Skip navigation Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? blogs bannedAccording to Brazil: Bloggers united against ban by Global Voices, blogs are or soon will be banned due to a judge in Brazil ruling against a blogger featuring a YouTube video embedded in the blog of a couple having sex.

The details of the blogger and content in question is a bit vague, but this is not the first time, nor the last, that international courts have made a sweeping judgment against due to the actions of an individual blogger. This ban blocks not only blogs in that language, but all blogs, which is currently approaching 3 million.

There are two issues I want to address:

  1. What responsibility does have towards its banned blogs and the international courts?
  2. Why aren’t more bloggers talking about blogs and bloggers being banned?

I’d love to say a lot more about how senseless such legal rulings are, but let’s address the issue of common sense and responsibility.

What Responsibility Should Bear?

Celso Bessa Post-its on wrote an open letter to Automattic and Team asking for specific help to protect access to blogs from Brazil. Help I believe should be answered on the official Pages and Terms of Service to help other judicial courts act against an individual without punishing the whole:

By providing the Brazilian Court with a technical report and knowledge support about the best way to handle the blocking order of this specific blog, without compromising the access to

The other two requests by the author are to provide enough time for the blog owner to respond and defend their rights, and to provide the information on the issue to the blogosphere so the public can have their say. I argue both from a business perspective. blog banned temporarilyI agree bloggers should have the right, and time, to defend themselves, which staff does provide, as long as the issue is between and the blogger directly, and/or another blogger. For instance, if a bloggers is found to be violating copyrights by plagiarizing content or violating the Terms of Service with advertising, they are often warned several times before the content, and/or the blog, is shut down. When possible, bloggers are given every chance to make appropriate changes, but if you are blatantly doing wrong, they have a fast trigger finger on the Delete Blog button, which is why continues to get the highest ratings and honors as a clean, splog-free blog service.

When it comes to legal decisions, must respond accordingly – though they do often work with the blogger in question to handle the issue on their blog – again, when possible and within the scope of their responsibilities.

The place for bloggers to defend themselves is in court. offers a free platform for people to have their say, but they cannot be held responsible for all the rules in the world that dictate what form that “say” should be in, as that form often conflicts directly with the rules somewhere else in the world. To be the legal arbitrator, or even to be a part of deciding whose rule is right, is way beyond the scope of services like, Blogger, and other free blog hosting services. The author of the content is responsible for their content, and should be tried, held responsible, and punished accordingly.

Should be responsible for establishing a “court of public opinion” for bloggers? Their free blog hosting services does that inherently, but to showcase specific issues is also beyond the scope of, in my opinion.

By publishing such information for public dissemination, becomes responsible for that content. If not written very carefully, with lawyers standing behind the author to take care nothing biased, accusatory, or risky is said, such content can become liable rather than responsible. The grassroots resistance of public opinion happens on the blogs, not with the blog hosts. I believe it should remain with the people.

I believe that should only be liable for the amount you pay to blog on From a business perspective, that’s common sense.

However, I believe that should continue to stick to its high moral standards for running a clean blog hosting site and take responsibility for helping individual blogs in these cases. Whether they agree or not with the courts ruling, must provide information to the courts on how to block individual and specific blogs. This allows the ruling to target the accused and not penalized a huge community of bloggers – in any language.

What Happened to Our Enthusiasm for Protecting Freedom of Speech?

I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic. Lazy. Uninspired. Dumbed down. Honestly. When the term echo chamber was coined, it was a good label for all the regurgitation of content spread all over the web, drowning individual voices. Self-interest blogging is pervasive. What happened to altruism and using the blog publishing platform to support freedom of speech and bloggers around the world?

What happened to us? Why am I not seeing protests and opinions on this issue all over the web? Why isn’t the banning of three million blogs a big deal? Why aren’t we talking about this instead of the latest iPhone gizmo and useless SEO techniques? Why didn’t people get angry and protest loudly when blogs were banned in Turkey, China, and other countries? continues to be banned in places – why aren’t we talking about this?

Have we really become desensitized to the plight of other bloggers and the oppression of freedom of speech?

We need to find our indignant righteousness again, fellow bloggers. We need to make our voices matter. Three voices should not have to shout to be heard on behalf of millions of bloggers. I want my blog to be read by those in Brazil, Turkey, China, and everywhere in the world. Don’t you? Why should my blog be penalized because of the actions of one?

People are asking Automattic to take a stand. I’m asking bloggers around the world to take a stand and let their voices be heard when others can’t.

Let not millions of bloggers be blocked and banned for the sake of a couple of idiots. You don’t send an entire city’s population to jail because two people break the law. Maybe the world would be a better place if we did, but that’s another discussion. 😀

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  1. Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    If it was an embed of a YouTube video, why wasn’t YouTube targeted? Why simply single out WordPress?

  2. Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Chris, it seems silly that wordpress was targeted and not youtube. Youtube was the source, the wordpress blog was just linking to it well embedding it, but the source remains the same, not wordpress rather, youtube.

  3. Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    No offense to, but this is one of the risks you take if you let someone else host your website.

  4. Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    This is just truly silly, I hate when I read stuff like this, Everyone should have the freedom to blog if they want to and NO government should have the right to block an individual site…..

    I hope this does get reversed, !

    God Bless America !


  5. Posted April 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    It does seem odd that should be banned and not YouTube, who served the actual content. But, maybe that has something to do with the respective owners of the two sites, and the perceived power those owners might wield.

  6. Posted April 17, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Little info: Turkey lifted the ban. But yes, we still hate our government for blocking “us” for about 7,5 months.

  7. Posted April 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    It is definitely very disappointing that this is happening in Brazil. Far too many court systems just don’t seem to understand the internet, and the ways in which particular sites or pieces or software are or are not responsible for every bit of content posted.

