Google backtracks on video in Brazil

It seems that if you want a video taken down off YouTube, the safest bet will be to get a Google executive locked up.

Google was refusing to obey a court order to take down a video which was derogatory to a local mayor. So the court locked up one of its senior executives.

Now, according to Reuters, the Brazilian unit of Google has obeyed a court order to remove a video attacking a candidate in Brazilian municipal elections from its YouTube service after legal appeals were exhausted.

Fabio Coelho, director-general of Google in Brazil said that he was profoundly disappointed to not have the opportunity of openly debating his arguments in the electoral justice system. He said that the videos were legitimate manifestations of the freedom of expression and should continue to be available in Brazil.

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 a court order. Judges in Brazil have held executives responsible for resisting the removal of online videos in violation of a stringent 1965 Electoral Code.

But the move could have wider implications for Google. The company has refused to accept that it is responsible for any 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.

In this case the person who posted the offending videos “ironically” removed them on their own accord and closed their YouTube account. Coelho said that this was an example of the intimidation effect of such an episode for freedom of speech.

Or it could be that he just managed to draw enough attention to his attacks on a political rival, made Google carry the can, and buggered off before the cops came banging on his door and identified him.