the article in question, and assumed the statement "couldn't have happened to a nicer country" to be a reference to the US, home of Yahoo.

Naah, I was talking about France. I think this conversation has reached the point of confusion here though...

AFAIK, the US is in fact, however, still restricting imports of British cattle, and it's not sure how the whole thing is going to end up. Certainly, there is no one good or ideal solution!

No, but the FDA both banned imports from certain countries and also introduced regulation on the use of animal tissues in ruminant feed all the way back in 1996. This served to prevent an outbreak of BSE, and was a sensible precaution. IIRC the ban is still in effect. I don't think this is wrong at all, that's not the problem I had with France, it's the hypocracy of denouncing British beef whilst continuing to use the same techniques that gave rise to it over here...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I suppose that... (2.25 / 4) (#77)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:49:24 PM EST

I should have clarified. As far as I can tell, Great Britain is doing better than most of Europe; if it weren't for a few healthcare and gun issues, it'd look a lot like the US, only with saner attitudes towards people who aren't "typical," which I greatly respect. However, those few issues -are- a big deal to me; where I am now, if I buy a house and live there and you break in carrying a gun, I can legally kill you; this is as it should be. Right now, if I want to pay for superior medical care in some way, I can; this is as it should be. There are people hard at work here in the US to eliminate these freedoms, putting us at the mercy of incompetent government bureaucrats and scarce police for these same sorts of services. If it happens, I'll probably be moving, but I'm not sure where to.

However, I was talking about Europe as in the mainland, and I wasn't clear on that. These people(France, Germany, Italy, etc etc) have a nasty habit of banning things they don't find comfortable. And yes, they DO seize over half their GNP and then "redistribute" it. They claim it goes to social welfare and so on; most of it goes to government employees, aka "political lackeys." Yes, they DO imprison or exile political dissidents; they claim otherwise, but do tell me where I can find a Communist party office in Paris. Oh, that's right. They all have to pretend to be something else in order to avoid legal penalties. Yes, they DO violate the right of free association; see above search for a Communist party office in Paris. Yes, they DO go around "deploring" the people who pay a lot of their bills for them; look at the French reaction to any and all military actions of the US in the last five years. They deplore everything. As it happens, I agree that we shouldn't be wasting our time and lives over in various third world hellholes, but not for the reasons the French government gives. To hear them tell it, we're "invadiing" legitimate countries. Please tell me how you think that Slobodan Milosevic was the leader of a legitimate country. Legitimate the same way 1940 Germany was legitimate, I suppose, but in what other way? I mean, really?!

My beef with Europe, such as it goes, is that Europe is full of perfectly nice people whose democratically elected governments can and frequently DO ignore freedoms of speech, property, free association, privacy(they talk big, but look at the scope of government "investigative" powers,) and so on. They then make it worse by trying to talk about the "horrible" human rights record of the US. As far as I'm concerned, they can all go shove it up their collective asses. We're pretty damned free here in the US, and there are those of us who are working to finish the job; on the other hand, most Europeans I know are rushing as fast as they can to give up what freedom they still have in the name of egalitarianism and/or security.

For a VERY good example of the attitude problem(it is an attitude problem, not a specific issue,) that I'm trying to convey, look at this French dumbass at the climate convention going on right now. He blames the US, tells us we have to fix our "problems," and neglects to mention that the easiest way to do so would be to quit exporting so many vital goods to nations that can't produce them. Sure, if we quit feeding half a billion foriegners daily, quit exporting medical supplies, medicines, and so on, we could cut our pollution down to French levels. Of course, France would soon be run over with refugees, along with the rest of Western Europe, and the standard of living would be hellish, but we can do it. Luckily for everyone over there, including Britain, we're not quite as stupid as the typical French government official.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Yup, clarification does help :) (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by spiralx on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:25:08 PM EST

As far as I can tell, Great Britain is doing better than most of Europe; if it weren't for a few healthcare and gun issues, it'd look a lot like the US, only with saner attitudes towards people who aren't "typical," which I greatly respect.

Well for obvious reasons Britain and the US are very close culturally speaking, and whilst we have more of a socialist system here, even that is relatively recent historically speaking. Our health service has only been around for 50 years after all.

And there's no way I'm getting into the whole gun law issue, nobody ever wins one of those arguments. And besides, you're wrong :)

Right now, if I want to pay for superior medical care in some way, I can; this is as it should be.

And as it is over here, the leading candidate for private health care being BUPA. You're not forced to rely on the NHS if you don't want to. OTOH I personally think it's a good idea. YMMV, and probably does.

These people(France, Germany, Italy, etc etc) have a nasty habit of banning things they don't find comfortable.

Yes, which I don't agree with at all. One of the things that is good about the UK is that we have a strong press. Sure it causes problems, especially with regards to certain invasions of privacy, but it is an essential tool for exposing corruption and scandal in government. Despite a lack of any "right" to free speech, our press has managed to get away with publishing all manner of stuff the government would rather they didn't.

As for the censure of American interventions abroad, well there aren't that many people who approve of the methods America uses, and its somewhat gung-ho attitude towards such action. Whilst almost no Western country has a spotless record with regards to foreign actions (and France has a particularly brutal one) America has been the most recent offender, and things like the Helms-Burton Act really pissed a lot of countries off.

My beef with Europe, such as it goes, is that Europe is full of perfectly nice people whose democratically elected governments can and frequently DO ignore freedoms of speech, property, free association, privacy(they talk big, but look at the scope of government "investigative" powers,) and so on. They then make it worse by trying to talk about the "horrible" human rights record of the US.

Yup, Europe isn't perfect, and there is a distinct Big Government tendancy that doesn't do it a lot of favours IMHO. And there have been, and still are, human rights abuses in Europe, as there have been in America - segregation and the eugenics movements spring to my mind first. Both have their good points and their black spots.

For a VERY good example of the attitude problem(it is an attitude problem, not a specific issue,) that I'm trying to convey, look at this French dumbass at the climate convention going on right now. He blames the US, tells us we have to fix our "problems," and neglects to mention that the easiest way to do so would be to quit exporting so many vital goods to nations that can't produce them.

Not really, American companies have very little incentive to move to less polluting processes or treatments because they generally cost more. The American government has very little desire to attempt to force corporations to spend their profits on environmental issues, they'd rather buy carbon credits from other countries.

Sure, if we quit feeding half a billion foriegners daily, quit exporting medical supplies, medicines, and so on, we could cut our pollution down to French levels.

I don't think foreign aid has a significant impact upon the amount of pollution America produces.

Of course, France would soon be run over with refugees, along with the rest of Western Europe, and the standard of living would be hellish, but we can do it.

Why would Western Europe be overrun? Much of Western Europe has already clamped down on the number of refugees they're allowing to enter their countries, I doubt they'd take many more.

And besides, you can't really use the amount of manufacturing that America does as an excuse for your high level of pollution - you have had a trade deficit for some years now, so the majority of your goods are manufactured abroad.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Mmm... burger... with coal power... (2.00 / 2) (#93)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:26:18 PM EST

Not really, American companies have very little incentive to move to less polluting processes or treatments because they generally cost more. The American government has very little desire to attempt to force corporations to spend their profits on environmental issues, they'd rather buy carbon credits from other countries.
Over half our pollution comes from coal power plants. Our industry is actually pretty clean, but after you add in those coal plants, we're screwed. Of course, it was the greenie tree huggers who scared everyone into abandoning nuclear power, which would have cleaned this mess up for us 50 years ago had we simply built inner fuel reactors instead of light water models. (Fuel disposal, as we've seen recently, was a problem which was solvable, given some money. The current best method I've seen is a crystal made with fluorine, stable well past the lifetimes of any known nuclear byproducts.) We do pollute quite a bit owing to farming - but as I said, we also feed(not foriegn aid alone, but all exports,) about half a billion foriegners every single day. Try and do that without any pollution. Really, go for it:)
Why would Western Europe be overrun? Much of Western Europe has already clamped down on the number of refugees they're allowing to enter their countries, I doubt they'd take many more.
Well, if the US quits feeding them, and they're starving, and there are more of them than there are Europeans, do you really think border patrols are going to stop them?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Mmm... burger... with gas power... (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by spiralx on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:19:32 AM EST

Over half our pollution comes from coal power plants.

Good point. We've pretty much given up on using coal as a fuel source over here in the UK, with oil and gas being the preferred choices instead, and both of these are far less polluting in both extraction and use.

One amusing statistic I saw the other day was that the carbon dioxide produced by Russia has dropped by over 50% in the last ten years. However, I very much doubt this is due to their sterling environmental efforts :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Some corrections: (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:32:50 AM EST

Please explain to me(especially someone from Europe,) why nations that imprison or exile political dissidents

The US has about ten times as many prisoners per 100,000 of the population as the EU. Some figures here (source: Scientific American, IIRC September 1999):

Ireland 55/100,000; The Netherlands 60/100,000; EU average: 65/100,000; The US 630/100,000; Russia 650/100,000.

Crime levels in the US and EU are roughly the same, except for homicide where the US average is about 8 times higher than the EU average. In other words, you are 10 times more likely to be imprisoned in the States than in Europe, and up to 40 times more likely if you are non-white.

seize over half their GNPs to be redistributed to political lackeys

Percent of US GNP appropriated and redistributed by the US government: 40%. Percentages in European countries range from 0% (taxless countries like Monaco) to 55% (Sweden), with the EU average at at 47%. (Source: The Economist). Now anyone will agree that the US government is on average clearly a little less "socialist" than the average EU government, but a 7% difference is hardly earth shattering. Scarcely the basis for a rant on the evils of European socialism.

which pays all the bills

Guess which country is the greatest defaulter on bills for UN missions? (Hint: it's not the tiny island of Tonga, which like some other nations is actually owed money by the UN.) Guess what percentage of the bill the US footed for "Desert Storm"? Hint: it's less than half. Guess which country is the largest international debtor? Hint: it's not Russia.

because I'm sick of hearing about how I'm an arrogant Yankee

Well you're practically asking for it.

Personally I think the US and West European countries are culturally essentially alike. Aside from the huge prison population in the US compared with the EU there are probably less differences between the two than the inhabitants of either may think or would like. Neither the US or the EU are hells or heavens, and which one is "best" to live in is largely a matter of personal taste. Speaking from a non-US, non-EU perspective.

[ Parent ]

Cause and effect (2.50 / 4) (#138)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:54:19 PM EST

It seems that a great many otherwise intelligent people totally forget about the concept of cause and effect when reading statistics, and lose sight of the distinction between causation and correlation. Think about this:
The US has about ten times as many prisoners per 100,000 of the population as the EU.
Yes, and the vast majority are drug users who never hurt anyone; I'll be the first to say the drug laws here are wrong. If we eliminate those people, all of a sudden, our per capita -and- total bodycount is a lot lower than that in Europe.
Crime levels in the US and EU are roughly the same, except for homicide where the US average is about 8 times higher than the EU
Which is great, except that if you look at derivatives, the US overall homicide rate is dropping(and dropping fastest in areas with the least restrictive gun laws,) whereas those in most of Europe have been rising for some time now, and are rising fastest in places like Great Britain, where firearms are essentially totally banned. I saw one study(sorry, don't remember where, so ignore this if you like,) that said that as of a few months ago, 1/3 of criminals in G.B have illegally imported firearms, and use them to prey on a totally unarmed populace.
Percent of US GNP appropriated and redistributed by the US government: 40%.
In direct taxes, yes. In indirect, it is actually somewhat higher. However, the European indirect figure is astronomical; value added taxes and so on add up to the point where most European countries are taxing out the vast majority of the wealth in the system. I don't have exact figures, but the gap is a lot larger after you count that in.
Guess which country is the greatest defaulter on bills for UN missions?
You mean "UN dues." The US military carries out most of those "missions," and it pays its own way most of the time. The fact is, whether by "official" channels or not, the US puts more money into the UN than the entire rest of the world combined, and the world then has the incredible ingratitude to turn around and accuse us of not paying our fair share. I say, the rest of the world can go eat a dick. We should let those idiots in the Balkans kill each other until they're sick of killing; what difference is it to us? Why should WE be spending time, money, and lives in some barely-civilized hellhole so that bureaucrats who've never even seen the place can feel good about themselves because they "did something?" That's just stupid. I am NOT my brother's keeper.

Notice that most other nations, while happy to pour in some relatively insignificant amount of money and let the US use their military bases, doesn't really want to get involved unless forced, because hey, they might actually die over there or something! Might as well let those US guys do that for you, right? "Oh, but we have a squadron of fighters over there!" Goody for you; we have a goddamn carrier group, half a division of US marines, and an air presence bigger than your country's entire air force, and contrary to popular belief, we DO lose people doing these stupid "peacekeeping" missions.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
More corrections ... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 04:03:23 PM EST

Yes, and the vast majority are drug users who never hurt anyone; I'll be the first to say the drug laws here are wrong. If we eliminate those people, all of a sudden, our per capita -and- total bodycount is a lot lower than that in Europe.

Wrong again; a little less than 40% of all prisoners in US prisons are there on drug related charges (sources: various, including the Scientific American alluded to earlier). Allowing for this correction (and I see no reason why to, especially after your completely baseless rants) Americans are still 5 times more likely to wind up in jail than Europeans. The reason is simple: US courts give jail sentences more readily than European courts, for longer periods, also for crimes that would be considered less serious in Europe (such as the unlucky fellow sentenced to 20 years in the US for stealing a candy bar on the three-strikes-you're-out rule), and are less inclined to consider alternatives, like fines, community service or therapy.

Which is great, except that if you look at derivatives, the US overall homicide rate is dropping(and dropping fastest in areas with the least restrictive gun laws,) whereas those in most of Europe have been rising for some time now, and are rising fastest in places like Great Britain, where firearms are essentially totally banned.

In a word, bull. Homicide rates in the US and EU are not, and have never been, convergent. You have probably been reading some pro-gun tract that takes fluctuations from a 5 year period, notes that a trend in one region is slightly higer than in another, and makes broad extrapolations. Homicide rates in the US dropped slightly faster than the EU average from 1989 to 1997. The trend has reversed slightly since. These figures mean little in and of themselves; fluctuations in crime growth rate are inevitable, and in any given period the growth in the US rate will be either higher or lower than in the EU -- this is not indicative of any long term trend.

In direct taxes, yes. In indirect, it is actually somewhat higher. However, the European indirect figure is astronomical; value added taxes and so on add up to the point where most European countries are taxing out the vast majority of the wealth in the system. I don't have exact figures, but the gap is a lot larger after you count that in.

First, I don't make that calculation, economists do, and second, the percentage of GNP includes practically everything, not just taxes. I have no idea where you get your ideas from, other than wishful thinking, or the desire to see Europe as a particularly inferior place. I also do not know why you can consider Europe a socialist continent and still think Europeans all give up almost all their income. Even if economics were a zero-sum game (and it isn't) socialism is about redistribution of wealth: some give more, some get more. There is little cronyism involved: cronyism would imply that the distribution of wealth in a particular country is spiked towards a small favoured group; in fact wealth is more egalitarianly distributed in EU countries than in the US.How fair this is is a matter of personal opinion; please bear in mind however that EU countries and the US have chosen for their respective (and often very different) systems peacefully and democratically.

You mean "UN dues." The US military carries out most of those "missions," and it pays its own way most of the time.

