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Thailand Sues YouTube 435

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the let's-all-take-off-our-left-shoe dept.
eldavojohn writes "Thailand is hitting YouTube with charges of lese majeste (up to 15 years in prison) regarding the recent videos on YouTube showing the king next to feet, something extremely offensive in Thailand. 'Since the first clip, more new videos mocking the king have appeared on YouTube, including pictures of the monarch that had been digitally altered to make him resemble a monkey. Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.'"
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Thailand Sues YouTube

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  • "loved by all" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:36PM (#19024821)

    Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family
    Nearly every story I see on this subject restates this 'fact'. One should keep in mind that many dictators have had this sort of law in place, and it does seem to work. That is until the law is ended, and people are free to speak their mind. Sure some will maintain their support, if only because of how they were raised. Of course as many of them see nothing wrong with selling their daughters into prostitution (and often AIDS) [msmagazine.com]...

    ...including pictures of the monarch that had been digitally altered to make him resemble a monkey

    Perhaps instead they should photo-shop him into the pictures of the child prostitutes for which his country is infamous (not X-rated would get the most press, just standing among the lineups, and next to the AIDS ridden ones who are dying would be appropriate). Maybe his loving subjects might reconsider selling their daughters into a life of misery.

    posted AC as I am a coward, more reading on the king and Thailand [speroforum.com]

    • right... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by N3wsByt3 (758224) <Newsbyte@NOSpAm.freenethelp.org> on Monday May 07, 2007 @05:51PM (#19028147) Homepage Journal
      Could you explain the link again between TFA and childprostitution in Thailand? I know demagogic emo-appeal is always a good way to get attention on slashdot, but going from possible censorship on youtube to your 'people-selling-their-kids' paragraph is somewhat of a stretch.

      In fact, it has nothing to do with it.

    • Re:"loved by all" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Cydonian (603441) on Monday May 07, 2007 @10:35PM (#19031137) Homepage Journal

      Americans (and Brits, I would presume) might not readily understand this, given that their political space is mostly a circus, but what the Thai king gets is not just love, but respect. He kinda embodies their culture and their identity; they even use a different dialect when addressing the royal family. Heck, the grandfather of the current king, Rama V, is actually venerated as a demi-god; he regularly makes an appearance in most Thai families' prayer rooms, next to Buddha and other gods. This, in turn, is a throwback to the old tradition of treating the king as a devaraja [wikipedia.org].

      Those laws, then, exist not to enforce a single person's ego, but as a way to warn us barangs to not overstep on to the things that the Thais respect.

      The king has no policy oversight on anything in Thailand, and hasn't had for decades now. Quite a red-herring to conflate other issues with that of free-speech.

      (Not to say I actually support the laws - censorship in any form is bad - but it's important to understand the historical and cultural context within which they exist.)

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:37PM (#19024829) Homepage Journal
    Can suck my toe..

    Now, sue me. Just try it. In *my* country i can say this, so go away.
    • Damn I work at google and traveling there was the only way I could get sex.
  • by The Warlock (701535) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:37PM (#19024833)
    If he's universally adored, then why are people making fun of him on the Internet?

    Or is he universally adored in Thailand because it's illegal not to?

    (Damn, I wish I could have people thrown in prison for making fun of me on the Internet. Wow.)
    • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:03PM (#19025327)
      It may very well be that 99% of the Thai sincerely adore the king, but that only 1% want to mock him. The existence of such laws do not necessarily imply that people are forced to like the king.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fred Ferrigno (122319)
        Not that I know anything at all about the king or the political situation in Thailand, but maybe more people would oppose him if it wasn't illegal to tell them why they should.
    • (Damn, I wish I could have people thrown in prison for making fun of me on the Internet. Wow.)


      Ghyslain, just get over it already.
    • by jaiyen (821972) on Monday May 07, 2007 @04:26PM (#19026789)
      If he's universally adored, then why are people making fun of him on the Internet?

      Or is he universally adored in Thailand because it's illegal not to?


      I live in Thailand, and there's no doubting the King is genuinely universally adored. For example, to celebrate his 60th year on the throne the royal family asked people to wear yellow shirts (the royal colour) on Mondays. That was months ago, but still in Bangkok now every Monday at least 50% of the people you see about are voluntarily wearing yellow shirts with "We live the King" written in Thai on them. No one has a bad word to say about the King even in private, and just about every household has a picture of the King and Queen too.

