Is YouTube Supressing Freedom of Speech?
It now looks like if you want to express yourself YouTube is not the place to go. Apparently YouTube has a history of this, they will suspend peoples accounts but will not explain the exact nature of the suspension. You can see an example here. (Banned on YouTube By Michelle Malkin)
If you look at this example you will see that all you get from YouTube is a generic notice, a very flimsy document indeed from a legal view point. The most insulting part of this email is that it points you to the terms of service. Service is not a word I would use here, service would be if a staff member at YouTube bothered to give a clear and concise explanation of the suspension. The best part is that it does little to reply to them and ask them to explain in detail the suspension, and/or to provide information about the claim that has been made against your account.
Here is the fun part, in that article there was a video, this video is a trailer that was uploaded by the interviewer, Mark Bunker, a known critic of Scientology. What is really interesting though is when you click the video it’s not there, you get the old “Sorry this video is no longer available”. Now I’ve seen this video before, it was post at “The Wog Blog“, and I’ve seen the video’s that Mark has placed on YouTube before so I know that he has been posting under “XenuTV1” (The 1 is there because Mark has had his account closed before, he was “XenuTV” prior to that). So I did a search for his account, www.youtube.com/user/xenutv1 was the URL were his videos get published on YouTube. You will see that when you goto the page “This account is suspended.”
Now the previous day I know that Tory Christman, a former high-ranking Scientologist of 30 years and noted critic of the cult since 2000, had been also suspended on YouTube. On that day when I found out I sent my protest to YouTube about this.
So I’ve done the same thing today, I’ve sent a message YouTube bitching about this, it’s not acceptable that YouTube can just close an account and provide a crappy response. Now I wasn’t expecting a reply from YouTube, they didn’t reply on the ToryMagoo44 account suspension, but this time they did.
Thanks for your email.
We are only able to discuss specific content removals with the user who posted the materials.
We take copyright issues very seriously and prohibit users from uploading infringing material. We cooperate with copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content from the site. Our community guidelines make it clear that users must own or have permission from the copyright holders to post any videos. Videos that breach these rules are removed and we disable all accounts belonging to repeat offenders.
The YouTube Team
Now Mark has been allowed by Torry to put a video on her account, here it be:
You can see from Mark’s statement that he does not believe that he is in violation of YouTube‘s terms of service. I can’t wait for the interview now, I otherwise would have probably ignored it. So YouTube what the hell are you doing?
So what little creative thing has this prompted me to do, well the following logo’s are probably going to be of entertainment value to anyone who wants to lampoon YouTube and their censoring ways. So have fun with them.
Disclaimer: These are not official YouTube Logos
Definition: Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment.
Update – 20th April 2008
Let this be a lesson to you all, this is why you must be careful when it comes to sending people accurate information, and being clear in your emails. Especially when it comes to legal notices.
I disagree with Mark in regards to YouTube not telling him about the identity of the complainant, privacy is important and I feel it’s unnecessary for a persons identity to be revealed to him (Mark) by YouTube. However YouTube must explain carefully exactly the nature of suspension, and allow the issue to be resolved between the parties. Because YouTube wants to maintain user privacy here you can see that they basically need to be an intermediary between the parties. To me this looks like a case of YouTube just simply doesn’t give a stuff and would rather trash the content then resolve the issue. Lazy bastards.
A portion of blame here belongs to Mark as well, reality is he should have chased YouTube and Viacom when his first account was suspended and resolved the issue in regards to BayTSP notice ID: 158-8236. (Basically a DMCA Notice)