Columnist Claims Italy's Google Verdict Makes Sense

from the someone-edited-that? dept

Ted Rall is a columnist/cartoonist, who, a couple years ago, wrote one of the most ridiculous opinion pieces we've seen in a long time -- suggesting that the answer to newspapers' current economic woes is that they should all take their websites down. That column was so full of economic and legal ignorance I thought there was a good chance that it was actually satire -- but people insisted he was serious. Now reader Mandy alerts us to a new column from Rall that again is so devoid of basic logic that I wonder if it's satire. This time he's standing way out on a limb arguing that Italy got it right in finding three Google execs criminally liable for a video some kids posted to Google Video.

Rall's reasoning once again defies logic. He seems unable to comprehend the difference between a publisher and a tool or service provider. Instead, he just insists that Google (and any other online service provider) should be forced to carefully review and fact check every piece of content uploaded before it can be available. Apparently, he doesn't quite recognize what he's asking for. On YouTube alone, more than 20 hours of video are uploaded every minute. And that's just YouTube. Rall also suggests that every blog post, every Tweet and every Facebook message should first be reviewed by an editor before it can be posted.

I think this really goes back to Rall's previous clueless column. He can't stand competition, so his solution is to put in place ridiculous free speech destroying rules and regulations to effectively kill off the internet, because someone might misuse it. His argument is based on the scenario that what if he ran a story falsely accusing you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer. He claims -- falsely -- that if he just published it online, there's nothing you can do about it. He later admits he's lying by saying you could sue him, but he brushes that off by saying no one would sue him because he has no money. Of course, people sue for libel all the time -- even those with no money.

But the really scary thing is that Rall seems to think that basically destroying the freedom to communicate and to express yourself online makes sense, just because the tool might possibly be used to spread a false statement. Does he not recognize the unintended consequences of this? Does he not realize that his "suggestion" for fixing the internet is effectively how much of China's internet censorship program works? Does he not think there might be more effective ways of dealing with such situations? For example, if Rall were to falsely accuse you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer, and it's clearly bogus, then you have an opportunity to fight back, and point out that Rall is wrong, destroy his reputation, and make sure he never gets another job again. Why not let free speech combat free speech?

Instead, Rall seems terrified of free speech, and would prefer that it only come from the "professionals" like himself.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    verdic?

     

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    Anonymouse, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Mike's feeding the trolls :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    It has to be satire...no one can be that stupid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    "Verdic" is Italian for "Verdict", I believe...

     

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    Otm Shank (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    So, by that logic, anyone could leave a comment on the article, and he and his newspaper would be liable for the content if they didn't take it down soon enough.

    He's right, though. He should push forward on getting his newspaper's website closed. Then, we don't have to hear his rantings, and he can wallow in obscurity.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    What if the video was posted by a whistle-blowing student to bring attention to the bullies that committed the crime? In that case, wouldn't Google be in the right because it provided an outlet to expose the truth?

    No, I'm not arguing that we should look at the intention of the posting before determining if charges should be brought against the service provider.

    What I'm saying is that if we have to look at the intention behind the video to determine whether it should be allowed to be posted, it should not be Google's fault for allowing it to be posted because it is simply impossible for anyone to intuit why it was posted.

    Videos are neither immoral or moral. They are amoral. Someone might believe that the video was bad because it provided an outlet for a horrible crime. Someone else might think the video was great because it exposed a horrible crime. There is no right answer. And it shouldn't be a service provider's job to determine the answer.

     

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      Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      Videos are neither immoral or moral. They are amoral. Someone might believe that the video was bad because it provided an outlet for a horrible crime. Someone else might think the video was great because it exposed a horrible crime. There is no right answer.

      Good point, although this applies to everything. Fill in the blank here:

      _____s are neither immoral or moral. They are amoral. Someone might believe that the _____ was bad because it _____. Someone else might think the _____ was great because it _____. There is no right answer.

       

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        Ima Fish (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re:

        "Good point, although this applies to everything."

        Not really, because actions hurt people. Thus, even though a gun is amoral, if someone uses it to kill an innocent person, it's murder.

         

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          Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What about the people emotionally hurt because they see the video as "an outlet for a horrible crime"? After all, posting the video was an action. And how did you determine whether the person was innocent? Maybe a religious person saw them as a sinner? Maybe to one set of people he was a terrorist, to the other he was a freedom fighter? In war, which side is the good side and which is the bad side depends entirely on your point of view. Some people disagree that killing in self-defense or executing a serial killer are ever justified; others think both actions are okay, and some would agree with one but not the other. The universe itself definitely doesn't care if a person lives or dies. It went billions of years without us, and one person dying doesn't make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

          Who determines all these little intricacies? You? You chose a moral code that happens to state that murdering an innocent person(in your eyes) is immoral. I agree with you that Google cannot be expected to discern what videos are moral and which are amoral, but this is not restricted to videos. The only fair expectation is that we may discern between what is legal and illegal based on clear laws the explicitly state the difference.

           

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            Ima Fish (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "What about the people emotionally hurt because they see the video as "an outlet for a horrible crime"? After all, posting the video was an action"

            As far as I know the kids who committed the act were brought to justice. Problem solved.

            "And how did you determine whether the person was innocent?"

            Jury trial? I have no idea how Italy tries its criminal cases or what the burden of proof is.

            "Maybe..."

            All your maybes and hypothetical questions only prove my point is that there is no right answer and that videos in and of themselves are amoral.

            "Who determines all these little intricacies?"

            Usually it's society acting through its government body.

             

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              Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You either completely ignored or completely missed my point. I don't know if you did it intentionally or not, but I'll repost parts of our discussion.

              Ima Fish: ...Videos are neither immoral or moral. They are amoral...

              Ryan: Good point, although this applies to everything...

              Ima Fish: ...Not really, because actions hurt people. Thus, even though a gun is amoral, if someone uses it to kill an innocent person, it's murder...

              Ryan: What about the people emotionally hurt because they see the video as "an outlet for a horrible crime"? After all, posting the video was an action....

              Ima Fish: ...All your maybes and hypothetical questions only prove my point is that there is no right answer and that videos in and of themselves are amoral.
              ...


