- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2003

PARIS (AP) A Paris court threw out accusations yesterday by French human rights activists who said Yahoo Inc. should be held legally responsible for auctions of Nazi paraphernalia that were once held on its Web site.
The court ruled that Yahoo and its former chief executive, Tim Koogle, never sought to "justify war crimes and crimes against humanity," the accusation leveled by human rights activists, including Holocaust survivors and their families.
The case was initiated in 2000, when France's Union of Jewish Students and the International Anti-Racism and Anti-Semitism League sued Yahoo for allowing Nazi collectibles, including flags emblazoned with swastikas, to be sold on its auction pages.
The case led to a landmark ruling in France, with a court ordering Yahoo to block Internet surfers in France from auctions selling Nazi memorabilia. French law bars the display or sale of racist material.
Yahoo banned Nazi material as it began charging users to make auction listings, saying it did not want to profit from such material.
The company insisted the decision had nothing to do with the proceedings in France, but it continued to oppose the French case. The company even asked a federal judge in California to affirm that U.S. companies could not be regulated by countries that have more restrictive laws on freedom of expression. The judge agreed.
Still angry at Yahoo's attitude, French Holocaust survivors and their families launched a second attack and were joined by a group called the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People. The parties sued for one symbolic euro.
But the Paris court said yesterday that "justifying war crimes" means "glorifying, praising, or at least presenting the crimes in question favorably."
Yahoo and its auction pages did not fit that description, the court said.
Neither of the groups that filed complaints against Yahoo returned calls seeking comment about the decision. It was not immediately clear whether they planned to appeal.

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