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. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pffft

    > now find some empathy and think as to what it
    > would be like to have the world see you humiliated

    I'm sure it wouldn't be pleasant. However, my response would not be to try and impose government restrictions on the entire world just because my feelings got hurt.

    > 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

    Considering the fact that I didn't actually say that, you're really in no position to criticize others for ignorance.

    > i will use facts learnt through knowledge

    Wow. Just wow. All I can say is behold the irony.

    > 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.

    That's just flat out incoherent and makes no linguistic sense. Is this another one of those facts you "learnt" through knowledge?

    > the fact that i find youtube on the whole, very
    > banal and vapid, does not diminish the point

    Nor is your personal opinion of YouTube even remotely relevant to this issue. It doesn't suddenly become okay to regulate a perfectly legal business out of existence merely because you personally don't much care for its product.

    > (and assault as that is what bullying is legally)

    You need to re-famialiarize yourself with the law. Some instances of bullying are assaults, but not all. Not even most. And that cyber-bullying you've gone about? Not an assault at all.

    > if it's happened to you

    It did happen to me when I was a kid. I had my older brother teach me how to fight and I stood up for myself. That put an end to the bullying real quick.

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