              Actually, they prove my point that more than just posting videos is morally ambiguous. You stated that a third party cannot determine if posting a video is moral or immoral, and thus they should not be expected to. My point was that this can be extended to anything, but then you asserted that the act of shooting someone can.

              If the shooter was brought to justice, judged by a jury trial(or however Italy tries it's criminal cases), based on laws established by the government body, how is this any different than what happened in Italy? The individuals in the video were brought to justice, judged by a jury trial(or however Italy tries it's criminal cases), based on laws established by the government body. Again, the question remains: why is it readily obvious whether shooting someone with a gun is moral, but not for showing a video?

              Just because it's obvious to you doesn't mean anybody else gives a shit about your personal moral code. The examples you cite all determine the legality of an action, not the morality.

               

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    Nina Paley (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Bring Your Own Irony

    Rall recently accused another cartoonist of "stealing his meme." Totally different drawing, different cartoon, much more likely parallel evolution than plagiarism. He actually used the phrase "ripped off my meme" in a public demonstration of not comprehending the concept of memes. It would be hilarious if he weren't serious. (The rare and precious "meme" in question was comparing Obama to Hello Kitty.)

     

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    Anonymous Poster, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Wow, this guy is a damned moron.

     

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    known coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    the law applies to everyone, even google

    If google's business model goes against Italian law, too bad for google. Italian law does not make the safe harbor distinction that US law does. If google can not be bothered to comply with italian law, becaues it would be too hard for them to view every video uploaded, . . . tough shit for google. Stop doing illegal business in italy.

    The italians should be applauded for going over the decision makers in that process who are in the US and not the local flunkies who are "just following orders" from above.

     

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      Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:47am

      Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

      Actually, tough shit for Italians because they're out a shitload of innovative services when companies refuse to do business there. If Italy wants to go Amish, neither Google nor anybody else outside Italy cares very much...

       

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:52am

      Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

      Trollish as your comment is, you are right.

      Italy should be allowed to wallow in the stupidity of its own legal system. Perhaps if it wallows long enough in the dark ages while the rest of the world joins the information era, people will demand change. If not, well then that's great too.

      A people gets the government they deserve, after all.

       

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      Any Mouse, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:53am

      Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

      And Italy still must comply with EU law, since they are a member state of the EU, which does provide for certain safe harbors. The Italians should be ashamed for not following the laws they agreed to when they joined the EU, and you should maybe educate yourself a bit since this has nothing to do with the US.

       

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        known coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

        I do not see how my knowledge or lack thereof of US safe harbor laws has any effect on the instant case. Nor did i mention this being covered by US law. Maybe it is you Mr. Mouse who needs to take reading comprehension lessons.

        This case is in Italy, last I read, Italy was in Europe and not subject to US law, no matter what all the fans of google and those who believe ‘internet uber alles’ desire.

        All I did was applaud the Italians going after the true “criminals” who would be the folks who set this illegal policy, and are therefore responsible for it. If this were a US case the SA’s would be in trouble and not the policy makers. I am pleased the Italians are placing the blame for the illegal activity (in the Italian space) in its proper place.

        If Italian law had safe harbor provisions, yes you all are correct this would be a bad decision. No matter what EU law is, Italian law is different, and google can either go along with it, pull out, or suffer the consequences.

        The internet is NOT above a nations laws, it has to survive within each nations jurisdiction.



        you said:

        And Italy still must comply with EU law, since they are a member state of the EU, which does provide for certain safe harbors. The Italians should be ashamed for not following the laws they agreed to when they joined the EU, and you should maybe educate yourself a bit since this has nothing to do with the US.

         

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          Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

          You totally ignored what Any Mouse said (and you quoted) concerning the fact that Italy is part of the EU (European Union in case you didn't know but didn't want to look stupid by asking) and just keep babbling on about Italy not being suject to US law. Your assertion that the internet isn't above a nation's law, and "has to survive within each nations [sic] jurisdiction" is patently false. A company doing business on the internet only needs to obey the laws of the country they are incorporated in. If Italy doesn't like it, they can try and ban the website, but then they'll be like China. BTW before you come up with some stupid retort to the last two sentences, Google voluntarily agreed to follow China's laws in order to not be blacklisted.

          The fact that you insist on thinking and "applauding" that Google's execs are somehow personally liable for this shows that you have a very limited grasp of basic logic. You should see if there's any openings for a judge in Italy. You'd fit right in.

           

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          ChadBroChill (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Re: Re: the law applies to everyone, even google

          Was it on an Italian YouTube server that was located in Italy?

          If so, then I can see how Italian law applies.

          If the video was hosted outside of Italy's borders, then I don't see how they have jurisdiction.

           

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    Ted Rall, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Google Italy Verdict

    What I am questioning is the entire profit model of companies like Google, YouTube, etc.

    Ease of posting and publishing online is extremely alluring. I love it! But if you pull back from the reality of the Internet as we currently know it and imagine how it might have developed differently, you might see that this is a way for Google and other companies to shirk off responsibility--the definition of a corporation--for the content that gets posted.

    What this has done is create something that never existed before: the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds of millions of readers, their libel.

    You can shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh, well. Tough. Too bad." Or you can counter that the answer to bad free speech is good free speech, which ignores the reality that most people who read the bad free speech will never hear the good free speech. Either way, you're essentially telling victims of libel that their pain and suffering is necessary for "Internet freedom."

    But what if "Internet freedom"--posting whatever you want, anonymously, whenever you want--is really just a morally unsustainable way to pour billions into the pockets of a company?

    I am not "confusing" a publisher with a service provider. Legally, Google *is* a publisher, not a service provider. Not just the Italian court, but a lot of American lawyers, agree. The reason is advertising. They post ads next to content--much of which they steal from newspapers and book publishers, but anyway--which makes them publishers.

    If Google wants to get into the service provider business, they should stop exploiting content for money. They should find some other way to generate income, whether it be subscription fees like the phone company, or whatever.

    Contrary to some commentators here, I can easily imagine a Google that employed tens of thousands of editors to vet material before it appeared online. The National Security Agency intercepts hundreds of millions of communications daily, processes them through the Internet, fax machines, bank wire transfer services and telephone lines, and investigates those suspected of terrorism and other anti-state offenses, all with a full-time staff of about 20,000 people.

