Thursday, 4 March 2010

Google on trial

A court in Italy last week delivered a harsh verdict against three executives at Google because an offensive video clip was being broadcast on YouTube (which is part of Google). The issue was that Google should have had the video removed instantly, or rather, not let it be broadcast to begin with, i.e., they should watch all clips before broadcasting to check that they're not offensive or illegal. Google is appealing against the verdict.

I'm a bit troubled by this in the sense that internet is different from a paper newspaper or a TV-channel, where the editors clearly are in charge of what is being printed or broadcast. It's a whole new concept online, and if only clips being pre-screened could be broadcast on YouTube, it would be so different from what it is now as to be almost pointless. Of course I don't approve of malicious clips being shown, but some other system than mandatory pre-screenings should be used here. Apparently Google didn't remove it until many months after it was put online. Had there been a simple, direct way for viewers to be able to tell Google to have a look at a clip and then remove it if it was against a clearly formulated posting policy, than perhaps that would do the trick. Now we have the ability the "flag" a clip, but perhaps it might be called something else, like "delete request" and after someone has clicked on it, Google must look in to it immediately.

Here are some comments:

(The reason why I didn't write anything sonner than today was that I wasn't sure if this was a topic for Fredrik on Film. But of course it is. Everything connected with film is a valid topic here, and in this day and age, digital media should not be treated any differently here than traditional 35mm film.)

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