(Reuters) — A French court ruled on Friday that a case against social networking company Facebook over a painting of a nude woman can be tried in France, rejecting Facebook’s argument that it is governed by Californian law.
Facebook blocked the account of a French professor and art lover after he uploaded a picture of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 canvas “The Origin of the World,” which shows a close-up view of female genitals.
The Paris Appeal Court’s decision upheld a lower court ruling in March 2015 that a clause in Facebook’s terms of agreement signed by users was “abusive” in reserving exclusive rights to a California court to hear disputes.
Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California, had appealed against a Paris High Court’s authority to hear the case but the appeal court said Facebook’s claim was inadmissible.
Facebook said French courts were not competent to handle the case and that the contract with the user was “not a consumer contract because Facebook’s service was free.”
But a High Court judge ruled in 2015 that, “if the proposed service was free to the user, Facebook was generating significant profits from the business, including via paid applications, advertising and other resources.”
(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alister Doyle/Ruth Pitchford)