Brazilian Judge Overreacts, Orders Arrest Of Head Of Google's Operations In Brazil Over Refusal To Censor YouTube Video

from the secondary-liabiity dept

We've noted in the past that Brazil doesn't seem to have much of a concept of safe harbors for secondary liability, as it's blamed Google for actions of its users in the past, even once ordering that YouTube be shut down, or blocked due to a video that someone didn't want seen. Once more, the Brazilian courts are at it again. Last week, a judge apparently ordered Google to take down a YouTube video that attacked a mayoral candidate for the city of Campo Grande. Google refused, and the judge, Flavio Peren, has responded by ordering all Google services be shut down for 24 hours and that the head of Google's operations in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, be arrested.

To say that this is an extreme overreaction, would be an understatement. Because of one video, about one local mayoral candidate (which, thanks to this publicity many more people are likely to see), all of Google should be blocked for people in Brazil and the head of Google's operations in Brazil should be arrested? Talk about a disproportionate response. Not only is it extreme, it makes no sense. Google didn't create or upload the video. It's just hosting it. If the video is illegal, blame whoever created it and uploaded it.

Google is appealing the ruling, but it still seems extreme. Google's transparency report has noted in the past that Brazil is perhaps the most aggressive country when it comes to content removal requests -- but that only suggests that someone should be thinking more carefully about how fast the Brazilian courts are to issue these kinds of injunctions without seeming to understand Google's role.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2012 @ 6:08pm

    Appeals Exhausted

    YouTube In Brazil” statement by Fabio Coelho, Country Director, Google Brazil, September 27, 2012:
     . . . .

    Now for what’s happened in Brazil. As usual during an election season, we have had a lot of court orders to remove videos that are critical of political candidates. As always, we have reviewed them all--and pushed back on the many legal complaints that we believe are invalid. For example, last week, we appealed a court order to remove videos from YouTube. While we were waiting for that appeal to be heard, an arrest warrant was issued for me as country director of Google Brazil.

    Late last night, we learned that our final legal appeal has been denied and so now we have no choice but to block the video in Brazil. We are deeply disappointed that we have never had the full opportunity to argue in court that these were legitimate free speech videos and should remain available in Brazil.

     . . . .

    (H/T The Next Web)

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