France has taken the next step in the War on Internet Piracy. Going beyond the usual DMCA “takedown” requests, a French court has ordered Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to de-list 16 separate video streaming sites from search results. There is an allegation that Google knows the domains the infringe on copyright and is now putting the onus on them to take more proactive steps to curb piracy. Google has shown little interest in this in the United States, but France is going to try to force their hand.
This case shows two things.
First: internet search engines are still the gatekeepers and controllers of the internet. While we can wax on about the freedom of the internet, these engines remain the keepers of all internet traffic. We can only see what is allowed to be seen.
Second: France is still trying to exert its control over the American based internet companies. A famous case prior to this was LICRA v. Yahoo! Inc. where two French civil rights organizations sued Yahoo! over the sale of Nazi content online. The French court ruled against Yahoo! and ordered them to take down all the material and ensure it cannot happen again. While the French court ordered it, they had no power to enforce it against an American company with a United States court’s assent. The California court proceeded to find in favor of Yahoo. So while France wants to order these companies to de-list websites, it is not guaranteed that they will have to comply.
[Credit to: TorrentFreak.com]