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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Kirion (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Wow. Russian prosecutors demands of Youtube blocking almost seem mild in comparison.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    More from Reuters

    Brazil judge orders arrest of Google exec over elections law”, Reuters, Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:27pm EDT
    * Regional court orders arrest for leaving YouTube videos up

    * Second judge in 2 weeks ordering arrest over elections law


    (Reuters) - A regional elections court in Brazil has ordered the arrest of the head of Google's operations in the country after the company failed to take down YouTube videos attacking a local mayoral candidate.

    The ruling, which Google is appealing, marks the second time in two weeks that Brazilian judges have ordered the apprehension of executives at the search engine giant for not cooperating with local election laws.

     . . . .

    Earlier this month an electoral court in the state of Paraiba ordered the arrest of another senior Google executive. . . .

    Days later another judge overturned the ruling.

     . . . .

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 7:04pm

      Re: More from Reuters

      Who's running this country, a bunch of Communists?

      And, The Rest of the Story (in Paul Harvey accent)

      Dilma “Lula” Rousseff, a Marxist revolutionary ran under the Communist Party of Brazil. Lula’s Workers’ Party, which includes major communist and Trotskyist factions, has been openly allied to the Communist Party since 1989.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 4:46am

        Re: Re: More from Reuters

        Your corporatist world is so much surrounded by communists, terrorists, piracy-apoligists and whatever the next ultimate evil simpleton strawman dispensing yourself from actually thinking.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 11:19am

          Re: Re: Re: More from Reuters

          Yea, you're right.

          Those 100M+ that were slaughterer by Communists(Stalin, Mao & Pol Pot), mainly students and intellects, were just "strawman" and didn't really count. You're the anti-thinking fuckup.

          Capitalism (real Capitalism, not the Crony type) is the only way to ensure the world doesn't go through another Communist Slaughter House.

           

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            Pierri, Sep 28th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: More from Reuters

            Do you take into account the millions that died of hunger and sickness because of the profits of the capitalists? Or those killed in the long list of wars started by and for the capital and it´s interests?

            Or the millions of communists and socialists that were arrested, tortured and murdered by capitalism´s "paladins", just for daring to think differently? Or do you really think they were all serial killers, hell bent on killing millions?

            I bet you dont. You would rather take a couple examples that are hyped by the anti-communist propaganda and pretend that those examples represent the essence of communism, or it´s necessary consequences, and forget about everything else. As if communism was about murdering people, and not a social and economical theory...

            But you HAVE to, right? After all, you do need at least a leg to stand on...

             

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    BadgerRush, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Google lost safe harbour when it refused to take the video down.

    You are painting Brazil as the next China while the actions taken where completely on par with US standards and a lot more justified than the piracy crusade in the USA.

    The video in question violated Brazilian electoral law, and that is a big thing, not just a civil mater like copyright infringement. So the judge ordered it taken down, which Google execs refused. At this point, they lost any claim of safe harbour and are responsible for the material they are publishing, so the arrest and site block are justified.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Jeez, Brazil, give it a rest!

    You need to become more civilized, like the US and only arrest and prosecute the poor, blacks and foreign-born people and then only for petty crimes like stealing food or copyright violation. Oh, and give the finger to international law and the international community wherever possible. And always blame someone else for your problems.

    Leave the wealthy business guys alone for pity's sake.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Quid Pro Quo

    Google should shut down all of its services to Brazil then for another 48-72 hours, including gmail, google apps, google+, google talk, etc. Let's then see just how fast the mob takes to hoist that judge by his own petard, or otherwise draw, quarter, and hang him out to dry...

     

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    BadgerRush, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Also, the claim that Brazil is the most aggressive country when it comes to content removal requests has been debunked several times.

    Most of those requests refer to the social networking site Orkut which is the most used social network in Brazil and apparently only popular in Brazil. The largest share of those are fake profile removal requests because of impersonation or defamation.

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

      Rush Limbaugh debunks itself

      "Most of those requests refer to the social networking site Orkut which is the most used social network in Brazil and apparently only popular in Brazil." - Oh I see. So they dont count?

      "The largest share of those are fake profile removal requests because of impersonation or defamation." - Yeah sure all those are valid.

      Citation needed.

       

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        BadgerRush, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Rush Limbaugh debunks itself

        They count, but they need to be analyzed in the proper context. It is simple statistics, if most of the users in Orkut are Brazilian, it is not surprising that most of the take down requests are from Brazil.

        And Nice straw-man by implying that those take-down requests for impersonation where not valid. I'm sure you don't use Orkut so let me explain how it works: unlike Facebook (or even Google+), Google is very liberal in allowing people to create fake profiles impersonating someone and it is really difficult to remove it unless you go to court (or the media, that also work). So I wouldn't be surprised if nearly all those where valid.

         

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    BadgerRush, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    Also, the article mentioned it was an overreaction because the video was “about one local mayoral candidate”. That is bad rhetoric I didn't expected. All the elections in Brazil deserve the same protection from election fraud and election crime, it doesn't make any difference if it is an election for president of Brazil or election for mayor of a tinny city in the middle of nowhere. This was not a civil case that can be fixed with a fine, this is a criminal issue.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

      Re:

      Also, the article mentioned it was an overreaction because the video was “about one local mayoral candidate”. That is bad rhetoric I didn't expected. All the elections in Brazil deserve the same protection from election fraud and election crime, it doesn't make any difference if it is an election for president of Brazil or election for mayor of a tinny city in the middle of nowhere. This was not a civil case that can be fixed with a fine, this is a criminal issue.

