The judge rejected criminal defamation allegations against them.
They are David Carl Drummond, former Google Italy CEO and now senior deputy president, George De Los Reyes, former Google Italy administrator (now retired) and Peter Leischer, Google Inc. privacy related manager for Europe.
Arvind Desikan, Google video project manager for Europe, wasn't prosecuted for privacy law infringiment and was acquitted from criminal defamation allegations.
According to prosecutors they violated italian privacy law 'cause they allowed the upload of a video showing a teenager being bullied on Google Video on september 7th 2006 without the consent of all the counterparts involved . But upload on Google video isn't subject to editor review/moderation queue or similar stuff. Videos are uploaded and published by users and no Google staff reviews them unless they are reported as abusive/libelous or under DMCA or for other Google rules infringiment.
The video story is summarized by Google Inc. with these words:
In late 2006, students at a school in Turin, Italy filmed and then uploaded a video to Google Video that showed them bullying an autistic schoolmate. The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police. We also worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service by a court in Turin, as were several other classmates who were also involved. In these rare but unpleasant cases, that's where our involvement would normally end.
Google Inc. statement about the ruling as follows
We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question. Throughout this long process, they have displayed admirable grace and fortitude. It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all.
But we are deeply troubled by this conviction for another equally important reason. It attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built. Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming. European Union law was drafted specifically to give hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence. The belief, rightly in our opinion, was that a notice and take down regime of this kind would help creativity flourish and support free speech while protecting personal privacy. If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear.
These are important points of principle, which is why we and our employees will vigorously appeal this decision.
- Serious threat to the web in Italy - Google Inc. official statement by Matt Sucherman, VP and Deputy General Counsel - Europe, Middle East and Africa
- Google Italy bosses found guilty - BBC news
- Disabile vessato, Google condannato (TgCom, Italian)
- Video choc,3 dirigenti Google condannati (ANSA, Italian)