A Brazilian judge has ruled in favor of YouTube, Globo Comunicações e Participações, and Internet Group do Brasil (iG) this week in a case involving Brazilian model Daniella Cicarelli and a sex video. Cicarelli and her boyfriend, Tato Malzoni, had sued YouTube after a video of the couple having sex on a public beach in Brazil appeared on the site. The pair argued that YouTube was violating their privacy. Judge Gustavo Santini Teodoro ruled that the couple’s privacy claims were unfounded and ordered Cicarelli to pay fees to each of the defendants.
So first, she ordered pizza…
The story starts with the Spanish paparazzi videotaping Cicarelli and Malzoni having sex on a beach in August of 2006. The video was subsequently leaked to several media sources and was eventually shown on the Spanish TV show Dolce Vita. One thing led to another, and the sexcapade eventually landed on YouTube, where its popularity was rivaled by other uploads of the same video. Such is the pattern for many things video these days.
Supposedly horrified, the couple began hurling legal threats at YouTube, despite YouTube’s continued attempts to remove the videos at the couple’s request. In an all-too-familiar twist, the sex video kept was continuously re-uploaded to the site by various users, and YouTube was unable to keep up. For all intents and purposes, this "sex on the beach" was like a bottomless cocktail, and the YouTube community was drunk on its sex appeal.
Eventually, a Brazilian judge stepped in and ruled in favor of the couple’s frustrations, going so far as to rule that YouTube be shutdown. Since Brazil lacks jurisdiction to accomplish that, the country tried the next best thing: blocking the site. As we discussed in a recent article on YouTube lawsuits, the ban didn’t last long, and that decision was overturned shortly thereafter. Still left unaddressed, however, was the question of whether or not YouTube could be held liable for any part of the skin-ematic event.
Teodoro’s ruling focused mostly on Cicarelli’s "good faith"—or lack thereof—in pushing the privacy case when her actions took place in public. In the Portuguese-language ruling seen by Ars Technica, Teodoro said that the couple made the claim in bad faith and tried to argue that coverage of their public sexual affair should somehow be treated as an invasion of their privacy. The judge ordered them to pay all court and lawyer costs, as well as R$10,000 (roughly US$5,000) to each of the defendants. It would appear that even in Brazil, sex in public is, well, public.
This isn’t the only victory YouTube has gained this week. The country of Thailand recently banned YouTube within the country due to "insulting" videos of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej being uploaded to the site. Some of the videos depicted Adulyadej as a monkey, with others showed his image next to an image of feet (an action reportedly punishable by prison sentence, but Thai readers inform us that the King has never taken such action).
While representatives in the country decided not to sue Google after YouTube removed the offensive videos, the ban apparently remained intact up until this week, when Thailand’s Information and Communications Technology Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said that he will restore access to YouTube. As long as YouTube blocks "improper" content, he said, Thai viewers would be able to use the site again.