Yahoo’s attempt to argue the First Amendment against a court order in France was thwarted by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but over procedural grounds rather than the Sunnyvale company’s closely watched constitutional argument.

The French court had threatened the Internet portal with financial penalties unless it took measures to stop people in France from using Yahoo to view auction listings for Nazi artifacts, or Nazi-apologist Web sites. Yahoo’s French subsidiary Web site has basically cut off such access, but Yahoo’s U.S. site can still be viewed by Internet users in France. The Silicon Valley parent company has argued that restricting the objectionable content from French viewers who go to its U.S. site would be technically difficult and overly restrictive.

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