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Google bosses on trial in Italy
Brett_Tabke




msg:3998791
 7:42 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

[news.bbc.co.uk...]

The trial of four Google employees has begun in Milan with an engineer from the search giant giving evidence.

The employees are accused of breaking Italian law in allowing a video of a teenager with Down's Syndrome to be posted online.

The video, posted on Google Video in 2006 shortly before the firm acquired YouTube, showed a teenager with Down's Syndrome being bullied by four students in front of more than a dozen others.


 

bwnbwn




msg:3998854
 8:51 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

We built a video posting site for our visitors and I showed this to the one that apporoves the ones posted. I think it got his attention.

I really don't see how these poor chaps got there. Video posted before Google purchased the company and removed it as soon as it was brought to their attention.

Who in there right mind would consider the thought of buying youtube after all Google has gone through and God knows how much more invested in the company.

mack




msg:3998903
 9:56 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>Video posted before Google purchased the company and removed it as soon as it was brought to their attention.

The video, posted on Google Video in 2006 shortly before the firm acquired YouTube

I think the purchase of youtube in that article is misleading, It only acts as a guide for the timeline. The video was on Google video, not youtube.

The executives face up to three years in jail if convicted.

Thats rough, they are employed by Google and have a set job to do, they simply cant possibly filter every video posted.

One strong point I take from this...what crime is more severe, allowing it to be posted online, or carrying out the actual offence.

The four students were later expelled from the remainder of the academic year from their school in Turin, northern Italy.

As opposed to three years in jail?

Mack.

LifeinAsia




msg:3998947
 11:02 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

They also argue that Google broke Italian privacy law by not preventing the the content from being uploaded without the consent of all parties involved.

That's sort of like putting all of Italy's judges (or at least the head of the police) on trial for not preventing all the crimes that were committed in Italy in 2006.

IanKelley




msg:3998975
 11:39 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

If this lawsuit wins Italian courts will be in a great position to take the "world's most tech clueless" crown from the French courts.

IanTurner




msg:3998976
 11:43 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Privacy laws and Anti-Bullying laws are different things.

Okay I agree the sentences seem a little out of kilter, but there is no reason why the privacy law should not be imposed or are you arguing that all laws should be suspended on the internet?

IanKelley




msg:3999041
 2:20 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wait... what?

Google broke Italian privacy law by not preventing the the content from being uploaded without the consent of all parties involved.

How does it make sense for any kind of user uploaded content site to obtain permission from all parties involved?

It isn't just unreasonable, it's impossible.

ChanandlerBong




msg:3999044
 2:53 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

technically, there were no crimes in Italy in 2006. All the women were wearing jeans.

plumsauce




msg:3999047
 2:59 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thats rough, they are employed by Google and have a set job to do, they simply cant possibly filter every video posted.

Well yes they can. It is simply a matter of willingness to expend the resources. That's the problem with the free content model. Everyone wants to build a free content empire and spend nothing doing it.

How does it make sense for any kind of user uploaded content site to obtain permission from all parties involved?

It isn't just unreasonable, it's impossible.

No it is not unreasonable. It is unreasonable to expect an exemption simply because it is the internet. Nor is it impossible. If the permission is not obtained simply don't publish. If that is not economically attractive, then fix the business model.

Just because some random nitwit from some big business decides it would be a good thing to do X does not mean that they get a pass on law Z.

The internet is not above the law no matter what Google would like it to be. If the law applies to A then it ought to apply to G as well. They have more than enough lawyers to know what is and is not permissible. If they choose to ignore legal peril and go ahead then whining after the fact is unbecoming.

And *that* is becoming a real problem. Lots of companies with inexperienced managers who bull ahead with schemes that they have already been advised as having legal ramifications. Why? Entitlement and hubris.

IanKelley




msg:3999059
 4:50 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

By that kind of thinking web hosts, blog networks, message forums like this one, etc. would all be legally responsible for anything their customers/users put online.

Indeed your web host would have to pre-screen every change, no matter how small, you make to your web content before it could go online. The same would apply to your NOC if you have a remotely hosted server.

It could even be extended to ISPs, anyone that provides upload bandwidth.