You have managed to form exactly the opposite view of US military activity than in reality. The US almost never participates in UN military missions, mainly because the US refuses to let its troops be under non-US command. US military activity is almost exclusively in the context of NATO. The US military, since the trauma of Vietnam, is also focused on exposing their troops to as little danger as possible. The UN troops risking their lives daily in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Angola and Kosovo are all non-American.

the US puts more money into the UN than the entire rest of the world combined, and the world then has the incredible ingratitude to turn around and accuse us of not paying our fair share

During the Gulf War, the US put enormous pressure on Japan to foot 35% of the total bill. While sympathising with the reason, Japan was a reluctant supporter of Desert Storm, which was primarily a US-UK initiative. Now let me turn the tables. Suppose lawless Zaire invaded oil-rich Gabon (both Central African states). Suppose France whipped up a military force, and drove the Zaire army out of Gabon. What would your reaction be if France demanded that the US pay 35% of all costs incurred? "I say, France can go eat a dick."? What would the honorable Jesse Helms say? Desert Storm was financed mainly by non-US countries, who (unlike you) did not say ....

contrary to popular belief, we DO lose people doing these stupid "peacekeeping" missions.

Oh yeah? How many troops did the US lose during the attack on Serbia? Now tell me how many Nigerian troops died trying to keep the peace in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Look it up, make the effort, it's about time you made an effort to learn something about the world, instead of pulling out assertions from thin air to support your view of the world as you would like it to be. Reality is not a movie, and the US is not a model global citizen, no matter how much you would like it to be, and no matter how movies portray it. Please don't take my word for it. Investigate.

You may get the impression that I am anti-US or that I think the US is all bad -- I do not. I have many American friends, and I think it is a beautiful country. This post is negative in tone because your attitude is. You have a narrow view of reality, exarcebated by not bothering to check anything for yourself. This gets my goat. I have the same attitude towards people who condemn the US for similarly narrow-minded reasons.

[ Parent ]

be consistant, ph00 (1.83 / 6) (#25)
by sayke on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:35:33 AM EST

why the fuck do you assume that acestus was not disgusted by the voteauction (and icrave, for that matter) mess? sheeit... whenever the US does something blatantly absurd, there is a predictable round of icann/american government/etc bashing, which you seem to have no problem with. but, when the french government does something blatantly absurd, and there is a predictable round of french government bashing, you immediantly oppose and criticize the bashing, by pointing fingers at the US (as if that had something to do with this). no se, wtf, and jesus h. christ...! that does not follow, at all.

the icrave and voteauction fiascos were just as much of a travesty as this one. you're burning strawmen; just because american people are pissed at the french government for attempting to exert worldwide control, does not mean they condone the US doing the same thing.


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

Voteauction.com was a hoax, but you're right. (3.20 / 5) (#27)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:00:13 AM EST

Voteauction.com turned out to be a hoax.

Besides that I agree with your post.

People should refrain from being Nationalistic when it comes to censorship laws because every single country is more prohibitive in at least one aspect of society than some others, be it drugs, sex, Scientology, violence in the media, religion, etc. It's like Jesus said "He who is without blame should cast the first stone" unfortunately, no nation is blameless.



[ Parent ]
The French, Damn Them All (2.16 / 6) (#44)
by acestus on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:28:37 AM EST

My "I'm disgruntled with the French" line was a joke. Ha-ha. I didn't believe anyone would actually think I was saying that without planting my tongue firmly in my cheek. I'm sorry it was misconstrued. Gosh.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Power (none / 0) (#104)
by kubalaa on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 08:10:29 PM EST

Power is what it's about. The US controls the domain name servers which allow people to go to voteauction.com by that name. They are providing a service which they are within their rights to retract. AFAIK, there's nothing to stop you from manually entering the IP address of voteauction.com to go there. Right or not, US has that power.

France has no power over the American Yahoo! If they did, they wouldn't be "asking" them, they'd be doing something about it. That's why this is a moot point. Yahoo can say, in effect, "screw you," go on with their business and the French can't do anything about it. (Except maybe make it hard for yahoo.fr, or block yahoo on internal IPs, but regardless they're perfectly entitled to do that and they aren't hurting anyone but their own public.)

That's why this is a silly argument. No matter what precedents are set, it's all meaningless if France can't make Yahoo! do anything.

[ Parent ]

Need a Warning Sign (3.56 / 23) (#12)
by loner on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 07:11:26 PM EST

What we need is warning sign on the internet:

"The internet is world-wide. Using this technology will expose you to various cultures, behaviours, and attitudes. Some of these you'll find informative, some strange, some eye-opening, some fraudulent, some beautiful, some disgusting, or maybe even downright immoral, criminal, or evil. Deal with it! If you don't want to deal with it, disconnect NOW. By staying connected, you irrevocably agree that you are not the centre of the world, and the world will never change itself to your exact specifications."

Artifact vs. Statement (3.61 / 13) (#13)
by lucas on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 07:39:10 PM EST

I recently found my eye caught by something on eBay. It was this elaborate sign, in German, that warned railway workers to not smoke because of a potential explosion. It was in the old-style of writing, which, to me, is very beautiful... and yet it was a modern-looking, metal sign.

As I looked down the page, I discovered it was used during the Third Reich... and it had a tiny party emblem (the swastika).... which got me to thinking... would I be promoting Nazism if I hung this up on the wall? Or is this simply a historical item since we're so far away from WWII?

The sign itself was torn down ("liberated") by American GIs who wanted memorobilia to take home with them.

I think this is the same debate in France. Is Nazism still a threat to societies or can we allow people to do things that might support its potential resurrection?

On one hand, Americans have been free to purchase these things and they have never turned to Nazism en masse even slightly. On the other hand, America is a hotbed for Neo-Nazis because it does not drive them out as other countries do. It's a tough call.

It's not so tough as it seems (3.12 / 8) (#17)
by Matt Hall on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 09:45:08 PM EST

It's an issue of freedom, really. Most of Europe responded by outright banning Nazism because of their lack of historical cultural emphasis on freedom of political speech (of course, the US record with Sen. McCarthy isn't exactly clean). Check out recent happenings in Germany, for example. They are seeking a ban on the archconservative party, and the Communist Party was outlawed back in 1956.

[ Parent ]
Taboos dying (4.16 / 12) (#35)
by Beorn on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:26:26 AM EST

As I looked down the page, I discovered it was used during the Third Reich... and it had a tiny party emblem (the swastika).... which got me to thinking... would I be promoting Nazism if I hung this up on the wall? Or is this simply a historical item since we're so far away from WWII?

Personally I feel that the european nazi taboo no longer serves any purpose. I am 21, and my parents were born years after the war. Despite the incredible amounts of time the norwegian education system spent on telling me how absolutely *evil* Hitler was, I never *felt* that it was true, I never felt the horror. To me, Nazi Germany is a curious historical fact with strange psychological implications. I find it fascinating, like the atrocities of a roman emperor.

I watch old Leni Riefenstahl movies as works of art, and I can read Mein Kampf strictly as a historical document, feeling no genuine compassion for Hitlers millions of victims. I want and do not want to own a nazi artifact, like I want and do not want to own a 100 year old murder weapon.

I realize this is disrespectful to my grandparents, who saw close family members sent to concentration camps. It is not ignorant, because I recognize nazism as a dangerous ideology, but it is disrespectful. It is also inevitable. WW2 must go the way of all other horrible historical events. The popularity of nazi items on internet auctions may be a sign of this process happening, WW2 moving from the moral landscape to the psychological and historical landscape, where it belongs.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Censorship allways misses this irony (4.69 / 13) (#43)
by bgalehouse on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:21:02 AM EST

At it's best, censorship is like painting over the walls when you see termite holes. No exceptions. At it's worse, it creates martyrs as some history teachers explain that Christianity had the most ferverent, tightly knit groups of followers when it was illegal.

This point came to my mind a few years back when there was a bunch of noise (in the US) over certain types of rap which seemed to recommend violence against police officers. Attempts to reduce the publication of such materials actually made it into various legislation, and the constitutionality of such things came into question.

You want people to respect police officers. But this respect can't come from nobody saying bad things about them. Gag rules can't earn respect. It has to come from people saying good things about them. The problem isn't the speakers, the problem is the people who haven't learned not to listen.

Way back in high school (before web-browsers), I followed a pyrotechnics newsgroup for curiosity's sake. One story was told about a guy who tried to make a gunpowder type substance using basic chemistry knowledge, and a limited selection of chemicals. His mixture wasn't as safe as he thought it to be, and the person who held the paper cup of powder during the mixing is now known as lefty.

Here is the thing. He had done a library search for bad interactions. The one book in the university library which could have saved him had been pulled as 'dangerous'.

You want people to respect certain chemical compounds. But this respect shouldn't be from vague cautions. It should be from reading a big list of bad interations, and realizing that improvising safely requires a lot of experience and a lot of extra care.

And that is the essence of the problem. You want people to be against nazi-ism, but for the right reasons. This means reading the propaganda and learning to ignore what makes it effective. More generally, this means learning the dangers of moral absolutes, and the application of them to others. I.E. censorship

[ Parent ]

Re: Artifact vs. Statement (3.33 / 3) (#83)
by jazman_777 on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:32:13 PM EST

Nazism wasn't _just_ about killing jews and being the Super Race. It was National _Socialism_, with typical turn-of-the-century European things ("scientific racism" and anti-Semitism) thrown in for good measure. You'll find that we (the US) are more like the Nazis than we would care to admit, if you remove the anti-Semitism and racism.


[ Parent ]
Go ahead, buy it... (3.50 / 4) (#86)
by dutchman on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:21:13 PM EST

Dear Lucas,

You must be American and not French.

The reason I say this is because you do not seem to understand what a swastica means to a Frenchman. I'm not French myself, I'm Dutch, but I guess that's close enough to be able to enlighten you a little.

Think of it this way: if Yahoo! offered some nice black pyama's, 1970's model, with the words "You die, G.I." embroided on the front, would you buy it? I think not, because that rudely reminds you of a rather traumatic time for the American society, when it lost 60.000 young people in a war.

Now back to your sign. Meaningless to you, to Europeans it is a similarly rude memory. Except we did not lose a mere 60.000 people. In WWII 6.000.000 people died in concentration camps and of hunger. Yes, that one hundred times the number of people that the Americans lost in the Vietnam war.

So I want you to go out and buy that sign, and I want you to give it a nice place in your house. And every day, you can look at it.

And remember: six million people.

[ Parent ]
You die G.I. (4.00 / 5) (#94)
by weirdling on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:34:20 PM EST

If I came across such a piece, I might purchase it. I think this is the fundamental difference of opinion that allows Europeans to be ok with banning stuff and prevents Americans from feeling ok with the same thing. That piece has historical significance; that piece can remind us of what was and what we shouldn't do; that piece, like the swastika, has come to represent a huge historical mistake, but we shouldn't drive this underground. I'd buy the piece that said, "You die, G.I.", and hang it in my living room and tell everyone who came through, "This is what happens when you interfere in foreign countries."
To me, the Rebel Flag is the same thing. I used to own one and may own one again. The simple use is to hang it up and explain to people when they ask that this flag does not now nor has it ever stood for racism, but has always stood for the freedom of a man to do as he likes, something the Stars and Stripes used to stand for. Then, the flag has achieved something.
The problem with forced forgetfulness of anything is that 'if we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it'. In America, the fascination with collecting Nazi historical pieces is driven mostly, I think, through the pride of owning a piece of a defeated enemy. Same with Japanese memorabilia, and, after the Bataan death march, which included many American citizens, people still collect and own pieces from Bataan. We seem to want to remember that that hurt, what we as a nation went through, and what such a war entailed, so that we might educate the next generation to avoid the same problem.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
forgetfulness? whatever gave you that idea? (none / 0) (#115)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:46:17 AM EST

Most people here seem to have similar ideas as you: that this is some of kind "hide the nazi" game, or "forced forgetfulness" as you put it. This is simply not true. Europe will remember World War 2 and all its horrors for many generations to come. What these European laws and this French ruling are about is outlawing the glorification of what the nazis stood for, so that history does NOT repeat itself. Outlawing something does not mean forgetting about it.

[ Parent ]
Understanding Nazi Germany (3.25 / 4) (#116)
by Beorn on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 03:57:48 AM EST

This is simply not true. Europe will remember World War 2 and all its horrors for many generations to come.

Remembering is different from understanding, and the only way to learn anything from the nazi disaster is to *understand* it. Censorship prevents this. Our image of nazis never went beyond Indiana Jones stereotypes. This puritan approach is safe but self deceiving and irrational.

Our culture has never admitted the similarities between nazi ideals and traditional western ideals, instead we have used every opportunity to exaggerate all differences. We have never admitted that nazism came from within the people, instead we're clinging to the belief that innocent germans were led astray by near-satanic forces. We don't know why this happened to *them*, and not to the good guys.

We don't admit the allies committed war crimes. Any attempt to discuss this turns into a moral debate. Even if these acts could be justified, (I'm not saying they can't), the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima were extremely cruel acts of massive-scale terrorism, and there are also numerous small-scale cases.

But most importantly: We have asked few questions about how easily Evil Nazi-Germany transformed into Good West Germany. Here you've got one of the major european civilizations, responsible for most important philosophy and music up till the 20th century. Suddenly for a very brief period of 15 years they turn mad, kill off millions of people, and then continue along as if nothing had happened, again becoming a major european civilization. This scares me more than the killing itself.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Indy Jones (1.00 / 1) (#122)
by acestus on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:17:47 AM EST

Our image of nazis never went beyond Indiana Jones stereotypes. This puritan approach is safe but self deceiving and irrational.
I've read this message over and over, and I'm still confused. Do you mean that Indiana Jones isn't a realistic portrayal of the Nazi Party? That scene, in Last Crusade -- the one with Hitler signing Sean Connery's diary? Always made me feel a profound understanding. All this time, I was living a lie...

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Oops (1.00 / 1) (#123)
by Beorn on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:54:09 AM EST

Do you mean that Indiana Jones isn't a realistic portrayal of the Nazi Party?

I'm sorry I had to break your illusions. Among other things, it is *not* true that nazis are made out of plastic. Some of them were, but they were only prototypes and never let out of the laboratory. Lucas *should have know this*. Totally ruined the movies for my part, that and the other two or three inaccurate details ...

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

we understand (none / 0) (#158)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 02:02:42 PM EST

Remembering is different from understanding, and the only way to learn anything from the nazi disaster is to *understand* it.

I agree, and I really think I do understand, as I think does every other European I know. The nazi era is a big part of history classes in school. If this is different in Norway, then blame the educational system there. People are always very quick to use the word "censorship", even in cases where it does not apply.

[ Parent ]

Poor education (1.00 / 1) (#163)
by Beorn on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 07:02:46 AM EST

The nazi era is a big part of history classes in school. If this is different in Norway, then blame the educational system there.

No, you don't see my point. We barely learned about anything *but* nazis. We spent insane amounts of time on WW2. The problem is that it was moral education, more than historical education. With moral education, I mean that the primary object of it was to prevent Nazi Germany from ever happening again, not to actually *understand* what happened.

"And then it so happened that a great Evil rose in the dark forests of Germany, and spread Terror throughout the land!"

In the classroom, ideology belongs on the back row. There is no legitimate reason to fear that nazism will come back soon in an easily recognizable form. Therefore, we can afford to be honest. In the post you replied to, I mentioned some subjects I think should be explored, such as what precisely the nazi ideals were, and how they relate to other lines of western thought.

When I was in high school, our history teacher (old enough to remember the war) had access to but refused to show us Triumph of the Will, out of fear that it would make us nazis. In my ideal history course, Riefenstahl would be obligatory.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

blame the education... (none / 0) (#165)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 05:50:33 PM EST

We barely learned about anything *but* nazis. We spent insane amounts of time on WW2. The problem is that it was moral education, more than historical education. With moral education, I mean that the primary object of it was to prevent Nazi Germany from ever happening again, not to actually *understand* what happened.

Then my original comment of "If this is different in Norway, then blame the educational system there" still stands. You are apparently getting a rather one-sided education, but this is not the case everywhere.

