Pharyngula

‘Tube atheists

Lots of people have been emailing me about this: YouTube is getting weird about censoring accounts by atheists. This one fellow, Nick Gisburne, with a long history on the service had his account abruptly deleted due to its “inappropriate nature”—he’d read some excerpts of violent passages from the Koran, with no commentary at all. It’s bizarre—it’s apparently not that he was espousing atheism, which YouTube does not seem to object to, but that he read quotes that put Islam in a bad light.


This is a remix of the ungodly CNN panel, with refutations and arguments imbedded in response to the harpies’ wicked denunciations. Good stuff!And remember, we’re guessing Dawkins and Hitchens will be on CNN tomorrow at 8ET. Unless Paris Hilton steps on a poodle or something.

(via Freethought Weekly)

Comments

  1. #1 Series of Tubes
    February 11, 2007

    What????

    Seriously? The dude’s account was pulled for reading from the Koran ??

    Do you have further info/sources on this?

  2. #2 Cyde Weys
    February 11, 2007

    We need a freethinkers version of YouTube, one that can be embedded onto web pages with the same ease AND can be trusted not to censor freethinking viewpoints.

  3. #3 JB
    February 11, 2007

    He wasn’t reading from it, it was just music with english quotes displayed on the screen.

    Here’s the link to the offending vid:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dJz8THKA4M

  4. #4 TAW
    February 11, 2007

    Personally what I’m going to do is repost the video. If they delete my account then so be it. If enough people do it, maybe they’ll get the point.

  5. #5 darrell
    February 11, 2007

    I hadn’t seen the CNN footage yet…and now that I have I’m really sickened. No wonder they were scrambling to cover their asses and redo the segment with some atheist commentary. Can you imagine if they had a bit on discrimination against black people in the south complete with “Why do blacks inspire such hatred?” banner and a panel of all white people. I mean come on, the analogy isn’t that far off. The only other groups they could possibly get away with doing this to are probably the queer community and fat people. It’s funny what hate is considered okay in America.

  6. #6 Todd O.
    February 11, 2007

    Would anyone be willing/able to write up a good open letter to YouTube/Google that we could pass around online and get signatories re: freedom of speech, etc.?

  7. #7 Belathor
    February 11, 2007

    It looks like the first video just takes the commentary of the skeptics annotated koran and sets it to music.

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/

    If you pause the video and look up the verse in the sak, then you can see that it copies the intolerance section verbatim.

  8. #8 TAW
    February 11, 2007

    Hmm. I tried uploading the video but it says I don’t have any videos. Are they approving every video now or something? what’s going on?

  9. #9 MartinC
    February 11, 2007

    As for the CNN ‘discussion’ segment, just be glad it wasnt on the Larry King show. If that was the case I’d full expect them to redo it with Madeline Murray O’Hair as the token atheist, channeled by Sylvia Brown, Rashomon style, just so they could get in her line about the ‘dirty christers’.

  10. #10 Tony P
    February 11, 2007

    I’m an atheist and if I had people parking in front of my place to stare, they’d be greeted with a fully loaded Mossberg AT-500 pump shotgun.

    Secondly, I yanked all my youtube videos and send email telling google why I did so. I’m also going to be moving my blog off blogger because I am tired of the censorship going on at google as of late.

  11. #11 Bronze Dog
    February 11, 2007

    I had some thought of moving to WordPress, but they don’t seem to be doing much better.

  12. #12 j
    February 11, 2007

    Someone needs to clean up the grammar of the second video to make it more presentable. Other than that, ugh. What bigots.

  13. #13 BlueIndependent
    February 11, 2007

    Stephen A Smith: “I heard that, I read that, I just don’t believe it…”

    That’s the point you idiot: whether you believe or not makes no difference. Facts are facts. Come up with a study that proves otherwise.

    I’m not otherwise bothered by him. He has a decent show on ESPN. Obviously though his will for discovery and mental rigor in this regard are lacking. I’m sure decades ago there was a white person who said the same thing about African Americans who felt they were being discriminated against. How ironic is that coming from two African Americans *AND* a Jew at the same time? Granted they are of a religion talking about people that have none, but to jump to the conclusion that atheism has invaded America is such nonsense…

    The two women are just dense, period. The question isn’t even being considered; they’re just brushing it off the table. This is not a “debate” or show of real concern at all. It’s a demonstration, a cross-section if you will, of stupid and vapid human fears. It’s gut reactions honed by myopic self-interest in a facet of everyday life. Ms. Zahn seemed to barely have control over the discussion because the women kept butting in.

