Thailand Not Stopping With Just Blocking YouTube, Now Wants To Sue As Well

from the let-it-go dept

Last month, Thailand was the latest country to ban YouTube over a video its government didn't like. While other countries, such as Turkey and Brazil eventually realized it was silly to block all of YouTube over a single video, and backed down, Thailand is still blocking the site. This is true despite the fact that Google claimed it would help the Thai government block certain videos. Apparently, however, those discussions haven't gone very well, because the Thai government has now set up a committee to sue YouTube for running the clip that supposedly was offensive to the Thai monarchy. This is ridiculous on a variety of levels. Even getting beyond the idea of blocking an entire site based on a single video, there's no way that anyone (offended government officials or not) should find YouTube at fault here. If they want to blame anyone, why not focus on whoever created and uploaded the video?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2007 @ 5:55pm

    Finding out who posted the video (likely via a proxy server, or if the guy was smart, a chain of several proxy servers, probably including at least one that erases all logs on regular basis) would be next to impossible, but if you're running a corrupt government, who cares? You just want your citizens to live in fear of criticizing you, so it doesn't actually matter who you target, as long all of your newspapers make it clear that all such actions will be penalized harshly.

    The case will get thrown out of course, as any international court will find it absolutely laughable, but as long as the people of Thailand THINK someone paid for the video, the government will be happy with the results.

     

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  2.  
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    KR, May 7th, 2007 @ 5:56pm

    the best way to get this video's popularity to pop is to ban it. you would think that an advisor to the monarchy would have some sophistication regarding media/publicity.

    the concept of free speech we take for granted is obviously not the same globally.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2007 @ 5:57pm

    well first of all this is government that has nothing better to do then censor its citizens. Secondly, it knows that its people don't have any money and google does so why not sue them. This is all about money any government could care less about a stupid video.

     

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  4.  
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    Ron (profile), May 7th, 2007 @ 6:00pm

    Plus

    ... maybe I, as a US citizen living in the US want to see a video of the Thai monarchy being mocked. If the Thai committee is successful in suing YouTube and having the clip removed, then my rights to be free to view content will be abridged. Maybe they should just tell their own citizens not to view things the government does not like. Oh wait, Streisand Effect.
    Actually, these little tin dictatorships are pretty funny to watch ... I guess as long as you're not one of their citizens.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2007 @ 6:06pm

    Re:

    The case will get thrown out of course, as any international court will find it absolutely laughable, but as long as the people of Thailand THINK someone paid for the video, the government will be happy with the results.
    Who said anything about an international court? Thailand has their own court system they can use. After they win then I suppose they can start seizing assets, maybe even ordering seizures of assets in other countries.

     

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  6.  
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    Loren, May 7th, 2007 @ 6:37pm

    ......these little tin dictatorships

    It is a monarchy which is most likely ending after this King. I think they just want to show how much this offends them. After all, it's illegal to step on their unit of currency because the picture of the king is on it. He is revered, but it's really a good thing, I wouldn't call it a tin dictatorship, or I doubt it wouldn't be as popular a tourist spot globally. ALL governments are Corrupt, so, what's your point there? I just worry about those "Citizens" who want more government....Loony.

     

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  7.  
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    RandomThoughts, May 7th, 2007 @ 6:45pm

    Another day, another lawsuit. Isn't this what everyone said would happen if anyone with deep pockets bought YouTube?

     

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  8.  
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    X~Slayer, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:02pm

    Well, here's a thought. Since the Thai govt is easily offended by content to the point it will ban and even sue its provider, why not just disconnect the entire country from the net all together? The thai govt is bound to find some form of unacceptable content somewhere, so why not just let them live in their sheltered life isolated from all forms of contact with the changing and evolving world around them. Sure, that is neither progressive nor helpful to the seeds of freedom that might germinate in Thailand but i firmly believe the loss of the internet and its invaluable resources that it can provide would prove more of an incentive to any narrow minded govt that do not want to share in the riches of information than any form of appeasement by google or yahoo or any other internet company seeking marketing in Thailand.

