N 12 February 2013

YouTube sues Russian consumer rights authority

YouTube LLC has filed a suit against Russia's Federal service on customers' rights protection and human well-being surveillance, more often referred to as Rospotrebnadzor. The lawsuit was registered by Moscow's Arbitrary Court. Google's Russian office said it wanted to challenge Rospotrebnadzor's decision to classify one of the videos hosted on YouTube as harmful for children, and to add it to the 'black list' of banned websites.

The register of sites blocked for inappropriate content was established late last year in accordance with Russia's notorious new law aimed at protecting children on the Internet. On 21 November, the youtube.com domain name was added to the list, where it stayed for about an hour. YouTube was added after a complaint from Rospotrebnadzor, whose head, Gennady Onischenko, later said a mistake had been made. According to Onischenko, his office only asked for twenty-two YouTube videos to be added to the 'black list', and not the entire site. The videos in question, allegedly providing suicide instructions to viewers, were removed by YouTube administration, and the domain was taken off the register. A few YouTube videos were later also by banned after requests from government bodies, as it happen with the Russian version of the popular 'Dumb ways to die' clip.

The one video that became the subject of YouTube's latest claim contained instructions on applying specific makeup, and not on committing suicide, Google has said, and thus should be taken off the 'black list'.