Last week a Brazilian judge ordered Brazilian ISPs to block Brazilian access to YouTube. The judge ordered access shut down until YouTube could ensure a racy paparazzi video of supermodel Daniela Cicarelli and Brazilian banker Renato Malzoni having sex in the ocean was no longer accessible. I would have posted a link to one of the dozens of websites posting the “R” rated video, but the ads running on many of these websites are “XXX.”
While Brazillian ISPs like Brasil Telecom SA and Spanish-owned Telefonica SA confirmed they were blocking YouTube access, as of yesterday, Brazillians in high Internet traffic cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Brazil’s were still accessing YouTube through Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicacoes SA.
Does this Brazilian judge actually believe that he can block access to Internet content? For every website the judge shuts down, one hundred more pop up. Would this Des Moines patent lawyer be talking about the case if the judge had not made a ruling that threatened world Internet community more than it could ever hope to help the supermodel? If the ruling were not so poorly executed, one would find it easier to believe the judge was either attempting to increase publicity around the case, or showcase Brazil as a worldwide Internet lawsuit forum-shopping haven.
As more and more Internet related cases enter the court system, it is imperative that judges pay particular attention to the worldwide ramifications of their actions. As in this case, Draconian Internet rulings from the bench have a very real potential of causing more harm than good. Any judge considering a ruling on matters affecting the Internet should consider hiring one or more special masters well-versed in the law of the Internet.
The small extra cost associated with hiring a special master will not only reduce the likelihood of getting egg on one’s judicial countenance, but it will also prevent rapid YouTubers hacking your email because they cannot watch the latest Tigger Attack.