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Yahoo has announced plans to ban hate-related goods, including Nazi memorabilia, from its U.S. commerce sites. However, the company said the decision is unrelated to its ongoing legal battle in French and American courts regarding the filtering of similar material. “This decision is not related to the French case,” said Sue Jackson, a spokeswoman for Yahoo in Europe. “The French case is about jurisdiction and filtering.” Yahoo will continue to fight that case, seeking to reverse a Nov. 20 decision that holds the company liable for fines should it not impose a filtering system on its U.S. site aimed at blocking French users from buying and selling Nazi-related goods. Last month, the company announced it would fight the ruling in a California court on grounds that French courts have no right to impose French national laws on a U.S. company. Under French judge Jean-Jacques Gomez’ ruling, Yahoo has three months to comply with the filtering order before being fined $14,512 (FF100,000) a day thereafter. The grace period will end on Feb. 20. Yahoo would not comment on its plans to comply with this order, but has said that it hopes the U.S. court case will reverse the decision before the fines start accumulating. Starting on Jan. 10, Yahoo will forbid the sale of items “associated with groups deemed to promote or glorify hatred and violence” on its auction, shopping and classified-ad sites, the company said in a release. Prohibited items will include Nazi military goods, including historical items bearing the swastika emblem, and Ku Klux Klan memorabilia. Currently users can buy things such as swastika armbands, paintings of Hitler, and Nazi military gas canisters on the auction site. While Yahoo said its decision to limit the sale of such goods is unrelated to the court case, Jackson admitted that the move came partly as a result of user opinion. “We continue to listen to our users, who before and during the court case, made it clear they prefer not to see this kind of material,” she said. The company also announced Wednesday that it plans to charge users for posting goods for sale on its auction site. Sellers will pay between 20 cents and $2.25 (about 0.20 to 2.35 euros) to list an item, depending on its starting and reserve price. However, Yahoo will not charge a closing fee or take a percentage of the completed transaction. The company said the listing fee will improve the quality of goods for sale on its auction site, but the move also reflects growing concerns over the robustness of the online advertising market — Yahoo’s primary source of revenue. Jackson said the fact that Yahoo is now making money from the sale of goods on its auction site raised further questions as to whether the company felt comfortable turning a profit from the sale of hate-related material. The company will launch a new monitoring program to make sure that users comply with the new regulations and to encourage them to notify the company of items that appear to be inappropriate or illegal. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Yahoo Asks U.S. Court to Rule French Court Out of Bounds A ‘Harsh Winter’ for Yahoo Borderless Net, RIP? Copyright � 2000 The Industry Standard

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