     

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      Ima Fish (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:58am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds of millions of readers, their libel"

      Guns, stairs, elevator shafts, knifes, and automobiles have made it easier to kill, but yet we still hold the murders criminally responsible.

      "They should find some other way to generate income..."

      Why should Google or anyone find some other way to generate income merely because of one court verdict? Does Microsoft give up every time it loses a lawsuit? Does Exxon give up every time it causes a disaster? Good things happen and bad things happen. If we wait for a perfect business model where bad things never happen, no one will ever make any money.

      "I can easily imagine..."

      Sorry to say this, but your imagination and five cents will at best get you a nickle.

       

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:59am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      I don't think Mike is saying that no one can be held responsible, just that the person held responsible should be the person who uploaded the libelous content.

      If, after a long bout of harassment, you get a restraining order against me to prevent me from calling you, and I call you again anyway, do you go after me or after the telephone company? After all, the telephone company should have known not to connect my call, right? How hard can it be to screen calls? The government listens in all the time, so surely the phone companies can determine who is or isn't breaking the law in the same fashion . . .

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:09am

        Re: Re: Google Italy Verdict

        Actually, yes, Mr. Rall does indeed support criminally prosecuting the telephone companies for every crime involving a phone.

         

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          Any Mouse, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Google Italy Verdict

          That's because Mr. Rall is an idiot. But that's besides the point.

           

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          Ima Fish (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Google Italy Verdict

          What about the manufacturers of aglets, which are on the end of shoe laces, which hold shoes on the feet of criminals, who run away after committing their crimes?

           

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            Anonymouse, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Google Italy Verdict

            "by icon Ima Fish (profile)

            What about the manufacturers of aglets, which are on the end of shoe laces, which hold shoes on the feet of criminals, who run away after committing their crimes?"

            The streets they run on after committing a murder is paid for by taxpayers, including the victim of the murder in question. Therefore, the victim is the perpetrator of the crime by enabling the criminal a means to escape, and should be punished. I say, death penalty!

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 8:59am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      Most of NSA's staff will never see any of those records because it's their computers that are doing the sorting.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:03am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      But what if "Internet freedom"--posting whatever you want, anonymously, whenever you want--is really just a morally unsustainable way to pour billions into the pockets of a company?

      ------

      cool story bro

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:08am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      You really are ignorant. You can kick and scream and whine all you want, though. It is entertaining.

       

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      Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:10am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      You've obviously never ran a successful business, and you never will. Nor will you ever actually provide something useful or innovative to the public with your attitude and view of the world. If I had to guess, I'd say your education is sorely lacking because you appear exceedingly ignorant, but then maybe you've just been taught all the wrong stuff. Your post did nothing to refute the criticism of you on here, if that is what you were going for.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:14am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "If Google wants to get into the service provider business, they should stop exploiting content for money. They should find some other way to generate income, whether it be subscription fees like the phone company, or whatever."

      Really? Selling a subscription instead of selling ads would magically turn Google into a service provider? Isn't that still "exploiting content for money?" Your arbitrary distinctions are laughable.

      Then again, you're a (terrible) reporter. You "exploit content for money" all the time. Don't report on any murders, we might have to throw you in jail for murder.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:17am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      Sigh, where oh where to begin?

      "But if you pull back from the reality of the Internet as we currently know it and imagine how it might have developed differently, you might see that this is a way for Google and other companies to shirk off responsibility--the definition of a corporation--for the content that gets posted."

      See, I've got a problem with your premise. They're not shirking off responsibility -- they never HAD any to begin with. They're providing a tool (YouTube, blogger, etc.) which others use to publish material. That they sell ads as well doesn't change their function: they're the telephone company, and nobody seems to be charging AT&T when criminals use the telephone in conjunction with illegal activities.

      "What this has done is create something that never existed before: the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds of millions of readers, their libel."

      That ability has been there before, it's just been limited to those in the industries of television, newspapers and book publishing. And there is of course a difference in speed. But those differences don't amount to the new ability you're positing. It's just no longer limited to certain groups, which is what I think this is really all about....

      "Either way, you're essentially telling victims of libel that their pain and suffering is necessary for "Internet freedom.""

      Sigh, why can't people stop throwing the word "internet" into everything and pretend like it's a new issue. It's about freedom of speech, and ensuring that those freedoms are afforded to EVERYONE, not just professional whatevers. This is about enduring necessary evils to promote more freedom, something that fascists in this country routinely advocate against. I don't know where your affiliations lie, but I have to tell you that what you're saying seems in line with fascist thinking: corporate control over government granted freedoms for the benefit of industry.

      "Legally, Google *is* a publisher, not a service provider. Not just the Italian court, but a lot of American lawyers, agree."

      Who? Which lawyers? Under the IP law of this country, Google qualifies for DMCA exemption as a SERVICE PROVIDER. Where in American law are they a publisher?

      "If Google wants to get into the service provider business, they should stop exploiting content for money."

      So if a company sells ad space, that precludes them from being a service provider? What odd dictionary are you working from?

      "The National Security Agency intercepts hundreds of millions of communications daily, processes them through the Internet, fax machines, bank wire transfer services and telephone lines, and investigates those suspected of terrorism and other anti-state offenses, all with a full-time staff of about 20,000 people."

      Given the current climate of anger against the NSA for doing exactly that, given the clear level of illegal corruption involved both in what THEY and some SERVICE PROVIDERS did with illegal wiretaps, given the backlash years ago with the COINTELPRO program (which is really what you're referencing) and it's subsequent continuation in the Patriot Act....is that REALLY the comparison you want to be making?

       

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:21am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "What this has done is create something that never existed before: the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds of millions of readers, their libel."

      Not only incorrect, but the polar opposite of the truth. The person committing libel can - and should - be held responsible for said action. However, the company that merely provided the platform through which said libel was committed should not be held responsible for the actions of third parties over which it had no direct control.

      "I am not "confusing" a publisher with a service provider."

      Yes, you are. The problem is that much of the written law was created when physical publishing was the only way to publish, and such publishing was expensive, required editiors, etc. Now that anybody on the internet can instantly publish anything they want, the person who creates the material is a publisher, and the company providing the ability to do so is a service provider. Simple, even if Italian courts have some time to catch up to the current century.

      "If Google wants to get into the service provider business, they should stop exploiting content for money."

