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Is Brazil the censorship capital of the Internet? Not yet

Brazilian students surf the Web at a "Campus Party" in São Paulo. (Reuters/Paulo Whitaker)

Last week, Google published its first set of global government request statistics, showing how many demands it receives to remove content from its servers or hand over private information on its users. Transparency by Internet companies about how much information they are compelled to remove or release helps us understand how online journalism worldwide may be affected by state actions. Although Google acknowledges its initial figures are "imperfect," they are an important first step, not least because they might encourage other companies to provide the same figures.

But what can we learn from the appearance of certain countries in Google's tables? In particular, what of Brazil, which currently tops both data request and content removal charts for the sheer number of requests? Are Brazilian online journalists, their sources, and the availability of their work at greater risk of censorship and exposure than elsewhere in the world?

Not necessarily--but the reasons point to subtler ongoing threats to Brazilian online journalism. And new developments in Brazil's Internet policy signal a far more worrying potential future: If a new Internet bill is adopted in its current form, Brazil might drop from the Google charts only to leap up the tables of real dangers to online journalism.

At first glance, the Google data, as published on its Web site, certainly don't look good for Brazil. Google says it received over 50 percent more requests from Brazilian authorities for content to be removed than those of the next highest country, Germany. Brazil also beat out second-place United States in personal data requests, despite having only 72 million Internet users in 2008 compared to the 230 million in the States.

Google itself played down the significance of the data, saying that Brazil's high ranking relative to other counties was primarily due to the relative popularity of Google's own Orkut social networking site (which still beats Facebook on the Brazilian Internet, according to the Web popularity indexer Alexa). Brazilian prosecutor Priscila Schreiner denied that the Brazilian state was censoring the Internet, saying that the high figures were related to investigations into child pornography and racism, The Associated Press reported. "We need the data behind these crimes," she said.

Neither Google's nor Schreiner's explanations give the whole story, however. The Google statistics specifically exclude claims connected to child pornography. Other countries with anti-racism laws (such as Australia and the UK) show nowhere near Brazil's level of government demands.

Nor do inquiries connected to Orkut explain the high figures. Google doesn't break down demands for personal data by category, but it includes details on which service was targeted for removal requests. Besides more than 200 Orkut removal orders, Brazilian government demands have also taken down more Gmail accounts and more Blogger sites than any other country. Brazil is also in the top 10 for government-mandated takedowns of YouTube and Web search items, both services that are unrelated to the popularity of Orkut in Brazil.

I spoke to São Paulo Internet lawyer Marcel Leonardi to find out why he thought the figures for Brazil were so high. He pointed out that the numbers covered, in Google's words, "statistics on court orders for the removal of content, which often originate from private-party disputes." Leonardi says, "It is very likely those numbers are high because of the number of private lawsuits [in Brazil] regarding Internet content. Filing a lawsuit to demand that content be taken down is neither complicated nor expensive in Brazil." In fact, under certain circumstances, he says, such requests can be filed directly in Brazil's equivalent of a small claims court.

The prevalence of such court orders explains why Brazil's Google statistics are so disproportionate. In most comparable countries, such litigation would be the last step to remove content or uncovering an anonymous speaker; in Brazil, obtaining a court order can be the first port of call. Non-judicial complaints by private parties, the usual path for a third party in other countries, were not recorded by Google in these statistics, but Brazil's court orders were.

It also explains the matching level of requests for personal data. When a plaintiff files a suit against an Internet to remove content, says Leonardi, they will often include a matching request to hand over personal data in order to reveal the identity of the original poster. (Brazil's protection of free expression does not include complete anonymity, which is explicitly "forbidden" under the constitution, although pseudonyms such as forum user names are acceptable under Brazilian federal law.)

The opportunity for litigants to swiftly challenge content and reveal anonymous sources has long affected the work of journalists in Brazil. CPJ's research has shown that criminal and civil defamation lawsuits against the Brazilian media have numbered in the thousands over the last five years. As CPJ reported in Attacks on the Press in 2009, one congressman, Edmar Moreira, filed more than 44 suits against at least 38 journalists. Lower court judges routinely interpret Brazilian law in ways that restrict press freedom. On the Internet, courts have ordered Web sites to remove stories on judicial corruption, business dealings, and other matters of public interest.

A recently proposed alternative to this regime, however, could prove an even greater impediment for online reporting, although it might lower Brazil's position in Google's government request rankings.

