This is a lengthy analysis of a claim earlier this week by Brasscheck TV that YouTube is censoring videos under pressure from governments.
A short video issued recently by Brasscheck TV claims YouTube regular censors videos, an apparently sinister message. But does it, and is anything sinister really going on here?
This is a complex issue which does not have a simple answer. YouTube was created in February 2005 by three young Paypal employees, and was acquired by Google the following year. Google is a massive company, but it is a private corporation and not a non-governmental organisation or statutory body. Censorship is the suppression of speech, cartoons, video recordings, etc by the state, and has a long and dishonourable history; the censor was originally an official of the Roman Empire.
It should be noted that although the definition can be stretched, the power of censorship is something that is vested ultimately in the state. As Google is not a state, an arm of the state or a government in its own right, it cannot be said strictly to act as a censor. Let us though confine ourselves for the sake of this discussion to YouTube.
Like Google, Yahoo and many other Internet companies, YouTube offers the public free accounts. You can sign up absolutely free, and on YouTube and many similar though smaller sites you can both watch other people’s videos and upload your own. In order to do that you must first agree to its terms of service; this quite lengthy document is a legal protection for the company. All companies must act within the law, and different countries have different laws, which can cause problems for those that by definition act across international boundaries.
Furthermore, as this company has magnanimously offered every citizen of every country in the world a free account, the very least its users can do is abide by its terms of service.
Videos are frequently removed from YouTube for a wide variety of reasons. One of the most common, if not the most common, is alleged copyright infringement. Any individual or company may file a claim for infringement of copyright, and when this happens, YouTube tends not unnaturally to ere on the side of caution. Such claims can be processed extremely quickly. Indeed, videos of sporting events, including it seems especially boxing matches, can be removed within hours if not minutes of being uploaded and published.
There is a school of thought that says copyright is obsolete if not dead, at least as far as the Internet is concerned, and that the law should reflect this. This is an argument that has much merit; an alternative to copyright would be for the government to pay Internet companies for the wealth they generate with new debt-free money, and for part of this new money to be distributed to the creators of this wealth. Whatever the merits of this idea, YouTube will in the meantime continue to remove videos wherever a copyright infringement is claimed.
The enforcement of copyright and the removal of videos is very often arbitrary, or if it is not in fact, then it can certainly seem that way. For example, while many popular feature films have been uploaded to YouTube, the 1992 film To Catch A Killer can be found on the site, the full film in several parts, while the 1969 film True Grit has been uploaded more than once, and removed every time.
It is not only copyright holders who pressurise YouTube to remove videos; political organisations and governments also do. Jewish political organisations, one in particular, have pressurised YouTube, sometimes successfully, to remove some videos on the grounds that they constitute “hate”. The Israeli news service Haaretz has claimed on at least one occasion that the Anti-Defamation League has been working with YouTube to fight “hate” on the Internet. By fighting hate, the ADL means censoring videos and anything else the ADL considers anti-Semitic, racist or bigoted. Anyone who has studied the ADL and its methodology will realise that its definitions of such words, especially the word anti-Semitic (and declensions thereof), are far broader and more sweeping than that used by most of us. For example, Abraham H. Foxman, the top man at the ADL since 1987, writes in his 2003 book Never Again? THE THREAT OF THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM, that “The harsh but undeniable truth is this: what some like to call anti-Zionism is, in reality, anti-Semitism - always, everywhere, and for all time. Therefore, anti-Zionism is not a politically legitimate point of view but rather an expression of bigotry and hatred.”
By this definition, the Torah-true Jews of America and the world are anti-Semitic, as were many of the leaders of Jewry in the past. Clearly this is absurd.
There is no doubt that some, perhaps many videos have been removed from YouTube under pressure from the ADL and other Jewish political organisations. This has led to some people claiming “the Jews” censor or even control YouTube; some even refer to it as “JewTube”, but do such claims stand up to scrutiny?
A basic search on YouTube will throw up a plethora of videos which discuss or expound on the so-called Jewish Question from all sides. There are Nazi marching songs, cartoons, videos made by Holocaust Revisionists, including the Jewish Revisionist David Cole. There are numerous videos on race including those that are clearly anti-Jewish and anti-black, and videos by black fanatics, including one who calls for the extermination of white people.
It is clear that as far as censorship is concerned, the controllers of YouTube are politically extremely Libertarian. The site includes for example not only a video of Abraham Foxman’s paranoid rant Jews Under Attack in which he condones or even justifies the Gaza Massacre, but a video from the other end of the political spectrum by another Jew, Max Blumenthal, who is clearly disgusted by the reaction of many Jews in New York to this atrocity. Many similar dissenting Jewish voices can be found on YouTube, including that of Gilad Atzmon.
So perhaps it’s not the Jewish conspiracy that is censoring YouTube, maybe it’s the Bilderbergers instead? If that is the case, then how is it that as of this afternoon there were more than six thousand videos on the site – including probably some duplicates – about the Bilderberg Group?
If censorship is always undesirable, the penalty we must all pay for the lack of it is to be deluged with garbage, and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of conspiriology, including the Daddy of all conspiracy “theories”, the Kennedy Assassination, but before you watch any of that goofy stuff, check out this excellent documentary.
Finally, there is the issue of defamation. This can be a costly business when serious and totally unfounded allegations are made against some prominent or wealthy person in print, but defamatory or just plain ludicrous allegations are made against so many people every single day somewhere on the Internet that most victims of such defamation have given up trying to stem the flood.
The following are just three examples of gross defamation all of which include elements of conspiracy; they demonstrate that even the President of the United States cannot be said to control or censor the Internet.
Here, Barack Obama is on the receiving end.
Here, it is his predecessor.
And here it is hispredecessor and his wife!
In the light of all the above, let us return to our original question, does YouTube censor videos? The answer to that question is that YouTube does unquestionably remove some perhaps many videos often at the request of or under pressure from third parties, but while we must all remain vigilant over the ongoing attempts of many groups to control or even subjugate the Internet, the people who control YouTube are made of sterner stuff, and it is to be hoped they always will be.
There is though an alternative for those people who are still not satisfied; they can purchase their own domains, hire webspace, and use this to host their own videos where unless they are peddling child pornography or inciting the murders of named individuals, they will be free from all censorship, period.