“Censorship” on and by YouTube

News:  There are several interesting blog posts today about censorship on and by YouTube, as to the controversial videos mocking the Thai King, the German Nazi videos, Al Qaeda recruitment videos, and even videos suspected of copyright infringement.  NYT writer Patrick Lyons has one post, which refers to another thoughtful post by Jason Lee Miller.

Miller writes at one point: “If speech on the Internet is determined by terms of service agreements set forth by private companies not only beholden to advertisers, partners and shareholders, but also to international pressures, then there will be no real freedom of speech on the Internet.”

Analysis:  Under the U.S. Constitution, there’s really no problem (legally speaking) for YouTube to remove content it deems objectionable.  YouTube is not a state actor, so YouTube’s “censorship” of material doesn’t come within the scope of the First Amendment.  Private actors can censor, the government can’t.  YouTube has every right to decide for itself — or let its community decide — to take down objectionable content, including hate speech videos, pornography, and copyright infringing videos.

The interesting wrinkle comes in when YouTube starts censoring based on compliance with foreign laws or requests by foreign governments, especially foreign laws that would violate our First Amendment if enacted here.  At least as a PR matter, it certainly presents YouTube something to think about.      

3 Responses to “Censorship” on and by YouTube

  1. Emily says:

    If people are worried about their children viewing unsavory material on YouTube, then they should just lock the site. For adults who enjoy the humor of common people acting like idiots, we understand that it’s just fun. Not to be tried at home, This is why we are adults, we are able to make decisions baised on our moral standings. Censorship shouldn’t happen to the joy that is Youtube.

  2. Anonmum says:

    It is one thing to allow the “freedoms” within Utube and have a laugh at some unfortunate person walking into a glass door but it’s quite another to have some Videos- doctored with comment when the content is depicting people with obvious disabilities and problems. It is disgusting to read comments from young adults and children saying that those that “aren’t the norm” should be bashed and killed- the list goes on. Possibly they should be viewing the Comments made on Vids and censoring those,l’d hate to see the day that Utube can be sued or be put on trial due to inciting hateful,vigilante type attitudes because thats what alot of posts are like – ignorant sad people that are only contributing to the downfall of our World…….Anything,Anyone is up to ridicule even Vids depicting School yard bashings/Rapes/abuse and the like, all this is Deemed OK and the only action is to Block the site. Thats pathetic most just shouldn’t be aired at all.

  3. Anonmum says:

    Now thats amazing,my comment,because this site is “moderator” is awaiting moderation now that is sane. Who and where do l go to try and get that kind on Censorship or Moderation applied to the disgusting comments that are posted on UTube?????

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