      Why? They provide a valuable service, that their customers could not on an individual basis (bandwidth costs for a popular video would be probhibitive, and who publishes without expecting their material to be popular?). Google are not a charity, and they deserve to make a profit if their service is popular.

      "Contrary to some commentators here, I can easily imagine a Google that employed tens of thousands of editors to vet material before it appeared online. The National Security Agency intercepts hundreds of millions of communications daily, processes them through the Internet, fax machines, bank wire transfer services and telephone lines, and investigates those suspected of terrorism and other anti-state offenses, all with a full-time staff of about 20,000 people."

      Unlike you, I don't believe that a private company who provide an optional service should be held to the same standards as a government agency tasked with national security.

      Besides, while many YouTube videos would not be published if your plan came to fruition, most of the traffic would move elsewhere. If YouTube were to be held responsible in this was, so would every single ISP. These are not known as high-paying employers for support & admin staff, and rightly should not be making such decisions.

      Are you OK with a minimum wage cube jockey determining your access to free speech? Really?

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:22am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      But if you pull back from the reality of the Internet as we currently know it and imagine how it might have developed differently...

      Yes, because that's what the law is focused on-- alternate realities.

      ...you might see that this is a way for Google and other companies to shirk off responsibility--the definition of a corporation--for the content that gets posted

      So, you're actually claiming that if you, Ted, posted libel on this web page in the comments that Techdirt should get in trouble for giving you the means? What about the keyboard manufacturer? The computer manufacturer? The cable company? The electric company? The school system that taught you English? Maybe we should toss your mom in jail too, for without her direct action you never would have been born and thus could not have posted the libel.

      Or, and stay with me now, Ted, what if we just blame *the person responsible* for their actions? Hmm? Doesn't that make sense?

      ...which ignores the reality that most people who read the bad free speech will never hear the good free speech. Either way, you're essentially telling victims of libel that their pain and suffering is necessary for "Internet freedom."

      Even in the century you still live in, if the town crier yelled slanderous things about you, the people that heard it wouldn't necessarily hear him say it was all made up. Furthermore, libel and slander aren't "bad free speech." We have laws specifically against them so it is clear that they do not fall under "free speech". Or, ya know, we wouldn't have laws against them.

      Not just the Italian court, but a lot of American lawyers, agree

      When the American judges agree, let me know.

      They post ads next to content--much of which they steal from newspapers and book publishers, but anyway--which makes them publishers.

      So the video in question was "stolen" from a newspaper? I don't think you've ever even *been* to youtube.

      If Google wants to get into the service provider business, they should stop exploiting content for money.

      Says who? You? On what grounds? Why do you call it "exploiting" content? More specifically, what do you call it when newspapers do it? Is it any different to report on a house fire that the newspaper had no part it, but still made money from advertising around the story? Why?

      Contrary to some commentators here, I can easily imagine a Google that employed tens of thousands of editors to vet material before it appeared online.

      I can easily imagine flying cars, teleporters, women with three boobs and cartoonists that stick to making cartoons instead of stupid, poorly thought out comments. That doesn't make it so, unfortunately.

       

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      Sneeje (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:23am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "Or you can counter that the answer to bad free speech is good free speech, which ignores the reality that most people who read the bad free speech will never hear the good free speech"

      And that was true before the Internet and true before television, and and true before reporters, and true for all time except when there was no actual speech.

       

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:24am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "What this has done is create something that never existed before: the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds of millions of readers, their libel.
      "

      Please tell me that you're not that ignorant of history. This has existed ever since a libeler could stand in a market square and shout unfounded information to an entire town. Printing presses and newspapers increased the ability from towns to nations or continents, and telegraphs and wire services increased the reach worldwide.

      Libel law was created because of a power disparity between someone with a printing press and someone without.

      The internet has simply given everyone their own printing press.

      You make the assumption that the Internet is a broadcast platform. It is not. It is a communication platform where everyone can participate. All you have online is your reputation - anyone who consistently makes false statements is quickly found out, and it becomes easier and easier to see them for what they are.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re: Google Italy Verdict

        I thought everyone knew that the internet was a communications platform and not a broadcasting one?

        Broadcast: One-to-Many
        Internet: Many-to-Many

        This is not rocket surgery.

         

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      btr1701 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:39am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      > What this has done is create something that never existed before:
      > the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to hundreds
      > of millions of readers, their libel.

      What's wrong with holding the actual libelers responsible for their defamation? Oh yeah, they don't have deep pockets. I forgot.

      Just like everyone else in society these days, you seem to be on a hunt for whoever has the most money, then bootstrap a flimsy excuse to hold them responsible so you can get your hands on some of it.

       

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    herodotus (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    "Contrary to some commentators here, I can easily imagine a Google that employed tens of thousands of editors to vet material before it appeared online."

    So you want Google to go bankrupt, is that it?

    "The National Security Agency intercepts hundreds of millions of communications daily, processes them through the Internet, fax machines, bank wire transfer services and telephone lines, and investigates those suspected of terrorism and other anti-state offenses, all with a full-time staff of about 20,000 people."

    The NSA is a government agency payed for with our tax money, whether we want it or not. If they lose money, no one really cares except for taxpayers, who are powerless to do anything about it.

    And you may not be aware of this but the NSA and affiliated agencies have been known to fail spectacularly when we needed them.

     

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    Red Tall, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Goggle Piddly Herring

    What I am questioning is the entire profit model of companies like the Midtown Mall.

    Ease of speaking at the Mall is extremely alluring. I love it! But if you pull back from the reality of the Mall as we currently know it and imagine how it might have developed differently, you might see that this is a way for Midtown and other companies to shirk off responsibility--the definition of a corporation--for the content that gets spoken.

    What this has done is create something that never existed before: the ability for a libeler to widely disseminate, potentially to tens of hundreds of listeners, their libel.

    You can shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh, well. Tough. Too bad." Or you can counter that the answer to bad free speech is good free speech, which ignores the reality that most people who hear the bad free speech will never hear the good free speech. Either way, you're essentially telling victims of libel that their pain and suffering is necessary for "Mall freedom."

    But what if "Mall freedom"--saying whatever you want, anonymously, whenever you want--is really just a morally unsustainable way to pour billions into the pockets of a company?

