Google executive detained, released by Brazilian police

TRUTH LEEM/REUTERS - Google Inc's logo is seen at an office in Seoul in this May 3, 2011 file photograph.

Brazilian Google executive Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was released after being detained by police in Sao Paolo, a BBC report said.

The Federal Police in Brazil released a statement Wednesday saying Coelho would be detained and questioned. The Associated Press reported that a translation of the press release indicated Coelho would be released if he agreed to sign a document promising to appear in court — which he apparently signed.

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Google could not be immediately reached for comment, but the company confirmed to the BBC that Coelho was released.

On Tuesday, a Brazilian court ruled that a YouTube video about a mayoral candidate violated election laws that prohibit disparaging personal remarks about candidates in an election. The order called for Coelho’s arrest, as well as s 24-hour blackout of Google and YouTube in Brazil.

In a statement Wednesday to The Washington Post, Google said it will appeal the decision.

Google has argued in the past that it is not responsible for content hosted on its YouTube video service. In cases of reported copyright infringement — Google has reacted to government requests to take videos down. But the company has also affirmed strong support for free speech, and has stuck closely to its community guideline requirements when deciding whether or not to remove videos.

Google and YouTube have blocked access to videos in certain countries, even when it could be argued they adhere to community guidelines, in exceptional circumstances. For example, YouTube did block access in Libya and Egypt to a preview of an anti-Muslim video clip that sparked protests across the Middle East — and after the White House asked the company to review the clip. In that case, although the clip was “clearly within our guidelines,” the company said, it believed the “very difficult situation” warranted the restriction.

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