  14. #14 The Anti Atheist
    February 11, 2007

    THST s cd fr TSHT

  15. #15 Martin Wagner
    February 11, 2007

    That must be some of that “Christian love” we keep hearing about.

  16. #16 Observer
    February 11, 2007

    No, EAT THIS!

  17. #17 Cyde Weys
    February 11, 2007

    Bronze Dog: One of the best ways to avoid censorship is to host your website yourself. I’m using the WordPress software for my blog, but it’s hosted on my own machine. So the worst censorship that could happen is that someone takes away my Internet connection. Which isn’t a big deal; I can always just hook it up somewhere else.

  18. #18 mollishka
    February 11, 2007

    Aw, I was hoping the second video would be Paris Hilton stepping on a poodle …

  19. #19 GW
    February 11, 2007

    He may have been banned for copyrights on the accompanying music, not for the verses. But hey, I’d like to see more of that Koran garbage made public. They seem to have a fetish for drinking boiling water. I’d also like to see the Talmud exposed more, especially the racist “anti-goyim” passages. Let’s show all religions for what they are, not just christianity.

  20. #20 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2007

    Bronze Dog: One of the best ways to avoid censorship is to host your website yourself. I’m using the WordPress software for my blog, but it’s hosted on my own machine. So the worst censorship that could happen is that someone takes away my Internet connection. Which isn’t a big deal; I can always just hook it up somewhere else.

    ahh, but censorship can take many forms.

    the Kate and Janie blog was not removed, physically, rather it was simply censored from any corresponding wordpress reference.

    IOW, somebody searching for the terms relating to the blog within wordpress sites would never find it.

    very much like being delisted from google.

    Of course, wordpress is a wholly owned company, and those who own it can change the rules any time they like (and evidently do). At the same time, arbitrary decisions that appear in violation of their own posted rules are certainly worthy of calling attention to.

  21. #21 Bob
    February 11, 2007

    Stephen A Smith: “I heard that, I read that, I just don’t believe it…”

    We have a saying in Philosophy: I can give you an argument, but I can’t give you intelligence.

    Yeah, how to look like a complete moron in front of millions of people.

    And I still can’t believe that Karen actually teaches at a CUNY…

    It’s nauseating to even imagine her at the front of a room…

  22. #22 The Atheist Jew
    February 11, 2007

    Slightly OT. I am being attacked on my blog by a Creationist who keeps turning the page every time I link something to refute his previous garbage.
    I could use new blood with a different approach (since I’m not a scientist) to rip him a new one.

    His name is Mr. Beamish, and he started attacking me on Feb. 8th (scroll down the comments) stating there is no such thing as an Atheist. Now he is talking about time being faster at the beginning of the Big Bang, and his inference is that the earth is younger than we think because of it or something like that.

  23. #23 QrazyQat
    February 11, 2007

    Nothing like pointing out what people say to get their supporters mad. It’s a lot of what I’ve done on the theory I’m best known (in a small circle) for critiquing, and as a result I get people like a recent (yesterday) commenter claiming it shows my “psychotic hatred” for the lead proponent.

  24. #24 Loren Michael
    February 11, 2007

    He may have been banned for copyrights on the accompanying music, not for the verses.

    Naw, the notice they sent him told him it was for inappropriate content. The videos of bits from the Bible had the same copyrighted stuff in the background.

    This is selective censorship, and it’s disgusting.

  25. #25 divalent
    February 11, 2007

    GW: “He may have been banned for copyrights on the accompanying music, not for the verses.

    Loren: “Naw, the notice they sent him told him it was for inappropriate content. The videos of bits from the Bible had the same copyrighted stuff in the background.”

    So, youtube doesn’t censor passages from the bible, but they do censor passages from the Koran? Sounds like they don’t like muslims.

    Just wait until the mullahs hear about this!

