*Three convicted on privacy charges
*Video showed bullying of boy with Down's
(Adds quotes, details, background)
MILAN, Feb 24 A Milan court has convicted three
Google Inc (GOOG.O) executives for the 2006 transmission of a
video showing the bullying of a youth with Down's syndrome, the
judge in the case told Reuters on Wednesday.
The three were sentenced to six months in jail after being
convicted of invasion of privacy, the judge said. A fourth
executive was found not guilty.
The case stems from an incident in 2006 when students at an
Italian school filmed and then uploaded a clip to Google Video
showing them bullying a schoolmate with Down's syndrome.
The complaint was brought by an Italian advocacy group for
people with Down's syndrome, Vivi Down, and the boy's father.
Down's syndrome is the most common genetic cause of mental
retardation, occurring in about 1 out of 700 live births.
The video, showing four male high school students in Turin
humiliating the youth, was filmed from a mobile phone and posted
on the site in September 2006.
Google had argued that it removed the video immediately
after being notified and cooperated with Italian authorities to
help identify the bullies and bring them to justice.
It said that, as hosting platforms that do not create their
own content, Google Video, YouTube and Facebook cannot be held
responsible for content that others upload, comparing the case
to prosecuting the postal system for hate letters sent by mail.
But the prosecutors accused Google of negligence arguing the
video remained online for two months even though some web users
had already posted comments asking for it to be taken down.
Censoring of web sites has become a hot issue in Italy in
recent months, following a spate of hate sites against officials
The government briefly studied plans to black out Internet
hate sites after fan pages emerged praising an attack on the
premier, but the idea was dropped after executives from
Facebook, Google and Microsoft agreed to a shared code of
conduct rather than legislation [ID:nLDE5BL18B].
(Reporting by Milan Newsroom; writing by Stephen Brown in Rome)