Online Auctions And The Law Essay

1738 words - 7 pages

Does any country have the right to attempt to censor other countries' Internet information? Does the any government have the right to dictate what companies in other countries put online? If a United States company violates an international law in one country, can that government impose sanctions on that company until the US company complies with their laws? Though the questions can be complicated, the answers are simple, no! The only countries that can enforce international Internet laws are the country whose is in violation of the law.Many people believe that restrictions placed on United States companies by foreign governments is a violation of the first Amendment of the United States Constitution. The first amendment guarantees the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, ratified with the Bill of Rights in 1791. Freedom of the Press is described as "The right to publish and distribute one's thoughts and views without governmental restriction as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution" and Freedom of Speech is defined as "The right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to express one's thoughts and views without governmental restrictions" (Findlaw.com). The US Constitution does not protect United States companies' rights to sell whatever materials they choose.More and more people are turning to online auctions in hopes of finding top-notch goods at fire-sale prices or making a few bucks off the unwanted items collecting dust in their garages. At online auction sites, you can sell and bid upon just about anything under the sun -- antiques and collectibles, computer equipment, stun guns, clothing, jewelry, furniture, memorabilia, and a host of other goods-- all from the comfort of your computer. Though there are several online auction sites, the most popular sites are eBay, Yahoo!Auctions and Amazon's auctions.Yahoo has joint venture contracts with several different countries worldwide, such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Each of these agreements states that the laws of California and the United States of America, govern over Yahoo and the country, when the contract says "This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of California applicable to agreements made and to be performed therein" (Findlaw). When Yahoo violated French law by allowing users to post Nazi memorabilia and other racist and anti-Semitist material for sale on their web site, the French government, through a court order, imposed a $13,000.00 daily fine on Yahoo until the questionable material is free from French viewers access. In a United States Federal Court, a judge ruled that the sanctions were unenforceable. (71).Costly litigations and lengthy court battles can be avoided if international governments and companies work together to find common ground. Internet users can access different sites that give descriptions...

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