Kudos to YouTube

Earlier this year we reported on YouTube’s removal and subsequent restoration of videos by dance-artist Amy Greenfield. At that point we voiced serious concerns about the lack of an appeals process for individuals who believe that their work has been unfairly removed from the site as well as the absence of “art” in the list of exceptions to the YouTube community guidelines banning nudity. Proving our point that, unless there is an exception to the nudity guidelines, well-regarded works would continue be removed by YouTube reviewers, in July a 37-year-old work by L.A. artist Susan Mogul was caught in the net of restrictions.

We are pleased to report that, in response to NCAC’s and EFF’s jointly voiced concerns, YouTube now has instituted an appeals process and has changed their community guidelines to include “artistic” purpose as justifying an exception to their no nudity requirement. This is unlikely to be the last time that we see art censored on YouTube, ­ after all “artistic” is a somewhat subjective category, ­ but it makes correcting errors much easier and assures us that YouTube values artistic expression.

To provide YouTube reviewers with enough information so that they can make an informed decision when reviewing flagged work,  YouTube advises its users to add as much context as possible when posting videos:

Titling and tagging your video correctly is the best way to add context to your videos. When our team is reviewing flagged content, titles or tags with words as simple as “human rights” or “police abuse” will help us understand the context of the footage you’re uploading. Try to add some specific information into the description: who is in the video, what is happening, where and when did it happen, and why. You can also add this detail directly onto the video itself, using our annotations tool.

We applaud the company’s responsiveness to the interests of the wide and diverse community of people who use YouTube to access art work. We are also impressed that the company has so promptly acted to protect free speech.


About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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4 Responses to Kudos to YouTube

  1. Hmmmm. We’ve just started putting highly censored versinos of our films on YouTube. If we put up a director’s cut, do you think we’ll get to be “art” too?

  2. I have been in correspondence with NCAC for months now, during which time the warning pertaining to the video which was removed due to an alleged violation of terms of use, is no longer showing. As such, how do I now start the appeal process?

  3. Hi Tony,

    Good question! Well “art,” huh. If I remember right from our panel, as long as it’s repulsive, then it’ll be considered “art.” 🙂 I’m kidding, of course, but I’d be curious to know how it goes. Keep us posted!

    Hi Thomas,

    Check out this post for more information about YouTube’s appeals process: http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/07/strike-youre-out-or-maybe-not.html. At the bottom it says:

    “When you sign into your account, you’ll need to acknowledge your Community Guidelines strike. After that, you can sign into My Account Settings and appeal your video strike directly from the “Manage Account” section under “Account Status”. After we review your appeal, if we find that your video did not violate our Community Guidelines after all, we will reinstate it and remove the strike from your account. We’ll also send you an email letting you know the result of your appeal request.”


  4. Pingback: YouTube: Naked okay as long as it’s ‘art’-Register « FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

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