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French ISPs Might Be Off the Hook for Content

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Apr 13, 2004 11:48 AM PDT    Text size: 
FRANCE – A recent bill being reviewed by French legislators would make Internet Service Providers (ISPs) legally responsible for all content they deliver to users, a Pandora's Box, say critics, that could open the floodgates to lawsuits over child pornography and adult pornography, to name just a few of the possible snafus.

Critics of the bill contend that by putting ISPs at such legal risk, they will be forced to act as content censors, which poses a threat to free speech and freedom of expression rights.

The bill, which has stirred up debate among politicians and free speech advocates, is titled the 'Bill to Promote Confidence in the Digital Economy,' and was originally drafted as part of a French directive to align ecommerce laws with other European countries.

Various political organizations like the Union of Judges and other groups are calling on legislators to reconsider the harsh terms of the bill and to instead consider implementing a similar law that is used in Spain, which uses a specific body to determine what content should be censored.

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