Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 353-365

First online:

Freedom of Expression, Internet Responsibility, and Business Ethics: The Yahoo! Saga and Its Implications

  • Raphael Cohen-AlmagorAffiliated withDepartment of Politics and International Studies, University of Hull Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In the late 1990s, the Internet seemed a perfect medium for business: a facilitator of unlimited economical propositions to people without any regulatory limitations. Cases such as that of Yahoo! mark the beginning of the end of that illusion. They demonstrate that Internet service providers (ISPs) have to respect domestic state legislation in order to avoid legal risks. Yahoo! was wrong to ignore French national laws and the plea to remove Nazi memorabilia from its auction site. Its legal struggle proved futile and may have harmed its business. This essay argues for the adoption of standards of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR considerations may trump some forms of antisocial, highly offensive expression.


Internet Yahoo! Nazi memorabilia Corporate social responsibility (CSR) Business ethics