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Did Google Ignore an Italian Takedown Notice?


The verdict on the Italian YouTube court case verdict seemed pretty clear: sentencing Google execs to jail time for an invasion of privacy in a video posted (by someone else) on the UGC site was, well, “absurd,” as we said two weeks ago.

But some new evidence is coming out that may just justify at least the “guilty” verdict from the Italian court—since that’s all the Italian judge released (i.e. he didn’t publish his reasoning). According to TechDirt, there are now reports that Google may have ignored a takedown notice on the video.

…Oooooor not. While Google Translate is woefully inadequate in translating the Italian article intelligibly, it appears that the takedown requests in question (if they exist) might actually be from users—i.e. people without legal standing—via the site’s feedback form. Although that could certainly alert the company that inappropriate content had been submitted by a user, it’s a far cry from an official legal filing.

It’s also hard to tell because Google hasn’t apparently responded adequately to requests from the prosecution to provide copies of any legal takedown notices (although I believe the article says they have provided a copy of one such filing: “Google Inc. has sent not only evasive replies on the comments made [on the video page] but also on removal requests (having produced only one on that SB)”). Furthermore, the EU has no guidelines on what constitutes a sufficiently fast response to a legal takedown notice (or even a clearly defined process for filing takedown notices).

Still, it hardly makes sense to sentence executives who probably never saw any takedown notices (whether or not they were filed), didn’t abuse the child in question, didn’t tape said abuse and didn’t post the video, to jail time for invasion of privacy. TechDirt points out a fine for ignoring (or losing) a takedown notice would be a far more appropriate penalty.

What do you think? Did Google receive a takedown notice? Who should be punished, and how?