[ Parent ]

Glorification of enemies (none / 0) (#169)
by weirdling on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 12:34:30 PM EST

Forgetfulness is only one part of it. Any true study of a society will require relics, though. The second part, the glorification, I question the reaction I so often see. What is so wrong with glorifying a fallen enemy? By the time the war was over, it was clearly demonstrable that both the Japanese and the Nazi societies were brutal, but the United States bombed Japan so heavily that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the only two large Japanese cities still *standing*. England and the United States practically leveled Dresden. Do you know why we had to do those things? These enemies were very tough. They fought well. Many of them fought nobly. We may disagree with what they fought for, but a man does not face personal risk without good reason. The United States drove the Indians off their land. War has raged back and forth in Europe for decades. Napolean in France, the Normans in France and then England, the Huns, the Mongols, what the Czarist regimes did to the Jews in Russia, what the Bolsheviks did to every living thing, all these are majestic tragedies. Nazi Germany isn't even the latest. Outlawing this things glorification is a way of glorifying it. If it is treated as it really is, just another brain fart in the majestic turning of the human race, it will develop far less of a mystique. The only difference between what Hitler did and what Napolean did and what Caesar Augustus did and what Alexander the Great did is that Hitler did it on a larger scale and screwed over more people. It is only one of scale. It isn't even the first time a weak race was discriminated against. There is nothing in Naziism that the world has not seen already. Certainly nothing the Catholic church has not done, and it is still standing...
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: Go ahead, buy it... (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by strawser on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 06:25:57 AM EST

> Yes, that one hundred times the number of people that the Americans lost in the Vietnam war.

Did you forget that the USA was a part of that war? My grandpa fought in it. My aunt - by marriage and on the other side of the family - her dad fought in it too, as a German fighter pilot.

The US isn't so far removed from that.

Also, I have a collection of old Kippling books from the period with swastikas on the covers and copyright pages - does this make Kipplings books Nazi hate speach?

E.


"Traveler, there is no path. You make the path as you walk." -- Antonio Machado
[ Parent ]
Around the world (3.50 / 14) (#14)
by jesterzog on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 08:17:27 PM EST

I'll assume that the French will now proceed to prosecute any and every business in existence (net-based or not) throughout the world that offers Nazi memorabilia accessible within France. Does anyone know why it's only Yahoo? Even if there wasn't anywhere else on the web, there must be stacks of mail order companies.

Unfortunately even if they can't touch Yahoo outside of their borders, they can make it illegal for anyone within France to do business with Yahoo. This could mean any big international companies that have an office in France would be forbidden from dealing with Yahoo anywhere, lest the French branch get prosecuted.

Personally I hope this gets overturned, if for no other reason then to set an example to the US courts and government. For the last several years, they've been assuming they have complete authority over everyone, everywhere. Often they do through force or diplomatic influence, even if it's nothing legitimate. (eg. The various decss sites being forced down around the world because certain forces in the US don't want them there.)


jesterzog Fight the light


DeCSS actions in other countries... (2.83 / 6) (#21)
by Kragma on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:15:13 AM EST

...aren't being brought by the US government in any way. Who's doing it? The MPA(A) and its member studios. These are huge multi-national corporations, they pull the strings in these matters in practically every industrialized nation in the world.

This is nitpicking, however. I don't disagree that America tries to exert dominance at every possible opurtunity, often working through puppet orginizations that claim to be internationalally controlled (UN, NATO, WTO, etc). But that's a whole other rant...

[ Parent ]

Why Yahoo and not E-bay (2.50 / 4) (#28)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:02:12 AM EST

Does anyone know why it's only Yahoo?

Could it be because Yahoo actually has a French presence?



[ Parent ]
A better reason (3.80 / 5) (#29)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:14:21 AM EST

Right after posting this I found this ZDNet article which describes the lengths to which E-bay and Amazon go to prevent auctions from being viewed by French citizens. E-bay's French site does not allow searches for 'Nazi' and also blocks browsers with the language set to 'French' from being able to view Nazi auctions while Amazon scans shipping and email addresses before allowing sales to be final.

It seems Yahoo realized these implementations are flawed at best (I see them as merely token gestures) and believed it could reason with the court but guessed wrong. Unfortunately all this will do is stop some people from participating in these auctions while those that are actually interested in obtaining Nazi memorabilia will find a way.



[ Parent ]
Why does everything have to be a problem? (2.75 / 12) (#15)
by sl4ck0ff on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 08:48:23 PM EST

This is pointless. First of all, items don't "promote" racism! Each individual person is responsible for themselves. Second, the servers physically aren't located in France. The French version of Yahoo! is generously being offered to French residents. And what do they do? Complain! Third, information should be free. Don't like racism? Don't watch buy items used in a racist setting off Yahoo! Don't run and complain to them, then try to sue them in a state of "protest". That just pisses people off.
/me has returned to slacking
because it IS a problem (none / 0) (#114)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:36:51 AM EST

Apply your "don't like it? don't watch it!" theory to something like child-pornography and you will see how ridiculous it is.

[ Parent ]
Put it this way... (2.54 / 22) (#18)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 10:02:06 PM EST

Yahoo could pull every single bit of its business out of France and eliminate the .fr suffixed version of their site; this would save Yahoo money and hurt nobody but the French. Judging from this and other decisions they've come to in the last 50 years or so(like buying only native military hardware, which has reduced them to the level of a nation like Iran in terms of military power...) French leaders are obviously under some delusion that France is still a major world power. The sad part is that instead of laughing, Yahoo is putting up with their foolery as though France has some legitimate authority over a US corporation.

These are the same people who outlawed any and all uses of personal encryption until a couple of years ago. For a nation that claims to be so liberated and "modern," they sure do spend a lot of time trying to tell people what they can and can't think and in what ways they can express it... it is illegal to adapt foriegn words into the French language, it is illegal to own or even in some cases to read about items such as Nazi flags(pictures are illegal in many circumstances, if that tells you how far gone the French really are,) it is illegal to produce most food products in any efficient way(this is why they have to have 100%+ subsidies on many such items...) and these people claim to be the epitome of a modern civilization.

Sorry, but while the French people as a whole are probably wonderful(I know one, and she's really cool; that alone is proof that they aren't -all- dimwits with attitude problems:) their leadership is a bunch of goat's asses, even by US standards. This Yahoo thing is just more fuel for the fire. I don't know how it'll play to hear that from an American, but I've heard more than one French native saying the exact same thing. (In fact, I've heard this from people almost everywhere; they, and US people are included, try to tell everyone ELSE how perfect their countries are, but they privately bitch and moan amongst themselves, because they know better:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Just to clarify both sides... (3.75 / 4) (#50)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 08:09:07 AM EST

Could someone who is actually in France post to say whether the actual situation is that if I walked into France wearing a T-shirt with a Nazi symbol on it, I could be arrested?

BTW, such things certainly have happened in the US. People in this college have gotten in very big trouble for writing swasticas on one another's white boards, an action which causes no measurable physical damage.
I know for a fact that, had I been a Texas native in 1870, and had I worn a button saying "Shoot All N*****s" into the halls of Congress, my right to freedom of speech would not have lasted very long! Even now, if I walked around in a mall or other public place shouting racist statements at the top of my lungs, I imagine I could get myself arrested quite quickly.

The basic situation, IMHO, is that France, after being occupied by the Nazis for a fair number of years, and having all sorts of atrocities committed against their people, to be blunt, felt that they did not want to allow that sort of thing to be promoted in the future.

As an American - check my email address - I can think of many things here that come quite close to the French law mentioned.

To be sure, Yahoo and their legal staff need to discuss how to handle this issue, and whether American courts can do anything to help them. I intend to follow the story in the next couple of months with extreme interest.
However, some K5ers seem to think that the actual laws in question are morally wrong. I think that the French and the US aren't as different as those posters might like to think.

[ Parent ]

Well, you're wrong... (2.60 / 5) (#74)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:26:38 PM EST

Most of Europe does in fact ban Nazi imagery and literature, and other things are banned here and there(for instance, the Communists are outright banned in France, but I don't think they are in much of the rest of Europe.) You can read about this on CNN or other news sources if you look. You could also just wait until some overconfident European decides to post in order to tell all "you damned Yankees" how inferior we all are and how we'd all be better off as serfs of some socialist utopia that bans "bad" ideas "for our own good." I wonder if they have a Newspeak version of French?

Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, freedom of speech is not a relative thing; here in the US, we can get arrested for causing problems, but not for stating opinions and reasoning behind them. That is not true in France. If it were, this whole Yahoo thing could never happen.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Communists (1.66 / 3) (#76)
by fb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:40:46 PM EST

It kind of surprises me learning that Communists are banned in France, considering that they are in the government I would never have expected that they would have banned themselves :-)

--
fB
[ Parent ]
Oops (2.00 / 4) (#78)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:55:01 PM EST

I misread a quote. It wasn't the French, although they have banned the Nazis and several other right wing groups. The Communists apparently were banned by Germany, which also bans Nazis and almost anyone else they disagree with. Apparently Italy also bans many such groups. I've heard a lot about several other places, but cannot confirm it from any reliable source, so I'll keep quiet about those:)

Regardless, as long as the French ban things they find uncomfortable, they need to shut up about the US. Every other day they're "deploring" this or that action we take; meanwhile their own people joke about how "those Americans have it good with Clinton; they don't know what real corruption is until they meet a French politician!" Geh.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Fascists (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by fb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:08:11 PM EST

Italy bans the fascist party. It's in our constitution, and quite understandable given that our Republic was born - to simplify a little - out of the anti-fascist movement after a civil war against the fascists. A matter which is still far from settled and, if I had a saying in this, never would be.

This did not stop the fascists from giving their party another name, assuming a faked respectability and going on with their business as usual, but a couple of minor extremistic movements were banned with the help of this constiutional law (they are usually related to terrorist activity, so they would have likely been banned anyway).

As a matter of fact one of such movements was banned today, because of suspected links with racist terrorists, but it was just a revamping of an already-banned movement (I expect this to go on ad libitum, italian-style).
--
fB
[ Parent ]
So then... (2.66 / 3) (#82)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:25:58 PM EST

You honestly believe that you will eliminate these people from your society by banning their beliefs? If you succeed, you will be the first people in history ever to do so. The most effective way to get rid of a bad idea is to make sure everyone knows about it and understands it.

That said, your goals are quite irrelevant, and regardless of how your government was formed, it is NOT understandable that it would trample on individual rights. I don't care what excuses you have; freedom of speech is more important than any particular political system.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Think before commenting... (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:35:01 AM EST

The most effective way to get rid of a bad idea is to make sure everyone knows about it and understands it.

Which is exactly what is being done in Europe. We are not trying to change the past or deny that nazis existed/exist. In fact, WW2 is a major part of history lessons in school, I suspect much like the civil war is in the US. The glorification of nazism is illegal, but it is also a part of our history that we will never (want to) forget.

[ Parent ]

Ah, (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:07:11 PM EST

well... Let me make explicit a basic premise you're operating on. You don't need to ban advocacy of a "wrong" viewpoint unless you believe that people are generally stupid, incompetent, and ignorant. If they're even reasonably intelligent, competent, and have some sense of history, then banning this or that won't do anything but insult them needlessly; it says, "You are stupid sheep, and we're here to save you."

Guess what? If you treat people like sheep, most will act like sheep - which makes the odds of them accepting the ideas you're trying to ban go up astronomically. If you treat them like what they are - which is to say, autonomous, intelligent individuals capable of making good judgements, then shock of shocks, they ACT like it.

Unless you can somehow convince me that the government officials in charge are smarter, better educated, and have better judgement in all cases than the populace, I will never agree with you, because unless this is true, what is going on here is no different in principle than what went on when Stalin carried out his purges of people who disagreed with the party line. In both cases, viewpoints at odds with the government's desires are being stomped on "in the name of the common good" or for whatever similar lie of a reason is given.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Re: ah, (2.00 / 1) (#137)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:22:31 PM EST

Guess what? People *are* sheep. Ever wonder why they put up with so much crap from their governments? So in that sense, yes, government officials are smarter, better educated and have better judgement than the general populace. They may not always make complete sense, but I'm pretty sure they're doing a helluvalot better than Joe Average, who would run the country into the ground in a matter of weeks.

[ Parent ]
Good soundbite (3.00 / 1) (#140)
by speek on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:17:56 PM EST

It always sounds good to say the masses are stupid, "Joe Average" would screw up if given a chance, the "unwashed masses", etc. Doesn't it just make you feel so good knowing your the one pointing the finger, and not the one being pointed at? "The masses are stupid and ignorant". Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, don't it? Fortunately for you, your the one saying it, so you couldn't possibly be part of "the masses", could you?

Theories and soundbites have a tendency to be worth diddly in real-life, however. And any theory that starts out assuming people are stupid is going to worth exactly that.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

A little tongue in cheek flame bait (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by fb on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 11:59:25 AM EST

You honestly believe that you will eliminate these people from your society by banning their beliefs?

I think that on these particular matters Americans lack a little perspective. I've always thought that a very useful exercise in political matters is to take some sentence, reverse - or otherwise change - its basic premises and check whether the logical consequences still hold or not. They should, and if not the logical reasoning is flawed, and things are reconducted to a basic difference in the assumptions - which is fine - but cannot be solved by logic and dialectics.

Let's try this little exercise, then, by referring the exact same sentence I quoted above to assassins and the death penalty. Which is not that out of place, given who fascists are and what they have done. Do you seriously think that banning their ideas is any worse than sentencing them to the electric chair?

Now, before you get extremely fed up with the above sentence, please count to ten and start pondering about the way I have been building it and what hypothesis I based it upon.


fB
[ Parent ]
Short memory (5.00 / 2) (#150)
by camadas on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:15:20 PM EST

Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, freedom of speech is not a relative thing; here in the US, we can get arrested for causing problems, but not for stating opinions and reasoning behind them.
Remember this ?
"Are you or have you been a member of the Communist Party"
You're the ones who banned communists, what are you talking about?

[ Parent ]
Puh-leeze. (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:45:37 PM EST

Yahoo could pull every single bit of its business out of France and eliminate the .fr suffixed version of their site; this would save Yahoo money and hurt nobody but the French.

If Yahoo is making money in France, then the savings would be offset by lost revenue. So this is quite a silly statement.

French leaders are obviously under some delusion that France is still a major world power.

They have nukes and manufacture their own advanced weapons systems, don't they?

The sad part is that instead of laughing, Yahoo is putting up with their foolery as though France has some legitimate authority over a US corporation.

No. They're following the legal requirements they are bound to as an entity that does business in France. As you point out yourself, they are free to stop doing business in France if they so wish.

--em
[ Parent ]

Oh, no, puh-leeze to you, sir:) (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 04:14:47 PM EST

If Yahoo is making money in France, then the savings would be offset by lost revenue.
If the moon is made of green cheese, then we can eat it.
They have nukes and manufacture their own advanced weapons systems, don't they?
Depending on what you mean by "advanced," yes. Their "advanced" weapons systems resemble models the US fielded ten to twenty years ago, in most cases. They're still behind the USSR's glory day state of the art, and the USSR's equipment didn't fare too well against US gear in the Persian Gulf, as you might recall. But yes, it is more advanced, say, than what the French fielded 50 years ago:) And yes, they have a handful of nukes, which they can use to puff up their egos, and for precisely nothing else.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Gimme a break. (none / 0) (#149)
by mindstrm on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 06:24:12 PM EST

>Yahoo could pull every single bit of its business out of >France and eliminate the .fr suffixed version of their >site; this would save Yahoo money and hurt nobody but >the French.

Yeah. Lost revenue from not having the .fr operations, perhaps? Hmm? That's a loss.

>Judging from this and other decisions they've come to in >the last 50 years or so(like buying only native military >hardware, which has reduced them to the level of a >nation like Iran in terms of military power...)

You mean like their nuclear weapons? Believe it or not, using native-made military hardware only, if they can do it (and they DO), makes them STRONGER. They do not rely on outside sources for military power.