The internet as we know it would could not exist. Not just big business. In fact it would be far far harder on the little guy. Startup, and monthly, costs on the web would be impossibly large. Ecommerce would be too expensive to compete with brick and mortar. All of the recent advances in communication and information exchange would be too expensive to use, let alone develop.

2clean




msg:3999124
 9:00 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Prosecutors argue that Google did not have adequate content filters or enough staff to monitor videos."

Can you believe that is a defense! If you own something you take responsibility for it. If you can't monitor it you either scale it back or switch it off. Enough of this post-hoc "we didn't know bull".

They also argue that Google broke Italian privacy law by not preventing the the content from being uploaded without the consent of all parties involved.

Privacy, either you get informed before you come to Europe, or you will experience problems, it IS a different ball game.

2Clean.

JS_Harris




msg:3999136
 9:26 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with mack, if the crime itself merely led to kids being suspended without jail time then this video situation shouldn't have the possibility of years in jail as punishment. Surely the criminal act is worse than it's recording being uploaded by someone else.

sullen




msg:3999164
 10:34 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

The crime on the video is not important. The case in question concerns the Italian privacy law, and would presumably apply had the film simply shown the boy walking down the street.

The law may be wrong, but Google must abide by it like everyone else.

Also the employees on trial are the bosses: the ones who controlled how videos were filtered and how many employees were assigned to it. They aren't the emloyees who were doing the actual filtering (as I understand it)

I'll be very interested to see the outcome of this case. There have been similar cases against forums in the UK over our libel laws. All so far have been settled out of court.

dudibob




msg:3999165
 10:46 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well simple solution for Google if they lose this, ban Italy from YouTube/Google Video.

I mean really, the reason of "Google broke Italian privacy law by not preventing the the content from being uploaded without the consent of all parties involved." is insane, do photographers for newspapers have to get everyone's consent in the photo or face 3 years in jail?

Leosghost




msg:3999171
 11:09 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

yes ..here ( Europe ) you cant photographe people and then use their images without consent ..thats what model releases are for ..and you cant use photographes of kids or vulnerable adults without the consent of their parents or guardians and you cant run a business on the model of ( we are not responsible for the user uploaded content if it breaks these laws . we just place ads around it to try to monetise it ) ..and hope that flies .

Google knows when they are breaking laws ..( and strangely enough these laws are not "opt out" ) ..and they rely upon people being afraid of long legal battles and immense costs to "get away" with breaking the laws ..

Our Governments are here to serve their citizens first ..not Google ..nor any other mega corp who think they can do what they want where they want .

ChanandlerBong




msg:3999217
 1:09 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

By that kind of thinking web hosts, blog networks, message forums like this one, etc. would all be legally responsible for anything their customers/users put online.

they are, aren't they? I thought there have been several cases where forums hosting libellous comments were fined or taken down, no?

Leosghost




msg:3999250
 1:49 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Precisely ..one famous one here in France about 5 years ago ..someone hosted pics ( without their knowledge in an unfiltered site/forum ) of a "celebrity" ( Johnny Halliday's ex wife taken without permission )..ordered to take them down and fined the equivalent of around $80,000.oo US ...

There are other examples ..GOOG cant say that they didn't know ..they link to the case..and obviously they can datamine their own search ..

Wlauzon




msg:3999320
 3:31 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

..The video remained online for several months before Google received complaints and removed it...

If the privacy laws are so important in Italy, one would wonder why it took months for anyone to complain.

IanKelley




msg:3999334
 3:42 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Many posters here want to believe this is the people versus a big corporation but that is exactly what it isn't. These kinds of laws have the potential to hurt smaller websites far more than large ones.

you cant run a business on the model of ( we are not responsible for the user uploaded content if it breaks these laws . we just place ads around it to try to monetise it ) ..and hope that flies .
Google knows when they are breaking laws ..( and strangely enough these laws are not "opt out" ) ..and they rely upon people being afraid of long legal battles and immense costs to "get away" with breaking the laws ..

Our Governments are here to serve their citizens first ..not Google ..nor any other mega corp who think they can do what they want where they want .

