Italian Prosecutors Request Jail Time For Google Execs

Case over YouTube video moves forward

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Italian prosecutors have – sort of – tried to put several Google executives (and the company’s former CFO) in jail.  The prosecutors requested sentences ranging from six months to one year in connection with a case that involved a YouTube video and a disabled boy.

Google To Go On Trial In ItalyIn September of 2006, a clip showing several teens making fun of a classmate with Down syndrome was uploaded to YouTube.  Employees took it down about two months later, but prosecutors have made the case that Google knew about the clip before then and violated defamation and privacy laws by leaving it up.

Arvind Desikan (who was Google’s head of videos in Europe), David Drummond (Google’s chief legal officer), Peter Fleischer (its global privacy counsel), and George Reyes (its old CFO) were charged as a result.

But here’s a catch that may address the outrage some people feel: Eric Sylvers wrote today, "If found guilty, the four defendants, none of whom were present in court, would not serve jail time because sentences of less than three years are commuted in Italy for those who do not have a criminal record."

So as long as YouTube isn’t (allegedly) slow to remove objectionable content again the future, the outcome of this trial might not matter much.

The next hearing is scheduled for December 16th, in any event.

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Italian Prosecutors Request Jail Time For Google Execs
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  • shankar

    I think punishment should go to the person who uploaded the video also

  • garzanti

    Is typical for Italy… idiots.

  • Guest

    This could easily be an excellent opportunity to create a whole lot of new jobs mendatorily. Moderators to review the content of every new youtube upload. Sure, belief in mankind may be a casualty to those who get the gigs, but it may allow the rest of us to linger in our illusions a little longer. Other consequences may cut the good times even shorter. Amongst which may well be calls for harsher identifications of webusers and the likes. The world of humans is directed by staged opportunists and executed by real ones. And- if anything- this situation is a screaming opportunity to push forward with lingering agendas such as teh web-I.D.!
    If you are real quiet and listen carefully you may hear the swushing of rubbing hands. I’m wondering where one might end up, following those sounds! ;o)

  • http://iskandarx-society.blogspot.com/ iskandarX

    I agree with you shankar. They must get punishment too.

    iskandarX Society

  • Nop

    What’s the matter with uploading or hosting the video?
    Reporters shoot war scenes with people dying and the television broadcasts it. Do you think their family like to see them getting killed?

    There are lots of immoral, unethical, without taste, out of color things going on around the world and nobody does anything about it.
    Now you want to imprison google people just because they did as everyone does: nothing?

    C’mon… it seems to be more of a rip-off scheme against google than a fight for morality.

  • http://www.phonestripclub.com/ Sarah Underwood

    I mean common is there a punishment for that kind of crime? but anyways glad to know about this

  • Richard

    Google merely provided a venue. The person who uploaded it should be liable, not the service provider.

    Then we have the issue of where the event occurred. It did not occur in Italy. It occurred either where the person uploaded it or where the server was located and probably neither of these is in Italy. If a news program created a video of a news event happening in England that mirrored this event, would Italy charge the news team and the BBC officers with a crime? They don’t have the jurisdiction. Just because people can see it in Italy does not make the crme happen in Italy.

    Of course they can pass laws saying they do have jurisdiction, but in that direction lies madness. If Hormel shows a picture of a happy family having a Thanksgiving ham on their web site, is it a crime because it is viewable in a country where Islamic law prevails?

    In the US, they are guilty of poor taste, not a crime. The individual who was made fun of may have a civil tort case against them or his parents may if he is a minor or not able to file is own cases. But this is not a crime here.

    Richard Threlkeld

  • Guest

    Or is it anal legory?

  • Core

    The person who uploaded the video should already be in jail.

    I don’t understand justice sometimes, shouldnt knife makers be in jail for not putting warnings like “do not stick this in someone else’s body”?

  • Guest

    They shouldn’t be going after execs. The YouTube video is only proof that kids can be ***holes. The teens who were making fun of their classmate with Down syndrome are the ones who should be punished severely. If someone commits murder with a Smith & Wesson handgun, should the Smith & Wesson execs be tried?