BTW.. doesn't the US generally also do this? They only use military things made in the USA? Wasn't that part of the hassle when they wanted to use the Harriers?


>These are the same people who outlawed any and all uses >of personal encryption until a couple of years ago. For >a nation that claims to be so liberated and "modern," >they sure do spend a lot of time trying to tell people >what they can and can't think and in what ways they can >express it... i

This is a country that also vigorously enforces the law when it comes to personal privacy, and holds it's own courts and officials responsible for their actions. if the French government says something is personal and private and cannot be snooped on, THEY MEAN BUSINESS.


>Sorry, but while the French people as a whole are >probably wonderful(I know one, and she's really cool; >that alone is proof that they aren't -all- dimwits with >attitude problems:)

Wow. You know *ONE* french person. Awful lot of opinions for someone who knows *ONE* french person.




[ Parent ]
Which would you prefer? (3.00 / 12) (#20)
by er333 on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 10:53:46 PM EST

Which would you prefer: the highest common denominator (French law applies in France) or the lowest common denominator (the law of the most lax, self-serving, two-bit buccaneer jurisdiction applies everywhere)?

People don't seem to comprehend what "global" means. The world has many countries with many different sets of laws, and to propose that they all be suspended because you don't like some of them is silly.

Yahoo complied (3.16 / 6) (#23)
by leftorium on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:05:26 AM EST

Yahoo complied with the French, and are moderating their auctions on the french version of their site. France now wants yahoo to ban French access to the American site. Which I think is rediculous. Yahoo can do it, just fine, but it serves no purpose and it limits Yahoo's advertising on the .com page.

If the French government wants to protect their citizens from Nazi artifacts, then they need to close off all communication. Which is definitely moronic.

----
http://leftorium.net
Everyone was born right handed. Only the greatest overcome it.
[ Parent ]
Preference isn't the question (4.00 / 7) (#24)
by shinar on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:28:14 AM EST

I don't think it's really a question of which nation's laws are preferable: the key of the issue, as has been pointed out, is whether France has jurisdiction over a corporation in another country offering material to anyone who can get to it. If we look at this case as a precedent, it would set a legal basis for the German government (for example) demanding that anyone with a copy of Mein Kampf on their website block access for anyone from Germany. (I think that law is still around, someone correct me if I'm wrong). And so forth. One of the major advantages to the internet that most information posted on it is accessible from anywhere--if the French government wins the case, it's possible that will change dramatically as countries with various information restriction start demanding blocking from various websites, and as many websites (this is a guess) simply stop carrying a lot of controversial content.

[ Parent ]
Principle is the question (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by er333 on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:09:43 PM EST

>I don't think it's really a question of which nation's laws are preferable: the key of the issue, as has been pointed out, is whether France has jurisdiction over a corporation in another country offering material to anyone who can get to it.

My question was not to ask whether one country's laws are preferable to another's. My question is, which principle is better: allowing the one jurisdiction which has the lowest standards (for example, some random island state which profits handsomely from people evading the laws of their country) to set the rules for the whole world, or allowing each jurisdiction to set the rules for that jurisdiction?

This may introduce inconveniences for corporations wanting to do business in other countries, but there are plenty of other necessary inconveniences like taxes and local content laws that have to be dealt with, and which haven't stopped corporations from doing great business in countries that impose them.

French lawmakers decided to ban the selling of certain materials to people in France. Irrespective of whether this is a good or right idea or not, should the lawmakers in France or any other country be able to regulate what goes on in their country?

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (2.83 / 6) (#47)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:51:15 AM EST

Would you want all, eg, Christian items removed from the Internet because being openly Christian is illegal in Iran?

[ Parent ]
Circles (2.00 / 3) (#63)
by schporto on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:40:51 AM EST

Oh oh wait I can bring this in a circle.... Would you want all Jewish items remoived too? So isn't it somewhat odd, that the ideas that would remove Nazi memorablia would also remove Jewish items also? Cripes you could get whirled around in tight circles with this. -cpd

[ Parent ]
Iran (3.50 / 2) (#73)
by fb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:23:14 PM EST

Moot point because, while public expressions of christian cult are indeed subjected to a restrictive law, being openly christian is certainly not illegal in Iran.

Saudi Arabia has much more restrictions on christians than Iran, but being a christian is not illegal there as well.
--

fB
[ Parent ]
Vive le France! (3.25 / 12) (#26)
by Robby on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:53:44 AM EST

Frankly, I don't understand why many people here are so angry at France. They're completely within their rights to ask Yahoo to stop offering Nazi Memorabilia.

Theres a French arm of yahoo. That means Yahoo is going to have to obey French Law - that means they can't broker Nazi goods in France. France has every right to ask that a french subsidiary do something about it's parent.

If you're annoyed that this is an 'unamerican' decision - suck it down. France isn't the states, and they can make the rules as they like.

Now honestly, and quite frankly, we're not talking about banning the sale of soft toys, or the silly analogy of 'margeret Thatcher Porn' (as enticing as it sounds) - We're talking about memorabilia of an era in european history that has had no known good outcomes. Many countries in Europe decided the situation in the first half of this century was unacceptable, and made it illegal to discriminate against people racially. I bet the US has laws like this - or am I wrong? (I'm not French, nor am I American, as you can tell by now) . The people who want Nazi memorabilia are those that would like to resurrect the era . I have no problem with denying them the opportunity.

Secondly, I remember seeing items on eBay being pulled off - people selling human Kidneys, etc. Presumeably because they're illegal under American Law. But why were they also pulled off ebay.co.uk? or ebay.com.au? (I.e. ebay was leveraging US law in the vast wilderness known as 'the rest of the world')

In short, think of it like this:
if Yahoo sells a piece of Nazi memorabilia to a frenchmen, Yahoo (US) is making a profit from it. That means Yahoo (France) has more funs to play with. In other words, potentially, a French company is making a profit by breaking french law. Oops.

. Or, if you don't like this idea above, think who you would rather make the law where you live: your government, or a profit driven company?

Cheers, and keep buying that memorabilia before it's gone!

Read the full article. (3.00 / 6) (#40)
by piercew on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:08:22 AM EST

The problem isn't with France asking Yahoo to remove things on the Yahoo.fr, but on the Yahoo.Com. Yahoo.Com is a US company on US soil, why should Yahoo take orders from France concerning what is available on that site?

Wayne

[ Parent ]
.com profits influence .fr profits. (3.00 / 1) (#92)
by Robby on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:17:14 PM EST

The problem isn't with France asking Yahoo to remove things on the Yahoo.fr, but on the Yahoo.Com.

I did read the article, and I know it's .com and not .fr thats being asked to do so.

The problem is that both .fr and .com are dipping into the same wallet when they want to do something - so something that benefits yahoo.com (i.e. selling Nazi Memorabilia) benefits yahoo.fr - and thats why france should be able to ask .com for this.

[ Parent ]

wait a sec... (3.83 / 6) (#41)
by Danse on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:11:30 AM EST

The people who want Nazi memorabilia are those that would like to resurrect the era . I have no problem with denying them the opportunity.

I think this is definitely an over-generalization. Some people collect all sorts of things related to WWII. They would likely be interested in Nazi items from that period. Doesn't mean they want to resurrect the period though.

But why were they also pulled off ebay.co.uk? or ebay.com.au?

Possibly because they're illegal in other countries too. Possibly because the auctions were hoaxes. Possibly because the corporation didn't want such things to be auctioned on its site.

While France may be able to take action against Yahoo! (France) for the actions of its parent, I'm not sure why they would bother for something that is merely a symbolic gesture and completely unworkable. I wonder if Yahoo! has a compelling reason to have servers in France rather than in neighboring countries. If I were Yahoo!, I'd probably pack up my office in France and move it elsewhere. Then France can worry about filtering or blocking its citizen's access instead of me.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
EBay (3.00 / 4) (#61)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:28:38 AM EST

Secondly, I remember seeing items on eBay being pulled off - people selling human Kidneys, etc. Presumeably because they're illegal under American Law. But why were they also pulled off ebay.co.uk? or ebay.com.au? (I.e. ebay was leveraging US law in the vast wilderness known as 'the rest of the world')

Those were not pulled because the US Government asked (or ordered) them to. They were pulled because eBay decided to do so, for whatever reasons (possibly legal worries, or moral worries, or simply not wanting to freak people out when they see stories in the paper about the organ black market moving to EBay). There's a big difference between the two. One is "Company decides not to do something". The other is "Country orders company not to do something in their country".

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Hmm... (4.00 / 2) (#95)
by Matrix on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:49:00 PM EST

The people who want Nazi memorabilia are those that would like to resurrect the era.

Does this include the history teacher who wants to show a Nazi flag and some of the armbands to his class of curious tenth-graders? Or the World War II museum interested in displaying bits of German battle dress along side Allied battle dress? Or the interested collector of things relating to mid-century wars? Wow... Amazing that all these people become closet nazis just because they want to buy something once owned by Hitler's government from an online auction site. Better ban the sale of German property on yahoo.com too! After all, it might've been owned by the Nazis...

And as for a child company being able to influence the actions of its parent based on local laws, that's just silly... Because a company has offices in a hypothetical third world country where its illegal for women to work for money, they need to convince their parent company to fire all its female employees too?


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Yep. (none / 0) (#102)
by Ubiq on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:49:54 PM EST

And as for a child company being able to influence the actions of its parent based on local laws, that's just silly... Because a company has offices in a hypothetical third world country where its illegal for women to work for money, they need to convince their parent company to fire all its female employees too?

Yes. Either that or just move out.



[ Parent ]
Uh... (2.00 / 1) (#111)
by rakslice on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:55:03 AM EST

"France isn't the states, and they can make the rules as they like."

Heh.. That's a bigoted opinion. Why should I have to comply with French law, seeing as I am not in France nor a french citizen?

[ Parent ]
Parallels (3.36 / 11) (#31)
by linklater on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 04:38:13 AM EST

For whatever reason, Nazism seems to be regarded more extremely in France than in any other country that I know. What I don't understand is how they can use this tactic of restricting information while still considering themselves a liberated and forward thinking country.

Obviously the occupation of France during WWII (and WWI to a lesser extent) has altered the social and political climate in a number of ways. What the French are doing about Nazi issues draws some rather scary parallels with how the Nazi's themsleves behaved; restricting information concerning groups opposed to the leading powers of the time, and making it illegal for the public to deal in what could be seen as subversive or dangerous items and images. It amounts to a very subtle kind of thought-crime state where certain ideas are purposefully stifled by the controlling power.

If the internet has shown us anything, surely it is that through open communication of ideas and concepts, regardless of how offensive some may find some of those ideas, we as a race can make an informed decision as to how to progress in the future. Making history illegal is a very short sighted route to a better future.

As far as Yahoo is concerned, I think they should obey the laws in the countries in which they operate - regardless how silly I personally find the laws to be. After all, if Yahoo don't like the French laws they can just pull out of the French market.


---- 'Who dares not speak his free thought is a slave.' - Euripides

Not just France (4.00 / 11) (#33)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:12:55 AM EST

Germany has similar laws concerning the acceptability of certain kinds of speach and political activity. German political parties, for instance, have their activities surveyed by a commision which can, if it finds them wanting, prevent them from standing for elections and withhold government funding (which is more important in mainland Europe than in the US or UK).

Its rather an exaggeration to say that because the German and French governments censor political speach, they are somehow equivalent to the Nazis. The vast majority of governments throughout history have censored not just political speach, but all speach. Arguably no government has ever stopped. The US post office, until it was stopped by the Supreme Court, had a department which opened the mail and prosecuted those sending things it found disagreeable. Membership of the communist party, or the expression of communist ideals were de facto (and in places de jure) illegal in the US for many years. UK government employees are essentially forbidden from discussing any detail of their jobs with the public.

The French and German laws exist because those who framed the current constitutions of both countries were accutely aware of how easily a democracy can be subverted into a "populist" despotism. While, contrary to popular opinion, Hitler never won an election outright, the Nazi regime and the nationalist regimes which preceded it were popular. In both Germany and France there remain factions in the population predisposed, when times are bad, to turn against foreigners, immigrants and Jews in a violent manner. Collecting Nazi memorabilia is very closely associated with membership of present day far right groups and does serve to glamorise the Nazi regime.

Of course, I agree with you that controlling political activity is deeply suspect. Governments must, as ever, be watched like a hawk to ensure they do not abuse any laws that allow them to do this. Its deeply debatable that either France or Germany stands any real chance of electing a far-right regime and if they did it would probably turn out - like those of Italy and Austria - to be inoffensive by past standards due to international pressure if nothing else (Austria's EU membership is under rather close scrutiny for just this reason). However if, in fact, the choice is between controlling the political rights of destructive bigots and actually having them in positions of power, I'll choose the former.




Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
You've got it almost right, but not quite :) (4.33 / 9) (#36)
by Chakotay on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:49:56 AM EST

This is the way it works, at least here in the Netherlands.

We're definitely not blocking history, as you claim. Quite the contrary. In school the Second World War, Hitler, Nazism, the Holocaust and everything relating to that are hot items in history classes. The trick is to remember, not to forget, so we can prevent it from happening again. The commemoration of those who fell (on May 4th) and the celebration of our liberation (on May 5th) are still widely participated. On May 4th, 8PM, the entire country is engulfed in a minute of silence. This year I was having dinner on a terrace in a large square, with lots of noise and chatter around, then at 8PM the Last Post sounded, and there was silence. Absolute silence. When the Wilhelmus (our national anthem) sounded at the end of the minute of silence, most people were singing along. Among all the organised commemorations I went to, this basically spontaneous one was definitely the most impressive.

In the Netherlands, and I'd guess it's the same in most other European countries,, displaying Nazi stuff in a historical setting is allowed, even encouraged. Otherwise great movies like A Bridge Too Far and Soldier of Orange could never have been made. It is however illegal to sell or import Nazi materials. It's not illegal to buy or own Nazi materials, as long as you don't show them in public (and as long as you don't import them, ofcourse). If you sow together your own Nazi flag and put it up in your room, even if you bought it somewhere within the Netherlands, that's not illegal.

As for the limitation of free speech, basically the same things apply there. You can say anything about the Nazis and Hitler, heck, even I admit Hitler has done some good things for Europe too, like create all those highways, and he definitely got the German economy out of the gutter. Hitler was extremely intelligent. Possibly so intelligent that he snapped - there's a damn thin line between intelligence and crazyness. I can say all those good things about Hitler, and even mean them (I actually do), and not cross any lines. When I start shouting "all Jews must die" or "Ausländer raus" or something else along those line, I do cross that line.

Before people start over-reacting based on that paragraph, no, I'm not a neo-Nazi, I'm not a racist, quite the contrary - I've got some gypsy blood in me (and as you may recall, gypsies were one of Hitler's secondary targets), I've got a black uncle, a black cousin, and a black girlfriend.

Anyway, nobody is blocking history in any way. Tell me, what would have happened to a Southerner parading through DC with a Confederate Flag 60 years after the civil war? If he were lucky, he'd get shot. See where I'm heading with this? It's now 60 years after the Second World War. How do you thing Jews, Gypsies, and citizens of countries that were occupied by the Germans in general feel about a Nazi flag being carried through their town?

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

It seems to me that... (2.20 / 5) (#45)
by bgalehouse on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:38:11 AM EST

For as long as a population is willing to accept laws censoring overt Nazi-ism, it is quite unlikely that overt Nazis will get into power. Whether the law is on the books is rather immaterial.

[ Parent ]
Southerner's going through DC (2.20 / 5) (#49)
by robwicks on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:58:57 AM EST

Anyway, nobody is blocking history in any way. Tell me, what would have happened to a Southerner parading through DC with a Confederate Flag 60 years after the civil war? If he were lucky, he'd get shot. See where I'm heading with this? It's now 60 years after the Second World War. How do you thing Jews, Gypsies, and citizens of countries that were occupied by the Germans in general feel about a Nazi flag being carried through their town?
Actually, probably nothing would have happened except for some cheering. The Ku Klux Klan was a powerful organization at that time. Blacks were still being lynched. If you think Black people would have been protesting this kind of a parade, you're greatly mistaken.


