Yahoo! warned over Nazi auction sites

Yahoo!, the internet service provider, will face fines of more than $150,000 (£100,000) a day if a court in Paris today rules that it has failed to stop French surfers accessing online auctions of Nazi memorabilia.

Yahoo! has been given until today to block the site which has been judged by an earlier ruling to be an "offence to the collective memory" of France.

But computer experts warn that it will be impossible for Yahoo! to do this because of the ease with which proxy addresses can be established and advertised without the ISP's knowledge.

The auctions have already been removed from Yahoo! France but the US web portal has refused to block access or put warning messages on its US site.

The ruling in France today could have a massive effect on internet law -- if successful, it will make material in a foreign language actionable under that country's laws even if the content is not specifically aimed at that country's population, but simply because it is available there.