Tell me, oh proponent of the people, how exactly small startup community video sites could survive in a world where they had to pay someone to watch every single video that was uploaded before it could be posted. And then, if the screeners missed something, still be liable and in fact even serve jailtime?

The answer is of course, they couldn't. Only large corporations would then be able to run video sites. No personal offense to anyone but this is what I mean by ignorance.

they are, aren't they? I thought there have been several cases where forums hosting libellous comments were fined or taken down, no?

Here in the US a content host only becomes liable once they have been informed of the offending content. They have to remove the material once they become aware of it but they aren't liable for it unless they fail to do something after that point.

Because of this we still have fun things like web hosting and message forums. And make no mistake, neither could exist as we know it without the relevant parts of the DMCA (or similar).

When people talk about a website "scaling down" or "changing their business model" to suit these kinds of laws, what they don't seem to understand is that the business model they are talking about scaling down is the one that the internet is based on. All of the free content and innovation is a result of people not having to worry about unreasonable restrictions.

If every bit of content that goes onto a website has to be pre-screened then we may as well scrap the net and go back to newsprint.

Leosghost




msg:3999344
 3:55 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tell me, oh proponent of the people, how exactly small startup community video sites could survive in a world where they had to pay someone to watch every single video that was uploaded before it could be posted. And then, if the screeners missed something, still be liable and in fact even serve jailtime?

Ah so you think that my legal rights to privacy should come second to your rights to run a hobby site with my image on it or a commercial one with same ? ..

Fortunately for the world ..your view isnt the world view ..just that of a citizen of a system where money and "I wanna" ..and "business models" have come to take priority ..before people ..

Keep your model where it is ..we dont want it ..and our governments will hopefully continue to slap it down every time it tries to grow here ..

Oh and fora existed well before the DMCA ..free speech online is another thing that wasnt invented in the USA

IanKelley




msg:3999353
 4:13 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

That doesn't answer the question. In your model the YouTube competitor (who said anything about a hobby site?) can't exist. Again only a large corporation could run a video (or photo) site.

If I used an image of you on my website knowingly that would be one thing. If I was running a user uploaded content site, and a random user uploaded it, that would be another. Certainly I should be required to remove the image when I found out about it but I couldn't be expected to somehow be aware of everything 1000's or 100's of 1000's of users uploaded.

It's not so much about privacy as it is about common sense.

Leosghost




msg:3999364
 4:35 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

hobby site
small startup community video sites

I presumed from that you mean hobby sites ..

But no ..again you mean money site ..( you tube competitor ) ..money making or the desire to make money does not justify everything ..

knowingly or unknowingly ..if your site depends on images which you dont own or you dont have proof that you own the rights to display them and that they do not contravene the law ( and we are here talking Italian law not US ) being displayed in order to exist ..

then it should not exist ..be it youtube ..or inyourgardenshedtube ..and I can only make it work if I use "user generated content" so I'm not responsible because I cant oversee it all doesnt work ..legally ..

Not even in the USA ..where sites ( forum sites and image sites ) running some user generated ( uploaded ) illegal pron images of children have beeen shut ..and the owners prosecuted and .."I didnt know until someone complained" didn't wash with the judge ..nor did "my site depends on letting random users upload images" and "how can you expect me to track them and count the money at the same time" :)

relevant ..yes ..

If your site is too big for you to handle ..you either get some help and prefilter everything ..or you dont run it ..period ..

youtube and it's ilk would be no loss if they went offline forever tomorrow ..

StoutFiles




msg:3999402
 5:34 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It still kills me how people think that the internet is this magical place where laws don't exist. Well, for the most part it is....but it won't be forever. There will be some major changes to "user generated content" sites in the future.

mack




msg:3999425
 6:15 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think this whole case is very valid, but it bothers me to see the three men "taking one for the team" when in reality the buck should have stopped a lot higher. How much control did they have (in reality) when they still have people to answer to. If they hired 500 staff to review all vidoe uploadeds would they still be in a job?

Surely it would effect Google more if they where handed a very large fine, and had limitations put on their service offerings to comply with the local law.