      There's no doubt in my mind the affection is genuine and not legally mandated (after all, the Crown Prince is protected by the same law but much less venerated), although to what extent it's caused by "brainwashing" and propaganda is somewhat arguable. After all, if you're only ever told how wonderful your King is and all the good things he's done for the country and never hear a word of criticism, then who wouldn't love him ?

      (Damn, I wish I could have people thrown in prison for making fun of me on the Internet. Wow.)

      Interestingly, the King himself actually told people him and his ideas shouldn't be above criticism in one of his birthday speeches - though he's probably the only person in Thailand who could publically make such a statement! He also pardoned the Swiss guy jailed for lese majesty very quickly, so he doesn't seem to be the instigator to me.

      As to why people put the videos on youtube, well who knows, but Thais I know who have seen the video are very angry about it - much more so about that than the fact that youtube is blocked. I've seen quite a few "boycott youtube" messages on Thai websites, so whatever else the failings of the junta government they do seem to be in touch with the feelings of the population on this issue, and they could have faced a bigger problem if they'd done nothing. It seems strange to me Google accommodate China's censorship and oppression but are unwilling to work with Thailand on this issue.

      Personally I find the block very frustrating though, I didn't realise how often I went to youtube following some link or other before this!
  • Applaud (Score:5, Funny)

    by leoPetr (926753) <leo DOT petr AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:38PM (#19024839) Homepage Journal
    LeoPetr, almost universally revered by Thai Slashdotters, makes an incisive and witty comment on the situation.
  • Hrm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by laddy (159448) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:38PM (#19024851)
    Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.'
     
    Hrm...
    • Re:Hrm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:53PM (#19025127)
      Imagine this for the British Royals! Teh horror! What would the yellow press do?

      No more Duke of Ears jokes, no more Hakenkreuz-Harry, no "why can't Camilla ride a horse" jokes... the world would be poorer ... or better off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AndroidCat (229562)
      Is he almost universally adored by all Thais, or just the ones who aren't in jail?
    • Re:Hrm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:07PM (#19025389) Homepage Journal

      Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.'


      And this, my friends, is why we we have the 1st Amendment to the Constitution in the U.S. ... to protect offensive speech. Because offensive speech (particularly involving the monarch) was punishable by imprisonment in Imperial England.

      Your lesson in American History and Civics brought to you today by the King of Thailand -- Universally Adored by Thais everywhere!

  • How about ditching the "lese majeste", and trying some "laissez faire"?
  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:40PM (#19024891) Journal
    While there may be laws in Thailand against such pictures, there are none in most of the rest of the world. King or not, you cannot regulate the entire network. Perhaps by law, YouTube must remove such offending pictures in their Thailand based servers, but if anyone, I mean ANYONE thinks they can regulate the entire Internet... they are in for a surprise.

    In fact, since this story has come out in the open now, you are sure to see even more pictures of the king in all sorts of not-so-pleasant-for-him ways.

    I guess they have to try until they learn....

    Queue the viral news stories with funny pictures of the king in 3... 2... 1..
  • ...doesn't sound very bright. Or, more likely, they're perfectly bright and it's me that's stupid. Given that they have no grounds on which to sue anyone and that they're no doubt perfectly aware of that, what's the plan?

    I would assume that it's a move to appease an outraged populace, except that the populace don't appear to be too outraged and the government's going to look rather foolish and impotent when they fail to accomplish anything.
    • Xerxes flew into a rage at this, and he commanded that the Hellespont be struck with three hundred strokes of the whip and that a pair of foot-chains be thrown into the sea. ... He also commanded the scourgers to speak outlandish and arrogant words: "You hateful water, our master lays his judgment on you thus, for you have unjustly punished him even though he's done you no wrong! Xerxes the king will pass over you, whether you wish it or not! It is fitting that no man offer you sacrifices, for you're a mudd

  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:42PM (#19024923) Homepage

    Thailand is hitting YouTube with charges of lese majeste (up to 15 years in prison)
    YouTube should plead guilty and accept their 15 year prison sentence.