Brazil is looking to introduce new regulation of the Internet. Draft language for a proposed new "Civil Rights Framework for the Internet in Brazil" would introduce an even more streamlined way for critics to restrain online reporting, one that would no longer involve even minimal prior judicial oversight.

In Section IV of the current draft, Web site hosts would become liable for their users' content if they do not immediately remove it after receiving notice of a complaint by a third party. The bill's suggested procedure for dealing with such complaints seems to be modeled on the "notice and take down" system in the controversial U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. In this and the Brazilian proposal, intermediaries such as Google are protected from liability under copyright law, but only if they take down content after receiving a notice of complaint. The original content posters can request the content be restored, but only after filing a counter-notice. 

In the United States, such preemptive removal of content is restricted to claims of copyright infringement; other legal threats toward hosts to delete content from the Internet on other grounds must pass through the courts (or else be voluntarily removed by the hosting company). Nonetheless, even limited to copyright complaints, the DMCA takedown procedure has been abused to silence critical speech and analysis.

The proposed Brazilian bill goes much further than the DMCA, allowing third parties to demand that content be taken down for any reason, including claims of defamation.

If the bill was to pass in its current form, Google and other providers would have every incentive to remove content after only a single complaint or risk becoming liable for the material themselves. It would no doubt lower the total number of Brazilian court requests to remove content because a court order would no longer be needed. Google's charts would show Brazil's figures dropping, even as the level of invisible threats to online journalism increased. As the president of Brazil's National Newspaper Association, Judith Brito, notes, taking down content whenever someone feels they were attacked "is unconstitutional," the Brazilian news outlet O Globo reported.

The draft of the bill is still available for public comment and criticism until May 23. Given its current language, Brazilian policymakers and Internet users should consider which is worse: remaining at the top of Google's tables, or truly becoming one of the most efficient places to silence Internet reporting.

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Comments

Hey, this is not a conincidence.

Look at what side Brazilian government is (Iran, Venezuela, Cuba).

For many time they try to implement censorship to the media in Brazil.

They are a bunch of frustated comunists trying to transform Brazil in Cuba.

Hi, Danny.

First of all, thanks for reading the Proposition. It really important that the world can help us in Brazil, as we hope to help the world in this matter.

That said, sorry, but you misunderstood the role of the 3rd parties in the dinamic proposed for removal of content. Actually, as it is expressed in article 21, they can take place in favor of the original author of the contested content. After the proposed Draft Bill, EFF, for instance, could support anyone who'd felt not safe about any content that he/she has published.

Another important thing, really important, is that not only the counternotice demands filling, also teh notice itself. And the good part for the platforms is that they do not need to judge them, they act automatically - one way and another - just as they act when anot author itself publish ou unpublish any given content.

I really hope this can be more cleared understood, so that we in the government can think of a better way not to censor Internet, but to keep it free and so creative.

Paulo -

Thanks for commenting. I understand that others can counter-notice on behalf of the original author -- but with respect, what problem is that trying to fix? If it is supposed to increase the amount of content placed back online after a notice, well, the highest %age it could raise would be 100%, which would be the same as the current situation. A court would then have to ascertain whether the content is lawful or not, exactly the same as it does now. The only difference would be that author's content would be taken down prior to the court decision, and that those seeking to remove content would have a practical way of intimidating or deleting published content without having to go through the court process.

And, realistically, the number of counter-notices is not going to be 100%, third-party or not. And the percentage that will get put back up are not going to be the same percentage as those which are lawful speech. As research on the DMCA has shown, even when restricted to copyright infringement, a notice-and-takedown regime has a profoundly chilling effect on speech. (See the work of Chilling Effects, or Wendy Seltzer's Free Speech Unmoored.

And I don't understand what the benefit of "filing" is. The idea that we can make journalist's work disappear from the Net simply by filing a complaint, rather than going through a judicial process, is not a benefit of the new law, but it's primary problem.

Danny,

We are trying to aim two main issues: 1) when does the middleman become liable; 2) bind freedom of expression with identification.

For the first, we tried to fix a time mark with the notification as a legal act, after wich the law can require an attitude, in other words, only after the content is already online and someone takes it for illegal, wich implies no previous control can be demanded. No censorship, no judgment by the middleman.