  8. Posted April 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Milan
    Far too many court systems just don’t seem to understand the internet,–and so they fear it.

    WWW is a place for all to say what they would like to say. But in this days 2008 you are not allowed to say what you would like.

    “Goverment Trojaner in every pc – this is the plan. Stop people to inform themselves -this is the plan. ”

    The other side:
    “No offense to, but this is one of the risks you take if you let someone else host their website.”

    kindly regards

  9. Posted April 17, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This sucks lorelle, I really hate it when governments try to control the freedom of speech. Mind if I put this post on my blog linking back the source to u?

  10. Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Fighting these kinds of lawsuits is very expensive. Plus generally must be done in that country. Does Automattic/ have legal counsel on retainer in Brazil? Turkey? China? USA? Germany? elsewhere?

    In 2003-2004, I was involved in a case as an expert witness where the state of Pennsylvania passed a law aimed at fighting child porn. They did this by blocking all web traffic on specific IP address. But with shared hosting, I documented more than a million domain names and sites that were blocked by a few hundred blocked IP addresses. The case cost *lots* of money, 6 to 7 figures US, and took one year to be resolved.

    I can only imagine the legal hassles in fighting this censorship worldwide. What can you do as a user? Make regular backups of your database and any customizations made to themes or plugins. Use your own domain name so you’re not branded as part of the domain being attacked. React quickly to any legal notices you receive.

    I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

  11. Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps YouTube has age restrictions on their content, but does not as it is completely open. I’ve encountered videos that require me to log in to confirm my page. Sure it isn’t full proof, but it’s probably more than has in place.

  12. Ricardo "Fang"
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Ridiculous attitude from the Government if you ask me. I’m from Brasil and can say this trouble is unfortunately becoming *too* much usual…

    Legal actions resulting in censorship and restriction of freedom of speech due to misuse of services started with Orkut (most popular social site here), which accepted to help fighting against illegal actions so it could escape from banning. Then, got into multiple troubles, the most popular one being an action moved by an actress. And now, even WordPress??? Pfft.

    Brazil may considered a country in development, but let’s face the reality: we are by far outdated in this huge media called “Web”. No laws specifically defining and targeting digital crimes, lack of investments in this structure, actions for “digital safety” targeting the wrong party. Instead of acting as aggressive as possible, is it so hard to read the terms of service, or even contact WordPress for removal of the so said content and tracking it’s author? =x

    Soon, we can be facing a new “Firewall” in a whole country, restricting the freedom of speech, restricting the most dynamic media available, if no attention is given to it. Stopping in the time can be dangerous.

  13. Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    @ theWizard:

    You can reference and link to the article – for that you don’t need permission. It’s within Fair Use. But thanks for asking.

  14. Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    @ TourPro:

    Actually, it’s a risk no matter who hosts your website or blog.

  15. Posted April 17, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I find this guy. Why punish WP for one moron.

  16. Posted April 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    “Why aren’t more bloggers talking about blogs and bloggers being banned?”

    I see two immediate answers to this question. First, bloggers aren’t aware of blogs being banned by nations unless we happen to have a friend in that country who tells us of the upcoming ban. While the internet is a great source of information, unless something is picked up and carried on all the social media sites by people in the affected nations, the rest of the world will often never know it’s even happening. There’s just way too much content out there for most of us to read, so we stick with our immediate interests … which might just happen to be the latest electronic gizmo, an area of internet specialization, or whatever else catches our attention at a given time.

    The second reason is when the true scale of the decision is not realized by a person. Why would a blogger show outrage when a nation is completely blocked from using a web service unless they realize how this directly impacts them, as well? Quite a few of the people we talk to online just don’t see the bigger picture without a little background education.

    At the end of the day, everything boils down to the big “E” word: education. Law makers around the world need to understand something before they can rule against it, just like teachers need to know something before they can teach it. Bloggers also need to educate themselves a little more with the online laws in other countries if we expect to maintain an online presence within their borders, as well.

    Despite being over 30 years old, the internet is still something new that most of the world’s decision makers know little to nothing about. Governments often stay in power due to the miseducation of their people, and the internet can be seen as a threat to that power after the local people start airing their grievances publicly. At the same time, we see legal rulings handed down on digital offences that were derived from laws neither aware or equipped to handle something as dynamic as the internet.

    I hate to introduce yet another cliche, but this is only going to get worse before it gets better. In order for the net to become truly open, governments and legal bodies will need to have internet power users placed in key locations throughout the system. Unforunately, this isn’t going to happen for at least another generation.

    As an aside, Japan is also talking about regulating the internet for sites that contain information deemed harmful according to standards that are neither clear or exist at the moment. I wrote about this after hearing about the potential legislation last year and, like most things on the internet, the issue was considered a cause of concern only for people living in the country. 😕

  17. Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, for a moment let’s go easy on the judge. That poor guy would be about 50 years or so, born at a time when there was no Internet. So he doesn’t know how this blogging thing works. All he sees is the “” suffix and a prosecution lawyer breathing down his neck trying to convince him that if it is on, then is responsible.

    Unless someone can around the world educating the Judiciary, we will keep seeing such decisions, or at least till people from our generation become judges.In a handful of countries awareness amongst the judiciary exists, while others don’t even know what’s an IP.

    Someone needs to tell them that the folks have no way of controlling what content is put on blogs they host.

  18. Josh14
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Glad I’m not using anymore. This was bound to happen when people don’t know how to use the report this blog feature.

  19. Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    “Actually, it’s a risk no matter who hosts your website or blog.”

