YouTube Shows Us How To Be A Good Intermediary

Many have worried about the role of intermediaries who provide platforms for sharing information and expression on the internet, and their sometimes profound power to make content disappear. But here is an example of one intermediary -- a big and very important one -- that did the right thing.

Students for a Free Tibet posted a video on YouTube showing their protest at the Chinese consulate in New York, which included various images relating to the Beijing Olympics, all to speak against China's human rights record -- a fair use to be sure.

The International Olympic Committee filed a DMCA takedown notice and the video was removed. Upon learning more about the content of the removed video, YouTube contacted the IOC and asked them if they really planned to pursue a claim about this [really very preposterous position] and if not, to withdraw the takedown notice. To the IOC's credit, they retracted the notice and the video was reposted within hours.

So here is an intermediary who took an interest in free speech and fair use, even when it didn't necessarily have to. Yes, that followed widespread outrage among bloggers and others. Yes, the situation would have been much tougher if the IOC had maintained its irresponsible position. But we should all be pleased to see YouTube going out of its way to do more than it's required to do under the law to protect free expression.


a-dog, i love all of your work, but i fail to see how youtube has gone out of their way to "protect free expression." standard youtube practice starts with someone filing a claim, then we move to the take down, then the poster/postiee has to file a counter claim, and then youtube is charged with doing the homework to see if the charge valid. if this is the case, where is the evidence that they've gone out of their way to protect false infringement?
if youtube really cared about protecting freedom of speech, they should have a legal team reviewing these charges BEFORE the video is removed. this isn't the first time we are seeing youtube reinstate "free expression" videos - just ask the creator of "baracky" or "empire strikes barack."

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