For the second, we are concerned about our Constitution, wich garantee freedom of expression but prohibits anonymity. So, the difference here is that after the procedure, both parts (notifier and counternotifier) know who each other is. And there's a big chance that when there was a really offensive content published by a anonymously, the only remova is enough so that the notifier is quickly satisfied, the middleman has no big effort or liability and the anonimous author remains unknown withou real prejudice in his legitimate right of free expression.

We are fully aware about the possible intimidation effect. But our proposal would not create that effect: it already happens today. And today it does not avoid the liability of the middleman. As an example, the Google report your article itself quotes. Today, in Brasil, Google is asked - without an court order - to take down a lot of user generated content. And after that Google is still found guilty for the publication of content made by any given user.

And, about the journalists, we are not aiming them. This part of the proposal is for third parties content. The relationship between The Guardian and his professional journalists is relevantly different from the relatioship between YouTube or Flickr or Twitter or Wikipédia or Wordpress and his users.

I hope this chat can go further. Thanks.

Im a brazilian law student and I must agree with Danny on this, Paulo.

Sadly, this kind of practice is becoming more widespread in brazilian law proposals. For instance, the "clean slate" project, that attempts to make a candidate for congress "un-elegible" if he/she has a lawsuit filed against them, even without a definitive pronunciation from the court, or any pronunciation whatsoever.

Seems like (for me), that in order to avoid an unordered expansion of lawsuits regarding content from the internet, we're cutting away the very right of the individuals for free expression, without even granting them a pronunciation from the courts.

as for the users who uploads content far more condemnable than a simple violation of IP Law (e.g. child porn) what good is that taking the content down and allowing them to stay anonymous? Im not exactly keen on the works of the “Civil Rights Framework for the Internet in Brazil”, but I presume there are alternatives for this kind of criminal action, without actually putting the "IP violators" (I'd say, 99% of the country's population) in the same boat as them.

I'm enjoying this thread as well. If you're at CONPEDI 2010, look for me paulo, my twitter is @mateusmr. Ill be presenting an article on the google book search settlement (given my article is selected =p).

cheers.

only a bit of development on my last post:

anyone can claim they've been offended by an uploaded content. Giving them the right to take it down automatically without prior judgement of the content is a drastic issue. On one side, we may be protecting people hastily from serious harm to their image ; on the other side, we're giving anyone the right to control any content. The "Majors" would use the system as well to take down what they judge IP protected content, as well as your personal enemy/next door neighbour would make your digital live a digital pain. =p

Joining the ranks of brazilian Law students in this comment thread, I wonder at how anyone can think it's a good idea to enforce the removal of content without a court order. The DMCA itself is already draconian. Knowing that anyone can have mt content removed from the Web just because they don't like it, and that I'll have to take steps to put it back up even when the complaint is completely baseless. Freedom of speech is a right that should be assured and enforced by the State, and this bill would force people to protect it themselves, with their own means and on their own time, against every single threat.

Regarding the middleman's liability, it seems clear to me that it should be as non-existnt as a telephone company's liability for what a customer says to another over the phone, and for all the same reasons. This bill, in its current form, doesn't do anything to help with the issue. It only pushes the moment of inclusion of the middleman in the passive ploe to after the notice and coutnernotice, and empowers the notices to bully them into not allowing the content to be republished after takedown.

Paulo --

I understand the concerns. Generally speaking, the rule in many countries is that intermediaries are not liable for the content of its publishers. Matters, as you note, become extremely problematic when they are. This principle is embodied in the Communications Decency Act, Sec. 230 in the US, and the e-commerce directive in the EU, for instance. The DMCA is a particularly narrow exception to this, and has still proved troubling.

If you're looking for legal models that might better reflect Brazilian concerns over anonymity, but still preserve the right of users to publish without having their content removed on the grounds of an unsubstantiated complaint, can I suggest the Canadian notice-and-notice model? In this case, the obligation on hosts or ISPs is to make a best effort attempt to pass the complaint onto the original user. In that case, responsibility can be tracked via a later court injunction to reveal the identity of this user, the intermediary preserves its role as an impartial relayer of content, and the user him or herself has the choice whether to remove the content in advance, or risk further prosecution in the courts. Would that address the concerns you have?

Dear Danny,

Very fine when we are dealing with Copyright v. Freedom of Expression -- the former should not, of course, trump the latter.

