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March 27, 1996

AFPI CAN’T ALLOCATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONTENT

By CBR Staff Writer

The AFPI French Association of Internet Professionals, four members of which have been subpoenaed for having hate-mongering servers on their networks, has declared to Les Echos that no one yet knows how to attribute particular responsibility [for content] in the context of a connection provider. The members of AFPI declared in a communique that they cannot take into account the dealings of their clients, who remain masters of their behaviour and of their actions on the networks. At the same time, the Union of Jewish Students in France has filed an urgent summons for nine AFPI members to appear in court in the next three days for giving access to a number of hate-mongering servers. The nine members are CalvaCom SA, Eunet France Axone SA, IBM Global Network Inc, Apysoft Oleane SA, CompuServe France, FranceNet SA, Internet Way SA, GIP Renater SA and ImagiNet SA. In other events, Fabrice Sergent, chief executive for Internet provider Grolier Interactive (Lagardere Groupe), does not believe that the arrival of America Online in France poses an enormous threat to his group’s future. We are convinced that a strategy based on an open Internet system will continue to dominate. For service providers, there is no sense in offering their service on proprietary systems. It is much more economically viable to use the Internet, where they can reach 30m users, while still having access to proprietary systems, he said, in an article in Les Echos on Monday. France Telecom Interactive is, he says, his most serious competitor. Indeed, the operator began on March 15, providing users throughout France with local-charge Internet connections. Building on that policy, the operator also announced its intention to become an Internet service provider via France Telecom Interactive beginning in mid-April. To avoid being accused of predatory practices, the company announced prices similar to those of America Online, between $10 and $13 a month for three to five hours of connection. France Telecom, in conjunction with Havas is also setting out to make its own Wanadoo selection of services the leading French on-line electronic commerce gallery.

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