Lawsuit about website French trade union

By EDRi · November 5, 2003

On Monday 3 November, in intermediary proceedings against not-for-profit
provider RAS in a Paris court, two telemarketing companies demanded the
immediate take-down of the website of the radical trade union SUD PTT. The
lawsuit was brought against the ISP and the trade union by the companies
Ceritex and Mediatel. According to their complaint, some remarks published
on the website about the management of the 2 companies are untrue and
grave insults. Ceritex is accused of being reigned by little bosses, a
manager of the quali-metrics division is described as being unable to
distinguish between friendship and hierarchical relationships and a female
president is disqualified as being perfectly aware of the situation, but
not acting on it – as usual.

EDRI-member IRIS voluntarily joined the defendants in the lawsuit. Both
IRIS and SUD PTT, as well as more than 100 French activist organisations
and trade unions, are members of the RAS, the Réseau Associatif et
Syndical. The RAS acts as an ISP for its members. IRIS and the RAS were
represented by a lawyer from the French Human Rights League, another
member of the RAS.

Current French legislation is very clear: an ISP cannot be held liable for
content it hosts, except when the company fails to obey a judicial order
to block or remove the content. Modification of this legislation is
foreseen in the “Digital Economy draft law” (Loi sur la confiance dans
l’économie numérique, or LEN), adopted in first reading by the French
Parliament. The second reading is scheduled to happen in the first two
weeks of December. In the litigation IRIS sees further proof that the law
will encourage pressure on and intimidation of service providers, a
development detrimental to the freedom of speech. A petition against the
law, set-up by IRIS earlier, has already attracted over 3000 individual
and over 100 collective signatures.

Overview of the case and copies of the charges

IRIS press release (in French)

IRIS petition against the LEN