    Actually Lorelle, it’s not. One blog being banned by a nation isn’t an issue at all. A single blog being deemed ‘content unbecoming’ is entirely the domain of those who practice censorship, be it in a school, the workplace or nation wide, if the people have allowed government too much control.

    The issue is UNJUST censorship of everyone else’s blog under the domain. That’s the kicker… and that’s not something that can happen unless you’re being hosted by a host that also allows potentionally questionable material.

    The moral of the story is, host your own stuff.

    Moreover, there are much more serious censorship issues in the world than some guy’s blog. Your righteous indignation here is completely out of proportion given your lack of such indignation on more serious world issues.

    You ask why we don’t care… frankly, I’m wondering whether you only care because of your close connection with wordpress and your affection for the blogging medium specifically.

    move along, this is not the soapbox you’re looking for

  20. Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    What Jason said. People just don’t know. There was a fair degree of outrage across about the Turkish block, because Matt publicised it in the news blog. But Automattic are keeping quiet about this one, probably because kicking up a fuss about Turkey didn’t actually achieve anything. Also, I don’t know the figures, but possibly Turkey contributed a larger proportion of traffic and revenue to the site than Brazil does, and so the loss of those users hit the site harder. (It seems pretty unlikely, given the relative populations of those countries, but user demographics can be weird.)

    A few months down the line we had people on the forums whining that some guys in Turkey were mirroring their blogs for the benefit of Turkish readers, calling them sploggers and demanding that their content be removed. Most people don’t know and don’t care what’s happening outside their own little bubble; that’s just what people are like, on the internet as in life.

  21. Big Fella
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Not only can a blog or host be silenced, in some places blogging “freely” lands you in Jail.

    As a blogger I want to be able to express myself freely, but sometimes we do have to exercise some self editing, regardless of whether in a country that seems more repressive than another, regardless if on a service provider’s host, or self hosted, there still can be consequences, just like in life, there can always be consequences.

    I’ve also got to agree with Jason, this is all new territory when you compare blogging on the Internet, to say pamphleteering in the 18th century. This will take much more “discussion”, education, and pressure on government regulators.

  22. Posted April 17, 2008 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Nobody is complaining because in the long run, it doesn’t matter.

    Really, I think John Gilmore said it best: “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

    How long did that ban in Turkey last again? It was all of 10 minutes before the people there were back online and ignoring it… Sure a lot of people complained, but big deal. In the long run, no government can control its own people. Not via means like that anyway, they need to learn subtlety to be effective.

  23. Posted April 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    @ Manu Don’t assume the judge is 50 and don’t let him off the hook because of his age. If he is ignorant because of his age then it is his job to educate himself before rendering an important decision. And don’t assume that 50 year olds are all ignorant. Just because we were born before the PC, the ATM, and the moon landings, not to mention the Internet, does not mean that we as a generation are ignorant. Nor does it excuse it. To think that would be (and was) ignorant. Your day will come and people your age will be complaining that you don’t understand. I grew up in the ’60’s so believe me, I know.

    The issue here is that “free speech” comes hand in hand with responsibility. It’s the old “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater” deal. Your “rights” come also with responsibilities and end when you start encroaching on someone else’s rights. Posting a video of people engaged in intimate acts without posting a reasonable disclaimer is irresponsible. A simple link could have been left to the video without embedding it in the post. People need to report such posts. If a person wants to embed adult content, then let them post on a domain of their own and deal with the consequences on their own. Putting and others who use it in jeopardy because of this type of irresponsibility was ignorant, almost as much as was the judge’s ruling.

  24. Metta
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    “That poor guy would be about 50 years or so, born at a time when there was no Internet.”

    Oh, come ON. If you’re talking about the kind of internet which includes things like YouTube,, and hosted websites in massive numbers – the things at issue in this case – then someone who’s 20 years old was born at a time when it didn’t exist. To blame this on age is inaccurate, and ageist to boot.

    I could with equal validity argue that age improves knowledge of the internet. I’m 40, and if you’re reading this and are under the age of 17, I’ve been using the internet longer than you’ve been alive. What does that prove? Exactly as much as the judge’s age proves.

    The real issue is research. Judges aren’t expected to be experts in everything they rule on; they *are* expected to research, or have their staff research, what they don’t know thoroughly enough to make an informed decision. In fact, judges rarely make decisions based solely on their own knowledge, even if they do know the subject; a legal decision has to be based on verifiable facts and points of law.

    It wouldn’t take more than a couple of hours’ worth of information gathering to outline the basics of hosting, site ownership, and linking/embedding, but it certainly seems that time wasn’t taken.

  25. saxoch
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    The more Blogging becomes mainstream, the more apathetic.
    Happens with everything. You will still see advocacy and such in blog areas of the world where present and non virtual internet politics are still un democratic.

  26. Posted April 17, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I had no clue this was happening…

    but as someone said above… resistance is futile… we will always find a way to bypass the firewall… or censorship… maybe not with but… or mysitetobypass or whatever that may pop up later.

    The issue here is as again, someone said.. EDUCATION…


    Is as difficut as saying an old lady how to print a file… damn!

  27. Posted April 17, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why so many countries are fund of hitting WordPress, and (for this case) not utube.
    This is so unfair! But anyways, no matter where it gets banned, WordPress.Com is still doing well in Alexa Ranking and so, thumbs up!

  28. Posted April 17, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Good point Chris, they should also take a look on youtube not just no WP, besides the video is hosted on youtube.
    The principle of “one rotten tomato in a basket”

  29. Posted April 17, 2008 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    @ Otto:

    Just for your information, the ban in Turkey lasted almost eight months.

