Google Executives Suffer Criminal Convictions In Italy for Internet Publishing

In Italy, criminal prosecutions are fairly often used for situations that likely would not be treated as criminal law issues in the US. For example, here is a brief post from Brian Leiter that links to an NYT article regarding criminal convictions suffered in Italy by three Google executives. The convictions arose from invasion of priviacy issues aring from a videoe posted online. Accoridng to the NYT article,

One can debate whether the uses of criminal law are or are not good policy. Judging by the article exceprts below, however, one can infer that complaints fron police attract especially quick attention at Google.

"A spokesman for Google, Bill Echikson, called the ruling “astonishing” and said the company would appeal. In its blog, Google added that the ruling “attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.”

Prosecutors said Google waited to remove the video until after complaints to the police by Vivi Down, an Italian group representing people with Down syndrome, whose name was mentioned by the boys in the video.

Google said it removed the video within two hours of receiving a formal complaint from the Italian police, two months after the video was first posted.

The boys, all minors, were not charged by prosecutors, but were sentenced by a different judge to community service. Prosecutors named the Google executives because Italian law holds corporate executives responsible for a company’s actions."

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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