YouTube II: The Baffled Fools Ride Again

Revisiting the Gisburne fiasco at YouTube.

A follow-up to YouTube Censor Descri.. Bad. They’ve terminated Mr. Gisburne’s newest account and apparently claimed the removal of content was for copyright infringement all along. Curious, that.

Unfortunately, we’re partially to blame for the confusion because a user was accidentally sent a generic message about inappropriate content instead of the appropriate copyright notice. We corrected the mistake earlier today, once we figured out what had gone wrong.

Obviously I’m not a lawyer but I have a fairly broad understanding of the law. YouTube is a private corporation operating a public service. They have the right to deny anyone access and use of that service for any reason at any time. That is to say, they can deny someone use.

What they cannot do is to make the claim they are doing so due to legal doctrine when they aren’t. That is in fact a fraud, which is the very least a civil tort. They apparently claim that because he repeatedly violated someone’s copyright that forces them to terminate his access under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). While that’s understandable, if you are not aware of a violation you cannot be responsible for repeat violations under that law.

In other words, if I upload 10 videos to YouTube in one day, they cannot ban me and claim it is due to repeat violations. While there are multiple violations, that is different and separate from repeat violations. The same could be said if I uploaded the 10 videos over the course of a number of days. And claiming that as their reason is fraudulent.


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