  30. Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    “Howdy” y’all! I just wanted to say that I’m brazilian and this is the second time I’ve seen the law trying to block a website because of a lawsuit. It’s just not right!!!! The first time was because of a brazilian model who had sex on a spanish beach and didn’t like that someone posted the video on YouTube. Come on, if you don’t want exposure, don’t expose yourself!! Anyway, this just shows how inneficient our legal system is and the ridiculous situations they put us through! Blocking millions of blogs because of a single post? I bet this judge has no clue on how to send an e-mail!! For crying out loud!!!

  31. Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    the clowns in Brazil need to deal with racism, poverty, murder, cocaine and et cetera before they worry about a blog showing two people having sex

  32. Marikit
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    The truth is there are TOO MANY issues out there. Personally, I support the freedom of speech not just because I’m a blogger, but also because I’m a journalist by profession. But, how many times have one or more of our freedoms been curtailed and no one said anything about it. Case in point – the Department of Homeland Security has so much power, it is already scary, but no one says anything about it, be it on blogs or traditional media.

    Yes, what Brazil did is sad and unfair, even wrong in several points of view. But unless WORDPRESS BANS the WHOLE OF BRAZIL from ever downloading WordPress so that they cannot use it or their citizens being able to open word press blogs; and all other blog softwares and hosts like movable type and blogspot doing the same, then Brazil as a country will not care. They will not even notice.

    The truth is this – in the eyes of the world, if the U.S. or an American company, even just one American (no matter what the national origin is, as long as the person holds a U.S. passport), discrimates against a citizen of another country or a country, it’s called racism. But if another country discrimates against the U.S., a U.S. company or an American, no one cares except us Americans. Go figure!!!

  33. Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, regarding my comment above, by trying to block users from accessing the video, it became even more popular and people tried as hell to bypass security filters. If they think that they’ll succeed in blocking, they are way out of their league. People will just be more interested in knowing what that fuss is all about and the blog’s content will spread to other websites. The government just don’t get that the current law system just doesn’t apply to the web!!

  34. Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    @ Milorad:

    It does matter. There are many, many blog “networks” set up using WordPressMU like Many, like, host hundreds of thousands of blogs and can be penalized accordingly by blocking all blogs with in the URL instead of the offending blog.

    There are also web hosts with self-hosted sites that also bear the weight of responsibility when the courts take action against someone on their service and the courts ban by IP address and such that makes sweeping persecution of whole groups of people who have no idea anything is going on. Since they can’t get the host to shut the site down, let’s ban the host!

    While not a legal issue, many bloggers add filters which ban all .info and Russian trackbacks and access because they mistakenly believe all sites and commenters with those URL are spammers and sploggers. Again, a sweeping decision that persecutes innocents. This case, however, involves court decisions, not assumptions.

    When the courts take generalized action, and we can only make assumptions on how techno-savvy they are, a lot of people can get caught in the mess, whether or not they want to. Blaming and free blog hosting services is not a reflection upon the quality nor integrity of the hosting service versus self-hosted. The fault lies with the courts for making general actions instead of specific actions directed towards the accused. It’s like penalizing the whole classroom for one bully in the class, but this is much bigger.

    There are many issues that need to be addressed that go beyond this, of course. I’d love to see discussions on all of these issues, dealing with censorship, content abuse, imprisonment of blogger for freedom of speech issues, violations of human rights, dictatorship and oppressive governments…unfortunately, only a few have the fire in their belly to blog on these issues. I still think it is worth questioning why we aren’t questioning more. Don’t you?

    Maybe this is just a spark to start the conversation.

  35. Posted April 18, 2008 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Poor Brazilians, how can they ban all blogger just cuz of one single person!!

  36. Posted April 18, 2008 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    This is kinda nonsense, is like banning Television just because TV can display porn video. hmm…

  37. Posted April 18, 2008 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    @ Lorelle:

    Yes, it’s true that it could happen to any site or domain, but when your sharing a service you also share the risk. You know, when the guy next to you gets hit with a pie, you’re gonna come away with some whipped cream (or lemon meringue as the case may be).

    I’ll admit that a solo website may not have the power to fight such a situation, but it’s also much easier to be “overlooked”. Any way this falls, it makes the courts in Brazil seem kind of lame.

  38. Ricardo "Fang"
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    @ Camilo:

    Finally someone who got my point. This is not about “what humans can do, humans can break” or how Internet manages to route around blocking issues, yet I agree it’s right. The question is, hitting the wrong target will do nothing other than create a negative image for a country. Our outdated law doesnt apply here, and must be updated to the new, dynamic reality.

  39. Posted April 18, 2008 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, are any other blog hosts banned anywhere? Surely this problem comes up elsewhere? Thx.

  40. Posted April 18, 2008 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    This just shows why it’s far better to put your blog on your own website domain. For less then ten bucks a month you can enjoy blogging on your own domain and not have to worry about getting lumped in with other users of the free sites.

  41. Posted April 18, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I realize that I’m new here but I think that you are all missing the point. It very easy for us to say that we believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press and try and impose that belief on another country. I’ve read many posts on here that state that the judge made a horrible ruling. How many people on here are familiar with the laws of Brazil.

    I for one, am not. As an American it offends me when I see the rights that I take for granted restricted in anyway. However, that doesn’t give me the right to impose my beliefs on another country. If the court system in Brazil works like ours, the judge was making a ruling based on the laws of Brazil.

    One of the reason’s that Americans are disliked around the world is because we try and impose our laws on other countries. The vitriol that is generated here needs to directed at the people of Brazil that have the ability to take action against their goverment to change the law. Nothing that is said by Americans, or any other country for that matter, is going to make much difference to the goverment of Brazil.

    Thanks for your time.


