News Brief

A German Jewish group has demanded that Google pull hate videos from its YouTube subsidiary. The Central Council of Jews in Germany filed a temporary injunction March 20 against Google, the U.S.-based search engine, in Hamburg District Court.

The injunction "is lying on their desk and they asked for some patience," Council President Stephan Kramer said of the court.

A court spokesman told JTA that it would not comment until Google representatives had replied officially, which was delayed by the long Easter weekend.

Among the offending videos was one in which a photo of the late president of the Central Council, Paul Spiegel, was burned against a background of swastikas. Kramer in a telephone interview Tuesday with JTA suggested this makes Google a collaborator in spreading hate. Kramer said Google could handle the problem by "hiring more people and setting them down and letting them look through the ‘Net for key words. And meanwhile [Google] can fiddle on technological developments." Google Germany spokesman Stefan Keuchel told reporters last week that the firm agrees that such material is an abuse of the public forum and has been seeking ways to block it. He said the public should report potentially illegal videos, which experts review and can remove.

Keuchel said scanning lags because of the high volume of newly posted material, but once the material is banned a special filter prevents it from being reloaded. YouTube, a free service, went online with its German edition on Nov. 8, 2007, one year after Google purchased the site. Observers of the far-right scene quickly found videos on the site from banned music groups, including Landser, and films that incite rumors about supposed Jewish conspiracies.

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