Can Someone Please Tell This Italian Judge What YouTube Is?

Sometimes I despair of Europe, even though I’m proud of what can be achieved here. But really, guys, can we get it together?

At the same time the European Union is investigating a pretty flimsy anti-trust complaint against Google, it’s conspiciously ignoring a case in Italy where three Google executives have been found guilty on a ridiculous charge. Here is the bizarre story.

An Italian court yesterday convicted three (ex) Google executives in a trial over a video showing a teenager being bullied. The Google Italy employees were accused of breaking Italian law by allowing the video of bullying of a teenager with Down’s Syndrome to be posted on YouTube in late 2006.

Despite the fact that Google removed the video within hours of being notified of its existence, Judge Oscar Magi (pictured) absolved the three of defamation but convicted them of privacy violations. The three executives have received a suspended six-month sentence, while a fourth defendant was acquitted.

Google has responded in a justifiably vociferous blog post calling this a “serious threat to the web in Italy”. Frankly they are right.