    Xox

     

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  9.  
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    Mr. Lucas Brice, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:07pm

    Once again, Google proves that it never met a repressive government it wouldn't cooperate with. Instead of offering to help opponents of free speech, a better response would have been to have a contest, offering $10,000 for the most creative video that made fun of the Thai monarchy.

    If Google had been around in the 1930's, I could see them cooperating with Hitler after he asked them to remove videos of concentration camps.

    What a bunch of wankers.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:23pm

    "Once again, Google proves that it never met a repressive government it wouldn't cooperate with."

    Google and every other major US cooperation that operates in these countries (MS, Yahoo, IBM, etc.) are guilty of this.

    "Instead of offering to help opponents of free speech, a better response would have been to have a contest, offering $10,000 for the most creative video that made fun of the Thai monarchy."

    And by that same token should You Tube offer 10,000 dollars to the best 9/11 conspiracy movie? Or the best Anti-American short film? Or is it only ok to screw with other countries governments?

    "If Google had been around in the 1930's, I could see them cooperating with Hitler after he asked them to remove videos of concentration camps. "

    You do know that actual US companies colluded with the Nazis and their build up of power? So you can direct you anger at them instead of imagining Google is the home of the Aryan Nation.

    All this talk of suing You Tube has got me excited. I want to anomalously post some of my own content and then sue You Tube for infringing on my rights! Yeah I could make millions, where do I sign up? Do I smell class action? Ohhhh yeah baby!

     

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  11.  
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    Mark, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:40pm

    Fine...

    I'm sure it won't fly with the investors, but just any IPs originating in Thailand from accessing any Google services.

    And to the A.C. Poster above me re: US based companies sued for Nazi cooperation - google IBM Nazi Lawsuit.

    Mark

     

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  12.  
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    Mark, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Fine...

    Err - Just BLOCK any IPs....

     

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  13.  
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    Mark, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Fine...

    Edit 2. It's been a long day, forgive me. The comment regarding the Anonymous Coward should have been directed to the Poster above = Mr. Lucas Brice.

    Time to turn in.

     

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  14.  
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    Charles Griswold, May 7th, 2007 @ 7:58pm

    Response to the Controversy

    One man's response to the Thai King video controversy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnz7lwh0pCM

     

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  15.  
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    WL, May 7th, 2007 @ 8:17pm

    I'm sorry but Thailand's new government is just plain stupid. I'm Thai so I can say this. The govenment is too stupid to manage the country. Blocking tons of websites and proxy's is not the way to go in this free world. Thai people need to get together and stand against this action!

     

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  16.  
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    Mischa, May 7th, 2007 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Response to the Controversy

    And it's a very good one. (If a little hard to hear.)

     

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  17.  
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    mike allen, May 7th, 2007 @ 11:41pm

    stupidity or what

    I think i will get a picture of the thai king and pin it to my dart board. What you gonna do about it.
    Goofle should tell em to stick it where thhe sun dont shine.

     

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  18.  
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    name_withheld, May 8th, 2007 @ 12:08am

    A bit of context

    Mike, a few comments. I want to give this a little context. Of course, I think it's as silly as everyone else the way this is being handled. I, for one, am tired of not being able to access YouTube at all.

    But one thing should be clear: all this fuss is being made on behalf of the king. He is not directly involved, nor does he have any say in what sites the government blocks or who they sue. This is kind of like me suing you because you burned someone else's house down. We needn't attack the king for the government's behavior.

    The king has been on the throne for 60 years, but the absolute monarchy ended 15 years before that. Almost nobody who is alive anymore (which includes everyone in the current government) can really remember what it was like before the current king. At best, they were kids in 1946.

    This all goes back to the trial of the Swiss fellow who got a 10 year sentence for defacing pictures of the king in public. Guess what? The king pardoned him almost immediately. He openly declares that he is fallible, and that people should be able to criticize him, so he can learn from their criticism. But those with the actual executive/legislative power continue to take things way too seriously.

