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French fine for eBay raises questions about internet

French fine for eBay raises questions about internetNews brought to you by Skint Tariffs, providers of cheap broadband deals.

Policing internet commerce looks set to become a big issue, predicts an International Herald Tribune blogger.

Following the ruling in France that online auction giant eBay had to pay €38.6 million (£30.56 million) in damages to luxury goods firm LVMH because it had allowed fakes of the brand's products to be sold on its site, Daniel Altman asked "Who should police the Internet?".

This was just the most recent ruling in this type of case, with a French court also holding eBay liable for counterfeit Hermes bags were sold on the site, and ordered the firm to pay $30,000 last month.

Altman notes that it had previously been assumed that as a cross-border entity it would be hard to hold companies to account, but now there seems to be a new answer to the question he poses – any organisation big enough to be an important market for the company concerned.

While some countries, such as some Middle Eastern states and China, simply block all sites they deem offensive, Altman wonders whether countries could start suing Amazon for selling books they are opposed to, or YouTube for showing what were considered indecent images.

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