A judge in Scotland has ruled that a comedian named Mark Meechan committed a crime by uploading to YouTube a video of his girlfriend’s pug dog executing a mock Nazi salute. In response to the case, YouTube voluntarily blocked UK access to the video but kept it available elsewhere, albeit with comments disabled and a warning that some found it offensive. Meanwhile, sites beyond the reach of UK law, including the Washington Post, republished the video, leaving everyone—including British viewers—free to draw their own conclusions. Whatever one thinks of the conviction or the law behind it, at least Meechan can say he had his day in court. But a recent threat by the European Commission to hold platforms responsible for their users’ posts would preclude such due process by pushing platforms to remove anything they are unsure about before any court has ruled it illegal, lest they find themselves on trial as well.
Read the full article in EUobserver.