  42. Jenny
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Youtube, and it’s parent company google ban to censor users, in the US, based on what corporate and other interests demand.. and it’s not only those who engage in copyright infringement. Mark Bunker, an emmy winning producer had his account suspended after posting an interview he filmed with actor, Jason Beghe, regarding Beghe’s criticism of the Church of Scientology. The CoS, decided to start purchasing adsense ads with youtube, and then demanded Bunker’s account be removed. The interview with Beghe had attracted worldwide coverage, and Bunker’s video had reached viral status. Youtube suspended the account.

    Of course, google, like yahoo worked with the communist Chinese government to inform them about Chinese citizens who used the internet to discuss human rights issues. These innocent Chinese citizens were harassed, abused and incarcerated merely for talking about their concerns about human rights.

    I have to ask why there’s more concern about the rights of someone to post sexual content, and no concern about the fascism of corporations who will subvert civil and human rights based on profit?

  43. Cem
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    We tried to get the ban removed in Turkey… But since Matt doesn’t care, and doesn’t want to negotiate, we failed. There is only so much we can do…

    And when I say he doesn’t care, he really doesn’t… After seeing a few lawyers, reading the court ruling and finding out that was banned because of one guys will, we contacted Matt saying that if that blog is deleted, ban will be lifted.

    His reply?

    Well if the alternative to being blocked in Turkey is censoring the free speech of our users there, I’d rather stay blocked even though it’s going to hurt us traffic-wise.

    Matt is a great guy, but he has to realize that the bigger his company gets, the more corporate he has to become, and the more he has to sacrifice…

  44. Posted April 18, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Strange, I can’t understand the ruling not including YouTube. I dont understand all of being banned for that matter. Spreading the word.

  45. Posted April 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “Well if the alternative to being blocked in Turkey is censoring the free speech of our users there, I’d rather stay blocked even though it’s going to hurt us traffic-wise.” – Source of comment

    I’m glad Matt said that. You’re asking the guy to become more corporate, when he’s protecting the rights of his users. Matt can’t control what Turkey does. He can uphold his values and belief system regarding free speech within his own company. That makes him a bigger man with stronger values than most “corporate” hotshots.

    If he succumbed to the threats of the Turkish government to ban by removing one user, is he any better than the Turkish government? Wouldn’t he be censoring the free speech of others?

    Why should he be willing to “negotiate” what he believes in?

  46. Posted April 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    “You don’t send an entire city’s population to jail because two people break the law.” Perhaps not, but Texas just raided a religious compound and hauled away all the children there based on an anonymous claim of abuse by one woman and the appearance of abuse at the site. Broad brush approach; take all the children because of the possibility that some of them have been abused. We should clean up around our own back door before jumping on Brazil.

  47. Posted April 18, 2008 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    We know bad judges will make bad decisions: Indeed, we will be stripped of all our rights. Denied all our freedoms if good people are content to just be meek, mead out justice and pray for peace, while bad people call a technical file on every move, demand that we obey the laws as they ignore them and require us to pitch in and pay for the damages they do daily because bad people can get away with bad behavior as long as we know there are bad. People!

  48. Posted April 19, 2008 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    YouTube is owned by Google. Google owns the world. Therefore, WordPress is the target.

    Sounds fair… Not. Seriously now… News like this coming from the country that has the most laxed laws in terms of human sexuality??? Psssh… Long live freedom of speech, and long live WordPress.

  49. Posted April 19, 2008 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    “I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic”…

    Bloggers are enjoy the freedoms of communication but often forget the responsibility to defend it.

    I think Web users should report spam, malwares, abuses, and censorship, when ever they can.
    Many of us are concerned.

  50. Posted April 19, 2008 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I too would like the support Matt and the statement that he made. I agree with fact that as WordPress gets bigger he will have more issues to deal with but the right to free speech shouldn’t be one of them. The Turkish government has a right to ban certain content. We may not like it but that is thier choice. We don’t get to decide what other countries find suitable for its population.

    If Matt were to negotiate with Turkey and ban a particular website it would open him up to every person or country with a beef. Then he would have to entertain anyone that happened to be offended and that is a slippery slope that I’m sure he doesn’t want to step out on.

    Our right to free speech means that sooner or later someone is going to say something that offends us. That is the price of admission.

    Keep up the good work Matt.


  51. Posted April 19, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I hate to say it in this day and age but, not all countries are created equally. Here in the U.S. we are allowed the freedom to express ourselves and share our opinions without any threat from the government.
    The way I see it, it’s the viewers responsability to look at or read what’s appropriate for them and not be judge and jury for the rest of the world!

  52. Posted April 19, 2008 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    i guess any way, to do not accept our world as it is, fully with all our “negativitiespositivites” is just ignorant.

  53. Posted April 19, 2008 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I haven’t read the above comments, so sorry if this has been mentioned before, but the main problem here has nothing to do with WordPress. The Judge’s decision was wrong because they don’t understand how the internet works.

  54. Posted April 19, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Each and every country has the right to determine what is accemptable for it’s respective communinties. WordPress Bloggers have the right to write. I totally understand why Brazil does not want the type of content described in their country where children have access.

    In America, we tolerate trashy behaviors – Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, etal., they are iconic in lewd lacivious ridiculous behaviors, are rewarded for it. Why should I rush to defend any bloggers supposed right to bring that behavior into a community that does not want it. I am neither lazy nor desensitized. There are other atrocities going on globally that warrant my attention. The plight of the American economy; human rights in China; global starvation because America has diverted food sources into production of ethanol. Starvation for profit? The kidd that is missing down the road is more important than bloggers banned in Brazil becaue they posted porn on their blog.

  55. Posted April 19, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh maan…same thing happens here in my country when my government banned the access to blogspot although they said the ban was no longer applied, I sometimes still can’t access all the blogspot blogs, this whole thing was nothing but stupid propaganda.