Are you still of the same opinion when we are talking of Child Porn -- i.e. don't you think that here Freedom of Expression should be trumped *regardless* of a court order; that an OSP should take the content down *expeditiously*? Will the notice-and-notice system do for a paedophile living in a far away jurisdiction?

If you are not of the same opinion with regard to Child Porn, are you of the same opinion with regard to Calls for Victimization -- of those that render it possible that, sometimes in no more than 24 hours, before you even dream of an injunction, contexts are transcended and lives destroyed forever?

If you are not of the same opinion either with regard to Child Porn or with regard to Calls for Victimization or with regard to extremely serious violations of Privacy in a web that does not forget, where to draw the line between these cases and seemingly less serious ones?

I fully agree with the idea that in DMCA-related processes the notice-and-notice system works best. The problem with the proposed Brazilian system is that it transforms situations like those I have described above, in which it *would* be expected that the intermediary was *not* an impartial channel, in situations in which, *by law*, the intermediary must remain neutral before the grossest violations of human rights.

Under the proposed system, if an impenitent paedophile counternotices and wants the content to be aired... aired it will be!

Best,
Marcelo

*I should have said: The biggest problem with the proposed Brazilian system, however,...

Marcelo,

Your comparison is not really correct. Online service providers still retain the right to remove content that is plainly illegal or that goes against their terms of service. It is not a "court order or nothing goes offline" scenario as you seem to suggest. Child porn would indeed be taken down instantly in those situations, with no need for a court order nor a possibility of counter-notice from its "author".

What we are talking about here is that protected speech could be taken down easily with no need to go through the courts and that the possibility of a counter-notice does not really solve this problem, for the reasons already stated by Danny.


:: Further Notes on the Paedophile's Dilemma ::

Deal Marcel,

I am discussing the existing proposals for a Framework -- not other scenarios. I do not believe I am wrong in this regard.

Let's see your own suggestion of a wording for Art. 20 of the proposals:

"An Internet services provider can *only* be held liable for damages ensuing from content generated by third parties [its users?] if, after having been notified to comply with a court order, it does not take measures for, within the scope of its services and within the determined time frame, remove the content pointed out as infringing" (my hasty translation).

Notice that here, as in the original document, there is no difference whatsoever between plainly illegal content and tangentially illegal content. Copyright, defamation and child porn are on the same boat. That is wrong both of the original proposals and of your suggested amendments to them.

Why is that wrong? For the same reason, object of my comments above, for Art. 23's being wrong. Art. 23 determines that, in the event of a counter-notice, an OSP will reinstate the opposed content. Art. 23 does not distinguish, again, between plainly illegal content and tangentially illegal content.

According to the proposed Framework, if a paedophile counter-notices the content *must be* reinstated. According to your suggestion, if an OSP does not receive an injunction to comply with, it does not have the *obligation* to remove even the most fundamentally illegal content. If you thought of a qualifier, you did not include in your suggestions. And neither did the Ministry of Justice in the original proposals.

Neither in the original proposals nor in your suggested amendments to them there is a differentiation of content according to its nature.

What ensues from both is that even if an OSP has the right to remove content that violates fundamental, human rights *it does not have the obligation to do so*. Both the proposals and your suggestion limit the liability of the OSP in this sense. The OSP is entirely free to wait for a court order, for a never-coming injunction -- ok, Brazilian Courts may be very good, I give you this one, but it does not make sense that OSPs will only be liable if they do not remove content of such severe nature unless a court tells them to do so, for more that we want to protect responsible journalism, as we certainly should.

OSPs may write their Terms of Service in the way they wish, but that is a discretionary mechanism which, in my view, cannot be enough to determine the scope of their liability.

And so we come to the point of thinking that OSPs should by law be obliged to, once notified, at least disentangle what you mention as plainly illegal from that which is not plainly illegal. I am fully with you on this one.

But then plainly illegal is a fertile area and we cannot speak of impartiality, *neutrality* or let alone an automated system, as Paulo mentions above.

I sustain my point: both the proposals and your suggestion allow for Child Porn being kept online.

I know you do not intend that. I know the Ministry of Justice did not intend that. But then we really need to refine the proposals so as to account for these shortcomings.