    Take that you abstract embodiment of an American corporational contract owned by another abstract entity also with no definite personification! It's off to the pokey!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EnsilZah (575600)
      I wonder if the can use a time server for that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just have all ~5,680 google employees take a day off to thinking about how wrong it was to insult the venerable king his holiness, it amounts to about 15 years of time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Since a lawyer will no doubt be representing the "abstract embodiment of an American corporational contract owned by another abstract entity" in court, shouldn't the lawyer also represent that "abstract embodiment of an American corporational contract owned by another abstract entity" in jail?

  • Nice... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:42PM (#19024943) Journal

    "Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais"
    To paraphrase the Simpsons, this story was brought to you by one B. Adulyadej. No no, that's too obvious, let's say Bhumibol A. [wikipedia.org]
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:43PM (#19024959) Homepage
    Why do I get the image of a server sitting in the pokey in Thailand?

    No seriously...

    Do people think Google officials should be sent to Thailand on extradition the way Australia sent alleged copyright criminals to the United States? Is this the same situation, or is it fundamentally different?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:14PM (#19025483)

      Is this the same situation, or is it fundamentally different?

      Fundamentally different: this would involve extradition from America.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RajivSLK (398494)
      Do people think Google officials should be sent to Thailand on extradition the way Australia sent alleged copyright criminals to the United States? Is this the same situation, or is it fundamentally different?

      Ok, I am going to respond to this obvious troll because somehow it god modded way up (shame on you mods). Australian law is anagolous to the US law that the extradited suspect was charged under (what he was charged with is illegal in both countries). However, in this case the US has no law even remolte
  • Um.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roachgod (589171) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:43PM (#19024963)
    Get the fuck over it. Seriously.

    He is a KING. A KING. He should be able to deal with (oh horror) FEET!. I am aware of the cultural implications (I am friends with a few people from Thailand), but I expect people to be able to get over jackasses giving them the finger. I expect more of a guy who is a king.

    The laws are lame. Tough shit Thailand.
    • Re:Um.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Donniedarkness (895066) <Donniedarkness@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:48PM (#19025057) Homepage
      Agreed. You made me wish I had mod points.

      He's a king; if he can lead the country, surely he can withstand...FEET. I understand that feet are treated differently over there.... but well, if someone posted a picture of me next to a bare penis (or hell, even a BEAR penis), I don't think I'd be trying to sue them--it's the internet. Nobody cares.

      • Re:Um.... (Score:5, Funny)

        by ErikZ (55491) * on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:59PM (#19025237)
        Correction, nobody cares about you.
      • by Hatta (162192)
        I understand that feet are treated differently over there.

        WTF is it with people in the east and feet? Seriously. Why do they generate such intense emotions? They're utilitarian. Sometimes they're icky, but sometimes they're sensual (mmm foot rubs). There's no reason to either hate or love feet. Their cultural revulsion to feet is as perverse as a foot fetish would be.
    • Re:Um.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by secolactico (519805) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:02PM (#19025307) Journal
      He is a KING. A KING. He should be able to deal with (oh horror) FEET!. I am aware of the cultural implications (I am friends with a few people from Thailand), but I expect people to be able to get over jackasses giving them the finger. I expect more of a guy who is a king.

      I'm thinking that it's not the King who wants to sue, but some officials who feel insulted or wants to ingratiate themselves or whatever. Remember that Thailand is under military rule and the monarch is just the "head of state".

      In fact, it was the king who pardoned the swiss man who defaced his portrait. For all we know the king doesn't give a hoot about this issue but it's not in his power to change the law or to keep people from trying to enforce it.

      In any case, I don't think this will amount to anything. I think they just want their displeasure to be heard but they are fully aware that a lawsuit of this kind will not do a thing.
    • sovereignty (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperBanana (662181)

      Get the fuck over it. Seriously.

      The laws are lame. Tough shit Thailand.

      No, tough shit *you*. Thailand is enjoying something called sovereignty: the power to rule itself as a country. If they want to make a law banning showing the king next to feet- that's their goddamn right.

      If they're happy, then there's no real problem. I'm guessing you're a "fellow" American. I wish people like you would stop giving our country a bad reputation as being full of arrogant, bossy idiots who want to tell everyone

  • What goes around... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:44PM (#19024977)
    Well, if Australians can be charged with breaking the DMCA then Americans should be able to be charged with breaking lese majeste.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Well, if Australians can be charged with breaking the DMCA then Americans should be able to be charged with breaking lese majeste.

      The difference here, is that the US pressured every trading partner to make their absurd DMCA law apply to everyone else on the planet.

