Italy preparing to hold YouTube, others liable for uploads

3 02 2010

User-generated content sites have always resisted the idea that they should be regulated like traditional broadcasters, but Italy has been the democracy that has gone furthest in that direction. The move toward regulation continues with a new policy that could force sites like YouTube to obtain TV licenses from the Italian government. Such sites could also be fully liable for copyright infringement and libelous or illegal material posted by users.

The Italian government has already gone after Google in a highly public fashion, suing several top executives over a YouTube video that showed classmates abusing a student with Down’s Syndrome. In that case, the argument was that Google had a duty to screen such material and keep it from appearing on the site—a claim that Google and others have always said would make user-generated content sites almost impossible to run.

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