Google Officials Criminally Culpable for YouTube Video

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5 Responses

  1. NookSurfer says:

    Wow…the sentence they’ve received is just too extreme for the situation. It would warrant a public announcement/apology of some sort…but jail time?

  2. Matthew Pemble says:


    No jail time – “suspended” means you don’t go inside.

    More generally – with regard to the law, the relevant EU Directive is here and you need to look at Article 14 (Hosting) – and Article 15 where it makes it clear that you cannot require preview or monitoring. I am not an Italian lawyer but I do know that their national implementation of EU Directives is sometimes “interesting”.

    Under the UK equivalent, Google appear to have taken sufficient and prompt action, when notified, to serve as a complete defence unless you could argue that the poster was:

    “acting under the authority or the control of the service provider.”

  3. Matthew Pemble says:

    Forgot to say – because it is a matter of implementation of an EU directive, assuming the Italian courts cannot sort it – I would expect that it would first be a matter for the European Court of Justice, as opposed to the ECHR.

    I disagree with Daniel’s third principle, however. Whereas the majority of cases of inappropriate information posted online should be dealt with through the civil courts (defamation, copyright etc), it is entirely possible to post material where the state has an interest in removing it rather than just the rights owner. I don’t therefore see why, as a matter of principle, failure to remove such material (as required by law) should not be subject to criminal sanction.

    There is plenty of avenue for arguing what kinds of information should fall in to that category, remembering that Article 10 ECHR is much weaker protection than the 1st Amendment, as well as what criminal sanctions are appropriate, especially for corporate activity. Remember that personal data does have the protection of the criminal law in the EU – and we are actually strengthening the sanctions in the UK as a result of some egregious corporate breaches of data protection.

  4. Matthew Pemble says:

    A UK blogger has done some further research and it appears that the requirement for immediate takedown on notification of infringing content was not met.

    Malcolm Coles article.

    I would note that this lack of any effective reporting system is not confined to Google: as a professional investigator, I, with the support of Yahoo UK, had great problems getting Yahoo Inc to prevent the spamming of racist harassment (this was some time ago, so YMMV). I had to use personal contacts to have an account in my name, which was being used for 419 fraud, disabled.

    If we are going to keep the police and the criminal courts out of this sort of thing, as Daniel insists (and I agree with with minor limitations) – the media companies have to provide appropriate mechanisms for efficiently dealing with complaints.

  5. Matthew Pemble says:

    A further update from the blog of Britain\’s top Data Protection law firm, showing why safe harbour provisions did not apply in this case.