Legal Issues

by Carlo Longino




Brazil Wants Another Google Site -- YouTube -- Shut Down

from the good-luck-with-that dept

A few months ago, the Brazilian government got into a legal spat with Google after its Orkut social-networking site was being used for illegal activity. Google complied with some of the Brazilian demands, including shutting down parts of Orkut, but the government wasn't happy, and started harrassing Google's Brazilian office, which was just responsible for ad sales and had nothing to do with running Orkut. Now, a Brazilian judge has ordered that YouTube, another Google property, be shut down until it removes a celebrity sex video from its site. The video in question features a Brazilian model and her boyfriend having sex on a beach; it's been removed from YouTube several times, but users have uploaded it again and again. But don't expect your favorite source of exploding Mentos videos to disappear: just like with Orkut, the Brazilian court's going to have a hard time enforcing this order, since YouTube is based in the US, and generally subject to its laws and courts (except for local products in some cases).

Once again, the question of who has legal jurisdiction over the internet and sites on it comes into question. US courts tend to agree that online companies are bound by the laws of the country in which they're based, while there are continual efforts by groups like record companies and even some governments to assert that if an internet site can be reached from a particular place, it's subject to its laws and the jurisdiction of its courts. This leads to a problem of jurisdiction shopping, where people file lawsuits in unrelated countries to take advantage of their legal environments. Jurisdiction shopping, of course, isn't a new phenomenon, but the internet makes it a little easier. This is a sticky subject: the idea that anybody can be sued anywhere in the world for something the post online isn't a particularly appealing one, but many people don't have a problem with local laws being used to chase after criminals abroad when it comes to things like child pornography. So where is the line drawn, and who gets to determine it? While international treaties govern all sorts of things, international court systems have often been undermined by these very types of questions about jurisidiction.

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  1. identicon
    YouKnowNothing, 5 Jan 2007 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Internet Freedom

    "Anyways we need an international body of people that represent a large majority of countries to decide these types of things."

    No we don't. The US is handling it just fine. If you don't like it, don't use it. Go build your own internet.

    "These issues are not going to go away and the current way of handling them is very very flawed."

    What "issues?" Freedom of expression? Sovereignty of nations? How the hell does Brazil have any right in telling *any* web site not hosted in Brazil that they should be shut down? YOUTUBE IS NOT AT FAULT. THE RESPONSIBILITY IS WITH THE PEOPLE WHO UPLOAD THE VIDEOS TO YOUTUBE. Jesus-H-Fucking-Christ, why is this so hard to understand?

    "Some sort of system needs to be setup that can enforce and regulate net "laws"."

    No, it doesn't. That's the last thing needed on the internet. The internet is what it is today expressly because there was no "system" to "enforce and regulate" anything. What you are suggesting is Censorship and Oversight like they have in China.

    "It would be difficult and complicated but would save a lot of people a lot of time and money."

    Try impossible and would cost jillions of dollars and would be a complete waste of time.


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