Web Liability Without Section 230

In 2006 four Italian youths used a cellphone to video their taunting of a boy with Down syndrome, and then posted the video on Google-owned YouTube.  Four Google executives, including Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer and its former CFO, now face criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy over posting of the video. (The trial was to start last week but the start was delayed.) European Union data collection laws give the subject of a photograph or video rights over its use.  The executives had no direct role in posting the video, of course, but there is no equivalent to the First Amendment protection of speech in Italy or the EU, and no equivalent to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act  limiting liability of websites for defamatory or unlawful content created by third parties.

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