The High Court in Paris, France, has set a legal precedent after ruling that the American social media giant Facebook can be taken to court.
The ruling comes on the rights of Frédéric Durand-Baissas who posted a famous picture of a painting entitled L’Origine du Monde, otherwise known as “The Origin of the World.” The 1866 painting by Gustave Courbet hangs in the Musée D’Orsay in Paris and is an iconic piece of art known throughout the world.
The reason Facebook has deemed it ‘inappropriate’ is the fact that the painting is a closeup of a recumbent lady with a close up of her vagina. Not only was the account removed, but Baissas was also blocked from Facebook altogether.
The teacher and father of three children argues that his freedom of expression had been violated – filing a complaint in the Parisian Court.
“I felt like they were indirectly treating me like a pornographer whereas this is a French painting hanging in a museum. It annoys me to be censored,” he told BFM TV.
His lawyer, Stéphane Cottineau, insisted that France’s 28 million Facebook users should be able to take any issues they have with the company to a French court.
To make matters worse, arrogant Facebook lawyers argued that French justice systems are not competent to handle the case as the man signed onto the social media group’s ‘terms and conditions’ which stipulate that the case can only be handled in American courts.
But the French courts found Facebook’s compulsory clause on jurisdiction, in which only California courts can handle the disputes to be “abusive” in light of issues like these.
Baissas’s lawyer described the outcome of the case as a “real victory,” saying: “The first round has been won by David against Goliath.
“Given the Paris High Court’s aura, this decision will set a legal precedent for other socal media networks and other giants of the net that use the location of their headquarters, mainly in the United States, to try and escape French law.”
Baissas is demanding €20,000 in compensation and for Facebook to reactivate his account. The decision made by the French court comes on the heels of the government which is seeking ways to put a stop to hate speech on the internet via agreements with social networks and service providers. One proposal is to allow social networks to be housed in France for users of that country to facilitate legal action.
The results of these and many other issues involving Facebook in legal issues will no doubt have farther reaching issues after the final outcome of this and numerous other hearings throughout the world.