    I am not "confusing" a publisher with a landlord. Legally, Midtown *is* a publisher, not a landlord. Not just the Italian court, but a lot of American lawyers, agree. The reason is advertising. They post ads next to stores--many of which they steal from Latveria and Atlantis, but anyway--which makes them publishers.

    If Midtown wants to get into the landlord business, they should stop exploiting stores for money. They should find some other way to generate income, whether it be entrance fees like the theme parks, or whatever.

    Contrary to some commentators here, I can easily imagine a Midtown that employed tens of thousands of editors to vet material before it was spoken in the Mall. ESCHELON intercepts hundreds of millions of communications daily, processes them through the Internet, fax machines, bank wire transfer services and telephone lines, and investigates those suspected of terrorism and other anti-state offenses, all with a full-time staff of about 20,000 people.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:45am

      Re: Goggle Piddly Herring

      Probably a typo, but ESCHELON should be ECHELON or NSA SIG/INT. Throwing COINTELPRO into wikipedia is a good starting point for those wishing to learn more....

       

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    Ted Rall, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Google Italy Verdict

    I don't own stock in Google. I don't care if Google goes out of business.

    I find it interesting that so many people here resort to name-calling rather than discussing the ideas at hand. To me, that indicates that they don't have any arguments at hand--only blind rage fed by surprise that someone would dare question their basic assumptions.

    @Chris Rhodes: "If, after a long bout of harassment, you get a restraining order against me to prevent me from calling you, and I call you again anyway, do you go after me or after the telephone company?"

    Both. After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so. Since the phone company is probably richer than you are, my lawyer would probably agree.

    @The Infamous Joe: "So, you're actually claiming that if you, Ted, posted libel on this web page in the comments that Techdirt should get in trouble for giving you the means? What about the keyboard manufacturer? The computer manufacturer? The cable company? The electric company? The school system that taught you English? Maybe we should toss your mom in jail too, for without her direct action you never would have been born and thus could not have posted the libel."

    Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe would) be liable. Certainly such cases will eventually wind their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then we'll know for sure, but I'd bet money that plaintiffs would prevail.

    Under U.S. legal doctrine, the other parties you mention would be deemed too indirectly involved in my theoretical act of libel to be held accountable. The keyboard manufacturer, for example, could not stop my libel even if it wanted to. Neither could my mom. But Techdirt could easily do so. All they would have to do is moderate comments.

    Why don't you care about being victimized online? If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, a liberal is a libertarian who hasn't been screwed by a corporation.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:05am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      Ted Rall tortured me. True story.

       

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      CastorTroy-Libertarian, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:12am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      A) Liberals and Libertarians do not see eye to eye on about any subject know to man (unless the liberals are offering to jump in a volcano, then we will agree to give them a push), Thats anarchist (yes libertarianism followed through to the absolute purist form it just that) and Statist/Communism (Liberalism followed through to the absolute purist form) are Complete OPPOSITES of each other.

      B) When you spew positions so totally offbase some people are going to just respond to name calling, thats life, and they really don't feel like taking the time to explain that to you or educate you.

      C) WHY would the phone company be responsible for a call to you from a person with a restraining order?? thats a epic logic fail, it goes away from every foundation that the phone system was setup for, and puts the liability for the actions of 1 person on another. Plus what if in your senario would happen if the person used a payphone (if you can find one) or stole another persons cellphone, or just asked to use it? Now you want some kind of DNA reader in every phone?? thats permentally uplinked to a database that says who can and can't call specific phone numbers???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME... Because that would NEVER be abused by the powers that be, nope, oh wait they are already do with the system today much less your Star Trek Fanatsy world.

      D) Final one because i just cant waste anymore time on your education (and basic rule for you to remember, time is money) IN you own words the Keyboard manufacture (made a tool right) could not stop my your libel, well if the phone company can stop because of a restraining order, then a keyboard manufacture can as well, You could just have the government (lower case on purpose) Mandate that all keyboards must come from them (so no pesky profits, their EVIL) with a Keylogger, and AI that doesnt allow Libelis material to be typed, and if it is, it calls the police to come get the EVIL person (they might be trying to make a profit), that would work as well as the telephone company idea you had or having some one be liable for a video posted by another....

      Hold tight to the freedoms you have, because liberals think only they can manage them properly.

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:15am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      Both. After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so. Since the phone company is probably richer than you are, my lawyer would probably agree.

      Which phone company would be contacted, yours or mine? What about services like Google Voice? What about VOIP? What about text messages?

      Under U.S. legal doctrine, the other parties you mention would be deemed too indirectly involved in my theoretical act of libel to be held accountable.

      So, let me get this straight: You agree that US Legal Doctrine is correct in saying that the above mentioned parties should not be liable, but when the US Legal Doctrine says that neither should Google (or Techdirt) you disagree? Further, how about if I put an ad in the paper that is libelous? Is the Newspaper to blame?

      Libel is only determined to be libel after a trial. Before that it's just words that may be true or may not be true. Are Newspapers/Google/ISPs supposed to magically know which words are libelous and which are facts? Do you have some solution, a computer program perhaps, that you can pass a string of words to and it will export whether or not it's libel or truth?

      I've never heard of you, to be honest, but I am beginning to think you're the wittiest, most subtle comedian in the world and you're playing us all for fools with your (genius, really) satire.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:44am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      > After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a
      > call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so.

      Really? How?

      And before you answer, just consider how many publicly available phones, work phones, friends' phones and pay phones there are out there that a person could use...

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:48am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      > Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe
      > would) be liable. Certainly such cases will eventually wind their
      > way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then we'll know for sure, but I'd
      > bet money that plaintiffs would prevail.

      Only if the Supreme Court ignored its constitutional mandate and its own proper function as an interpreter of the law, not a maker of law and public policy.

      Section 230 of the DMCA provides safe harbors for service providers under US law. The Supreme Court is constitutionally bound to follow that law, not just make up one of its own and apply it however it likes. And if the Court follows the law, there's no way it could arrive at your conclusion that Techdirt is legally responsible for the content of your comments.

       

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      R. Miles (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:48am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "I find it interesting that so many people here resort to name-calling rather than discussing the ideas at hand."
      Wait... ideas? Wouldn't this be a conversation on censorship? I see no idea discussion in your blog or your comments here.

      Your "idea" is asinine, Ted, on so many levels, it's difficult to figure out where to begin. Bluntly: you should practice what you preach by censoring your own comments before you post.

      Your post will now lead to discussions, in which name-calling (as you indicate) will result. YOUR POST was the cause of the name calling. Now, I'm betting you don't want to take any responsibility, right?

      Your post will also fuel debates against your piece, thus leading to a difference of opinion. The same type of opinion which Italy took against the executives of Google. Again, care to take responsibility for this or leave it to those who made the comments?

      You CAN NOT have a discussion and have it edited at the same time, Ted. Censorship, your opinion piece's foundation, will prevent it. The upload of the video is unfortunately done in bad taste, but it *is* news. It's a story. And this upload contributed to countless stories published, including your own blog.

      Now you want all this to be edited. Well, start with your own blog piece, Ted, given it's the result of actions you had nothing to do with. You can't discuss it ever again.

      In fact, don't blog anything ever again unless the information relates to you, and only you. Including any company or individual is forbidden, because it will lead to discussions which must be edited, or in your world, censored.

      Oh, and for the record, despite the fact I disagree with your words, do note I sure as hell wouldn't want it censored or edited. You're free to write what you feel, and you should be thankful for that. Be happy I didn't sue you, just because you're responsible for words which I had no part of, but feel you should be held liable.

      Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

       

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "Both. After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so. Since the phone company is probably richer than you are, my lawyer would probably agree."

      So if I go to a payphone near my house and call you, will you still sue the telephone company? How will they stop me?

      Your position is not practical in any sense. It appears that you simply want the ability to sue people who have the deepest pockets, regardless of such "minor" concepts as guilt and innocence.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe would) be liable. Certainly such cases will eventually wind their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then we'll know for sure, but I'd bet money that plaintiffs would prevail.

      You are wrong. Please look up Section 230 of the CDA and the relevant case law. There is no question here, we would not be liable.

      And for VERY good reasons. To say that we should be liable because you posted a libelous statement is deeply troublesome. You are blaming a third party for your own actions. Under no reasonable court system in the world should that make sense -- which is why we're all so troubled by the Google verdict.

      I find it odd, and slightly troubling, that you find it justifiable to blame a third party just because they're richer/easier to find. That's not how liability works.

       

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      techflaws.org (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 2:07am

      I've seen no name-calling

      I find it interesting that so many people here resort to name-calling rather than discussing the ideas at hand.

      Probably because you lack basic logic skills so your "ideas" are simply not worth being discussed. Bummer.

       

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    Ted Rall, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Google Italy Verdict

    I don't own stock in Google. I don't care if Google goes out of business.

    I find it interesting that so many people here resort to name-calling rather than discussing the ideas at hand. To me, that indicates that they don't have any arguments at hand--only blind rage fed by surprise that someone would dare question their basic assumptions.

    @Chris Rhodes: "If, after a long bout of harassment, you get a restraining order against me to prevent me from calling you, and I call you again anyway, do you go after me or after the telephone company?"

    Both. After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so. Since the phone company is probably richer than you are, my lawyer would probably agree.

    @The Infamous Joe: "So, you're actually claiming that if you, Ted, posted libel on this web page in the comments that Techdirt should get in trouble for giving you the means? What about the keyboard manufacturer? The computer manufacturer? The cable company? The electric company? The school system that taught you English? Maybe we should toss your mom in jail too, for without her direct action you never would have been born and thus could not have posted the libel."

    Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe would) be liable. Certainly such cases will eventually wind their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then we'll know for sure, but I'd bet money that plaintiffs would prevail.

    Under U.S. legal doctrine, the other parties you mention would be deemed too indirectly involved in my theoretical act of libel to be held accountable. The keyboard manufacturer, for example, could not stop my libel even if it wanted to. Neither could my mom. But Techdirt could easily do so. All they would have to do is moderate comments.

    Why don't you care about being victimized online? If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, a liberal is a libertarian who hasn't been screwed by a corporation.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:08am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe would) be liable."

      So... you don't see any downside to every single website online - and their ISPs - being held liable for actions over which they had no control? No chilling effect? No violation of free speech? No consequences that outweigh whether or not your feelings happened to be hurt?

      I didn't see much name calling upthread, but if you believe that, then it's probably highly justified.

      "The keyboard manufacturer, for example, could not stop my libel even if it wanted to. Neither could my mom."

      But the cable company could, as could the computer manufacturer (pre-installed spyware/censorware).

      "Why don't you care about being victimized online?"

      I'm not seeing anybody being victimised here, apart from perhaps Google. The video in question alerted authorities to activities offline, which may have continued for a long time had the video not been seen. It was responsible for protecting a victim, not creating one.

      "hasn't been screwed by a corporation."

      I'll ignore the idiocy of the rest of your comment, and ask you: who is being "screwed" here? Google's own actions have not affected anybody negatively - except perhaps the free speech of Italy that's being destroyed by this verdict.

       

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      identicon
      Allison K, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:24am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      You're ignoring the fact that Google *does* have an editorial review system - it just happens after content is posted, rather than before, and the "editors" are millions of users, not a few designated people. In the case in question, as soon as Google was formally notified that this video was abhorrent, it removed it from YouTube. You act like you can't stop YouTube (or Facebook or Twitter) from spreading slander about you, but you can - notify the company, and they'll take down the content. Now, it's entirely likely that the content might have spread across the internet by then, but you can go after every site hosting it and get them to take down illegal content. So, you can't just argue that it's better to hamper free speech than have this video be posted on the web forever; you have to argue that it's better to hamper free speech to prevent this video from being on the web for one minute.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:24am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      So you really think the phone company can prevent someone from calling you? I know how they would do it if you threaten to sue them, they would disconnect you. But apart from that, how could they stop the call? Blocking a particular number is trivial, of course, and many phone companies support this already. But what if the person calls from a pay phone? Or the phone of a friend? Or a disposible cell phone? Under your logic, the phone company should be intercepting every phone call to your phone and make sure it isn't coming from the person you want blocked. And even here they would fail because the person could mask their voice or have another person speak for them.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:31am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      So by your logic, a telephone company should still be held responsible if I were to use a pay phone or a pre-pay cell phone, where my name is not associated to the call in anyway. How can they tell? How are they suppose to tell who is calling you?

