Christine Treguier on Fri, 19 Feb 1999 17:48:21 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Attack on free content-provider altern

On february 10, the Court d'Appel of Paris has sentenced Altern to pay
400.000FF (65.000 US$) to Estelle Halliday. The arguments of the judge are
the following:
- Valentin Lacambre the creator and owner of Altern is compared to
Geocities and said to earn a fortune on his internet activities.
- Valentin Lacambre is responsible for allowing "anonymous publishing" on
his server and therefore guilty for the illegal or controversed ones.

What Valentin Lacambre is doing in reality is offering a free expression
space to every citizen, whithout imposed advertising banners, which is now
the case almost everywhere else. The technical measures taken by Valentin
to identify the people publishing on his server, are the same as on any
other server. Therefore it cannot be said that he is "allowing anonymity"
more than the other providers.

In this case, the publishing opportunity on AlternB has been used by an
individual - whose identity has never been required or inquired about by
the court since the beginning of the trial - to publish pictures of
Estelle naked without her authorization. It has to be underlined that
these pictures had been previously published in people magazines, some of
which have been sued, and can still be found on tens of other websites,
which have not been sued by Estelle's lawyers.

In the short term this sentence implies the disappearance of all
expression space offered without any counterpart, in France and eventually
in Europe. Cause it is impossible, technically and in terms of time and
ressources invested, for the person offering such a space to check the
enormous quantity of datas transitting every day, or should we say even
every minute.

The sentence against a content provider cannot and should not be an easy
substitute for the police and justice to pretend they are doing their
work. It cannot and should not be an answer to the conservative people who
intend to restrain and censor the expression on Internet.

All informations on this case can be found at : We
invite to sign the petition on this website, and propagate the story
around you, in order to mobilize people. The next step should be a trial "
sur le fond" which will happen if Estelle Halliday wants to get hold of
the money. If not, the next step will be a trial in "cassation". Be ready.

Le Comite Valentin

C'est toute la liberté d'expression des citoyens, rendue enfin possible
par l'existence d'Internet, qui est en jeu. Il est particulièrement
notable qu'il n'existe en France aucune loi garantissant cette liberté
constitutionnelle. Une telle loi, par sa seule existence et en rendant
impossible toute censure par un intermédiaire technique, suffirait
pourtant à affirmer juridiquement leur non-complicité dans les délits
commis en utilisant leurs services.

Pour que subsiste en France un espace de citoyenneté, indépendant du
marché et autorisant la totale liberté d'expression des citoyens, sous
leur seule responsabilité, les signataires appellent à une large
mobilisation pour le soutien à AlternB, et plus généralement à une
meilleure prise en compte, tant politique que juridique, des implications
sociales de l'existence même du nouveau moyen d'expression que constitue

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