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Very interesting discussion distributed to our [IGCBP-Talk] list:

From Max Senges:
(A report on the same matter from the BBC is available here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8533695.stm )

Hi IRPlers, FoE coalition & IGClers

I believe many of you have heard about the devestating result of the vividown court-case in Italy, but for those who have not please read
the Google policy-blog-post.

It is important to stress that this is not about Google, but about Freedom of Expression online! Here is a summary:

A judge in Milan today convicted three Google executives in a case involving a reprehensible video posted to Google Video that we took
down within hours of being notified by the Italian
police. The video showed an autistic boy being bullied by several
classmates. In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting
platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that
users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the
Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question.

The law in Europe -- as in the U.S. -- specifically gives hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its
existence. These laws are premised on the belief that a notice and
takedown regime helps creativity flourish and support free speech while
protecting personal privacy. 

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

Below is some additional background on the case.  We would of course welcome any public statements you might be willing to make today expressing concern about this ruling.

It would be great if we could agree to speak up on this matter!


Some more background articles:
New York Times story on ruling:

Leslie Harris/CDT op-ed: Italy's Case Against Google is a Bad Moon Rising

Jeff Jarvis: Italy Endangers the Web

UK Member of Parliament Tom Watson: “This is the biggest threat to internet freedom we have seen in Europe.  The only people who will
support this decision are Silvio Berlusconi and the governments of
China and Iran. It effectively breaks the internet in Italy.”


TechCrunch: Can Someone Tell this Italian Judge what YouTube is?


Views: 57



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