The short version...some school bullies beat up an autistic schoolmate. They posted the video to Google Video. Google was notified and took it down immediately...within hours of its original posting. A public prosecutor in Milan indicted 4 Google executives, none of which had any direct link to the Italian posting. A Milan judge convicted them. Needless to say, Google is putting its full weight into a defense and appeal of the decisions.
As I read this post, it was clear to me that some of the key people from the Italian justice system fail to understand the nature of Web 2.0 or our current world. We have to understand our context and so often those around us fail to realize the reality we live in. We live in a world of not just consuming media but producing it. A weakness of this environment is all the junk that is produced and put on the web. Thank goodness for the many companies that take down illegal or inappropriate content. However, to say they cannot even allow these posts to exist and to hold them responsible turns the focus from the real issue...changing the deviant behavior that produced the content. Are we working as hard to prevent the bullying of an autistic child as we are to limit the medium that allowed them to share their work?
If you take away one sharing option, another will rise up like the Hydra of Greek mythology. It's too late to stop the prevalence of transparency and posting of content to the world. We need to do everything we can to instill morals and ethics into our producers of content. It's a never-ending imperative and we will never get it perfect--but we must try.