French judge can’t ban Internet video of motor racing chief

.PARIS (AP) – A judge said Tuesday it was not within his jurisdiction to ban an Internet video of motor racing chief Max Mosley with prostitutes, but he ordered the French recall of newspapers containing photos of the scene.

Judge Joel Boyer said he couldn’t ban access to Web site of the British tabloid the News of the World, which had carried a video with images of the scene, because the site is owned and based in Britain. Mosley’s lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat, had requested the site be restricted in France because the FIA, the governing body for motorsports that Mosley heads, is based in Paris.

“The mere fact that this site is accessible from France – like all others on the Web – is not enough to justify French jurisdiction,” Boyer wrote.

However, Boyer said French law did cover copies of the newspaper printed in France and ordered issues containing photos of the scene that are still available in the country to be recalled. He ordered a penalty of $2,335 per infraction be applied if the recall is not respected.

In his decision, Boyer wrote the scenes were clearly “sadomasochistic stagings of sexual fantasies” that merit protection under privacy laws.

“Sexual practices between consenting adults are among the most intimate aspects of private life, with its element of shadow and mystery that no one should be forced to explain to a third party,” the judge wrote.

The News of the World reported earlier this month that Mosley engaged in sex acts with five prostitutes that involved Nazi role-playing. A video posted on the newspaper’s Web site showed a man identified as Mosley arriving at an apartment and then engaging in various sex acts with several women, at least one in a prisoner’s uniform, while also speaking German.

Mosley, 67, has faced pressure to quit as president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile since the News of the World story appeared. The federation said Mosley’s future would be decided in a confidence vote during a special general assembly in Paris on June 3.