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Web giant refused to pull attack piece on wannabe mayor

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Google's senior exec in Brazil was detained by police for questioning yesterday after the firm refused to take down YouTube videos attacking a mayoral wannabe.

Brazil has stringent election laws that prevent any campaigning that might "offend the dignity or decorum" of candidates. The two videos in question "slander, insult and defame" Alcides Bernal, a candidate for election in Campo Grande, according to the indictment.

The police arrested Fabio Jose Silva Coelho for "disobedience" after the firm failed to remove the offending vids, but he will be released after he agrees in writing to appear in court, according to a police statement picked up by AFP.

In related news, Brazil has also banned the online video The Innocence of Muslims that sparked violent protests across the Islamic world, giving Google 10 days to pull the video from its site.

The low-budget trailer for the American-made movie shows the prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and child abuser, and set off various protests including attacks on US embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Google usually holds to the position that it is not responsible for what users choose to post on YouTube, but there is a chance that it could be held accountable for not removing content once it has been declared illegal, an internet lawyer in Sao Paulo told Reuters. ®

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