"Logic . . . merely enables one to be wrong with authority" Doctor Who
[ Parent ]

How do you think they feel (4.40 / 5) (#62)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:33:08 AM EST

How do they feel? I'm Jewish. If Nazis were parading through my town, it would bother me.

But I would *not* want them to be arrested for it. And one of the things that bothers me about this sort of censorship is not only that you're censoring, but since I'm a Jew, you're censoring *in my name*.

Censorship is dangerous. I don't like Nazis, but if you give someone the power to suppress Nazis, you give them the power to suppress lots of other things too, generally whatever someone in power thinks is bad. If this sets a precedent for banning outside a country material that is illegal inside, do you *really* think this will never be used against anything that isn't related to Nazis? What do you think, oh, China would do to pro-democracy sites outside China?

[ Parent ]
Pedantic digression (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:51:40 PM EST

A Southerner parading through DC 60 years later? Probably would have felt right at home -- one of the ironies of our Civil War was that DC was very much a Southern town. Richmond's just down the road a piece, and Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln could just about have thrown rocks at one another.

Maryland, the next state north of DC, was kept in the Union more or less at gunpoint (literally so in the case of about half the state legislature).

This is why, by the way, the Emancipation Proclamation was carefully written to cover slaves in the Confederate states only -- there were slaves in the Union who were not freed until later.

But I digress... :)

[ Parent ]

Yahoo Can't Leave France (3.75 / 8) (#42)
by acestus on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:13:32 AM EST

As far as Yahoo is concerned, I think they should obey the laws in the countries in which they operate - regardless how silly I personally find the laws to be. After all, if Yahoo don't like the French laws they can just pull out of the French market.
Well, part of the point is that they can't leave France. They could close yahoo.fr, but the French could still access yahoo.com, and that means that they'd have access to Yahoo's Nazi Auctions. (I am overcome with an image of a Swastika on one of the little link buttons just under the logo: Yahoo! Nazi Auctions.) Being on the internet means being in every connected market. Even if they don't market to the French, this French judge seems to think that he can order Yahoo to cater to them.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Closing down the French incarnation (3.50 / 2) (#85)
by jesterzog on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:01:55 PM EST

I'm guessing what was meant is that they could remove their French presence. (ie. The French incarnation of their company.) This would put them out of reach of French jurisdiction.

It would also make it less likely that Yahoo would continue to provide any services in French (the language), making France in general worse off.

Does anyone know how much Yahoo would lose by closing down its French office? I'd like to know how important French people consider this type of censorship. Are older people (from WW2) more sensitive? Is it likely to disintegrate in the next 40 years?


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
Losing Yahoo.FR (2.50 / 2) (#96)
by acestus on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:52:54 PM EST

I'm not sure it would matter too much. It might annoy some Frenchmen, but beyond that... I don't know. Yahoo/Canada already offers service in French, although probably not special entries for regions of France. However, I'm not sure that this would prevent French authorities from suing yahoo.com, as it's still accessible to the French people.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
I just don't get it (2.90 / 11) (#34)
by Chakotay on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 05:21:26 AM EST

I've been trying and trying but I see no way in which any sufficiently intelligent person could possibly believe French law could apply to a server in the US. Yahoo did the right thing removing the objected materials from yahoo.fr, but it shouldn't even be possible for France to force them to remove it from any other sites.

If this precedent gets set, that's a Bad Thing for the Internet, because it means that any server must respect any and all laws of any and all countries connected to the Internet. China could start forcing American sites to take anti-Chinese material down. Pakistan could start forcing sites to take down non-Islamic religious material. The US could force a Dutch auction site to take down weed auctions.

All that is simply rediculous, and what France is asking of Yahoo is equally rediculous. But in the light of rediculous stuff passing patent offices and the justice system nowadays, I'm afraid it might just actually happen...

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

Re: I just don't get it (3.88 / 9) (#48)
by nicolas on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:56:38 AM EST

>If this precedent gets set, that's a Bad Thing for the Internet, because it means >that any server must respect any and all laws of any and all countries connected >to the Internet.

I'm french, and I agree with most of the comments of the people who wrote about that subject. I think it's at the same time quite ridiculous, and incredibly astute to do what we have done to Yahoo.

As people pointed out, it seems perfectly righteous and normal for America to enforce its law around the world. They didn't even ask themselves the question: do we have the right to do that? they didn't ask the UN, they just, well, it's america: They Just Did It (tm) :)

Why wonder then? if america just takes the right to enforce its law on the whole net, every other country feel that they, after all, must have the same right. The precedent have been set by the US, not by France.

This solution is, of course, an impossible one. Better shut down the net right now, it just can't work that way. What the french are doing, consciously or not, is questionning the right for america to regulate the internet as they wish. And asking the question everybody wonders about in K5: How do we regulate something like the internet? Does it even needs it?

Sometimes, I'm proud of my country :)



[ Parent ]
Re: I just don't get it (1.75 / 8) (#52)
by vinay on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:19:08 AM EST

What the french are doing, consciously or not, is questionning the right for america to regulate the internet as they wish.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't recall an instance where the US went to a website for another country, and said "this is breaking US laws. Please stop." Yes, it's true that the US enforces its laws, but it typically does that for servers within the US, where it has jurisdiction. Again, I can't think of a situation where the US applies its laws to a server outside its boundaries. It might sue under the laws of that country, but that's a whole different story.

-\/


-\/


[ Parent ]
Have you forgotten... (3.50 / 6) (#53)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:25:06 AM EST

voteauction.com, which was shut down by Internic even though it was a foreign website? We really need some of the master DNS servers to become independent or something, IMHO.

[ Parent ]
icravetv.com (3.66 / 6) (#55)
by pete on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:46:45 AM EST

Link 1
Link 2

--pete


[ Parent ]
US censorship... (3.75 / 4) (#75)
by fb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:35:52 PM EST

>I can't recall an instance where the US went to a website >for another country

I can recall the US going against foreign sites even before there was much of a web to speak of, case in point the anon.penet.fi anonymous remailer, which was closed down under heavy pressure for the US (on behalf of scientology) despite not being in violation of any Finnish law

More recently I can also remember some US lawyers going against the author of DeCSS.

More on topic, there are literally dozens, maybe even hundreds, of web sites around the world that have been closed under pressure from the US government, despite not being located in nor being operated from the US themselves. Some recent examples have been provided in other posts. This generally causes less rumor because the US are a powerful nation: the explicit rule of some judge is seldom necessary when economic pressure is sufficient. Sites sometimes seem to disappear spontaneously even if this might not actually be the case.

Sorry for what is coming out as an anti-US stance on my part. This is an artifact of the discussion topic: I am merely trying to balance things a little, I'm not particularly anti-US nor anti-anything else, for that matter. Italy, for instance, has an awfully bad record re internal net censorship.


--

fB
[ Parent ]
not right for anyone (3.50 / 2) (#134)
by micco on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:04:53 PM EST

As people pointed out, it seems perfectly righteous and normal for America to enforce its law around the world. They didn't even ask themselves the question: do we have the right to do that? they didn't ask the UN, they just, well, it's america: They Just Did It (tm) :)

Many Americans (myself included) do not think this is right, much less righteous and normal. I oppose extensions of US law outside the US whether it be "nation building" or bullying foreign companies to comply with certain standards. Whether it's the US or France or any other country, it's wrong to impose rules outside borders. That's why the US fought the revolution and freed ourselves from Britain in the first place.

That said, most of the cases cited as American transgressions have nothing to do with the American government actually trying to enforce laws overseas. In some cases, the US government has bullied a foreign government into doing something, but this is not the same thing. In this respect, France could decide to censor all of Yahoo.com's content until Yahoo opted to comply with the French ruling. This would be France imposing a French solution. That's not what they're doing.

Other cases of America doing the "same thing" involved lawyers for US companies going in to foreign courts to press lawsuits against foreign individuals (IIRC, this would describe the DeCSS case). This is wholly appropriate action because it involves a foreigner (the US lawyers) using the country's own legal system, not an imposition of outside laws. It also doesn't involve the US government or judiciary at all. Again, that's not the case here, where the French judicial system want to impose French law on a US company.

Why wonder then? if america just takes the right to enforce its law on the whole net, every other country feel that they, after all, must have the same right. The precedent have been set by the US, not by France.

Please cite a reference where the US enforced a law on "the whole net" in a case which didn't involve a US company. The US has pursued some offshore gambling sites, but in every case that I'm aware of, the site was run by a US citizen and they held that citizen accountable for US laws. They didn't move against the foreign citizens or even force the foreign goverments to block the sites hosted on their soil. Other cases have involved the US government imposing political or economic pressure on a foreign government to try to get that government to enforce their own laws against offending sites, which is quite different from trying to enforce US law. I could certainly be wrong and would welcome correction, but I don't see how the US has set a precedent for what France has done.

[ Parent ]

Re: not right for anyone (none / 0) (#154)
by nicolas on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 06:13:21 AM EST

Hu, nice post. I'll try to answer.

Many Americans (myself included) do not think this is right, much less righteous and normal.

The lawsuit has been filed at first by a jew defense organization. The french judicial system then had to comply to the request. So when we either say "France" or "America", we're over-generalizing. As long as we keep this in mind, things should be fine :). In fact, most people here in France don't care at all about this mess, and the rest approve, not seeing for now the silliness of it.

That said, most of the cases cited as American transgressions have nothing to do with the American government actually trying to enforce laws overseas.

Even if America doesn't enforce its law legally speaking, it enforce its "law" nevertheless. They are a powerful nation, and when they apply pressure of any kind onto weaker ones, they usually win.
You gave loads of good examples: bullying, lawyers (worse than nuke intimidation: everybody's deathly scared of american lawyers :), the means are endless. And they are probably many others underground pressures we're not aware of.

America is forcing down the throath of others the american 'view' of the net, pushing the american interests, as much as they can, by all means available. It's jungle law, the stronger wins. The final result is in fact worse than if they were only enforcing american law. I'm not naive, and I know this has always been common, and that we musn't expect much more from any country.

But it's clearly not acceptable! What is the better way, morally speaking: to pound onto others, or to put the matter in the open, legal ground, with the effect, I hope, to reveal the futility of those attempts in the end? (Please note that french are very probably NOT aware of that, they are simply doing what they are bound to legally speakin).

A common law for the net, if it's an intelligent one (ie: leave everybody the hell alone), is the last thing America want. This is, alas, not going to happen soon, but with the french action, the problem is at least now clearly stated, even if the realization of the absurdity is not there yet.

The worst case is already cooking: using the hacker scarecrow, they (and when I say 'they', I'm thinking about all governments), are going to try to regulate and purge the net of all activism. I don't think this can succeed in the end, at least if there are enough people raising against it, but things are going to get though for a while.

Okay, I'll stop there :)



[ Parent ]
You're asking the wrong question. (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:31:18 PM EST

I've been trying and trying but I see no way in which any sufficiently intelligent person could possibly believe French law could apply to a server in the US.

Because you're asking the wrong question.

This is simple: Yahoo is a company which operates in France. Thus, it must conform to French law.

--em
[ Parent ]

A couple of Qs (4.17 / 17) (#54)
by Rand Race on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:38:33 AM EST

First of all, does anyone know if France enforces this policy in regards to Confederate States of America memorabilia? Even as a southerner, who does see the significance and value of symbols of my heritage, I must admit that the Battle Flag of the Confederacy is, pure and simple, a symbol of racial hatred. A related question is; does France only ban material with the party symbol (swastika) on it? What about Kriegsmarine (German navy, definately not a hotbed of Nazi sympathy) memorabilia which during WWII still bore the Imperial German symbols? I would certainly not display the stars and bars (battle flag) in my home, but I do proudly display a Kentucky Squirell-Rifle, with CSA markings, a great-great uncle carried with the Army of Tennessee in the War between the States.

Secondly, what about memorabilia from France's less than honorable deeds in the past? Does France allow the sale of items from Robspierre's Terror during the revolution? That is as good an example of a nation gone mad as Nazi Germany is. What about Foreign Legion memorabilia from the occupations of Algeria, Vietnam, Djibouti, Ivory Coast, French Guianna, etc., etc.? I'm sure that most of Europe would not want to see the Napoleonic Wars return, so should they ban the sale of French memorabilia from the early 19th century? How about the French Inquisition (not as nasty as the Spanish... but close)? The Dreyfuss affair? The persecution of the Templars? And I bet Vercingitorex wasn't the nicest guy in the world either.

I guess the problem I have with France's stand is: Where do you stop? How far back in history and what degree of hatred is required to qualify as wrong-stuff?


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Racial Hatred? (3.00 / 12) (#67)
by ubu on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:18:09 AM EST

I must admit that the Battle Flag of the Confederacy is, pure and simple, a symbol of racial hatred.

No, it isn't. It is a symbol of political independence. The confederate flag in no way represents racial hatred; it doesn't even represent slavery, per se. Slaveholders were in the minority in the South, and a great many Southerners who opposed slavery went to battle for their political freedom despite their opposition to the slave culture.

The Civil War wasn't fought over racism, and neither was World War II. Both wars were fought over issues of sovereignty. It bothers me that race-baiting has been the chief legacy of those awe-inspiring conflicts.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (3.60 / 10) (#69)
by Rand Race on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:44:13 AM EST

It may have been a symbol of political independance, although why the battle flag instead of the Confederate national flag (as depicted on Georgia's state flag before desegragation) is beyond me, but since the 60s it has become a symbol of racial diviseivness. It's not so much that it represents the slavery of the old south, but the institutionalized racism of the new south. The fact is that before 1958 only Mississippi incorperated the battle flag into the state flag, but when desegragation was enforced several states (Georgia and South Carolina noteably) incorperated it as a symbol of defiance. What it may have stood for in the past is immaterial because today, to the vast majority of people, it stands for racism pure and simple.

I would have no problem displaying the Confederate national flag or even other battle flags (the Confederate naval jack for instance), but not the stars and bars because any other meaning than racism that it may have had has been hijacked by ignorant racist dolts. Just as the swastika, a revered symbol in religions across the world, has become a symbol of hatred because the Nazis used it.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Stars n' Bars (3.37 / 8) (#70)
by Vygramul on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:51:46 AM EST

The Confederate Battle Flag and the Stars n Bars are two different flags. The battle flag looks kinda like the Union Jack with seven stars along the "X". The Stars n Bars looks like a Rev War American flag, but only three stripes and seven stars. (For some reason, people get this wrong.)

The Stars n Bars was the Confederate national flag from 1861-1863. They changed it to a white field with a battle flag in the upper left corner in late '63 in order to alleviate friendly-fire confusion. In '64 they added a thick red border to the right-hand side because with no wind, it looked like a flag of surrender.
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
[ Parent ]

d'oh (3.20 / 5) (#72)
by Rand Race on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:19:19 PM EST

Yea, it's wrong. It has become common, at least in this area, to mistakenly call the battle flag (It's a St. Andrew's cross, the Scottish part of the Union Jack, isn't it?) the stars n' bars and I compounded the misuse. My bad.... will drink more coffee before posting next time :)


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Double D'oh (2.00 / 2) (#106)
by ubu on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:12:46 PM EST

Thanks for the clarification; I made the same mistake Rand Race made. I blame him for the whole misunderstanding. [wink]

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: Hmmm (4.00 / 4) (#105)
by ubu on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:11:24 PM EST

What it may have stood for in the past is immaterial because today, to the vast majority of people, it stands for racism pure and simple.

