Yahoo dropped from objectionable content lawsuits in India

Earlier Microsoft was dropped from one of the lawsuits after it pointed out that the content was not from its websites

Civil and criminal claims that Yahoo hosted objectionable content were dropped in India, after it was found that there was no such content on its websites, according to people close to the situation.

Over 20 Internet companies including Google face both a civil and a criminal lawsuit in India for allegedly hosting content on their websites that was considered objectionable by the plaintiffs, as it allegedly mocked Indian religious figures and gods.

Last week, Microsoft too was dropped from the civil case in Delhi as it was found that evidence of objectionable content produced by the plaintiff did not include content from Microsoft's sites.

"I included Yahoo and Microsoft in my complaint not because of content we found, but because we wanted them to install filters against objectionable content," Mufti Ajiaz Arshad Qasmi, the plaintiff in the civil case said on Monday. The evidence, including a CD and other documents, that were produced in both the civil and criminal lawsuit are said to be identical, and is likely to be cited by Microsoft while asking to be dropped from the criminal suit as well.

The criminal suit was filed against the Internet companies in a separate court in Delhi, by a newspaper editor Vinay Rai.

India has been concerned about certain political and religious content on websites, and the country's Minister for Communications, Kapil Sibal said in December that Internet companies should evolve a mechanism to remove objectionable content immediately after it is put up.

The government allowed the court to prosecute the Internet companies under various Indian laws in the criminal case. Google and some others have appealed the criminal court's decision before the Delhi High Court. In the civil court, Google agreed to pull down the content cited as objectionable.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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