Mack.

zett




msg:3999426
 6:19 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google seems to get some headwind in Europe - France and Belgium have been long-time critics, Germany has complained about Google Books IIRC, and now the Italians fetch the pitchforks. Good. Good.

Leosghost




msg:3999433
 6:32 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think this whole case is very valid, but it bothers me to see the three men "taking one for the team" when in reality the buck should have stopped a lot higher. How much control did they have (in reality) when they still have people to answer to.

Agreed ..Normally when one picks up the CEO salary package one picks up the "buck stops here" desk plaque ..
If Brin, Page and Schmidt were in the dock in Italy ( after all they make G policy ..not the underlings ) ..they might get a sense of responsibility and honour and dare one say ethics ..sadly lacking in GOOG since the IPO and even before the IPO in many areas of their business..

Hopefully the Italians will slap a large fine on those three aswell as the company ..and an injunction to the effect that if they cause their business to break the law again then there will be a request to the US for extradition to Italy for the three of them to answer personally to charges ..

IanKelley




msg:3999442
 7:02 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

If your site is too big for you to handle ..you either get some help and prefilter everything ..or you dont run it ..period ..

That's an understandable point but it eliminates so many of the services, present and future, that define the internet.

YouTube is a perfect example, last I heard it's still not making a profit even without having to pay an army of reviewers. It's essentially a community service subsidized by a corporation.

According to a blog post earlier this month:

In mid-2007, six hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute. Then it grew to eight hours per minute, then 10, then 13. In January of this year, it became 15 hours of video uploaded every minute, the equivalent of Hollywood releasing over 86,000 new full-length movies into theaters each week.

Now, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute...

[youtube-global.blogspot.com...]

So at 28800 hours of video uploaded per day they would need to hire 3600 full time reviewers to keep up. At a conservative estimate they would have to more than double that by the end of 09.

Even then, apparently, they could still be prosecuted for any video the reviewers failed to catch.

In the end video sharing can't exist at all. In Italy at any rate.

Leosghost




msg:3999453
 7:28 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's essentially a community service subsidized by a corporation.

Nope it's essentially a site where a lot of copyright material is uploaded by people who dont own it a lot of junk is uploaded by wanna be stars ( makes reality TV look like high culture by comparison ), a lot of pron is uploaded , a lot of really objectionable and sometimes illegal ( anywhere ) material is uploaded ( it's rife with standard really nasty bullying stuff filmed by kids on their mobile phones to ridicule and intimidate other kids ) ..a lot of hate videos ..

and it's being subsidised by GOOG because goog bought it before they could think of a way to monetise it ..now they are experimenting with prerun ( watch the ad before you see the video ) ..its a kids jungle ..and GOOG dont have the inclination to police it ..dont know how , dont want to spend the money ..( and certainly dont understand teen culture and what a cess pit teen sites become without supervision ..).but Eric and the Big kids apparently think that if they can just work out a way to serve the ads properly ..then they can make money as usual from other peoples images not uploaded by their owners and slime ..

it panders to the worst aspects of humanity ..the "look at me" doing anything to be noticed ..even if it means degrading and harming themselves or frequently others ..

and GOOG run it all under the cover of "it's to big to filter" so it aint our fault ..well IT IS their fault ..

And in Europe at least people are not afraid to say so ..

ChanandlerBong




msg:3999473
 8:24 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think I'm more with Leosghost on this one, although I can understand where IK is coming from. Protection of free speech is important and we don't ever want an internet that only the top 2% of corporations can run BUT the law is the law and "it's too much hard work" or "it's too complicated...hey, this is the internet!" are no arguments for sidestepping or all-out flouting the law.

We've seen the same attitude from G on their book scanning...break the law now and pay later or, better, hope everyone fudges their response because, hey, they all want part of the pie as well, don't they?

G's goal as they've stated on numerous occasions is to "make the world's information available to all" but they sometimes lose sight of the fact that much of that information isn't theirs to stick an ad next to and, in this case, is harmful and often illegal.

StoutFiles




msg:3999494
 9:22 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

G's goal as they've stated on numerous occasions is to "make the world's information available to all"

As long as it makes them money.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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