Our intern Arthur Bright wrote an excellent post this summer on the prospect of criminal defamation charges being filed against Google executives in Italy over Google Video's hosting of a clip featuring the abuse of a teenager who has Down syndrome. Ars Technica reports that Italian authorities have now filed charges:
When Internet video hosts get dragged into the court room, chances are
good they're getting sued for something related to copyrighted
material. But rumors have persisted since July that Google execs might
get hauled before a judge in Italy to answer to charges of defamation
for a video that briefly appeared on Google Video Italia. Now, sources
are saying that charges have been filed against individuals that
include Google's Chief Legal Officer in a case where the actual
perpetrators may walk.
Arthur's post examined whether EU law might provide CDA 230-like protection for web hosts such as Google from lawsuits based on third-party content, using a procedural mechanism similar to that found in the DMCA. His preliminary conclusion was that EU law does provide this protection. Sounds like some Italian prosecutors disagree, or at least believe that the provisions Arthur cited don't apply to criminal actions (which looks like a strong argument). This should be an interesting case, and it could potentially illuminate the contours of EU law on third-party content.