      The US, on the other hand, has never signed up to participate with anyone else's laws except those they championed in the first place.

      However, the French have managed to ensure that Yahoo, E-bay, etc aren't allowing anything to do with Nazi paraph

      • The difference here, is that the US pressured every trading partner to make their absurd DMCA law apply to everyone else on the planet.

        So they should probably prosecute the Australian in an Australian court under the Australian version of the DMCA then huh?
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          So they should probably prosecute the Australian in an Australian court under the Australian version of the DMCA then huh?

          That, I would agree with totally. That particular extradition just seems odd to me. Australia got their own version of the DMCA foisted on them as AFAIK.

          Cheers
  • one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.'" Seems sort of a frivolous thing to protect with a law. "Don't say bad things about me, or I'll throw you in jail!" Seriously...

    "Oh, no, there's a video of me that doesn't harm me in any way whatsoever, and gives pleasure to thousands! This must be STOPPED! Someone get my underage prostitutes to hire some lawyers to sue those people in a foreign country who's opinions I care nothing for!"
  • by phorest (877315) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:45PM (#19025003) Journal

    *ADVICE*

    Next time you want real Thai food, go to the corner emigre's restaurant instead, yes I know it's so much fun to fill up the party plane and jet on over, but seriously, you'll get to enjoy your freedom...

    *FUN FACT*
    Did you know that the word Thai means "Freedom"?

  • OP, RTFA. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Samurai Cat! (15315) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:48PM (#19025037) Homepage
    Submitted title: "Thailand *sues* YouTube"

    Actual article title: "Thailand *to sue* YouTube over king clips"

    First line in article: "We are *considering* taking legal action against the website," said Vissanu Meeyo, a spokesman for the information ministry."

    Teeensy bit of difference, there.
  • Expression (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kaleco (801384) <greig.marshall2@ ... t e r n e t .com> on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:48PM (#19025045)

    Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family

    Maybe there is a relationship between this universal adoration and the tough laws that prevent Thais from expressing opinions to the contrary.

    • Re:Expression (Score:5, Informative)

      by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:45PM (#19026027)
      Find a Thai person in your home country other than Thailand and ask him, given that he is not at the moment subject to the laws of Thailand, how he really feels about King Rama IX.

      I can answer that for you. He will tell you that King Rama IX brought democracy to Thailand, uses his vast wealth to help poor, rural parts of the country, and is just generally a great guy. He also has gone on record stating that the laws against criticizing the monarch are stupid, and often pardons those convicted of criticizing him.

      And no, I am not Thai by any stretch of the imagination.
  • I've been pondering this since Sony launched that trojan, something that a kid was arrested for: How you do imprison a corporation?
    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      Since you can't, you'll just have to fine it huge sums of money.

      Hey, isn't Youtube owned by Google now? How convenient.
  • when you attempt to censor something, anything, you just give whatever it is free advertising

    i'm glad the thais love their king. but if they are secure in their love for their king, the existence of these videos won't mean anything to them. by freaking out at the existence of these videos, they only demonstrate insecurity on their part, and they cheapen and devalue their love for their king

    same when deeply religious people freak out at some sort of sacriledge. with dignity and ignoring the sacriledge, they show the depth of their love, by turning into ravenous dogs, they only denigrate their faith, such as with devout muslims and pictures of muhammad, or devout catholics and depicitions of the virgin mary

    if your faith or love is storng, idiots and childish pranks don't move you. if it does move you, it only shows your love or faith is cheap and shallow and insecure
  • GWBush was depicted as a monkey and that never hurt his ratings.... oh, wait, nevermind
  • 15 years in Thai slammer looking after the convicted servers.....bummer
  • This is the worst thing to do. Despite the kingdom being a constitutional monarchy,
    King Bhumibol is a great person. I met him in the 1969 timeframe, my father was a
    military advisor. His Majesty is both humble and knowledgeable. He was born in the
    U.S.. He loves his people, as do the entire family.

    IF anyone needed to have a constitutional monarch, you would be hard pressed to find
    a better one !!!!! These are quality people. ignore the military, they take turns
    running the country.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      If he's so great, why does he need laws to protect him from insults? A truly great person would not be threatened by mere words.
  • I'll get this in (Score:4, Informative)

    by dave_boo (1089337) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:02PM (#19025299)
    before there's too many idiots reguritating their nonsensical rhetoric concerning Thailand.

