Three Google executives were convicted of violating privacy laws by allowing disturbing footage of a disabled Italian boy being bullied to be posted on the internet.
The decision stems from back in September 2006 when footage was posted of an autistic teenager and who was being bullied by four other boys, at a Turin school.
It remained online for two months before being taken down but the event was prior to You Tube being taken over by Google in Italy.
Google's defence was that it was nigh on impossible for individual videos to be checked due to the sheer volumes being loaded on a daily basis.
America's ambassador to Italy, David Throne said of the ruling that
This founding principal of internet freedom is vital for democracies which recognise freedom of expression and is safeguarded by all who take this value to heart.
Google executives pledged to appeal, saying if the verdict was allowed to stand, "the Web as we know it will cease to exist."
They added that
"If intermediaries like Google or the person who hosts your Web site can be thrown in jail in any country for the acts of other people and suddenly have a legal obligation to prescreen everything anyone says on their Web site before putting it online, the tools for free speech that everyone uses on the Net would grind to a halt.