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June 18, 2004
Microsoft - Marketplace of Ideas Only for the US, Not Brazil
According to Ubercyberlawprof Larry Lessig, Microsoft is threatening Sergio Amadeu, President of the National Institute of Information Technology (ITI) of Brazil, with a defamation lawsuit for comments he has made about Microsoft's business practices (the local ordinance we call the first amendment). According to a translation of the complaint (Microsoft Complaint [PDF]) Amadeu is apparently guilty of:
With purposes still to be clarified, the Defendant, at the condition of President of ITI, gave an intervitew to the magazine Carta Capital, in which he makes reference and imputations of offensive nature to the Plaintiff, using phrases and expressions from which defamation is inferred, under the terms of the article 21 of Statute 5.250/67, as follows:
In defending free software, Mr. Amadeu does not abstain from criticizing Microsoft, accusing the company of a "drug-dealer practice" for offering the operational system Windows to some governments and city administration for digital inclusion programs. "This is a trojan horse, a form of securing critical mass to continue constraining the country".
To Amadeu, this will be a decisive year to win the "strategy of fear, uncertainty and doubt", as he classifies the business model of Microsoft."
Apparently, in Brazil:
The offensive expressions launched by the Defendant at the interview violate the rule of Article 12 of the Press Law, which leads to the application of the aforementioned especial statute whenever there is an excess in freedom of speech and freedom of thought, by means of the dissemination of information.
Read the offending article here: The Penguin Advances [PDF].
As Lessig notes, perhaps this is defamation in Brazil, but this would not be considered defamation in the United States, thanks to First Amendment jurisprudence. I guess Microsoft only believes in the First Amendment when it has to.
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