Netly News weighs in on French prosecution of Georgia Tech

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 25 Feb 97 16:45:58 -0500

Zut Suit, Part Deux

France, a nation whose beef with the Internet is in inverse proportion of
magnitude to its actual presence on it, has decided to postpone until April 28
further arguments concerning the legality of _a web page for Georgia Tech
Lorraine_. With a little savoir-faire, maybe they'll postpone it indefinitely
and spare themselves major embarrassment. At issue is whether Georgia Tech
Lorraine's web site, which promotes the American university's French campus in
Metz, is violating French law by using only English in its online content.
Two French watchdog groups have sued under a law that requires all advertising
in France to appear in French, but Georgia Tech Lorraine points out that it
is an American school where English is a prerequisite for enrollment and that
all its courses are conducted in English. And that's not even getting into the
question of whether a web site is located anywhere in particular. A victory
for the plaintiffs would probably be Pyhrric: There'll be no sudden rush to
translate web pages just to suit the French, whose online demographic is
virtually nonexistent anyway, and unilaterally imposing content rules will
only earn them ridicule. If the law passes, expect a massive exodus of web
site bases to other countries, where they can offer the same things as before
without having to deal with France's overinflated sense of importance.