    I'm a resident of Thailand, let's get that out of the way right now.

    Firstly, all those who insist that the lese majeste laws are there because the majority of Thais would suddenly rise up and start doing what those without respect for anything would do are seriously disillusioned. And/or they've never traveled to Thailand. There's a deep reverence for the King here which arises from all that he has done. The fact that he has mostly remained out of politics has been a bonus, but the attention that he pays to his people weighs significantly in his favour. And the link that another poster put in that suggest that he had a personal dislike for Thaskin, and that is what forced him out of the country is laughable. As anyone who follows the politics knows, the situation had been brewing for quite some time. The fact that Thaskin was guilty of doing exactly what people hate Bush Inc for is conveniently either glossed over or omitted.

    And to the inevitable "What do you expect from a country of pedophiles?" comments: There's absolutely nothing of the sort in your country?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dave_boo (1089337)
      Something I forgot to mention: You'll notice that most of these instances involve foreigners. Like that Swiss man? He lived here 10 years, got pissed because he couldn't buy beer on the King's birthday, and you would think knowing better, decided to deface the King's picture on HIS BIRTHDAY. And yet the King pardoned him (although he's now a Personna non Grata).
    • by phasm42 (588479)
      An insult does not warrant 15 years in jail, no matter who it insults or how ugly the insult is. Whether or not the king deserved the insult is besides the point. If he was such a nice guy, he would decry such a law.

      And to the inevitable "What do you expect from a country of pedophiles?" comments: There's absolutely nothing of the sort in your country?
      Funny that, you're the only one mentioning this.
    • This isn't really a reply to your comment, but since you're a coherent poster who's a resident of Thailand, I have to ask: why are feet considered offensive? I'm not wholly ignorant of the world at large, but I've never heard of this taboo. Are feet considered dirty, so placing them next to someone's likeness an implication of a lack of hygiene? Are sandals and flip-flops completely verboten?
  • by Baavgai (598847) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:05PM (#19025355) Homepage
    A few people post an insult, they show it to their friends, they all get a laugh. You find this horribly offensive, what do you do?

    A) While the number aware of the offending material is still few, you can choose to just let it go.

    Or...

    B) You sue one of the largest Internet entities around, assuring that your embarrassment will achieve far reaching exposure previously impossible. People who don't even know where your country is (i.e. Americans ) will mock you and, if you're real lucky, late night TV hosts will broadcast the images so that even those who don't know YouTube from BoobTube can share in your mortification.

    You choose B? Really? Good luck with that.
  • And you should all get that. other parts of the world do not have to live by thai traditions, or any other tradition in any other country.

    unfortunately i dont care for your king, for example, and i side with youtube on that matter.
  • I want to see the monkey king near feet.

    BTW., if I had a law that could be used to throw anyone, who doesn't adore me into jail, I also would be universally adored.
  • photomosiac (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chutzpah (6677) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:16PM (#19025527)
    They could have ignored it, but now its going to be a matter of days before makes a photo mosiac [wikipedia.org] of the king of Thialand made up entirely of pictures of feet.
  • Seriously though, do you thing the folks at Google thought they'd get sued almost daily for you tube? I wonder who has to serve the 15 years?

    I figured there would be a couple lawsuits, but this is getting a little bizarre. Google will be paying out the nose for years for these lawsuits, there is no way this is worth it.

    • Did they pay anything so far?

      Because, well, if they want to play hardball, they can. They pretty much "own" the search engine market. Trying to press money from us? Ok. Google search won't find you anymore. You don't exist. Go away.
  • Great idea (Score:3, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:52PM (#19026139)
    Way to go, King. Threaten to sue YouTube for silly pictures making fun of you. I - and 500,000 other nerds who know how to use photoshop - would have never known that the King of Thailand was insulted by a foot or cared about youtube before reading this story. I'm glad you informed us by this action -- that will surely put a stop to the ridicule!
  • Foot icon? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrbobjoe (830606) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:56PM (#19026217) Homepage

    recent videos on YouTube showing the king next to feet, something extremely offensive in Thailand
    If there was ever an article that deserved the humor "foot" icon, it's this one...
  • Thailand's 79-year-old king, almost universally adored by Thais...one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.

    Ok, if there are laws that prohibit insults against the royal family (like sending people to jail for 15 years), the king will be universally adored.

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