Ideas of neutrality, automation and their siblings are ones which we should outright abandon. Rather, what we should be concerned with is with creating a suitably regulated framework for OSPs decisions -- so that an OSP is neither allowed, on the one hand, to gratuitously constrain responsible communication (Grant v. Torstar Corp.?) nor, on the other hand, to keep Child Porn, Calls for Victimization or Gross Violations of Privacy online. We will only have a minimally interesting and operative framework for our information environment when we, borrowing Dworkin's nice expression, "abandon the cloak of neutrality".

-- MT

Errand: Notes on the *Impenitent* Paedophile's Dilemma.

When we have a repentant paedophile, there is indeed no counter-notice and the content is kept offline -- even without a court order (which is not the case when the paedophile impenitently counter-notices and the OSP has the *duty* to reinstate the content, according to Art. 23).

Marcelo,

My *very first* comment on the website of the Brazilian bill states that the court order system would only work in those situations where the legality or illegality of the content is subjective. Child porn is not one of those situations, obviously.

The reason we do not need an exception for child porn in the bill is simple: we already have one. Our Brazilian legislation makes it a crime to fail to take down online child porn after being notified of its existence. See what the child and adolescent statute says on article 241-A:

"Art. 241-A. Offering, exchanging, publishing, making available, distributing, publishing or divulging, by any means, including via computer systems, photographies, videos or other records of explicit sex or pornography with a child or adolescent"

Penalty: 3 to 6 years of imprisonment and a fine.

§ 1o The same penalty applies to those who:

I – provides the means or services regarding the hosting of the photographs, scenes or images mentioned on the article;

II – provides, in any way, network access to the photographs, scenes or images mentioned on the article.

§ 2o The penalty mentioned on items I and II only apply when the person legally responsible for the service, after being officially notified, fails to prevent access to the illicit content mentioned in the article."

As you can see, executives in charge of online service providers are subject to imprisonment and a fine if they fail to take down child porn after being officially notified of its existence. Victims only also be entitled for damages and other forms of compensation.

Therefore, I do not see why article 20 of the civil framework for the Brazilian Internet would need to address this situation.

Marcel Leonardi May 2, 2010 10:50:47 PM ET

Danny,

1 - do you understand, now, how unfair is the title of your post? That is my main concern in this thread.

2 - The Canadian model is not enough because the third part remais anonymous, and in Brasil free speech is Constitutionally limited by the prohibition of anonymity.
2.1 - we, in Ministério da Justiça, do not consider browsing a propper form of speech, but o communication, such as reading a book or walking through the city, wich means "yes, you can fully browse (etc) anonymously".

3 - This is a blgo about protecting journalists, who, generally, dos not play the "third part" role in Internet, but have a clear relationship with the Internet Service Provider.
3.1 - Marco Civil distinguishes only Internet Conection Provision and Internet Service Provision. Everything provided online is "Internet Service".

4 - do you have a twitter-a-like?

Dear Danny and Marcel,

One last point: though I am sure both of you are aware of these provisions from that other "censorship capital" called Europe, I thought of reminding your readers of their existence.

Best,
Marcelo

--
"Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ... ('Directive on electronic commerce')

Article 14
Hosting

1. Where an information society service is provided that consists of the storage of information provided by a recipient of the service, Member States shall ensure that the service provider is not liable for the information stored at the request of a recipient of the service, on condition that:

(a) the provider does not have actual knowledge of illegal activity or information and, as regards claims for damages, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which the illegal activity or information is apparent; or

(b) the provider, upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove or to disable access to the information.

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply when the recipient of the service is acting under the authority or the control of the provider.

3. This Article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Member States' legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement, nor does it affect the possibility for Member States of establishing procedures governing the removal or disabling of access to information".

Marcelo,

The comparison with the European system is also inadequate. As I have said in a different article, the Brazilian approach is significantly more problematic than the notice and takedown system established in the European Union by the e-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) and is prone to abuse.

According to the Directive, hosting providers in the European Union are only required to remove content after being “aware of facts or circumstances from which the illegal activity or information is apparent”.

This requirement, however, does not exist under the proposed Brazilian system: all requests for content removal must be accepted, regardless of the legality of the content, or else intermediaries risk liability. That is substantially different.

Marcel Leonardi May 3, 2010 9:40:13 AM ET

Dear Marcel,

You are completely right that that would remain as specific law -- with regard to Child Porn.

My point, though, is broader. Child Porn here escapes ONLY because it has a specific notice mechanism that other offences don't have.

