Google failed - but innocent
If I were to make obscene phone calls it's me not the telecom provider up in front of the judge. Should telecom provider be held liable instead? in which case should they listen in to every phone call just in case? And since I'd not be able to view this video without the connection provided by my ISP isn't the ISP as culpable as Google?
Google HAVE failed but where they failed is not in failing to watch every rubbish video we upload. I believe the current rate is 24 hours worth of video uploaded every minute so they'd need a team of over 6000 "watchers". Let's pay them UK statutory minimum wage and it's "only" £60M a year - but then I'm ignoring overheads - premises, management, training etc and minimum wage workers may noty be the most dilligent - I'm guessing we'd end up around a quarter of a billion GBP p.a. for a system that worked.
Google can afford that, but Youtube can't. There is a view that buying Youtube was a mistake. It doesn't generate enough income to cover its costs so increasing the cost base might end up in Google throwing in the towel. Never mind, let Google cross subsidise from their other properties, their advertising revenue can bear the extra cost. But who pays for advertising? In the first instance the advertiser, but if it is effective YOU buy from the advertiser and part of the price you pay is a share of their advertising costs.
Given factors like world population of people with adequate disposable income, internet access, ability, age (either too young to have a credit card, to old to remember your own name) my rough estimate is that monitoring Youtube would cost you and I about £1 a month. Now let's see what other services we should be monitoring - what about all those photo hosting sites? What about websites in general? The perpetrators in this case could have just got hold of a bit of webspace and posted the video there - or maybe a few hundred hacked websites - or just copied it to their mates as an email attachment so obviously we need to monitor everything that anyone ever does involving the internet. Welcome to China!
Where Google fail is in their action when advised of inappropriate material. If all they do is delete it the problem won't be solved. They should invoke criminal action where applicable or else civil action against the offender for breach of Googles T&C. It would just need one high profile case, carefully selected so Google look like the good guys, chasing someone down for kiddie porn or such. Loads of publicity may make people think before they acted.
Not only the guy who posted the video should be sought out but also those featured in the video and so deletion is not appropriate, it may even be a criminal act of destroying evidence. The video needs passing to the (Italian?) authorities so they can catch the perpetrators, identify the victim and provide any support he may need.
After that some would just take a bit more effort to cover their tracks but at least Google would be seen to be taking action where they could. There's no doubt the video in this case would reappear elsewhere (probably has) but at the very least not as readily available just as the nastiest of porn is still out here (I'm told) but better hidden and only accessible to those "in the know" (hopefully including the authorities who are using it to identify and locate offenders and victims).