Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google's petulant child

Google could be forgiven for thinking that its YouTube subsidiary is more headache than the $1.6 billion (£810 million) price tag was worth.

Since purchasing the world's most-popular video-sharing site late last year, Google has found itself embroiled in a sticky copyright scrap with Viacom, where it faces $1 billion in damages for the alleged unauthorised use of Viacom programmes on YouTube.

YouTube more recently has found itself in trouble in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thailand apparently banned YouTube after a user posted a 44-second video featuring unfavourable images of the country's King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Google, true to its zero-tolerance for evil censorship bullies (China aside, of course), reportedly refused to remove the clip, according to a Wednesday report on Bloomberg, the business wire service.

But someone in the Google/YouTube empire has apparently had a change of heart. Travolution found the clip in question but, when we tried to access it, we were told it had been removed by the user.

This is not the first time YouTubers have been naughty. In January the company reportedly removed a video of a Merrill Lynch banker having sex on a beach (not the drink, the real thing) after a Brazilian judge threatened to ban the site until the clip was removed.

One can only imagine what compromising "bunny" videos could be coming our way this weekend...

Tricia Holly Davis, chief writer, Travolution

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