      How is this "election fraud"? Seriously. Here in the US we see people say bogus crap about politicians all the time. And we trust that the electorate are not complete morons.

      Are you honestly suggesting that Brazilians aren't smart enough to filter out someone saying something untrue?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re:

        "Are you honestly suggesting that Brazilians aren't smart enough to filter out someone saying something untrue?"

        IMO many US citizens aren't smart enough to filter out somone saying something untrue, so I would think it is the same case in Brazil.

         

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        Hmmm, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re:

        " Here in the US "

        That is just the point - your looking at this from the point of view from US election laws. This was not in the US. It was in Brazil. Brazilian election law prohibits "trickery, montage, or other feature of audio or video in any way that degrades or ridicules a candidate, party or coalition or to deliver a program that has this effect".
        So Google has a choice (like they did with China) - Follow the local law, or accept the consequences.

         

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          Dirkmaster (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Can someone explain to me, in terms that laymen can understand, what would be Google's motivation to even have an office in other countries. It only obligates them to follow local laws, which eventually will be impossible. I mean, they already can't have offices in countries that ruled by Islamic law. I would only have them in the US, that way you only have one set of laws to worry about. And they don't need an office to collect revenue from advertising. So what do these offices contribute that could possibly be worth the hassle?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 4:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Are you honestly suggesting that Brazilians aren't smart enough to filter out someone saying something untrue?

        I don't know. Your side's lies convinced a lot of people that Justin Bieber would be imprisoned if SOPA passed.

         

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        BadgerRush, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re:

        What I'm saying is that running a smear campaign video on a candidate is an election crime in Brazil, no matter if the election is for mayor, governor or president.

        The video was declared unlawful, but Google Brasil's executive(s) chose to ignore a judicial order to remove an illegal video from its site.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 10:27pm

        Re: Re:

        "How is this "election fraud"? Seriously. Here in the US we see people say bogus crap about politicians all the time. And we trust that the electorate are not complete morons."

        Ahh, the arrogant American speaks. Mike, when will you learn that US law doesn't apply everywhere? When will you learn that the standards set by the US constitution are not those of other countries?

        You rant up and down about ICE and such going after people outside of the US, but you seem determined to cram everyone into the US constitution. Why?

        "Are you honestly suggesting that Brazilians aren't smart enough to filter out someone saying something untrue?"

        Are you honestly suggesting the American way is the only way?

         

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        Pierri, Sep 28th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re:

        You mean, something untrue like all those weapons of mass destruction?

        The point is this: there is a law over here (Im in Brazil, BTW). It is NOT the US law. It is different. Is it better or worse? Who can say?

        So, in virtue of said law, the court ordered the offensive video taken down. Wether the court was right or wrong is immaterial. The court legally decided and issued the order (that was given in limine, in order to prevent probable damage, until everything was sorted out).

        Google should have taken down the video and appealed the order. They didnt. They refused to comply with the order and, therefore, with our law. And this is a crime over here.

        Google doesnt have the right to choose wich law and wich court orders it wants to follow. Neither you have the right to condem a law you dont even know unsing such a fallacious argument like "are brazillians not smart enough...", specially after the WMDs issue (and oh so many others!)

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

    AFP reports Google appeal denied

    According to an AFP story, “Google Brazil president faces arrest order” (datelined 26 Sep 2012), Google's appeal was rejected by a second judge.
    The arrest warrant was issued last week by Regional Electoral Tribunal judge Flavio Saad Peren and another judge rejected an appeal by Google this week.


    This news seems similar to a Portugese language story also reported by AFP.

    Via Google Translate:
    The decision had already been adopted by the judge of the Regional Electoral Court of Mato Grosso do Sul, Flávio Saad Peren last week. Google appealed the decision saying that "it is not negative electioneering", but the judge Amaury da Silva Kuklinski kept order.

    "Google is appealing the decision which ordered the withdrawal of YouTube videos because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted on its website," said a company spokesman.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 8:03pm

    They should have just gave in to the censorship and removed it.

    Why in the hell would I say that?
    Because the second they censored it about another 40,000 copies would be up the next day.

    Once it's on the internet it's here to stay and that's just the way it should be. "They're all evil" We cannot let people like Chris "Sucking people off for power" kill one of the most important technologies in our entire history.

     

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    Rekrul, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    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.

    If only there was some kind of computer network that would allow users in Brazil to access Google services without Google actually having to have servers in Brazil. A "web" if you will...

    Someone should really invent that...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Network level blocking

    According to Portuguese language stories at globo.com and midiamax, the Brazilian telecommunications company Embratel will carry out the order of the Electoral Court of Mato Grosso do Sul by blocking Google for 24 hours.

    Via Google Translate:

    Embratel said it would comply with the order of the Electoral Court of Mato Grosso do Sul, which ordered the removal of the video from Youtube in Campo Grande for one day. The statement was sent by the press office said in a statement.

    Asked if there is already a date for pickup of air, explained that the company was requested technical information to the Electoral and so doubts are resolved, the court will be fulfilled, but there is still no definite date or time stipulated . However, if the lock will occur, it will be only for Embratel customers.

    The determination to remove the site from the air is due to the fact maintain in its catalog video attacking the candidate for mayor of Campo Grande, Alcides Bernal (PP), even after the Electoral Court to determine its removal.

    [...]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Arrest!

    Google’s President of Brazil Operations arrested for failing to remove YouTube videos” by Anna Heim, TNW, 26 Sep 2012
    Google’s President of Brazil Operations Fabio Coelho was arrested today in São Paulo, the Brazilian website G1 reports, quoting a press release from the country’s Federal Police.

    [...more...]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 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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