Italian Prosecutors Request Jail Time For Google Execs

    December 5, 2009

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.

Related Articles:

> Google Takes Us To Law School

> Google News Italia Probe Expands

> Italian Antitrust Regulators Investigate Google