Language police surfing web sites (fwd)

Rohit Khare (
Sat, 14 Jun 1997 22:18:30 -0400 (EDT)

MONTREAL, June 14 (UPI) -- Quebec's controversial language law is
being applied to cyberspace.
A suburban Montreal computer store has been forced to remove much of
its homepage from the Internet following a warning from the Office de la
Langue Francais that its English-only Web page is in violation of the
The owners of the Micro-Bytes store say they received notice from the
government watchdog agency notifying them that their Web page violates
Article 52 of the Quebec Language Charter.
The article stipulates that all commercial publications, such as
signs, leaflets, pamphlets and general information must be in French.
An English version may be offered if a French version predominates.
OLF spokesman Gerard Paquette says all Quebec businesses will be
screened to ensure their Web pages are available in French
Operators of pages found in violation of Article 52 will be notified
that they must change them or face fines and other penalties, Paquette
Mico-Bytes owner Morty Grauer says he is complying with the order but
is enraged that the government can tell him what he can display on the
World Wide Web.
Earlier this week, a court in France refused to order Georgia Tech
university, which maintains a campus in eastern France, to provide a
French translation of its web site.
The French court ruled it had no jurisdiction over the language of
Internet content.
Computer experts say that about 85 percent of Web worldwide sites are
in English and about 2 percent are in French.