    Prior to the current king (Rama IX), the Thai monarchy was losing prestige. Rama VII, the current king's uncle, was deposed, and he abdicated and lived the rest of his life in exile. Rama VIII, the current king's older brother, was mysteriously shot dead at age 21, the circumstances for which have never been satisfactorily explained or accounted for. But with the help of clever Prime Ministers following World War II, the prestige of the monarchy was restored to astounding levels, partly through reviving rituals banned by Rama V decades earlier, such as having to crawl on one's hands and knees when meeting with the king, as well as instituting new rituals, like playing the King's Anthem before all public performances, during which the audience stands. All of this, of course, served to strengthen the government as a whole, which was necessary because ever since the overthrowing of the absolute monarchy, Thailand has been plagued with coup after coup (most bloodless, but a couple of turned violent).

    The point is, this isn't about money. At least, I don't think so. It's about power. It's about maintaining the status quo. The last 60 years have seen incredible changes in worldwide international relations. Globalization, the entry into the information age, etc. Thailand has experienced all of this with the same monarch, who in a climate of political backbiting and powergrubbing, has been the glue that binds the country together. The Thai people are fiercely protective of their king, as they have been lucky to have a very good king (a recent gossipy book claiming the contrary notwithstanding), who has worked for many excellent causes--education, social work and development, the arts, living modestly within one's means. The Thai people (and the government run by them) have not really had a chance to imagine yet (let alone experience) what the modern world would be like without him. Of course, the Thai people secretly dislike his son, the heir apparent. They gossip about him behind closed doors, because the tradition to never say bad things about the royal family is still very strong, and backed up by (overly) harsh laws. They call him a womanizer, gossip that he might have AIDS, talk about his wives and mistresses, how one of his ex-wives was supposedly arrested in Europe for having drugs on her, etc. etc. The commenter above who said the monarchy is going to end after the current king may well be right. But the Thai people absolutely adore the current king. People don't gossip about him, behind closed doors. It is truly remarkable. Not to say that the king is beyond reproach, obviously we can't say that about anyone, really. But Thailand will grow into its own, as soon as it is forced back into the real world. The king turns 80 this year, and while not in critical condition, his health may not be very good. It's hard to know for sure, because even this is not widely reported on. While the Thai people love the queen and one of the princesses, HRH Princess Sirindhorn, with about the same level of adulation as Rama IX, it is clear that all is not well in the Land of Smiles. Things don't bode well for the future of the monarchy, and given time, while I doubt we'll see it utterly abolished, we may see it give the chance to die out with dignity.

    And when that happens, Thailand will be a freer place. Right now, Thais can't grasp the concept that their country would be better if people were allowed to openly criticize the king, because they can't imagine why one would criticize the king, and therefore they don't appreciate when anyone does. They overreact, obviously. But someday it will dawn on them. In fact, a lot of people already understand this. But we're still dealing with a generation of national leaders who probably think the internet is a series of tubes and hoses. Thais give deference to the opinions of their elders and superiors, so it may be some time before more forward thinkers effect the necessary change. But it's just that: a matter of time.

    The country is "growing up" at its own pace. As frustrating as it is in the meantime, it's necessary to have a bit of background to understand the social and political climate that all of this hoopla is happening in.

    I'm with everyone else, though, in hoping steps forward come sooner rather than later.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2007 @ 12:59am

    Re:

    Google and every other major US cooperation that operates in these countries (MS, Yahoo, IBM, etc.) are guilty of this.
    How is IBM helping to stifle political dissent?

    You do know that actual US companies colluded with the Nazis and their build up of power?
    It appeared to me that was what the poster was referring to. Maybe it went over your head.

    All this talk of suing You Tube has got me excited.
    Maybe you should try to join the Thai government then. You seem to share their ideology.

    I want to anomalously [sic] post
    Well, you certainly seem to be an anomaly anyway.

