YouTube fights Russian public safety agency's video ban

YouTube said it filed suit because the law is not intended to limit access to videos that entertain viewers

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  Internet

This happened before, for instance, when access to 1.3 million blogs hosted on Google service Blogger were blocked in Russia as a result of a court ruling that ordered the blockade of extremist blogs, Google Russia said last year. And the entire YouTube domain was blocked by a local Internet provider in 2010, after a court ruled that one of the movies there hosted was illegal, according to Google.

YouTube will probably win the lawsuit against the consumer regulator, said Vladimir Medeyko, director of Wikimedia Russia, the organization that runs the local version of Wikipedia, via instant message. His organization has been a vocal opponent of the new legislation.

"However, it won't have a significant influence on the law and related practices, I think," Medeyko said, adding that it is the duty of the alleged offender to prove its innocence and not the regulators' duty to prove guilt. YouTube's decision to sue the regulator after it blocked the video is in line with what the law aims to do, he said. "So the case will just be used to claim that the law works perfectly," he added.

If there are more lawsuits like this one things might change, because they might have a social effect, Medeyko said. "But only if there are lot of them."

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