I would venture to say that the motives of a collector of memorabilia are historical in nature. "What it may have stood for in the past" is very material to the interest of the collector and the fan of historical veracity.

any other meaning than racism that it may have had has been hijacked by ignorant racist dolts

Those racist dolts may get more than their fair share of the front pages of newspapers, but if you read Southern Partisan or a similar southern mouthpiece you'll get a very different view of the import of the Stars and Bars. Most of these people -- the "southern partisans", that is -- admire and exalt the memory of southern courage, Christianity, and adherence to moral rectitude. They in no way lament the decline of slavery, nor do they preach the diseased gospel of white supremacy.

Just as the swastika, a revered symbol in religions across the world, has become a symbol of hatred because the Nazis used it.

I would say, personally, that the swastika has inherent occultic meaning; most historians agree that it was based on a perversion of the Christian symbol of the Cross. As such, I would be inclined to view it as a disgusting symbol, although I couldn't agree with political action to ban it. On a completely different plane of reality, the Stars and Bars are a proud historical symbol representing the courage and fortitute of hundreds of thousands of southerners who served a highly admirable cause... no matter who writes the history books.

I do not mean to directly disagree with your approach to the subject, but I do disagree with your depiction of the Confederate Battle Flag. The Stars and Bars may represent a lot of propaganda, it's true, but so do many of our favorite symbols of modern-day America. It's just not our propaganda. That, in effect, is why it is vilified -- in my very humble opinion.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
swastika (3.00 / 4) (#112)
by zerth on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 01:31:00 AM EST

Not having any reference handy for exact dates, but the swastika(not it's original name) was used by early europeans(I forget the name, but they are related to the group that invaded india just before hinduism started) well before christianity.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
origins of the swastika. (4.66 / 3) (#121)
by erotus on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:16:46 AM EST

I believe the group you are refering to are the Zoroastrians of Iran. The Indian swastika has the little arms that come off the + part of the design go to the left, the opposite direction than the ones on the nazi swastika. Zoroastrians, who date from approximately 600 BC, also make use of swastika symbols and predate the nazi movement by well over 2000 years. Zoroastrianism started in Iran and moved into India.

Iran was invaded from the north by aryan people, hence the name Iran(aryan). Hitler used this symbol because to him, the original persians(Iranians)were aryans and this symolized purity or a pure white race. Today, one will find aryan looking Iranians only in the north of Iran. Even the late Shah was enthroned with the title 'Shahanshah Aryamehr', which means 'King of kings, Light of the Aryans.' It should also be noted that 'India' also means "land of the aryans".

Keep in mind also, that the original swastika had good things associated with it and is an ancient sanskrit word. 'Arya' means pure one or Noble one and has nothing to do with race. The swastika symbol has been used in Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, and even some Native American designs. Here are a few links to a couple of pre-nazi swastikas
vietnamese temple top
Hindu version


[ Parent ]
Public Ignorance of Swastika (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by Vygramul on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 10:54:13 AM EST

The Swastika was worn or painted on planes by early aviators as a symbol of luck.

Alas, some luddite vandalized a picture of Amelia Earhart at the Washington DC Air and Space Museum. A life-size picture of her was used as wall paper in one exhibit and it included a little swastika medallion she wore. Some idiot gauged it out.
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
[ Parent ]

Good Point (4.00 / 3) (#127)
by Rand Race on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 09:03:52 AM EST

"I would venture to say that the motives of a collector of memorabilia are historical in nature. "What it may have stood for in the past" is very material to the interest of the collector and the fan of historical veracity."

Excellent point, I definately would take a real confederate battle flag if it was offered to me and I see no problem using them in recreation battles and events celebrating our heritage. A liscense plate (for instance) depicting it is another matter though, to me and many others it simply says "Redneck racist on board". In a similar vein, I own a fair bit of 1920s era KKK material that belonged to another great uncle. I value it for it's historical significance (my father wrote his Phd thesis based on some of the material) but I am sure as hell not going to go traipsing around town in a grand kleagle robe. Even though, by all accounts, my ancestor's involvement had nothing to do with racism but rather as almost a pyramid scheme... he was in it for the money.

I too am highly averse to banning any form of expression and would by no means advocate banning the battle flag, I'm just pointing out the meaning it has to the vast majority of people.... especialy those, like the french for the most part, who have a limited knowledge of southern US culture.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Re: A couple of Qs (none / 0) (#155)
by nicolas on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 06:48:57 AM EST

First of all, does anyone know if France enforces this policy in regards to Confederate States of America memorabilia?

Of course we don't, we're not interested in your little personnal revulsions :) Pun apart, theorically, every "incitation to racial hatred" can be sanctionned here, so I guess that with a good lawyer that should do (especially if you are a black american, and that it was displayed to offense you). I'm not certain at all, but I have a vague rememberance we already had a case similar to this long time ago. But clearly, most of the case are Nazi-memorabilia obvious display, no one will go after you if you have a few staviskas or a confederate flag in your house.

I guess the problem I have with France's stand is: Where do you stop? How far back in history and what degree of hatred is required to qualify as wrong-stuff?

Dunno, but I think that "till everybody who passed through that horror is still alive, then a decent amount of time to honor their memory" should be a good rule, and probably the one a court would apply



[ Parent ]
France can very well do it themselves (3.08 / 12) (#56)
by Vygramul on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:49:19 AM EST

It's a whole lot easier for France to block access to the Yahoo! auction site IP's than it is for Yahoo! to block out all the French IP's. China can give 'em tips on it if need be. (Hmmm anyone else see a problem when a free country models its approach to the net after China's?)
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
not many (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by enterfornone on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 04:05:02 AM EST

I went to a protest to stop the Australian government doing exactly this. There would have been less than one hundred people there (out of a city of over one million). The laws passed, although they are for the most part ignored since they are so unworkable. Most people just don't care about (what they see as) other peoples freedoms being taken away.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong in the picture? (2.30 / 10) (#57)
by Dries on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 09:56:07 AM EST

- I don't think France can force Yahoo to take the objected materials down.
- I do think France did the right thing in asking Yahoo to take it down (as
this is justified by France's law).
- I do think Yahoo did the right thing by taking down the objected materials (as they can't sell it anyhow and their is no reason to upset people with this).

-- Dries

-- Dries
Censorship (4.00 / 10) (#65)
by Aldebaran on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:58:41 AM EST

First sorry for my poor english, this is not my native Language. I'm french but living in Canada since two years now.

There are two sides in this decision :

- First : the duty to preserve memory which is in the french law. During ww2 , french people were split in two parts, those who collaborate with nazi and the resistance. A few years ago (5 years ago) there was still lawsuit in France for people who collaborate and do crime against the humanity.

- Second : the nature of the internet and the decision.

There are two way for Yahoo to implement this decision :

The first one : to forbide ip adress with a reverse like dial43.isp.fr

If you are accessing through AOL, or with an isp resolving with an another tld, or with no reverse at all you will still be able to access ...the same if you are using a public proxy which is outside France.

The second one is to forbide access to French allocated IP space trough the ripe database.

The problem with thoses solutions is you are setting up not a law decision but real censorship. You are not blocking access to french people but to people leaving in France. If you are American, German, Canadian and accessing trough a french ISP, you will not be able to access one part of the internet. On the other side, you can be french and access the forbidden stuff with no problem.

Classical law can't apply to internet. I'm sure this judgement altough introducing censorship on a media will be good for the futur :
This is a start for a global reflexion about the useless of actual laws on the structure of internet.

Benoit

Laws (4.00 / 5) (#71)
by fb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:04:31 PM EST

The problem with thoses solutions is you are setting up not a law decision but real censorship. You are not blocking access to french people but to people leaving in France. If you are American, German, Canadian and accessing trough a french ISP, you will not be able to access one part of the internet. On the other side, you can be french and access the forbidden stuff with no problem.

So what?

This is far from new, nor it is peculiar to cyberspace: people is and always has been subjected to the law of the country they're living in, as an Italian living in Switzerland I am subjected to Swiss, certainly not Italian law.

On the other hand most nations - including the US, as exemplified by the Helms-Burton act - attempt to widen the applicability of their laws as much as possible.

While this Yahoo thing might be technically unfeasible, I find this French ruling no more idiotic and arrogant (to be precise: it looks to me to be as idiotic but far less arrogant) than the Helms-Burton law, which caused quite an uproar in the EU; of which - speaking of implied censorship - I'm almost sure most US citizens are completely unaware.


Helms-Burton Act
--

fB
[ Parent ]
Symbolic Gesture? (3.44 / 9) (#66)
by eskimo on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:13:16 AM EST

In the grand scheme, it is pretty obvious that some people in France don't get it. But you know what? When I get to watch Orin Hatch listen to Creed on C-SPAN, I realize that a lot of people don't get it. It should not come as a surprise to us that people don't get it. Maybe we don't get it. The exchange of information will always have hurdles.

But this might be just more of a symbolic gesture by France. A gesture made by old men who dealt with something most of us wouldn't understand if we saw Saving Provate Ryan fifty times. It is hardly revolutionary to come out against racism. Even less so to be against Nazi ideals. The vast majority of people in the world do not understand their perspective. We simply did not live it. Our parents and their parents did not live it. At some point, a country's leaders have to decide when Freedom takes a back seat. In America we have had things like the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

I am not saying two wrongs make a right. I am saying that we should not be surprised by the procession of wrongs that is the history of the world. But for the record, coming out against Nazi-ism, though revisionist in the extreme, is about infinitely more enlightened than imprisoning or enslaving or opressing in any way, a group of people because of their ethnicicity, cultural history, religious beliefs, or sexuality. And these ideals were central to Nazi-ism.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto

When freedom takes a back seat... (4.25 / 4) (#68)
by B'Trey on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:38:04 AM EST

At some point, a country's leaders have to decide when Freedom takes a back seat.

There's a short answer to that one. Never. The solution to hate speech is more free speech, not restrictions on speech. The reasons for this range from philisophical to pragmatic. The most obvious reason is that it doesn't work. Nazism isn't dead in France. Nor is it dead in Germany or any of the other countries that make it illegal. It's simply driven underground, and now its followers have the opportunity to claim "persecuted victim" status.

[ Parent ]

eskimo=choir (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by eskimo on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:38:55 PM EST

I don't think there should be limits on speech or expression. But eventually countries always do. That was the point of my post. I am not endorsing censorship, or the denial of freedoms of expression. I think they are fundemental. But power loves the status quo, resents the past and fears the future. It has never been more obvious than right now. I live in a country that has somehow passively managed to cling to the Clinton administration without clearly electing his vice president. The opponent ran on a platform that spoke of the glories of a time just eight (!) years ago, when his father was president.

I was simply saying that the more surprised we act when things like this happen, the more naive we seem. And naivete loses its charm after a while. Certainly it is philosophically wrong for France to deny a part of their history, no matter how evil. But as I said before, none of us has likely lived with this burden. Logic is a product of conclusions, and it is different for everybody but philosophers and scientists. All I know is that I am not familiar with the thought process that brought France to this point. And though this point is just another act of naivete, it isn't something we should necessarily throw out wholesale just because things are different here in the U.S., where we have Jerry Springer and Warner Brothers cartoons to parody fascism and nazi-ism.

And nobody thinks nazis are the persecuted victims. Because they are wrong.


I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

Saving Private Ryan (3.50 / 2) (#98)
by 2fish on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 04:43:58 PM EST

Although I realize this is WILDLY off-topic, I have a question: Why in the name of all that is good do people believe that Saving Private Ryan was a good movie? It is without a doubt the most over-rated tripe that it has ever been my misfortune to waste $5 on. I'd rather have my scrotum waxed than sit through that thing again.

Now that I have that off my chest, I'll make a fleeting attemp at being topical. I take issue with the following statement:

...coming out against Nazi-ism, though revisionist in the extreme, is about infinitely more enlightened than imprisoning or enslaving or opressing in any way, a group of people because of their ethnicicity, cultural history, religious beliefs, or sexuality. And these ideals were central to Nazi-ism.
What you seem to be missing is the realization that the French are not "coming out against Nazi-ism", as you put it. They are engaging in the same sort of censorship that the Nazi party used so effectively to gain and retain control of Germany. The French aren't just saying "Nazis were bad.", they are making it illegal to sell or import anything related to Nazis. There is a gigantic difference.

2fish


Give me liberty, or give me death!
[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by eskimo on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:01:10 PM EST

First of all, my grandfather does not tell stories about Normandy. He doesn't tell stories about the war at all. But his friends have said that Saving Private Ryan is as close as they have ever seen to their experiences. I don't think they were talking about the whole movie. Most impressive to them were the fist thirty minutes. The actual D-Day landing.

If that is what the War was like, or even a tenth of what the War was like, then I forgive the rest of the movie, because that is among the most telling thirty minutes worth of cellulose ever shown in front of a light.

As for the topical portion (though I will never avoid a discussion about movies), I can just tell you that I believe there are good countries and there are bad countries. They are led by good men and bad men. And like good men and bad men, there are sometimes lines that need to be crossed. Good men have to be bad. Sometimes, though more rarely, bad men have to be good. I believe at the heart of goodness and evil are knowledge and the lack of knowledge.

That said, I believe that the French are not acting from an enlightened or knowledgeable position. I already called it naive. But the position of trying to exclude naziism, while impossible and wrong, is less wrong than trying to exclude Jews and gays and anybody different from a pretty rigid cookie cutter standard. And while I could never understand how this law became a rational piece of legislation, I also freely admit that I live in a country that has never really been 'occupied,' and I have grown up in a time that, while not perfect, allows considerably more freedoms than ever before.

In short, though they are wrong, I don't think that the French court is a bunch of bad guys. I am certain that the Nazis were.


I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

Saving Private Ryan (none / 0) (#125)
by 2fish on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 08:35:51 AM EST

With regards to the movie, I found the D-Day landing scene rather nauseating, but that's appropriate considering the subject at hand. I agree, it was masterfully done. I also think that everything else about the movie was pathetic.

I think you're right about the French not being evil, but I'm not certain all the Nazis were "evil". I'm pretty sure that Hitler was evil, but I think the rank and file party members were just ignorant. I don't think all the Communists in the U.S.S.R. were evil, but in my opinion, Stalin is about as evil as evil gets during this century. He killed between 3-6 times as many people. Hitler, at least, had a cover story for his murder (deranged, I'll agree, but he did have some way of rationalizing it); Stalin just killed political dissidents and didn't bother trying to justify it any other way.


2fish

Give me liberty, or give me death!
[ Parent ]
Evil (none / 0) (#131)
by eskimo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:11:33 AM EST

Evil is a product of ignorance and weakness.


I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

Re: Evil (none / 0) (#141)
by 2fish on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:48:43 PM EST

I disagree. Ignorance is the tool that evil people exploit to gain power. In order to qualify as evil, IMNSHO, one has to realize that one is about to commit a wrong/immoral/bad act, then do it anyway.

2fish


Give me liberty, or give me death!
[ Parent ]
Ignorance and Evil (none / 0) (#145)
by eskimo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 04:22:31 PM EST

What motivates people to do evil? The French are commiting an evil act, but they are doing it because their thought process, their history and their culture led them to make a decision that we see as stupid. They are not using ignorance. They are acting out of ignorance (from our perspective).

A lot of nazis did not realize they were performing evil acts. A kid on a bike bomb riding up to a checkpoint in Israel doesn't know he is performing evil. And PM Barak does not know he is doing evil when he orders a volley of missiles into the Gaza Strip, or wherever.

My point is that ignorance is relative. People have different histories, and they solve their problems accordingly. Often those solutions are an affront to our scientific and philosophical sensibilities. But ignorance insipres evil. Evil people can perpetuate that, their ignorance inspiring the ignorant to evil, but no matter what, ignorance is always first.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

yahoo.us vs yahoo.com -- FREE THE .COMS! (2.83 / 6) (#79)
by iceT on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:01:10 PM EST


The most interesting thing in many of the comments posted to this thread is the implied statement that .com is for US.

