On December 12, 2007, the Paris Court of Appeal ruled that web-hosting services must be able to fully identify the editors and operators of blogs and other personal sites and may not rely on Internet Protocol addresses as their principal personal identifier. In mid-2006, Benetton had asked Google to block access to blogs on their hosting services that Benetton accused of violating the company’s trademark. Google refused to do so. On March 1, 2007, the Paris Court of First Instance ordered Google to forward to Benetton personal data on the identity of the individual behind the fraudulent website. Google responded by forwarding an e-mail address and two IP addresses. The Paris Court of First Instance considered this response unsatisfactory and issued an emergency injunction demanding an immediate ban on the blog. Despite Google’s appeal, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld this decision and ordered Google to pay to Benetton €36,000 (over US$50,000) in damages for failing to comply with French rules on web-hosting firms.

The Court’s opinion is available (in French) at:  http://www.legalisnet/jurisprudence-decision.php3?idarticle=2116