Victory for free speech; another setback for Esso

Esso loses bid to silence critics on internet

Feature story - February 26, 2003
A decision by a French court to lift an injunction against the use of a parody logo on the StopEsso website was an important victory for free speech on the internet, a victory for the climate, and evidence that Esso's strategy to silence critics using the courts is futile.

Parody of Esso logo

"Esso is sabotaging climate protection in order to continue its dirty business and has attempted to use the courts to silence its critics. Today that strategy failed," said Greenpeace's Stephanie Tunmore.

Esso France began legal action against Greenpeace in July 2000 over the StopEsso website, which uses a logo featuring a double dollar sign ($$) in place of the double "S" in the oil giant's red and blue logo.

In July last year, a French judge upheld Esso's bid to get the logo taken off the Greenpeace France website. But after hearing Greenpeace's appeal, Justice Lacabarats in Paris found that StopEsso's use of the logo was allowable under the right to free speech.

"It is Esso's own behaviour interfering in international action on climate change that is damaging its reputation," said Tunmore.

Find out more about our campaign to Stop Esso.

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