Although the Internet was started here, and for the longest time, we had sole-control over the various TLDs, in the world today, .com, .net, and .org are not limited really to the US. .Coms should be international in nature, and not specifically though of as 'US only'.

Now, if the French asked to clean up a yahoo.us, I would consider them out of line. Yahoo.us would not have been breaking any US laws, and therefore would have no compulsion to comply.


.CO.US and .COM (3.00 / 3) (#80)
by acestus on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 01:04:52 PM EST

Well, I agree in principle. The problem is that there is no *.co.us, and [businessname].us doesn't exist, either. The Wild World of TLDs is all screwed up, and that's another issue. In the end, though, www.yahoo.com is the US Yahoo, based in the US. So, while the name may be irksome, the problem is the same.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
yes there is! (3.00 / 3) (#107)
by vsync on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:49:18 PM EST

.co.us is for Colorado.

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]
I'm obviously biaised... (4.00 / 7) (#87)
by kTag on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:21:51 PM EST

My question is the following:
When the MPAA (or the RIAA...) went on arresting this norwegian guy in Norway, because of DeCSS, what was the position of these corporations? What was their excuse: the American law. Now, the French law says something, and it is Yahoo who is the bady now. Well, we shouldn't pay any attention this is only the French after all. Don't you see that there is two different laws here!!??

And, as an American, I am disgrunted at the French.
As French I am disgrunted at the American corporations (because I'm smart enough to know that you don't make any friends by generalising)

I've been trying and trying but I see no way in which any sufficiently intelligent person could possibly believe French law could apply to a server in the US. Yahoo did the right thing removing the objected materials from yahoo.fr, but it shouldn't even be possible for France to force them to remove it from any other sites. (Chakotay)
That's what I thought as well, until the DeCSS story.

And no, I don't think it is right that France is requiring this. I don't think Yahoo should do anything. But I still wonder why nobody gets the hypocrisy of this situation when we've just witness the power of American corporations with the DeCSS story...
Just think about what would happen if it was the other way around (US corporation forcing French individual or organization to modify it's site/content/anything...). It would not even appear in the news anywhere in the US and I have seen it happen...

--
kTag

Re: I'm obviously biaised... (3.66 / 3) (#100)
by luethke on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 06:28:40 PM EST

one thing to realise about the US also is that the mainstream news media and the normal citizens tend to have very different beleifs. The only reason that the DeCSS story does not incur outrage is that the US press put a very bad spin on it. If they reported it at all it was the equivalent of "A young hacker from sweeden was arrested for attacking several large corperations". Not exactly what happened. Same thing with the french ruling - it is not said "Today french courts ruled that yahoo was not allowed to deliver illegal content into thier nation" but would be said as "today france has ruled that thier laws will affect american owned and based companies". Both statements are true, just given to opposite slants. When most people only have as a news source something like CNN or the three major broadcasting companies that put the spin they want, and they do not understand the technical issues, they have an opinion based on fallacy. Most americans tend more toward isolationism then imperialism and would agree with much of what you said (at least that is so in my experiance). As for the person saying "the french" I would have probably assumed he meant the Government or the judicial system in this specific case - as in america they may not rule or side with what the common person wants or would think if given all the facts. plus I beleive sweeden had to allow the US to do that, unless they ran a commando raid by the armed forces to retrieve him (don't take this as condoning the actions of the US govt, I agrees with the DeCSS people)

[ Parent ]
The deal (2.80 / 5) (#103)
by kubalaa on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 07:59:58 PM EST

First off, the US has no legal jurisdiction any more than France does. The DeCSS incident was the result of Norwegian police arresting a Noregian citizen. Granted, this was directly due to influence by US corporations, but the legal aspect was, and had to be, internally handled.

If the French government feels they can exert pressure on Yahoo! to censor their content, that is one matter. To attempt to force their legal ruling on matters outside their practical jurisdiction is ridiculous. Not only that, it's technically infeasable.

I don't see how you can draw any analogy at all between DeCSS and this. Furthermore, I think most people here would agree that DeCSS was intolerable. It is a seperate issue from this, and relating the two is meaningless.

If anybody is being short-sighted in this matter, it's the French. They (yes, I'm generalizing; I speak of the culture, not individuals) are notoriously nationalistic, and continue to try in vain to insulate their culture from outside influence. I don't blame them; if French culture was permeating the US, I'd try and avoid it too. (And USians are Americentric, self-centered, and uncultured by continental standards. Doesn't make the French any less silly).

[ Parent ]

OT: Request for further explanation (none / 0) (#146)
by Pac on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 04:22:57 PM EST

I think most people here would agree that DeCSS was intolerable.

Exactly how would "most people here" find DeCSS "intolerable"? Or have I got you wrong and you are trying to say the arrest of the guy was intolerable?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
intolerable (none / 0) (#168)
by kubalaa on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 08:37:14 PM EST

Yeah, you've got me wrong. By DeCSS I mean "the DeCSS incident," the arrest of the guy.

[ Parent ]
Re: The deal (none / 0) (#160)
by kTag on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 03:48:10 PM EST

First off, the US has no legal jurisdiction any more than France does. The DeCSS incident was the result of Norwegian police arresting a Noregian citizen. Granted, this was directly due to influence by US corporations, but the legal aspect was, and had to be, internally handled.

That's not what the media are saying:
http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/28/ns-16643.html
The Norwegian teenager was arrested in December on charges tied to violating the US copy protection law ...
True, he got charged with violation of 2 norvegian laws as well.

If the French government feels they can exert pressure on Yahoo! to censor their content, that is one matter. To attempt to force their legal ruling on matters outside their practical jurisdiction is ridiculous. Not only that, it's technically infeasable.

I can not agree more with you. The point I was trying to make was different. It's more about the attitude of Yahoo completely ignoring the French ruling as "It's in France, who cares...", even though other US Corps have a opposite view when they are enforcing laws (without rulings actually) in a foreign country. The French ruling is still ridiculous.
I hope it makes you understand as well my analogy, at some level, with the DeCSS case.

--
kTag

[ Parent ]
DeCSS is a bad example (2.66 / 3) (#110)
by Ikol on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:18:08 AM EST

When the MPAA (or the RIAA...) went on arresting this norwegian guy in Norway

Ummm... no, he was arrested in Norway, under their laws; which actually seem to be more clear cut on this topic than american ones were at the moment. As much as I think the DeCSS case is BS and the DMCA is a new example of Congress' bill o'rights brand toilet paper please get your facts straight

[ Parent ]
Re: DeCSS is a bad example (none / 0) (#159)
by kTag on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 03:29:50 PM EST

Ummm... no, he was arrested in Norway...

It seems to me that it's what I wrote...

..under their laws; which actually seem to be more clear cut on this topic than american ones were at the moment

Uh, it seemed to me (don't hesitate to correct me if I am wrong) that the whole DeCSS problem was to do with copyright laws and the DMCA. You can not hold a world wide copyright on anything... I checked. And, unless they have a DMCA like law in Norway, this is as well a pure US law...
And if I remember well the court case did take place in a California Court. So they arrest him under norvegian laws but juge him in California...

I might be wrong...

--
kTag

[ Parent ]
Save the French from themselves! (1.66 / 3) (#108)
by pb on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 10:51:04 PM EST

An order like this would be impossible to enforce, even if the court did have this sort of jurisdiction, and it shouldn't be Yahoo's responsibility to enforce it.

Therefore, I think that Yahoo should politely ask France to disconnect from the Internet, to ensure that no one in France mistakenly goes to yahoo.com and searches for "Nazi". Heck, they could be going through a proxy or an encrypted connection, and accidentally do something like this, scarring them for life!

Please, France, save your people from themselves (and us)! Heck, there might even be sites out there that promote Nazi viewpoints, too, instead of simply selling their stuff to the highest bidder. Scary! Much better to censor your own people instead.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Oh come on... (1.66 / 3) (#109)
by loprox on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:08:23 AM EST

This is a tad ridiculous. I really hate when government does these types of things... if people want to buy Nazi merchandice... then let them. Maybe Yahoo (Ebay, ect) should have a threshold for what actions can be viewed. -1 18 years or and over ect... Then, Yahoo can put rules in their scripts that viewers from *.fr for example can't view auctions witha -1 setting... Just tossing around the idea.
You mean... meatloaf is made with... MEAT?
To each his own however... (4.00 / 4) (#124)
by erotus on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 08:34:02 AM EST

...there are limits. The historical implications behind their reasoning is very clear - Nazi's were not exactly favored in France. The invasion of France by Germany will stick in their history books like a thorn in their backsides. I am not French, nor am I old enough to remember the atrocities of WWII. The Nazi imagery is still very real for those veterans in France.

The French government can rule that they don't want their citizens to buy Nazi goods. I may not agree with it, but if that is their decision, so be it. I do not agree that it should be Yahoo's responsibility to censor their website however. ISP's in France can block yahoo auctions much easier than Yahoo can block french IP addresses. France can make it's decisions, but it should be the one to do the blocking not Yahoo.

Which way are websites going to bend when some government doesnt like content? I say, if the government doesnt like it then they should put a law into effect forcing their local ISP's to censor. In no way should a website be responsible for their content to foreign governments. If websites can be held accountable to foreign governemnts then you can imagine the affect it would have. Imagine shutting down:

porn.com - Iran & Saudi Arabia find them offensive.
condom.com - Vatican City says "it's a sin".
DeCSS mirror in Poland - MPAA is already upset.
beef.com - Hindu's in India might take offense.
porkchops.com - Israel might ban this one.

So, where will countries draw the line? Some of these examples may seem silly but keep in mind beef/pork eating is a grave thing in certain cultures. Probably the more fanatic element of those cultures would work to ban them outright. These are poor examples and they don't serve the historical analogy with nazi memorabilia, but that's all I could think of due to sleep deprivation. At any rate, the world is a changing place and I believe the interconnectedness of everything is going to make it very difficult for governments to censor much. Yahoo auctions maybe on the blacklist, but what about other sites with references to nazi paraphernalia?



Buggrem, buggrit! (2.25 / 4) (#126)
by kernel on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 08:46:34 AM EST

If the servers arn't actually located in France, then this is equivalent to going after any company in any country that will let a French person walk in and buy items bearing nazi symbols or whatever. Shops around the world do not check the nationality of people as they walk in the door and then decide what they're allowed to sell them.

If it's the law in France, and they actually want to clamp down on this, then surely what they should simply be saying is that French people may not buy these items - end of story. Why the hell should they be allowed to control an international auction because of _their_ laws? Are the powers that be, in this case, so arogant that they feel they have the right to do this to something which is not theirs?

The Internet is not French :)

Free for all? (3.42 / 7) (#128)
by magullo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 09:24:33 AM EST

I think people in this site are not really getting it, although it may be simply becasue the CNN story wasn't very complete.

What the judge said (possibly drawing on advice of the panel of experts) is that, since Yahoo serves banner ads targeted to users segmented, among other things, by their geographic location, he sees no problem in banning access to French users to pages that don't comply with French law. If technology is good for banner ads, then it's also good to comply with the law.

And I agree.

I can't believe people are soooo naive as to defend a big-ass corporation like yahoo in the name of some digital independence. Please. Yahoo is out there to make money, and in order to do that, it has to comply with certain rules, such as local laws.

I can't believe Yahoo is getting popular support on this - either people are really ignorant (as in not discerning the truth from the hype - internet against the real world, ha!) or they are incredibly shaow (not understanding that if their longing for a freer internet is legit, so is the longing of a certain age bracket of the poulation to make sure that horrible things of the past do not repeat or get glorified).

Sort of the same case with Napster: if somebody takes advantage of the disinterest of a certain industry in what is a reality (internet) for a large population of its consumers, it's pretty legit that someone takes advantage of the situation. Today I read that EMusic has found a way to "watermark" and thus monitor their recordings, and has warned Napster that it will be definetely looking into trademark infringement based on monitoring results. Well, as much as I like Napster and disrespect the music industry for their sheer negligence, I've got to say that I find EMusic's techie solution very fair - they outsmarted Napster in their own field.

So did the French judge with Yahoo.

missing the point (4.33 / 3) (#130)
by micco on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:08:19 AM EST

I can't believe people are soooo naive as to defend a big-ass corporation like yahoo in the name of some digital independence. Please. Yahoo is out there to make money, and in order to do that, it has to comply with certain rules, such as local laws.

This has nothing to do with Yahoo. It has to do with one country imposing the burden of enforcing its laws on the rest of the world. If the French government doesn't want the French people to look at certain things, *they* should do something in *their* country to control it. It's a French issue so they should solve it in France.

Of course, the US does the same thing, trying to reach out and touch people who run "offshore" (to use an obviously US-centric term) gambling sites, but imagine the outcry if Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, who are ruled by Islamic regimes with strict codes of morality, made it *my* responsibility to make sure none of the content available on my site was ever viewed by one of *their* citizens.

And if France can set the precedent that the US-based Yahoo is bound by their censorship laws, why not impose their tax laws as well so they can take their share of the earnings from every company in the world?

No country should be allowed to create laws which control foreign companies or citizens. A country's control should stop at their border. They can block, embargo, censor or retaliate as they see fit, but they can't impose their laws outside their soveriegnty.

[ Parent ]

In addition... (4.00 / 3) (#132)
by mirimoo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:31:41 AM EST

The fact that the US tries to impose the same type of control over the internet is part of the point. _No one_ nation should be allowed to enforce it's laws on everyother nation's citizens and citizens. Just b/c we seem to think we can do it too doesn't make it right, and maybe it makes it even more wrong. There are tond of double standards out there which makes law making and governing very difficult. We need a set of standard and unbiased rules b/c no matter how filled with self-importnace the US is the rights, freedoms and opinions of those living outside of our borders are just as important as our own.
____________
No two snowflakes are exactly alike,
but every fucking snowflake is pretty much the same
-- McGrath
[ Parent ]
Naive (3.33 / 3) (#133)
by Pac on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:02:14 PM EST

I feel your vision of the problem is somewhat naive. So,

No country should be allowed to create laws which control foreign companies or citizens. A country's control should stop at their border. They can block, embargo, censor or retaliate as they see fit, but they can't impose their laws outside their soveriegnty.

And exactly where is this French judge trying to impose this French law? From what I read, in France, not elsewhere.

Also, you refrained from answering to the main point in the original post: Yahoo(".com", not ".com.fr") is perfectly able to show French banners to users in France, Brazilian banners to users in Brazil and so on. Please explain why they can't also filter the Nazist stuff(let us not forget we are not talking about innocent children drawings here) pages from being seen in France?

And if France can set the precedent that the US-based Yahoo is bound by their censorship laws, why not impose their tax laws as well so they can take their share of the earnings from every company in the world?

And here it looks like you are confusing bits with atoms. They (as any other country) already aply their tax laws to everything that crosses France border. They are just trying to aply their law to the bits that cross their borders.

Of course, the US does the same thing, trying to reach out and touch people who run "offshore" (to use an obviously US-centric term) gambling sites, but imagine the outcry if Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, who are ruled by Islamic regimes with strict codes of morality, made it *my* responsibility to make sure none of the content available on my site was ever viewed by one of *their* citizens.

But they do!! But would you care? I wouldn't care less if the Pakistan government decides that my site is unfit for Pakistans and tries to make my change it. What can they do besides blocking me at their end (your idea, btw)? Now France may be another matter. I would like to be able to visit France now and then without risking arrest. And if I have some property in France I also would not like to see it confiscated. But mainly I would like to do business in France, as Yahoo. All the French are doing is setting their ground rules.

Now the role is reversed. It is only France saying to Yahoo how Yahoo can do business in France. They can simply ignore it and lose the French market. Or they can comply. Their choice.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
can vs. should (3.66 / 3) (#139)
by micco on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:55:35 PM EST

Also, you refrained from answering to the main point in the original post: Yahoo(".com", not ".com.fr") is perfectly able to show French banners to users in France, Brazilian banners to users in Brazil and so on. Please explain why they can't also filter the Nazist stuff(let us not forget we are not talking about innocent children drawings here) pages from being seen in France?

