Friday, September 28, 2012

Google obeys Brazilian court order, blocks YouTube political video

(Reuters) - The Brazilian unit of Google, the world's No. 1 Internet search engine, said on Thursday it had obeyed a court order to remove a video attacking a candidate in Brazilian municipal elections from its YouTube service after legal appeals were exhausted.

"We are profoundly disappointed to not have the opportunity of openly debating our arguments in the electoral justice system that the videos were legitimate manifestations of the freedom of expression and should continue (to be) available in Brazil," said Fabio Coelho, director-general of Google in Brazil in an e-mailed statement.

The legal challenges underscore broader questions about Google's responsibility for content uploaded by third parties to its websites, including an anti-Islam video that sparked a wave of protests and violence in the Muslim world.

An arrest warrant was issued for Coelho earlier this week by a court in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state after Google failed to obey an order demanding removal of the video attacking a mayoral candidate.

Judges in Brazil have held executives responsible for resisting the removal of online videos in violation of a stringent 1965 Electoral Code. The law bans campaign ads that "offend the dignity or decorum" of a candidate.

Google, which says it complies with local law but fights "diligently" to protect free speech, complied with the judge's order after it ran out of appeal chances, Coelho said. Read More