  56. treadmarkz
    Posted April 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    a friend of mine recently got banned apparently for blogging about a non-profit organization. How much farther than that can this type of censorship go?

  57. Posted April 20, 2008 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    It’s normal and predictable, thats coz of different policy in different country.

  58. barkybree
    Posted April 20, 2008 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic. Lazy. Uninspired. Dumbed down. Honestly. … What happened to altruism and using the blog publishing platform to support freedom of speech and bloggers around the world?”

    I’m supposed to be upset because Brazil banned WordPress because it allows users to post lewd content? Posting YouTube vids of sex acts is something I’m supposed to support? Nope, sorry, on your own. I’m not going to get upset because foreign governments find lewd content offensive & bannable.

    You picked a terrible example, and expect us to be up in arms about it? If this was Brazil banning WordPress because of articles criticizing them about rain forest depletion or violence against indigenous tribes, then your point would be valid. But I’m supposed to get all upset & defensive over people’s rights to post porn?

    Netizens need to shake off porn links, not defend them.

  59. sazka
    Posted April 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s such a truly paranoia that we still fear the reality. The rapid advancement and sophistication of www world is inevitably invading every pixel of our life. And nobody nor even government can and or has the right to do such a ban. As God, the Almighty Creator, lets everything go on, why not us human who merely the creatures. It’s against the capacity.

  60. Posted April 20, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle said:

    bloggers around the world have become apathetic

    With all due respect to the issue at hand – meting out punishment against WP for the alleged misdeeds of one particular blogger – I believe that’s a whopping token of misconstruing the differing social and political structures and general expectations of “how the system works” in all different parts around the globe, as well as a significant example of why there’s so much going wrong within the US (totally sidestepping silly season in effect here, and its partisan blinders) without much prospect of a fundamental engagement of underlying trouble here, in this country.

    For one, that statement presupposes or at least suggests that blogs, by virtue of their technological and formal uniformity, have some homogenizing effect. A crass mistake: what they do, is to break down the age old leverage of traditional opinion funnels, giving “ordinary people” a tool to be heard. But most importantly, they do not wield “power” beyond the word; less so, has their appearance on the world stage made “the old ways” disappear. Prejudice, tradition and expectations still are what they are.

    Secondly, I vividly recall the “inertia” when (for example) judges in France and Germany put the kibosh on on-line sales of nazi paraphernalia; similarly, in early 2003 the impending invasion of a certain Middle Eastern country clearly ruffled most feathers abroad, where the espoused “conventional wisdom” emanating from the White House was challenged as an egregious and transparent swindle. More recently, the Fitna fracas (and before that, the so-called Danish cartoons episode) yielded bountiful examples of excited tempers and little action in practice.

    Just for the record, I clearly sympathize with the anger toward that Brazilian judge, who perhaps may have a technical point, yet misses the entire forest for the tree trunks in front of him.

    However, there’s an enormous difference between looking at what is merely the umpteenth illustration of the fact that while blogs are ready for this world, not every place in this world is ready for them. The notion of “free speech” is such a fantastic example of US-borne projection, that in my opinion it deserves a major blog dedicated to just that issue. On the one hand, there’s the notion of “intellectual freedom” (i.e., the freedom of sovereign citizens to hold and defend opinions) and on the other, there’s the “freedom of the press” (which even in the US still is struggling to come to terms with the exact position of bloggers) and in the case of the “Brazilian judge” there’s another issue, which sounds foreign to the ears of a US-based observer: the right to dignity. In the US, its distant cousin is the right to privacy, and even that right is clearly under attack in the US.

    It is precisely that right to dignity which has been given overriding preeminence in the deliberations of that judge; instead of whining about the mad, sad world which “doesn’t care” about cases like this, it’s probably more productive to have a second, more in-depth look at the differences in different countries that almost necessarily lead to very different interpretations of legal concepts – and as a result, the legal conclusions will also vary.

    It’s not bloggers that somehow are becoming desensitized by ever grinding reality, but the complexity of reality beyond the electronic screens that eludes comprehension and engagement.

    The results of that disconnect, if left unattended, are far, far worse than one blogging platform or another being blocked out in a country: it leads to misrepresentations and disconnects from common humanity, pursuing the exact same principles of justice merely in different (and in some cases, in fact opposite) manners.

    My recipe: less complaining about ugly foreign countries destroying civilization as we know it, and more thought and more sincere attempts to understand what baffles the prejudiced mind.

    That’s what gives cooperation and engagement traction.

  61. Posted April 20, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Barking on the wrong tree. That’s what I think. YouTube should have been the one held responsible, not WordPress. Even then, it would not be justified since YouTube doesn’t really have control over every video that they host.

  62. Posted April 21, 2008 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Where does “responsibility” end? Is the education system of the person in question responsible since it gave that person the skills and the language to place that video on the blog in the first place. Its ridiculous of course, but simply and extension of the argument to the nth degree.

    Where did we lose the concept of personal responsibility in this world?

  63. Posted April 21, 2008 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Just for your information, the ban in Turkey lasted almost eight months.

    Yes, but workarounds existed for the entire time. Anybody from Turkey that wanted to see sites could still do so, just by switching to a different DNS server.

    My point is that only those people who allow themselves to be fed information instead of finding it themselves actually feel the effects of censorship.

  64. Posted April 21, 2008 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    @ Reyn:

    Again, I don’t know the facts in the case to that detail. Maybe the YouTube account was private but by publishing it on a blog took it public. I can’t make assumptions about facts I don’t know, I just know that a group of bloggers has been punished for the problems with one.

