I Hear Milan's Courtrooms Are WONDERFUL That Time of Year …
Now that Google’s scrapped its proposed advertising deal with Yahoo (YHOO), the company’s chief legal counsel David Drummond should have plenty of time to devote to Google’s (GOOG) latest legal annoyance: charges of defamation abroad. An Italian court has brought charges against four former and current Google officials over a video posted briefly to Google Video Italia in Sept. 2006, Reuters reports. Among those facing charges and expected to appear before a Milan court on Feb. 3, Drummond himself.
Recorded with a cellphone camera, the three-minute video featured a group of teenagers harassing a boy with Down Syndrome. Google quickly removed it. But not quickly enough. The clip was viewed some 12,000 times before it was pulled. Enough times to inspire an investigation into the issue, and now apparently, charges of defamation and breach of privacy.
Google, for its part, claims there is no basis for legal action against the four officials because they weren’t involved in the incident itself and the company isn’t required to monitor third-party content on its sites. Said a Google spokesman, “We believe that this proceeding is not about Google Video and what happened, but about the internet as we know it–an open and free environment.”