French ISPs need to block websites

By EDRi · December 6, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Appeal Court in Paris has decided that the French ISPs need to block the
access to website AAARGH, considered as revisionist by the court. This
decision was made even though the judges admitted that the measures would be
imperfect and the site would still be accessible through other means as

The action was started by a number of French anti-racist groups that have
first asked three US-based hosting providers to shut down the website of
AAARGH. But one of them refused to shut down the website and therefore the
anti-racist NGOs continued their action in the French court.

The 2004 French law that implements the EU E-commerce Directive gives the
possibility to the plaintiffs, after all the possible measures to convince
the hosting company to take down the illegal access have been exhausted, to
impose to the ISPs to filter the illegal content.

A first decision was taken in June 2005 when a lower court admitted the
action against the major 11 French ISPs. The ISPs have asked in the appeal
that the site be included on the blacklists used for parental control and
have pointed out that the measure might block other legal websites, since an
entire IP address is blocked, not just the URL of a website. They presented
arguments that filtering methods are also very costly and not efficient. The
ISPs have also asked to pursue directly the authors of that website.

The Appeal Court rejected the ISPs appeal considering that their arguments
were already rejected within the parliamentary debates for this law. The
court also stated that the decision, even if imperfect, “has the merit of
reducing, as much as possible in the present technical situation, the access
of Internet users to an illegal site.”

The imperfection of the ISPs filtering solution is obvious in this case, as
well. The AAARGH website can be accessed via any search engine. Also, even
before the legal procedures were over, the authors of the webpage changed
the hosting company and domain name and therefore now they freely explain
users how they can use anonymising software to get to their website.

Decision Court of Appeal Paris – Tiscali, AFA, etc vs. UEJF, J’Accuse, SOS
Racisme, etc. (only in French, 24.11.2006)

Case AAARGH: ISP Filtering obligation confirmed in appeal (only in French

Case AAARGH: Months of procedure for a inefficient filtering (only in French