Media News - Friday, September 28, 2012
The arrest of a top Google executive is reviving a debate about Brazilian laws that hold services such as YouTube responsible for the videos posted on them, making the country a hotbed of attempts to stifle digital content. Legal experts said Thursday that Google violated a judge’s order to take down videos on its YouTube subsidiary that target Brazilian political candidates — and that the judge was completely within the law in issuing the arrest warrant. But they said the arrest of Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, the head of Google Inc.’s Brazil operations, underscores the need to modernize laws that treat offensive material on the Internet like material that is carried by newspapers, television and radio, holding platforms such as Google responsible for user-provided content. Coelho was released shortly after his arrest Wednesday and agreed to appear before a court at an as-yet undetermined time. Brazil’s strict electoral laws limit what critics can say on television, radio and the Internet about candidates for office. On several occasions in recent years, media outlets have faced stiff fines for breaking the laws, but few if any officials were arrested. Google’s alleged infractions, however, are more widespread, simply because of its omnipresence. Ahead of municipal elections in Brazil next month, Google has received requests in more than 20 states to remove videos that allegedly violate those restrictions. (Washington Post)
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