King-Size Legal Trouble For YouTube

Vivian Wai-yin Kwok,
05.07.07,
5:55 PM ET

HONG KONG –

It’s getting busy for YouTube‘s in-house counsel. Days after it was sued by England’s Football Association and an indie music publisher, the Thai government said it may bring charges against the popular video-sharing site for insulting
the country’s revered king.

The Thai Information and Communications Technology Ministry confirmed Monday it has set up a committee to proceed with a lawsuit against YouTube for displaying a video clip that showed an image of King Bhumibol Adulyadej next to a photograph of feet, which is considered deeply offensive in Thailand.

The
44-second clip was posted by an anonymous user on March 29. The Thai
government blocked access to YouTube in Thailand on April 4.

Since the first clip, more satirical videos mocking the king, such as images
altered to make him resemble a monkey, have appeared on the video-sharing portal, which was bought by Google (nasdaq: GOOGnewspeople) last year for $1.65 billion.

Thecharge of lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, is a serious crime
in Thailand which could put the responding executive for YouTube behind
bars for up to 15 years, were he to set foot in the country.

The 79-year-old king, also known as Rama IX, is greatly adored by Thais. He
has been on the throne for 61 years, making him the world’s longest
serving monarch.

Though he has little formal power as a constitutional monarch, he has judiciously used the prestige and respect accorded him to sway events in the country. He backed the army in the September coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thailand takes insults to his majesty very seriously. In late March, a Thai
court jailed a Swiss man for 10 years for vandalizing portraits of the
king. The man was eventually pardoned by the king and deported.

Nonetheless, some think that the increasingly unpopular junta’s tough stance on that incident and YouTube has been a ploy to stir up nationalist sentiment
and distract Thais from the country’s political crisis.

If the Thai government proceeds with legal action, it would be the second case brought against YouTube within a week.

On Friday, the Football Association Premier League and indie music
publisher Bourne Co. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan, seeking unspecified damages and YouTube’s profits from
copyright infringement against them. They sought class-action status.

 washingtonpost.com

Thailand To Sue YouTube For Insulting King Bhumibol

Google Searches Solutions Beyond Censorship

King Bhumibol Adulyadej To YouTube: Shall We Dance… In Court? (Bloomberg)

If America is the undisputed champion of frivolous lawsuits,
Thailand may soon become the number one contender for that crown.
According to reports,
the south-east Asian nation is considering taking legal action against
video-sharing site YouTube for airing “insulting” clips of King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, including some where his head is shown near feet.
You read right, feet, which despite their relative banality in most of
the world are apparently considered dirty and offensive in Thailand.
(And you thought being a podiatrist was rough here!)

When the tootsy-trailers began airing, last month, the military-backed
government began blocking access to YouTube within its boarders. The
country-wide censorship came just days after a Swiss citizen was
sentenced to 10 years in jail for defacing an image of the king (who
later pardoned him).
It should be noted that the 79-year-old monarch is “almost universally
adored by Thais,” though adoration of a leader under what has also been
described as an “authoritarian
regime may be difficult to measure. That said, “the world’s
longest-reigning monarch, [is] one of the few who is still protected by
tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.”

As a result, satirists of varying talent from across the web have since
posted new videos mocking Bhumibol including digitally altered clips in
which he resembles “a monkey.”
Seemingly insulted beyond the mollification of mere censorship,
Thailand now plans to sue YouTube, owned by searching monolith Google,
under a charge of lese majeste.

The irony of course is that whether Thailand likes it or not, their
lawsuit is guaranteed to get millions more people checking out the
“insulting” YouTube videos. And though it certainly is not my place to
tell a country I know little about how to legislate, is it not equally
out of place for such a country to take legal action against an
American company, for not capitulating to its archaic sensitivities?
Moreover from a global perspective, the censorship of mockery only
serves to bolster the negative image (and fuel further mockery) of a nation perceived by many to be deficient in the protection of human rights.

Perhaps
instead of suing YouTube for creating a forum on which independent
users can express themselves, Thailand might put those same resources
toward eradicating the flesh trade within its own boarders. For while
spoofing the king may have insulted a great many people, isn’t the
reputation of rampant sexual slavery and underage prostitution far more
insulting?

By Emil Steiner | 
May 8, 2007; 10:37 AM ET
 | Category: 

OFF/beat Politics

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.

Nobody really adores the King in Thailand, people are just afraid to say anything against him.

He makes a big show of pardoning a Swiss but it was just for show.
Everyone knows the country is full of inequality and hypocrasy.

Posted by: Ben | May 8, 2007 12:01 AM

Why would anyone be afraid to say anything against this King? He has no “real” power.

Jim-
http://www.secretamazondeals.com

Posted by: Jim | May 8, 2007 12:52 AM

The Manila Times

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

 

Thailand to sue YouTube over king clips


Thailand’s army-backed government plans to sue Internet
video-sharing site YouTube over clips it deemed insulting to King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, an official said Monday.

“We are considering taking legal action
against the website,” said Vissanu Meeyo, a spokesman for the
information ministry.

