They are accused of not preventing the exposure of minors to their content.
The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed on Thursday the rejection of the request sent by two child protection associations to French telecom operators to block access to several pornographic sites.
The Penal Code prohibits exposing minors to pornographic photos and videos.
But the court reproaches the applicant associations e-Enfance and La Voix de l'enfant, already dismissed in October of their requests, for having "not acted, nor attempted to act" against the nine sites targeted.
Their owners or publishing companies are however identifiable and communicate an address located in the European Union.
However, blocking by Internet access providers can only occur as a last resort, after the applicants have demonstrated "the impossibility of acting effectively and quickly against the host, against the publisher or against the author of the disputed content”.
Asking the Internet user if he is of legal age is not enough
Several of the sites concerned are video hosting platforms which appear among the 50 most popular sites in France, according to a ranking established by the analysis company Similarweb.
Seven of them are in a parallel procedure, summoned by Arcom (ex-CSA) to block their access by minors.
Since the law of July 30, 2020 on domestic violence and the publication in the fall of an implementing decree, the media regulator can give notice to pornographic sites to take measures to prohibit their access to minors, and to default, turn to the president of the Paris court to order their blocking.
This same law specifies that the companies concerned cannot exonerate themselves from their responsibilities by contenting themselves with asking an Internet user if he is of legal age.
Arcom launched a first salvo of formal notices at the end of December and announced on March 8 that it had taken legal action to request the blocking of the Pornhub, Pornhub, Xhamster, Xvideos and Xnxx sites.
A hearing is scheduled for May 24 in this procedure in Paris.
Two other sites, YouPorn and Redtube, were also given formal notice in April by Arcom to prevent their access to minors.