Belfast Telegraph

France to Facebook: we'll decide what counts as porn - social network in legal dispute over 19th century vagina painting L'Origine du Monde

France is locked in a legal dispute with Facebook over a 19th century vagina painting L'Origine du Monde by Gustave Courbet.

The dispute centres around a teacher and father of three, Frédéric Durand-Baissas, who posted the 1886 painting on the site. Facebook decided that the picture, which hangs in Paris’s Musée D'Orsay, was too offensive — taking it down and blocking Durand-Baissas.

The country has decided that French courts can hold a hearing about whether he should be banned from the service. It marks a huge precedent for Facebook — which claims that its terms of service mean that complaints can only be heard in California courts.

In January, Facebook’s lawyers argued that Durand-Baissas’s complaint about the case couldn’t be heard in France. But the country’s high court said that the terms were “abusive” and that the case should be heard in France after all.

The case could mark a an important precedent not just for Facebook but for other US tech companies, who tend to see their social networks and other services as being based in and therefore overseen by the US.

The teacher will now seek €20,000 in damages, according to newspaper Le Figaro, and his lawyer heralded the case as a victory “by David against Goliath”.

As the Telegraph reported, the decision comes in the context of new scrutiny by French governments of the ways hate speech is spread on social media. In the wake of the Paris shootings and other recent attacks, the French government has explored ways of censoring or monitoring online communications.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular