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Subject: Berlusconi's Italy: Idiots.
Sorry Albx.  =)

Recently an Italian court, in a move no one really doubts is designed to put a cap in the ass of any media company that dares threaten Prime Minister Berlusconi's empire, sentenced three Google executives to jail for a video posted on Italian YouTube.

The video, of a retarded boy being abused by his peers, was pulled by Google as soon as they were made aware of it.  That wasn't good enough for the Italian courts.  Unlike many countries Italy lacks that common sense bit, and does not hold internet content providers safe from persecution for the actions of their users.  Basically, in Itally, if you run a website and one of your users says something illegal, you're responsible.  As this court ruling indicates, you're responsible even if you remove it immediately.

From The Google Blog:

Quote by Google:
[This decision] attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built. Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming.  [...] If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear.

According to Ars the European Union itself could overturn this, as it  holds content providers immune from this sort of silliness.

Now, Italy, go after the boys who actually committed a crime, OK?  Stop being dicks.

TechDirt article on the subject:

Quote by TechDirt:
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.

I suppose it's possible that the courts had their hands tied by Italian law, but given the relatively pathetic nature of Italy's politics as a whole, it's far easier to see conspiracy and greed.
This post was edited on 2010-02-26, 10:02 by NFG.
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