Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Sunday, June 07, 2009

WinPatrol PLUS Boycott of Brazil

I’m not usually one to mix business and politics but growing up in America you learn that sometimes you just have to stand up and make a statement. One issue in the news that hits home is the story David Goldman of New Jersey who has been trying to be reunited with his son Sean currently being held in Brazil.

In 2004, Sean’s mother returned home to her native Brazil for what was supposed to be a two week vacation. Instead she filed for a divorce and stayed in Brazil marrying an influential lawyer. Efforts for David Goldman to see his son were ignored by Brazilian officials even though a treaty between countries called “The Hague Convention” would have given Mr Goldman custody of his son. Last year, his wife died while giving birth to a child with her Brazilian husband. You might think that would solve this problem but the Brazilian courts have allowed the new husband to maintain custody and have kept Sean from returning home to his father.

This past week it seemed like the nightmare for Sean was ending after a Federal Judge in the country ruled that Sean, who turned nine May 25th order Sean be returned to his father.

In an unusual move, a small political party convinced a member of the Brazil Supreme Court to stay the transfer and now the 11 member Supreme Court of Brazil will rule on the case. They’re claiming the Hague Convention is unconstitutional and that Sean would be removed from a happy family environment he’s had in Brazil for five years. A decision is due to be revealed on June 10th.

If the highest court in Brazil can strike down this international treaty it would be devastating to David and Sean. In addition the ruling would affect up to 50 similar cases currently in the courts of Brazil.

It’s Personal
Many of you have heard me talk about my grand children who live in Germany. Long story, short… while in the U.S. Army their father was stationed in Germany. He met a girl, got married and started a family. The kids have lived in both the US and Germany but at the time of their parents separation they were in Germany and had been for the previous six months. The US courts abiding by international law gave custody jurisdiction to Germany. Thankfully, in our case, the parents have common sense and cooperate so we do get to see our grandkids 3–4 times a year.

Stand Up
Mr. Goldman has had support from both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so there’s probably not much I can do. My software program WinPatrol is popular around the world and we have many friends who live in Brazil. I appreciate their support in the past and it’s nothing personal but I will be blocking the purchase of WinPatrol PLUS from all Brazil domains effective immediately. The free version of WinPatrol will still be available because it’s not fair to the folks who really need the help. I just can’t in good conscious accept currency from a country who allows international agreements to be ignored. Purchases will be blocked until Sean is home with his dad and I hope our friends in Brazil understand. Current WinPatrol PLUS members in Brazil will not be blocked.

Bring Sean Home Blog

MSNBC: Brazil Custody Battle Hangs in the Balance

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Blogger Chris Miller said...

Hi Bill,

While I agree with your sentiments, I think you are missing an opportunity by blocking sales to Brazilians. You are penalizing people who may actually agree with you, not the people behind the laws.

What you could do is to change the registration process so that Brazilians attempting to register your product are given the opportunity to sign a petition that can be sent to the Brazilian authorities. Or you could provide them with links back to their own government where they could register their opinion.

Or you could set aside a portion of the registration fee paid by Brazilians to help pay for David Goldman's legal expenses.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Cort said...

Hi Bill,

I have to agree with Chris's wise words. You are penalizing the wrong people to no effect. Actually strike that, there is an effect - the people effected will have a negative sentiment towards you and your wonderful product. The actual decision makers won't care or be impacted even if they become aware of it. Chris is correct imo in advising you to instead focus money and energy where there might be some positive impact.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Chris and Cort. You should not punish the average person for the actions of a few bad apples in government. The average Brazilian has nothing to do with this decision.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Reb Mordechai said...

Sorry to be boring but I agree with everyone who has written so far Bill. I am very uncomfortable about boycotts. Being Israeli I know what it’s like to be the victim of such actions. The petition idea seems very good to me.

BTW, not to trivialise the subject but the story reminds me of a Star Trek NG episode where Picard gives custody of a human boy who was being brought up by an alien soldier who murdered the boy’s parents to the soldier because the boy had been brainwashed to believe that he was also an alien. The argument was that this soldier was the only “family” the boy had ever known and that it would be cruel to remove him from his home. Balderdash and poppycock! What about the rights of the real family? Based on this logic, a child could be kidnapped by a couple and kept for five years. Then the court could grant custody to the kidnappers because it’s the only home that the child has ever known. The immorality of the situation makes me sick. However Boycotts? I don’t want to go down that road.

2:51 AM  

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