The state of video sharing in Italy is now in jeopardy.
When Italy decided to accuse Google execs of privacy and defamation violations following the appearance of an offensive video on Google Video, it seemed to be an annoying legal situation that would likely work itself out.
It has not.
An Italian judge has found 3 of the 4 Google execs guilty on privacy code violations. The defamation charges came back not guilty.
The video in question involves the absolutely disgusting ridicule of an autistic child. It was filmed by teenagers. The Google execs, of course, did not film or upload the video, which was removed from Google Video hours after getting word from Italian police.
I probably don't have to explain to most of you why this ruling is insane. Why not also prosecute the electronics company that manufactured the video camera that was used? Or the company who manufactured the computer they used to upload the video? Or their teachers for not instructing them to be kind? Crazy, right?
Google will, of course, challenge the ruling. Here's hoping whoever gets the case next has a little more common sense. Otherwise, I get the feeling that the Italian people will not exactly be getting a lot of access to video sharing sites. And I'm pretty confident that the great majority of Italian people contribute a positive experience to the Internet and video sharing.
Don't punish the bunch for one bad apple.