Unless we modify the proposals to account for those other "more subjective" offences (e.g. with regard to calls for victimization or serious violations of privacy, which Brazilian law shamefully does not account for) those offences will be encompassed by Art. 23 and by an eventual Art. 20 as suggested by you (which, with all due respect, I hope won't be the case).

It turns out that, unfortunately, the only way to call for people's attention for this issue -- people who believe Brazil subscribes to the First Amendment -- is to give the example of Child Porn.

If not by using this example, the belief persists that every damage to personality rights, growing as these grow in subjectivity, should be addressed by the courts in the first place. As if there should be no subjectivity in our lives to be dealt with by us in the public sphere; as if *all of us* (OSPs included), at least in the most serious matters, should not give the best of ourselves to cope with the complexity and risk that are tantamount to contemporary societies -- especially those who profit directly from specific forms of risk.

So, there you go. You gave us a good example of a situation in which reasoning is required from OSPs. My point is that this same sort of reasoning should be extended to other serious situations which cannot wait for a court order. I do tend to hesitate about defamation (except in very patent, serious cases); I am more sure, however, about calls for victimization -- what here in China we call the Human Flesh Search Engine; I am more sure about gross violations of Privacy; and I am certainly sure about Child Porn, which gives us a good example of how serious violations of human rights should be dealt with, *irrespectively of a court order*.

Art. 14 of the European Directive also gives us a precedent for what has so far been very wrongly depicted by this column as something inherent to the potential capital of censorship.

-- MT

I agree on your last point. And that is why we need to think of how best to calibrate the Brazilian provisions, without surrendering everything to Court orders or treating OSPs as automatons.

Marcelo,

You are correct in pointing out that some offenses to personality rights should have an immediate mechanism for redress. However, personality rights and freedom of expression often collide, as both are considered fundamental rights under the Brazilian legal system. In some rare cases it might be obvious who is right; in most situations, though, making that call is too subjective.

And I guess this is where we have to agree to disagree: while I do believe that quickly removing true harmful content from the Internet is a legitimate goal, determining what is legal or illegal is a task best left for the courts, not to the whim of users or ISPs.

Despite the differences between the Brazilian and American legal systems - and the same reasoning applies to the EU Directive - I believe the CDA 230 protections and DMCA histories of abuse can demonstrate the risks and potential pitfalls of a notice and takedown system, specially one that can be (ab)used for any kind of content.

Marcel Leonardi May 3, 2010 10:39:50 AM ET

Paulo -

With respect, I think that the anonymity question is a distraction. The notice-and-notice system would provide for, by definition, a way for plaintiffs to obtain the identity of the speaker, because the ISP would have to ensure there was a way of communicating to the end user. The key problem with the proposed legislation is that it requires ISPs to take down *any* content, or risk liability. As Marcelo says, it's wrong to treat ISPs as automatons when the automatic process that they are required to participate within is removing content.

My Twitter handle is danny_at_cpj, but I'm not sure 140 characters does legal analysis justice! Is there a better way we and others can contribute criticism and suggested language to your bill. Apart from anonymity (which I cannot see being an intractable problem, particularly if - as I understand it - Brazilian law permits pseudonymity), are there any other difficulties in a notice-and-notice system?

I'm Brazilian living in Australia...

BRAZIL = too much FREEDOM dude... trust me.. Our government doesn't care about censure.

cheers

Hello Danny,

Dear friends,

I am glad to report that the Ministry of Justice and the folks at FGV-Rio have responded to the criticism and have just announced a completely different system.

In short, they have adopted the suggestions that a court order should be mandatory to force online service providers to take down content. Naturally, service providers can still take down content on their own if it goes against their terms of service, and there are certain exceptions on different laws we already have (such as child porn, as I have mentioned here).

There are still some details that need to be addressed, but overall this is a huge improvement over the DMCA-alike system they wanted to implement. I am thrilled that they heard all the criticism and acted on it, recognizing how the original system would curb online speech.

Many thanks for bringing awareness to this important issue. Thanks to you, we may have a more balanced approach regarding freedom of speech online.

Cheers,

Marcel.

Marcel Leonardi May 3, 2010 11:01:12 PM ET

As a postscript to this discussion: it looks like the drafting group has reconsidered, and new draft language has now replaced the previous text. I haven't looked at it closely, but at first glance it seems to be much improved from our point of view. More info here: http://bit.ly/9vPENY (in Portugese).

I'm impressed by the speed and responsiveness of this very public consultation!