      What ever happened to personal responsibility, and people taking and being held responsible for their actions? Instead of blaming others.

      As a great man once said, "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:32am

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      The law disagrees with you. Common sense disagrees with you.

      I much prefer them over the ramblings of a disgruntled reporter in an industry currently dooming itself by flailing around whining about the internet.

       

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      Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

      Re: Google Italy Verdict

      "Yes, if I were to post libel here, Techdirt should (and I believe would) be liable. Certainly such cases will eventually wind their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then we'll know for sure, but I'd bet money that plaintiffs would prevail."

      I'd take that bet. Any amount you want.

      "After the phone company has been notified that it is not to place a call to me from you, it can easily prevent you from doing so."

      So you notify the phone company AFTER you've been called? Much as Google was notified AFTER the video was posted? See where I'm going with this Teddy? As other's have stated the phone company can't keep you from being called from every phone, just the few numbers you happen to know belong to the offender. Just as Google can't stop every "bad" video from being uploaded. But once notified, they'll take them down. Just like the phone company will block a number after they've been notified. Do you think that after the first time you've been called and harrassed the Board of Directors for his phone company should be convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail time? If not, explain the difference to us.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:19am

    It's like saying I should sue the paper company that supplies paper to the NY Times because they didn't check to see if their writers plagiarized my work. Oh, hell why stop there? If Google can be liable, why not the ISP? Why not the DNS service providers in Italy that allowed me to pass my request through to the video?

     

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    DougN (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Of course, maybe he is suggesting the hiring of enough people to review all the video, comments, etc. Talk about a job stimulus plan...kinda like launching a satellite in orbit by hiring people to stand on one another's shoulders and place it there by hand.

     

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      Ryan, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      That would suck to be on the bottom.

      Avg person - estimated
      -----------
      5'10" = 5.8333 feet avg
      150lbs avg

      150mi into beginning of low earth orbit
      150mi*5280ft/mi = 792,000 ft

      792,000ft/5.8333ft/person = 135,770 persons
      135,770persons*150lbs/person = 20,365,500 lbs = 10,182 tons

      So over 10,000 tons on that person's shoulders. Of course, this would assume 1G for each person which is obviously not the case as we get really far up there. But even half of that weight is still 5,000 tons. They'd have to pay me quite a bit.

       

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    bob, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Hope and Change

    It sounds like Ted Rall wants the journalistic equivalent of big brother

    "He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

     

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    bee, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    YEAH! Google is guilty!!!!! Google verdict makes a lot of sense to me!!!!

    I explained why at my forum board!!!
    http://honeybeenet.phpbb3now.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=233

    bye!!!!!!!!!!!
    ~bee!!!!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Under no reasonable court system in the world should that make sense -- which is why we're all so troubled by the Google verdict.

    Uuh...in France, a blogger is responsible for what is written in the comments of his blog. The admins of a forum are responsible for all messages posted on the forum. Along with the original author of the "wrongful" comment.

    However, it must be proved they were aware those messages were published. For example, if comments/messages are first checked (moderated) by the owner/admin of the site before being published, owner/admin takes responsibility for those comments/messages as soon as they get published (the author of the comment/message is also held responsible). If comments/messages are automatically published without prior moderation (like with youtube), then the owners/admins of the site/blog has to take responsibility only once someone informed them of those unlawful comments.

    There was a famous case in 2006 (the "Affaire radiateur"), where an agent from the french national agency for employment was jokingly asking for a terrorist attack on the agency where he was working. Admin of the forum locked the topic, and took 48 hours to delete it, after an internal discussion between the mods. This was deemed by a court to be too long, and the owner of the site was fined (only 500 euros though) for having let the liable message published for 48 hours (asking publicly for a terrorist attack is forbidden, even if it's a joke). Sorry I can't find anything in english about it.

    Libelous messages would follow the same logic. And so for Google in Italy, yeah, I'm not surprised they've been found guilty of hosting liable content, as judge said google had been made aware of this video, and didn't take it down immediately (eventhough I'm not surprised, I don't agree with it though).

     

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    michaelk42 (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 6:49pm

    It's over now

    Ted Rall found his way off dailycartoonist.com, comment threads everywhere are doomed.

     

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    Catherine jennifer fusco, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 5:19am

    "Rall's Frre Speech issue "Italy Got It Right"