    However, any time for any reason that a group of bloggers are collectively banned is an issue that worries me. Blame can be spread all over the place, but we must talk about this and educate the world, including legal systems, on the narrow mindedness of such sweeping decisions.

    I would also like to say that this is just one of several issues that have resulted in a huge group/community of bloggers punished for the acts of one. This one has sexual overtones, which many related to irresponsibility, vulgarity, and not freedom of speech. The ban in Turkey that few outside of Turkey fussed about nor talked about concerned a religious and political figure having his say and the Turkey courts deciding otherwise. As also happened in China.

    Few protested then. Now that sex is involved, people are paying attention. I don’t care what the reason, I care that we talk, educate, teach, learn, and share our thoughts and opinions on the issue to help prevent the next attack on a group or community of bloggers.

    Keep talking. Maybe some judicial member might get a glimpse at the complications and consequences of making such a sweeping decision and decide otherwise in the future.

  65. Posted April 21, 2008 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know if Brazil has a “Freedom of Speech” law that protects its citizens. Lorelle makes a great point about the blogging community getting active in this fight but I still believe that we must be very careful. As one person has said, untimately all we have are words, but that doesn’t mean that we have a right to question what another country does.

    Most judges only interpret the law of the land. Instead of asking the community to garner general outrage, try and find out the reason for the ban. Give people a specific reason. I know from my point of view, I’m upset about anyone losing thier right to express themselves but without knowing why I’m not going to get that worked up.

    Was the site banned because they have no right to free speech? Was it the content? Do they have stricter rules on pornograpy? Was it text associated with the image? Was the OP inciting an activity with the message?

    If Brazil, or any other country for that matter, doesn’t allow it’s citizens the right to express themselves we have no right to force our belief on them. If the issue was more specific, say porn, then we might be able to argue that they regulate the content on the website and not ban everyone.

    Sorry to get so long winded.

    Thanks for your time.


  66. Posted April 21, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    What happened to us? Why am I not seeing protests and opinions on this issue all over the web? Why isn’t the banning of three million blogs a big deal? Why aren’t we talking about this instead of the latest iPhone gizmo and useless SEO techniques

    I think it is in part because most bloggers are talking about the latest iPhone gizmo and useless SEO techniques, that so few care about three million bloggers silenced.

  67. Guinea
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    BRAZIL!!! Out of all countries! Brazil is not a moral leader at any level! How can a country with two cities dueling for “Most Dangerous in the World” even think that a sex video on a blog can carry social repercussions!!!

  68. Posted April 22, 2008 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    In my opinion:
    1) As others have said, this is a problem when you join such a blogging service. It’s kind of like being an American: people are just going to see you as evil regardless of whether you are or not. Similarly with, Brazil is going to see you as an amateur porn star whether you are or not.
    2) This is really the Brazilians’ problem. If they want free speech, they’re going to have to fight for it. Interference/bullying from Americans possibly will make matter worse.
    3) How many blogs are in Portuguese anyway?

  69. Posted April 22, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    what’s the point they will just unban it 6 weeks later.

  70. Posted April 23, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Keith Bowes…

    a)You are wrong about the number 1 observation.

    b)It’s not about interference, it’s about concerning.

    c)The block would not prevent only brazilians to blog, but to read any blog on The importance of this subject (defending freedom of speech) should be clear to anyone (even monkeys), regardless of numbers of bloggers or country, but let’s take the economical path: do you know how much business happens or starts throught a portuguese blog or by a blog read by brazilians? I guess internet access problems would affect a lot of business for companies in a lot of countries, including yours.

    Just for knowledge, according to IDG Now (that cites a NetRatings research) brazilians are the number 2 in access to wordpress, Spain is the second. The numbers of the portuguese writen blogs hosted on are not small like you might think. If i’m not mistaken, Brazilian blogger are number 4. If you are not aware of some facts about my country, i will help you with just some of them:

    – Brazil’s economy are growing faster and faster.
    – Portuguese speakers in the world are always more and more.
    – Brazilian IT workers are some of high skilled in the world.
    – If things keep going like this. In a few years, Brazil will be one of the only 5 countries with water resources in the globe, with enough space to food agriculture and the 2 biggest biotechnology resources and ecosystem (Amazon and Atlantic Forest). If these resources are mismanaged and those “few” bloggers in Brazil complaining about this loose their communication channesl (let’s say,, all the world will have serious problems, including your country.

    So, i think you should start to concern about the whoooole world and show some respect for any and every country.

    See ya, read ya, and my best regards.

    PS: By the way, Brasil with S, in portuguese. 🙂

    Celso Bessa
    brazilian wordpresser

  71. Posted April 23, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Lorelle. Thanks for citing and discussing my Open Letter.

    I wrote a new blog post pinging this one, but it didn’t appeared.

    I don’t know if it is just a Pingback delay, or what, so, i’m publishing the link in here:

    Ponderações sobre a sociedade, o judiciário, a Automattic e a web.


    See ya, read ya!

    Celso Bessa

  72. Posted April 23, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    @ Celso Bessa:

    For those following this further, the poor-Google translation of the article is Weightings on society, the judiciary, the web and Automattic.

    Thank you for staying on top of this and spreading the word. It’s a fantastic debate!

    I’ve also looked for a link to the stats for bloggers claiming to be from within Brazil, though there is a top 100 listing for Português do Brasil blogs. There is a lot of confusion between WordPress and blogs, but I’d love to see the actual stats you found, just out of curiosity.

  73. Posted April 28, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I guess I was the first to write about it in english: May be Banned From Brazil.