Thailand plans to sue YouTube, owned by
Google, over charges of lese majeste — insulting the monarchy, a
serious crime here that carries up to 15 years in prison, the
spokesman said.

The government, which came to power after a
September coup, has continued to block YouTube since the first clip
showing the king next to a photograph of feet, considered deeply
offensive here, appeared in April.

The YouTube ban came a week after a Thai
court jailed a Swiss man for 10 years for insulting the monarch by
vandalising his portraits.

But the king later pardoned the man, who was
then deported from Thailand.

Since the first clip, more new videos
mocking the king have appeared on YouTube, including pictures of the
monarch that had been digitally altered to make him resemble a
monkey.

Thailand’s 79-year-old king, almost
universally adored by Thais, is the world’s longest-reigning
monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws
that prohibit any insult against the royal family.


—- AFP

Now Thailand Plans to Sue YouTube!
Techtree News Staff
Email


Print
May 7, 2007



Thailand is reportedly planning on suing Google’s YouTube over video
clips deemed insulting to the country’s most revered King Bhumibol
Adulyadej (79), the world’s longest-reigning monarch.

Thailand’s army-backed government is considering suing YouTube over
charges of ‘lese majeste’ or insulting the monarchy, a spokesperson for
the Thai Information Ministry said.


In Thailand, insulting royalty is considered a ‘serious crime,’ and
offenders are liable to punishment of up to 15 years of imprisonment.

It was last month that an offensive clip showing a pair of feet
next to a photograph of the Thai King first appeared on YouTube.
Despite strong protests from the Thai government, more such videos
continued to appear on YouTube, including one wherein pictures of the
monarch had been morphed to make him resemble a monkey.

The Thai government has since continued to block the Google-owned online video-sharing Web site.

And not that this is the first of YouTube’s legal woes…

Particularly of late, lawsuits have started to mount against the
Web site. What with recent reports of English football’s Premier League
having sued the Web site for alleged copyright infringement.

Not to mention the ‘fresh’ addition of NBC Universal to media
conglomerate Viacom’s long pending copyright lawsuit against YouTube…

Go to Google News Home

Thai king to sue YouTube
The Age, Australia – 5 hours ago
Thailand’s
army-backed government plans to sue internet video-sharing site YouTube
over clips it deemed insulting to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

THAILAND: Govt readies for lawsuit against YouTube
Asia Pacific Media Network, CA – 10 hours ago
The
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry has set up a
committee to proceed with a lawsuit against YouTube.com for running a
video clip
Thailand to sue YouTube over king clips
South Asian Women’s Forum, India – 15 hours ago
BANGKOK
(AFP) – “We are considering taking legal action against the website,”
said Vissanu Meeyo, a spokesman for the information ministry.
Thailand to sue YouTube over king clips
PhysOrg.com, VA – 20 hours ago
The
webpage of YouTube. Thailand’s army-backed government plans to sue
Internet video-sharing site YouTube over clips it deemed insulting to
King Bhumibol
ICT Ministry set to file lawsuit against Google
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand – May 5, 2007
BANGKOK,
May 5 (TNA) — Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication
Technology has set up a committee to consider filing a criminal lawsuit
against
Thailand To Sue YouTube For Insulting King Bhumibol
Washington Post, DC – 1 hour ago
If America is the undisputed champion of frivolous lawsuits, Thailand may soon become the number one contender for that crown.
King-Size Legal Trouble For YouTube
Forbes, NY – 7 hours ago
It’s
getting busy for YouTube’s in-house counsel. Days after it was sued by
England’s Football Association and an indie music publisher, the Thai
government
Now Thailand Plans to Sue YouTube!
Techtree.com, India – 16 hours ago
Thailand
is reportedly planning on suing Google’s YouTube over video clips
deemed insulting to the country’s most revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej
(79),
Thailand may file lawsuit against Google
Economic Times, India – 19 hours ago
PTI
[ MONDAY, MAY 07, 2007 02:10:54 PM]. BANGKOK: Thailand’s Ministry of
Information and Communication Technology has set up a committee to
consider filing
Now Thai government could file a lawsuit against YouTube
TechWhack, India – 9 hours ago
The
problems for Google owned YouTube seems to be growing even more. The
Thailand’s army-backed government has revealed their plans to file a
lawsuit
Thailand To Sue YouTube Over King Clips
Hard OCP, TX – 16 hours ago
Another
week, another lawsuit against YouTube. This time around it is Thailand
that has announced plans to sue YouTube. Apparently video clips that
were
Thailand planning to sue YouTube
TG Daily – 20 hours ago
By
Mark Raby. Bangkok (Thailand) – The government of Thailand says it
plans to sue YouTube over clips that it claims insult its king, in a
situation that’s

Thailand to sue YouTube over king clips – official
ABCmoney.co.uk, UK – 22 hours ago
By
: Agencies. BANGKOK (XFN-ASIA) – Thailand’s government plans to sue
internet video-sharing site YouTube over clips it deemed insulting to
King Bhumibol

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