There's a huge difference between can and should.

Yahoo can easily filter this traffic for users who's IPs resolve to French blocks. The question is whether they should be forced to do this by a government who does not even have soveriegnty over them.

I'll refrain from rebutting the other points. You misinterpret pretty much everything I said originally, so I'll drop it.

[ Parent ]

Just one question (4.00 / 2) (#143)
by magullo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 03:03:48 PM EST

Who does yahoo respond to, then?

Its advertising clients but not the governments of the countries where it operates?

Everyone seems to agree that Yahoo could (not should, could) at least do a credible effort to please the host government. It's technically feasible.

So why not do it? To please the nazi auction owners? In the name of free speech?

This is not some kid messing around with his computer, this is an organized enterprise of people you seem to be putting above the law.

Freedom of speech implies rights but also responsibilities; such as paying taxes or following the laws of countries where you operate and whose people you are serving.

Also, it bothers me this blurry definition of government. Who are we referring to here, the judge, who interprets the law? The cabinet, who enforces it; or perheps the legislative body, that writes it?

Or prehaps the French people in general and that Revolution that brought forward modern democracy and human rights?

[ Parent ]

Are they realy enforcing French Laws in France? (3.50 / 2) (#142)
by AndyL on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 02:52:02 PM EST

And exactly where is this French judge trying to impose this French law? From what I read, in France, not elsewhere.

So he's enforcing his French law in France by telling Americans in America to make changes to America-Based servers?

That's not enforcing French law in France, That's enforcing French law in America. To enforce French law in France he'd have to rule that all the packets must be changed/deleted once the enter France. ie: At the routers and ISPs and whatnot.

And lets keep in mind that this isn't just a friendly request. They've not only demanded that Yahoo make changes to it's [American] servers but they've also fined them! For violations of French law committed in America!

Obviously, IMNAL but it just doesn't make sense the way they're doing it. And even if it did make sense the result would be a completly impractical Internet.

So if I make a web-site I'm now, I'm obligated to make sure it follows every law ever written anywhere in the world??? I have a hard enough time keeping track of American laws I might be breaking!

Example : Imagine that the US Goverment made a [rather silly] law saying that all web servers that serve pages to America must has a US flag painted on them, effective tomorrow. Would every web server in the world have to install packet-filtering software(or get out the paint brushes) buy tomorrow? What if they didn't? Could the US goverment fine them? Confiscate thier computers? Arrest them?

-Andy

[ Parent ]

The crime is being commited in France (2.00 / 1) (#144)
by Pac on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 03:49:26 PM EST

So he's enforcing his French law in France by telling Americans in America to make changes to America-Based servers?

Probably. The fact remains that Yahoo.com and Yahoo.com.fr are the same company. Yahoo.com.fr complied already. Now he wants Yahoo (a click away from the .fr page) to comply also.

I think the judge reasoning is that a crime is being commited in French soil: French monitors are showing illegal content. A company with a branch in France is responsible. Why would he harass perfectly innocent common-carriers (the ISPs) if he can take the easier route and go directly to the culprit?

And lets keep in mind that this isn't just a friendly request. They've not only demanded that Yahoo make changes to it's [American] servers but they've also fined them! For violations of French law committed in America!

Again, the violations were "committed" in France. Also, the article states that the fines will only be applied if Yahoo does not comply until February.

Example : Imagine that the US Goverment made a [rather silly] law saying that all web servers that serve pages to America must has a US flag painted on them, effective tomorrow. Would every web server in the world have to install packet-filtering software(or get out the paint brushes) buy tomorrow? What if they didn't? Could the US goverment fine them? Confiscate thier computers? Arrest them?

Are you aware that the American government already did exactly that? Take a look at this other post about the Helms-Burton Act.

And why can USA or France get away with it? Mostly because countries and companies (like Yahoo) want to do business in\with these countries.

As for your exact question, the answer is probably yes, or the countries where these servers were hosted would suffer unendurable economical sanctions and the servers owners would risk being kidnapped by american special operation forces (remember Noriega?).

Some countries (most western Europe, maybe Japan, maybe China, maybe Brazil, maybe Australia) would refuse to enforce the law and would not suffer any sanction, mainly for their geopolitical importance to US.

In the end, it is Yahoo's choice. Comply or leave France. Notice that the same judge is not trying to sue American nazi/hate sites. So, every racist/nazist/etc can safely broadcast his/her/its content to France without fear of having their sacred free-speech rights pulled out. They can't, on the other hand, open a French branch and expect to be comply to American law in French soil (or monitors...).

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
So the offices' location of the is the big deal? (none / 0) (#166)
by AndyL on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 01:35:13 AM EST

So if Yahoo's Paris offices were physicaly moved 200miles in any direction they'd be fine? And the courts would be happy?

Even though the computer's supposedly commiting the crime havn't moved? Even though the situation and the problem would be exactly the same?

If that's the way it works, then it seems to me the Principality of Sealand ought to rent out office space and let people put the server wherever the hell they want.

-Andy



[ Parent ]
Almost, but not quite (none / 0) (#167)
by Pac on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 01:59:01 PM EST

But that is mostly what Sealand is about, isn't it?

The whole problem is that the judge can touch Yahoo-France without much fuss. Notice that he is not trying to prosecute the owners of the offending material!

But the judge can go further. He can, for instance, threaten any French buyer of illegal material over the internet (I am not saying he can enforce this, I am saying he can try).

Also, judges usually have more power than that. There are lots of cases where a single national judge extended his/her power over his/her country frontiers and got away with it (Noriega, Pinochet, Helms-Burton are only more visible).

As a sidenote, moving 200 miles will only help Yahoo if the direction of the movement is very carefully choosen. Many European countries have laws against selling nazist/racist stuff. Europeans have a couple of thousands of years more than America in this civilization business, so they usually take a less absolute view of everything, including the right of free speech. They like it and respect it, but when it becomes a weapon for people trying to undermine this same right (and lots of others), Europe does not show the blind tolerance you find in USA courts.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Sorry, you are missing the point (2.66 / 3) (#135)
by magullo on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 12:05:52 PM EST

This has nothing to do with Yahoo.

But it does, what we cannot have is a commercial internet without laws. That does not benefit anyone except big companies.

It has to do with one country imposing the burden of enforcing its laws on the rest of the world.

It does not, read bellow - about Pakistan.

If the French government doesn't want the French people to look at certain things, *they* should do something in *their* country to control it. It's a French issue so they should solve it in France.

Precisely, they are asking Yahoo to not serve links to unlawful (under French law) sites to computers in France.

Beyond the technical possibility of doing it (I would say the judge's comparison to banner ads is pretty good - and I wouldn't go much beyond that: if Yahoo is guessing that I am French person and throws a targeted banner ad at me, why can't it do the same with the links?), that is a absolutely reasonable request, the same way that the UK government may ask Ford to build cars in England with the steering on the right-hand side.

imagine the outcry if Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, who are ruled by Islamic regimes with strict codes of morality, made it *my* responsibility to make sure none of the content available on my site was ever viewed by one of *their* citizens.

Dude, they can ask you to not serve your content stored in America (or elsewhere) via the servers that you have located in their country and that are targeting citizens of their country.

It's not like the judge is asking yahoo to disallow access of links to sites that are not theirs. It's their content, their infrastructure and their internal links. The judge has a very clear case.

No country should be allowed to create laws which control foreign companies or citizens. A country's control should stop at their border. They can block, embargo, censor or retaliate as they see fit, but they can't impose their laws outside their soveriegnty.

I agree that no country (and the US is in absolutely NO position to talk about this) can apply its laws outside their borders ... to an extent. There is at least one case that I can think of where that might be possible, practical and morally correct:

When a citizen of that country has commited crimes outside the country that are penalized by both countries (country of origin and hosting country). I.e. pederasts commiting crimes abroad are tried in their own country upon returning.

Moreover, if you grant a country the right to censor material imported from another country, you're agreeing with me and with the judge. The medium of transmission (in this case internet)is thus accessory.

[ Parent ]

A lot of people are getting worked up.. (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by mindstrm on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 06:16:02 PM EST

over 'jurisdiction' and 'how can they enforce it?'.

That's skirting the issue.

The French court didn't 'threaten' Yahoo, did they? Did they say 'Do what we say, OR ELSE?'.. no..
They ruled that yahoo was breaching french law, and so ordered them to stop.

What jurisdiction do they have over a US company in the US? None, of course. They can't really punish yahoo, in the US, if yahoo refuses.

But.. they can do all kinds of things in France. They can hold Directors of yahoo liable; those people would never be able to enter France. They can make sure Yahoo has no business dealings in France.

And let's not forget that the US is as guilty as anoyne of enforcing their laws outside their borders. Look at what the US Government tries to do with online gambling. Online casinos that operate totally out of a country where they have a completely legal gambling license still get arrested and charged in the US, if they enter, with illegal gambling.



woah bessie (none / 0) (#153)
by erotus on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 03:03:57 AM EST

So... are these online casino's owned by American citizens or by foreign nationals? Do you have any links about the US going after online gambling in other countries? Curiosity is killing the cat - Please post some links if you have them.

[ Parent ]
Deja Vue (4.66 / 3) (#151)
by camadas on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:57:11 PM EST

This story just turned out the way I suspected it would, a new flame war between US and THEM again, just like it did on other sites.
Why is that a question that oposes a government and a company must became a discussion "We have better nukes/Let the french f* themselfs" ?
What wrong with you all ? When there is a question with, say that big company that happens to operate in Redmond, it isn't taken with that nationalism (more like "provicianismo", which I don't think it exists in English). Why is this different ? Is it because the question of Freedom of Speech that makes you become so political. It shoudn't, this is mainly a comercial issue, not a national question. This is about a company (US based for now) that want's his share of the marketin a specific country, so it offers specific services for that community because they need/want them, not the other way around.
Sure, you say but the contents is HERE not THERE, "they can't do nothing about it". Sure they can, and you know it. If you were operating Yahoo what did you prefer ? Respect the desires of one of your targets, or the BAD publicity for not respecting France's whishes and plus the risk of having your connection mangled with (of course not totally), just enough to make a severe loss on the expected profits.
"Censure" some shout, "Respect" the other scream, but in the end it's all about Money, it doesn't matter if it's green, socialist or laundred drug money. It has nothing to do with ethics, censorship, memory, but with market.

Hesitant... (4.50 / 4) (#152)
by Ommadawn on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 08:17:41 PM EST

I'm hesitant to respond to this debate. On the one hand, comments like trhurler's baseless,ignorant accusations against European society make my blood boil. But, if I were to post a flaming, raging counter-post I'd be doing exactly what I despise. Also, I am indeed inquiet about the French imposing French law across their borders.

This said, to say nothing is even worse. (In fact, from my history classes I've come to the belief that that is precisely how a lot of atrocities come to pass; apathy on the part of the majority. Certainly, much of the nazi party's rise to power seems to me to have sprung from it.)

In my opinion, the forbidding of trade in Nazi memorabilia in France is if not completely right (seen from a Free Speech perspective), at least it is justified. First of all, I consider it extremely unlikely that musea are hit in any way by this measure. They are very unlikely to come by artifacts for their exhibits by on-line auctions. Nor will bona fide historians suffer a lack of WW2 era materials to study. (Not to mention that for developing understanding of WW2 and Nazi Germany information (government documents, papers, personal writings, books, films, radio, plays etc. etc. etc.) is probably more important than objectsflags, badges, signs or other objects with Nazi symbols on them. With the probable exception of WW2 propaganda posters, I think.)

I think a lot of the "appeal" of the Nazi party to so many 1930's (disillusioned) Germans was their religious nature, with Hitler as the deity. Ordinary objects can become artifacts and then holy symbols of that religion. In the case of personality cult like Nazism even more so. (Look how worked up people can become over extremely trivial things which have been 'anointed' by famous people!) France, Germany, the Netherlands (where I'm from) and the USA have a number of right-wing extremists, who admire the Nazi movement and subscribe to similar views. WW2 era artifacts will be to a subset of those movements akin to holy relics. My whole argument boils down to: a religion of pure rhetoric/philosophy has less appeal to most people than one which has visceral relics and rituals. People who might be not entirely convinced, either rationally or emotionally or both, by the Nazi rhetoric of aryan racial superiority might be swept away by the grandeur of a full-blown religion including Nazi symbols and memorabilia.

I like to think, as many libertarians do, that people are reasonable, well-thinking individuals. But in history class we've studied many events and movements throughout time that are the result of mass hysteria, fear, hate, jingoism and other not-all-that-rational outbursts. People may be rational MOST of the time, but SOME of the time they most definitely are not. ONly the most historically ignorant people would dispute that. Or they'd have to come with some extremely well-argued, well-supported (by FACTS) and utterly NEW arguments. (In which case, please post them!)

Add to this that right-wing extremism seems to be, if not on the rise, then at least increasing in viciousness and effect throughout France, and I think the French government has a good reason to be concerned about anything which might increase this movement even further.

Okay, so that's why I think French law in this matter is justified.

As for the uproar over the audacious French daring to extend French law to an US company: is this not very similar to the treaties by which nations can ask other nations to arrest and hand over convicted or to-be prosecuted criminals who've escaped to a foreign country? (the english term for this escapes me at the moment. In dutch it's "uitleverings verdrag", maybe someone can point out the correct english term in a response?) I mean in the sense of, that is also a process by which one nation's jurisdiction is somewhat extend beyond it's borders. I would be the first (well, trhurler would probably beat me to it ;-) to condemn French government trying to actually influence non-French from partaking in those auctions, but all they're asking is that Yahoo take steps to limit French citizen's access to them. In other words, they're not even asking the US to catch and return a French criminal, they're asking the US to help prevent a (French) crime by a Frenchman!

Finally, I don't think that the idea of an on-line business being subjected to law in the first place (let alone French), should be anathema. While issues of national sovereignity and in fact a the law in general as applied to the Net are still a new development (definitely not unprecedented though, as many have already pointed out), I consider them an inevitable and natural development as more and more non-technical people go online. Better to try to show the power of the Net legally (through Free Software/Open Source software, for instance) and some of the ways it can revolutionize the way you work and develop friends. Rather that than to maintain a rigid, uncompromising and ultimately self-defeating attitude of " the Net is above and beyond any law, and that is in fact the only righteous corner of reality/the vision of the future".

Well, being post No.152 probably means I'm the dust speck shouting at the Universe. But the great thing about boards like kuro5hin is that they allow you to write down your thoughts, to condense and refine them to think them over, to get rid of the gut-reaction and unargued emotions you get when only reading so many views.

Goodnight to all 5hinners!

Ommadawn

P.S. One large reason I responded is that I very much feel both Dutch and American, having spent the last 8 years in International, English-speaking and by-numbers American schools, but being raised in a Dutch way (whatever that means...) and having lived in 6 different countries. I really hate the way that my two cultures go to war over such -essentially- small differences, creating strife because of mutual ignorance and becoming estranged while Europe and America ('the West') should band together to protect 'the Western' way of living. Besides, having your two personalities fight gives you a fsck'ing headache...
"According to my calculations the problem doesn't exist."

Good post (4.00 / 1) (#156)
by spiralx on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 09:13:31 AM EST

As for the uproar over the audacious French daring to extend French law to an US company: is this not very similar to the treaties by which nations can ask other nations to arrest and hand over convicted or to-be prosecuted criminals who've escaped to a foreign country? (the english term for this escapes me at the moment. In dutch it's "uitleverings verdrag", maybe someone can point out the correct english term in a response?)

You mean extradition treaties?

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Yahoo/US Ordered to Respect French Law | 169 comments (164 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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