Yahoo!, Hate Groups, Censorship and the Internet
published: 2006 | Case Study | Business Ethics
Subject Area: Business Policy/Strategic Management; Business Ethics; International Business
Key Issues: Business Law and International Law; International Management; Censorship; Internet Regulations
Case Description: Nazi memorabilia was available for sale on Yahoo!ís on-line auction site. A boycott of Yahoo! sites was organized by French activists. They threatened the company with litigation in France if the Nazi objects were not removed for the Yahoo! (U.S.) auction web site. Yahoo!ís in-house attorney suggested discussions with the activists but this did not prevent the activists from suing the company in the French courts.
Yahoo! management decided that the company should appear at the French hearing (although they did not believe that the French court had jurisdiction over the U.S. web site) to correct misinformation about the case and the company in the French press. Yahoo! took the stance at trial that it should not act as a political censor, and it would be technically impossible to entirely block access to Yahoo! web sites from France. When the company lost the case in the French court management had to decide quickly how to react.
# Case Pages: 20
Case Number: 120086-23-4
Teaching Note: Yes
revised May 24/06