Incredible: Google Execs Found Guilty Because Of YouTube Video; Given Six Month Suspended Sentences

from the legal-world-gone-mad dept

This is just downright ridiculous. We see all sorts of jaw-dropping legal rulings around here, but I still can't fathom how Italian law allowed the following case to be decided in this manner. As you may recall, a couple years ago, Italian prosecutors filed criminal charges against four Google execs. What was the crime? Apparently, some kids had taunted another boy with Down's Syndrome, and filmed the whole episode. In the video, the kids apparently threw a tissue box at the boy. They then uploaded the video to YouTube, along with the countless other videos uploaded to the site. Nearly a year ago, YouTube noted that 20 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. To think that Google should automatically have knowledge of what's included in every video uploaded to YouTube is ludicrous.

But it's even more ridiculous when you realize the full story. Within hours of Google being alerted to the problems with the video, the video came down. In other words, the company acted promptly when questions about the video were raised. But, even more importantly, the video itself was used as evidence to punish the taunting teens. Now imagine if they hadn't been able to upload the video. Then the kids likely would have gotten away with the taunting, without anyone knowing about it. Why would you ever want to blame Google for providing a tool that allows stupid people to give proof of their own illegal activities? And even then, rather than filing a suit against Google the company, Italian prosecutors chose to file the lawsuit against four execs at the company, most of whom had nothing to do with the company's Italian operations.

You might think that a judge would toss this sort of lawsuit out really quickly, but that didn't happen, and now, amazingly, the court has found three of the four execs to be guilty and given them six month suspended jail sentences. I vaguely remember reading that "first time offenders" given prison sentences in Italy of three years or less get suspended sentences, so the suspended sentence part isn't surprising. But, of course, given how many videos are uploaded, it seems likely that there will be second, third and further offenses of this nature as well. It seems like Italy has just suggested Google block all access to YouTube, while also increasing the liability for pretty much any other company to operate there or have any foreign execs visit the country.

Honestly, I can't see how anyone would make a ruling in this manner and think that it makes sense. As I said when the case first came up, you would think that suing the execs of the company that made the tissue box would make more sense than suing Google's execs. Why not charge the execs of the company that made the camera that was used to film the incident? It's hard to hear about this ruling and not consider the Italian legal system to be a joke.

Filed Under: criminal charges, italy, liability, online video, youtube
Companies: google

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  1. identicon
    don't care, 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: pffft

    oh my aren't you just the knee jerk don't read everything before i decide what to say fool. cyber-bullying is not about gaining evidence for conviction, it is a phenomenon that is hard for the victims to forget, because it is seen world wide. now find some empathy and think as to what it would be like to have the world see you humiliated. when it is hard enough to deal with in the schoolyard, the effects are long lasting because it is so far reaching. i am not being politically correct, i am a person that works in the field of mental health dealing with adolescents and seeing first hand the effects of ptsd that bullying does create. a one off incident we have all been involved with and generally we all survive unscathed. but if the world sees it, then it is no longer one off. it is there every time we imagine it being clicked on and viewed, or if those that can muster the courage and view it themselves, they know exactly how many people have seen it. your ignorance is sparkling in it's humor, to say that it aint so bad that your pain can be seen by billions cause we caught them."you know that stick that broke your arm, i snaped it. is you arm healed now?" say as much as you want, but as you throw out all your opinions based on belief, i will use facts learnt through knowledge. the last time i was accused of being politically correct was when a father did not get the almost daily beatings he was giving his boy was why the,(funny and intelligent),kid was failing his classes. it tends to be the response of those that think that wrong is ok and political correctness is infringing on a freedom, i hate political correctness. it doesn't tell me how to treat others. respect does. i find that those that think political correctness is a real not created concept lack respect for others and need to use it instead.
    the fact that i find youtube on the whole, very banal and vapid, does not diminish the point. these kids that are the victims of bullying(and assault as that is what bullying is legally) need protection before it happens. and as adults with any kind of empathy or heart, if it's happened to you then you gotta know what i mean,we have to stop it. as i said in my second post cyber bullying is happening at an exponential rate. just check on line

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