Back in January, a Brazilian judge wanted YouTube shut down after a model won a case asking for the site to be forced to take down a video of her and her boyfriend having sex in the ocean. Since that wasn't going to happen, he said Brazilian ISPs should simply block YouTube and make it inaccessible for their users. As YouTube's popularity continues to grow, these sorts of cases will become more common, and probably more ridiculous, since questions over international jurisdiction of the internet remain unresolved in many countries. Now, a Turkish court has ordered ISPs in that country to block YouTube following a spat between some Turkish and Greek users in videos on the site in which they traded insults about each other's countries. The problem is that it's illegal to criticize Turkey, "Turkishness" or the country's founder, Ataturk, so without any reasonable recourse, the court has ordered YouTube to be blocked. In the Brazilian case, the judge's order was based on a bit of misunderstanding of the internet, and he rescinded it after somebody apparently clued him in. The only misunderstanding in Turkey is thinking that banning anything on the internet really works. But the real problem here isn't the ban, the videos or YouTube -- it's with the laws regulating speech in Turkey. The country regularly charges writers and journalists with breaking the law prohibiting criticism of the country and Ataturk, most famously when it sentenced a Nobel Prize-winning author to prison for three years for comments made in an interview to a Swiss magazine, or more recently, when a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who had been similarly charged was murdered in January. What's perhaps a little annoying here is that YouTube actually agreed to take down the videos, rather than taking a stand against the ridiculous law. Of course, it's not the first time Google's rolled over for countries that want to censor the internet.
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