     

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  20.  
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    Farang, May 8th, 2007 @ 1:58am

    The coup has been a FAILURE

    The coup plotters aligned themselves with the King. Thaksin was seen as critical of the King's constant undermining of his position. The King has no control over who gets sued under this Majeste law.

    The coup has been a total failure. The insurgency in the south has grown stronger, the northern Thais are p*ssed off that their choice of leader was deposed. Several choices have been reversed (e.g. the added a reserve requirement on foreign investments which caused the stop market to plunge and was reversed, democracy demonstrations have been blocked by blocking travel just prior to the demonstration).

    So this is a useful way to draw attention away from the coup, everyone likes the King, lets do something to remind people we the coup leaders are more pro-king than the opposition.

     

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  21.  
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    name_withheld, May 8th, 2007 @ 2:06am

    Farang, well put. It's smoke and mirrors by the new government to distract the people and maintain power as long as possible.

     

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  22.  
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    RandomThoughts, May 8th, 2007 @ 9:20am

    Nothing to do with this thread, but where is all the copyright talk about YouTube? In the past week, we saw quality versions of Spiderman 3 up on the Internet available for illegal download, we saw quality versions of Saturdays boxing match up on YouTube and the Kentucky Derby available for download.

    Yeah, I guess piracy is such a small issue.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2007 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    "How is IBM helping to stifle political dissent?"

    By operating and supporting repressive regimes with the taxes they pay to the governments. It isn't that hard to figure out, at least not for most people.

    "It appeared to me that was what the poster was referring to. Maybe it went over your head."

    No the poster was imagining if Youtube was around in the 30's that they would censor their videos for the Nazi, but you would have to actually have read the post in order to understand this.

    "Maybe you should try to join the Thai government then. You seem to share their ideology."

    Maybe you should go post on a right-wing blog where everyone will cheer your dull intellect.

    "Well, you certainly seem to be an anomaly anyway."

    The only thing anomalous here besides your attempt at intelligence is my misspelling of one word. Congratulations, you will make a great politician one day.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2007 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And there you have it folks, straight from a Google shill.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And there you have it folks, straight from a Google shill."

    That the best you can counter with? Pathetic! lol

     

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  26.  
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    Mitc, May 12th, 2007 @ 10:02pm

    Be Fair

    It’s forums like these, which are doing the most to grease the wheels of healthy democracies. You’ll note a recurring theme of many post blog comments is historical mud slinging.
    Yet even this behaviour is positive as it leads to a conclusion that communities and countries are moving and changing mostly in the right direction most of the time.
    It’s easy to suggest the current and historical view of The Kingdom of Thailand is indicative of its future, however sober thought shows all countries are progressive. Just remember they are at different stages of progress.

     

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  27.  
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    Tony, May 16th, 2007 @ 8:53am

    are you really to be globalized from est to west a

    This is interesting...often enough you see americans wear shorts or even underwears with the pattern of thier flag... but they have this law about burning flag saying it is their symbolic expression...so there is no a clear line of freedom of speech here for them while they are being touchy about their own issues but insensitive about others.... what about symbolic expression of other countries other cultures... don't get into the topic of freedom of speech if yourself don't really know what it is or you have to close one eye to mention it!

     

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  28.  
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    Jane Osman, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 4:10am

    Banning you Tube

    Hey
    Where can I find this video that the Thais took such exception to ban a great web site, sure it was just craic or will I be banned for using that irish word?

    Jane from Ireland

     

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  29.  
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    tom, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    hfhvbcbfbffgbfb

    youtube is funny but it,s bad it has some good movies but some bad movies. I thot youtube is good but it,s bad. my frovrit movie is goofy goober rock. is that good?

     

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  30.  
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    matt, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    fhtf67gurbf

    as all was we open with a sogn john teen

     

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  31.  
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    baba black sheep, Dec 11th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    this sucks

     

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  32.  
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    Jari, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:18am

    Help me. I'm Thais But I can't see some VDO on youtube.
    They Block Proxy/Hotspot Shield Download/etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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