    There are also a lot of blogs talking about it in portuguese and I decided to post about it in english to let the world aware about it… But, at that time, we didnt have so much details. I saw some bloggers talking about a video and a girl having sex, but at that time, there were only a few mentioning that and there wasnt any sources linking to that girl having sex and they were probloggers and I never trusted a lot in probloggers (there are lots of them that just write for search engines and only care for clicks and adsense money, so…). That was the reason my article was not so detailled…


  74. Posted April 28, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh, sorry, I wasnt the first to write about it in english… maybe the second ;D (checked the timestamp now :D)

  75. Posted April 28, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    just checked the timestamp again… I guess I was really the first to post about it in english. april 10th 😀

  76. Posted April 30, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Lorelle.
    I tried to reach the page where i found the research, but i could not find the page and i’m not a subscriber from NetRatings, so i can’t access the original research. But it’s not hard to verify how much brazilian blog are around.
    And, directo “from the front”:
    Today, WordPress published a post with their informations about the post.
    Seems like there were none sex-video of any kind and they took a balanced position.
    I wrote more on Open Letter to Automattic – Notes about WordPress Blog in Brazil.

  77. Posted April 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    @ Celso Bessa:

    Thanks for the update. I tried researching the number of blogs directly from Brazil and had a hard time doing it myself, so good for you for digging deeper. I sure wish we knew, but that doesn’t change the impact of such actions. Even if the decision blocks 5 bloggers from blogging, millions of Brazil blog readers are prevented from viewing 3 million blogs.

    It’s a mess. Thanks for keeping tabs on the situation.

  78. Posted May 16, 2008 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    It’ll be bad news to be banned .
    we will not work

  79. Posted June 8, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I hate to be picky — but this is not an international court (such as the International Court of Justice) but a national or local court and justice system — they just don’t happen to be American :-).

    The issues if this ruling really were made by an international court would be completely different in all sorts of ways.

  80. wet head
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone had any updates on this?

    Just remembered this post and wanted to see.

  81. Posted November 6, 2008 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    @ wet head:

    So far, no new news. China still bans, but the second annual WordCamp China was just held in two cities in China. Maybe a crack in the great firewall? 😀

  82. Posted February 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


    Are blogs ok in Brazil now? I’m guessing they are?

42 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. […] Les mer hos […]

  3. […] En todo caso, el primer blog que vi que hablaba de esto es el de Lorelle on WordPress en su post llamado “ Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?“. […]

  4. […] news in my wordpress news widget which showed a article from Lorelle’s Blog, saying, that is banned […]

  5. […] blogger Lorelle wonders why more people aren’t concerned about Brazil’s banning of the domain on account of a single blogger there posting an embedded video in a blog post showing a couple having sex. I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic. Lazy. Uninspired. Dumbed down. Honestly. When the term echo chamber was coined, it was a good label for all the regurgitation of content spread all over the web, drowning individual voices. Self-interest blogging is pervasive. What happened to altruism and using the blog publishing platform to support freedom of speech and bloggers around the world? […]

  6. […] we stumbled upon the bad news that WordPress.Com has been banned again, and this time, they have been banned in Brazil. Reason for the ban according to Lorelle`s Blog; was a individual WordPress.Com user who puplished […]

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  8. […] kostenlosen Blogging-Plattform wie schlecht sein kann? Na ja, die einfache Tatsache, dass Zensurstaaten wie Brasilien mal eben die ganzen Blogs auf einen Streich sperren können. […]

  9. […] Posted by Richard on Apr 17, 2008 It looks like Brazil due to a judge’s ruling has, or is going to, ban access to For those who may not know, was also banned in China and in Turkey although the ban in Turkey has supposedly been lifted. For more discussion, I suggest Lorelle’s post, Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? […]

  10. […] according to this post by Lorelle from WordPress, a judge in Brazil is banning / blocking ALL blogs regardless of language because […]

  11. […] Here is the article by Lorelle […]

  12. […] Web – Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? […]

  13. […] makes me grind my teeth a bit… Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? « Lorelle on WordPress I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic. Lazy. Uninspired. Dumbed down. Honestly. […]

  14. […] bans WordPress blogs because one blogger posted a YouTube video the court found objectionable. Where’s the outcry?, asks Lorelle. I think bloggers around the world have become apathetic. Lazy. Uninspired. Dumbed […]

  15. […] Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? […]

  16. […] more about this HERE and […]

  17. […] ainda assim apenas na internet. Porém, um post feito no blog Lorelle com o título “ Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?” ( banido novamente: Porque você não está preocupado)[tradução livre] e […]

  18. […] Brasil está bloqueando (para mi, el mejor servicio de blogs gratuitos). Teniendo en cuenta los antecedentes (el video de Ciccarelli que postee hace tiempo, las expulsiones de españoles por huevadas sólo para protestar la legislación anti-inmigración española) se me hace que el vecino país está (o es) un poco facho. […]

  19. […] (המצויין) של לוריל, עלה הפוסט “ Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?“. שתחילתו הוא: According to Brazil: Bloggers united against ban by […]

  20. […] will be banned in Brazil? Lorelle VanFossen shared her opinion about this issue. And, do not forget to read the detailed […]

  21. […] Lorelle has posted the following article: Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned? […]

  22. […] to cover earlier in the week but I guess better late than never ( I would like to thank Lorelle for making this apparent the other day). It seems that because some moron decided to post some inappropriate content which was found and […]

  23. […] Mood: AngryWhat is it with people? My WP dashboard linked to Lorelle’s entry lashing out at bloggers for failing to be up in arms over a ruling in Brazil that happens to be unfavorable to […]

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  29. […] to Access Banned Blogs As discussed in Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?, continues to be a target for censorship and blocking from various countries and […]

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  32. […] Mullenweg has worked tirelessly to ensure that as a hosted blogging service stays free and open to anyone around the world with an opinion. He and his team fight constantly to not help those living in places that ban […]

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