  • Guest

    very entertaining and has a greats sense of humor. My laughing might seems cruel to some? Most of these videos showing abuse merely become evidence against those actually guilty and shows society how cruel it can be. Certain videos should be age appropriate for view, but to censor the real world will lead to worse evil.

  • Guest

    Forgetta about it, capish? Seriously, how can someone go to jail for violating a law in a country where they don’t live and where they didn’t commit the alleged offense?


  • Guest

    It seems to me that there is just as much other objectionable stuff on You Tube for various reasons. You Tube does have a responsibility to police itself for more than just copyright violations but are we really going to have people who are responsible for overseeing all the business operations of a website containing literally millions of unsolicited videos posted with no prior consent other than the broad consent of establishing a user account thrown in jail every time some insensitive person posts documentation of their own or their friends’ insensitivity?

  • Loris

    In italia siamo bravissimi a inseguire QUESTE EMERITE MINCHIATE !




    Complimenti : se i figli che facevano i Pirla col Down erano i figli del giudice …che cosa succedeva ?? che la colpa era del Presidente degli stati uniti d’america ???

    I colpevoli sono i genitori di quei ragazzi : gente che non ha avuto I COGLIONI DI EDUCARE I PROPRI FIGLI .. e la societ

  • Guest

    TO HELL WITH ITALY AND SOCIALIST NONSENSE. This is the most ludacrist thing that I have ever seen. If someone wants to make fun of some other person or people, it may or may not make them a bad person of complete idiot, but it doesnt make them a crimininal. Freedom that is right and true and just is a freedom that all men must share. (and woman) You cannot legislate stupidity.

    • http://rapidfacilityservices.com.au andrew

      While making fun of anyone with a disability is wrong and stupid, we have all done it in some shape or form. Does that make us all criminals and should get 3 years or more jail time? Sure, youtube should have taken it down as soon as they found it, but it should hardly be a criminal act for being a little slow in doing something. I think this world has gone a little politically mad.

      I held a door open for a woman once and she asked me if I thought she was too weak to open it herself just because shes a woman? So I let the door go and it hit her in the head! Whatever! :-)

  • Force Factor

    In this case, it is all about taking the other’s part. As Val said, let’s wait till next week, when FIA will resolve something. I believe that it won’t be a right result, because they will plot a fake to make everyone unworried.

  • http://www.immediatehomebusiness.com Guest

    Hey! watsa-mata-you….

    While I am Italian and a harborer of Tourettes Syndrome, at 53 yrs. of age, I’m reaching the point where I’m realizing that the way we perceive life and it’s “issues” is what has caused and continues to cause this world to re-act the way we do. I’ve seen quite a few youtube videos with kids pretending they or a friend have Tourettes and they portray this as if it’s a big joke. I will admit that I did feel hurt when first coming across one of these videos that I originally had thought might be informative for my 40+ years of searching for relief or a cause for this neurological condition.
    My first REACTION was to lash out at these immature, insensitive and ignorant boobs but my RESPONSE was to just take a deep breath and remember that one of the basic, if not most basic, universal laws that we ALL experience, is: “What Goes Around, Comes Around.”

    I don’t wish any disease or illness on anyone, especially on those that are not even thought of to be in this world, however, these unsuspecting and unknowing kids will eventually pay for their insensitive behavior in one way or another. I’d just hope it is THEY who pay and NOT their future unborn children.

    This and other kinds of Ignorant attempts at being humorous is not and should not be against the law or else we lose one of our most important rights as a U.s. citizen. If anyone should be “punished’, I believe it is the Parents , our government and even ourselves ( society ) that are responsible for these kinds of behaviors in our children.

  • Guest

    Google is a crime syndicate Jail the lot

  • Guest

    Pathetic , Italians are stone-aged barbarians wrapped up in ancient old world laws. They seem to want to show that high standard yet I find it to be the most corrupt country.

  • Guest

    The user-uploaded video model of ‘broadcasting’ that you tube has created doesn’t fit traditional censorship systems. There are just too many uploads for each to be reviewed prior to publishing.

    Censorship boards are traditionally a representative cross-section of society. If a similar cross-section (the viewers) complain to you tube about a certain video, then it is removed. This kind of self censoring system is the best we can get. The problem is there is always a brief period where inappropriate videos are publicly viewable.

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