    RE: the "lifting of the written word?' Is Free Speech being twisted into Free Access? When HaperCollins[e-mailed Masnick,telling him this story] re:Harper "stole" a cover-design from an unpublished novel[expose'][hear that "Win-Free?[[private joke]re:James Frey's[He's Back!] wondering what catagory his book should have been under[like "LIES" maybe? Rall has a point,maybe extreme but still isn't there a thin line between "taking words" or using the same subject when the original 1st subject matter was never published..?If a book is Unpublished[copywritten] & a publisher publisher accepts annother book thus giving away the original 1st subject expose'[while making a foul mockery of the 1979 novel] how then can HaperC get away w/ such anticts? How can the person reponsible actually give merit to a 24yr old whose book re:"waiting"[the stigma sill lives!] while an almost 70yr old woman who worked all her life lifting heavy trays,the written word suprpassing the foul,ethnic orientated smut,customer interactions,but the real events that happened,[one couldn't invent in the original book].. RALL makes sense to say..& also Amazon..said. ."usingthe word "{Novelists[&writers are always boasting how they steal other work"..How does a publisher say "Oh,he didn't know the author[?}? which meant it was ok to use her "Just Tip Me Mister!by Cecilia Sacco Fusco's original 1st subject matter..well written w/ descriptive writting one rarely sees today..any publisher who knows the copyright laws doesn't say "Oh he didn't know the author"[what} then the nerve to utter {Oh,she's not published?'[instead of the term {UNpublished]to add..what is going on here..would they have done this to a famous person..?would they have published this "ungorgetable"mess if it had the truth..NO..it was a mockery of the true,article already written in 1979..because of the "stigma" associated w/ the servitude,this "sleeper" has been stolen[NBC's "It's A Living"[80's sitcome] was aited,then cancelled after the author suspected her printer "pitched" the idea to the produsers..they "cancelled" why? Because the dialoge was about to become "theirs"..the prinetr actually was never sued by mom& me..but what happened to NBC & the printer who took the book to L.A. saying [must have told them she gave the rights],even if..which wouldn't have EVER happened..why didn't they see the bbok belonged to the author..why were they ready to aire another's lifetime work,without any questions?The call to L.A. asked them where did you get this idea,nobody ever though of it before,I am the author of "Just Tip Me Mister![Cecilia Sacco Fusco] I know the printer was there to see you..That is my book..I saw your show,the waitresses are composites of my characters..[these women were parading in clad simple black dresses,high heels..hardly the true drama it was meant to convey!No comedy was meant for this..the producers said "what makes you think we got the idea from your book[continued from the last paragraph..was asked..after the call,the show was cancelled..wonder why?..We should have sued the printer,but att'y said it would be too much to pay[cost] looking back after a year..anyone would have,no court would have thought this a coninciedence..the HaperCollons book[I will not give advertizement to his foul,no experienced,nobody who was complimented by Bordain for his humoress[humorless],lack of talent..What does an author do to get her book read,again[her appearances on many shows,{Donohue} "Cosmo-"article..all media.how long does an author have to watch other's make it,while her book is continuing to be ignored? The background itself could make another book! Rall has a point,same subject..but what about the 1st original,subject not a novice who had nothing better to do..a person who didn't have to support a child,nor did he accomplish anything in his 24 yrs..Women from all over the country wrote in asking "where can I find the book?{Auther had 500 copies left after att't told him to RETURN the copies in leu of a lawsuit instead!But waitresses of America,must be honored for the hard work they do..the phyciatry,the diplomacy,the bosses disiplinaery attitudes,,it's not the waitresses fault[she[author] gained the respect of the cooks!"Quiting" was never an option..this foul book w/ the same cover was sent to an att'y,he said "we can't do anythign[?]Oh yes,we only called one..like they say,a Jewish att'y has the "hudspa",unlike the ;awyers who either are in league w/ HarperC..or cowardess? I am an Italian but unknown to many is they are jealous of their own kind,whereas the Jewish people stick together,so had we called a Jewish att'y he'd have asked questions..that was a lawsuit indeed..The att't told my mom[auther] to monitor the dialoge in the "Its A Living",they were indeed her characters..there's the line RALL means..if one can write the same subject,but the 1st genuine is ignored,because the publishers though it was a joke instead of the truth,then how would any writer feel to see "THEIR" cover[bill-of-fare] on another book...???tell me that!!No body will ever steal one word from her book,so I will not give you her introduction,you would be,any so called "critiquing"or critic would ever disagree w/ such a book like this,can you address this subject,Mr.Mike masnick? This cannot be the literary laws..!!cjenn@ptd.net[1-570-828-1725 talk to the author,the statement often heard from Cecilia Sacco Fusco on waiting..was "they should write about this business" well someone has in 1979..

     

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    •  
      icon
      Almost Anonymous (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 8:05am

      Re: "Rall's Frre Speech issue "Italy Got It Right"

      Catherine, first, welcome to the internet! Second, no human is going to be willing to parse that hot mess. Some tips:

      Paragraphs are fun for me and you!

      At least one whitespace between sentences, but for you I'd recommend two.

      Please use less '..', '...', '???', etc.

       

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      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 9:26am

        Re: Re: "Rall's Frre Speech issue "Italy Got It Right"

        At a glance, it's comment spam with a link to an invalid URL referencing out-of-date technology. Don't waste your time answering.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Parotstalk, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    Our responsibilities

    The social media platforms of blogging and tweeting are now so second nature that even if you don’t you’ve heard about them. Along with other social media they are the real platform for the masses. Regardless of how many followers or readers you have when you tweet or blog people listen. Your message is carried out throughout the world through other peoples’ networks. Phones don’t do it, television and radio doesn’t do it.

    The truth is – at present – there is no greater medium for change and challenging change than the social media networks.

    We all know there are things that need changed in the world; senseless wars, terrorism, racial bigotry, suppression of human rights are just some of the most important. Social media gives all of us an opportunity to contribute to that. It also gives us an immense responsibility. That responsibility is to understand others cultures before we act. What may seem minor to you and I may be major to somebody else.

    Essentially the social media networks are a democracy;

    "A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them"

    To me, in this analogy, the political system is represented by the social media platforms; the hustings, the body of people is obvious, the people who use social media and the elected people are the real movers and shakers in the system, the people with the top read blogs, the most twitter followers and so on.

    As I said social media gives us all a responsibility, regardless of how many followers or readers you or I have when we tweet or blog people listen.

    The problem with all this debate is that most people seek out and provide coverage to controversial and outrageous views. It gives them more credence than they warrant and in a weird way creditability. The more outrageous a story, blogpost or tweet the more coverage it gets, setting in motion a movement towards the "there's no smoke without fire" syndrome.

    The French law highlighted by Anonymous Coward seems fair and just to me. If you have a website / blog / forum then you have a responsibility. To me that responsibility is a heavy weight that every website / blog / forum et al. owner should carry.

    We should never prevent the publication and particularly the debate of outrageous stories. It is one of the cornerstones of free speech which many enjoy and sadly many don't and it is something that we should protect and encourage provided we act responsibly.

    In the same way that we should debate, but give no credence or credibility to outrageous and libellous articles we need to also give acceptability and praise where the opposite applies. This is something we don't. We glory in the headline, the controversy.

    We are not that much of a tabloid world are we?

    Given that we all have responsibilities there are some causes and changes that are required that we should be debating with as much fervour as we do the outrageous. They cross boundaries and cultures they are changes that will benefit everybody, wherever and whoever.

    The biggest challenge we all face is where will we be in 5, 10 or 20 years time. We live in an advancing world; advancing technology and an aging population. The single important campaign we can all contribute to; whether in the US, Japan, China, Europe or on a small isolated island in the middle of nowhere; is to challenge and take up the issue of internet accessibility and usability. To make sure that not only can we comprehend, use and interact with the technology present and future but so can everybody else regardless of ability.

    If you can debate this with at the same pitch as this "pathetic" story then we all might benefit.

    I challenge TechDirt to start a debate on this issue, find fault and "techdirt" in an area which matters and effects us all.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Warren Gamache, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Rall

    If you read Rall's work regularly, you'll see his worldview is essentially totalitarian.

     

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