  26. #26 Shigella
    February 11, 2007

    Divalent: “So, youtube doesn’t censor passages from the bible, but they do censor passages from the Koran? Sounds like they don’t like muslims.”

    No, I think it’s more to do with fearing car firebombings and beheadings, since we all know how well Muslims take criticism of their religion…

  27. #27 AustinAtheist
    February 11, 2007

    TAW said…

    “Personally what I’m going to do is repost the video. If they delete my account then so be it. If enough people do it, maybe they’ll get the point.”

    I’d like to do the same, but I’m not sure how. Any suggestions?

  28. #28 Adam Cuerden
    February 11, 2007

    I sent a nasty e-mail to CNN a while ago. I got a response back thanking me for contributing to Steve Irwin’s memorial…

  29. #29 The Atheist Jew
    February 11, 2007

    Youtube has deleted a friend of mines account. He does a lot of anti-radical Islam videos.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say Muslims are running the show there. Hold on. I know better, and I still think that might be a good possibility.

  30. #30 Schwaumlaut
    February 11, 2007

    Nope, Mr. Gisburne has a screenshot of YouTube’s justification, and it was for ‘inappropriate content’.

  31. #31 TAW
    February 11, 2007

    AustinAtheist said…
    “I’d like to do the same, but I’m not sure how. Any suggestions?”

    Well, you could get the flv file from his website, or you could download one of the many youtube mirrors… but the thing is, it won’t work. Apparently they’re screening uploaded videos mine. I tried uploading mine, and it said the video was processing. The next thing I know it says “rejected” because of violation of terms or something. Not only are they deleting videos that have already been posted, they’re SCREENING them now! that is outrageous. Now we won’t even know what they’re censoring!

  32. #32 Mike
    February 11, 2007

    “Can you imagine if they had a bit on discrimination against black people in the south complete with “Why do blacks inspire such hatred?” banner and a panel of all white people.”

    I sent CNN an email making exactly that comparison.. I even used the word ‘uppity’, which is pretty much what this panel was calling atheists.
    The girl in the basketball game footage is Nicole Smalkowski, whose (along with her father’s) problems with the school & town were mentioned here and on other pages.

  33. #33 AustinAtheist
    February 11, 2007

    Damn! I’ll try anyway. The link to the offending video above no longer works, but I found this one, and posted everything at my blog here. Let’s see how long it lasts. I’m going to at least save them all to my favorites on my account.

  34. #34 TAW
    February 11, 2007

    If you want to actually download the video, you can download it from his site- http://www.gisburne.com/ Just right click the video you want and click “save link as”.

    (if you want to download other youtube videos just get firefox, and then get the “downloadhelper” extension)

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2007

    Now we won’t even know what they’re censoring!

    welcome to the future!

    same as it ever was.

  36. #36 George
    February 11, 2007

    Off-topic.

    Anyone heard of this Dr. Ross the N.Y. Times is writing about?

    Believing Scripture but Playing by Science’s Rules
    By CORNELIA DEAN
    [snip]
    But Dr. Ross is hardly a conventional paleontologist. He is a “young earth creationist” — he believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old.

    For him, Dr. Ross said, the methods and theories of paleontology are one “paradigm” for studying the past, and Scripture is another. In the paleontological paradigm, he said, the dates in his dissertation are entirely appropriate. The fact that as a young earth creationist he has a different view just means, he said, “that I am separating the different paradigms.”

    He likened his situation to that of a socialist studying economics in a department with a supply-side bent. “People hold all sorts of opinions different from the department in which they graduate,” he said. “What’s that to anybody else?”

    But not everyone is happy with that approach. “People go somewhat bananas when they hear about this,” said Jon C. Boothroyd, a professor of geosciences at Rhode Island.
    [snip]
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/12/science/12geologist.html?ei=5094&en=aabaccdd1cf242ba&hp=&ex=1171256400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

  37. #37 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2007

    “People go somewhat bananas when they hear about this,”

    Ya know, I’ll bet Dr. Boothroyd had quite a bit more to say about it, but of course, the “journalist” chose to use the one quote from him that would appear to paint the rational ones as “bananas” rather than the YEC paleo.

    *sigh*

  38. #38 Caledonian
    February 12, 2007

    By the man’s own admission, he said and did whatever was necessary to acquire what he wanted from the graduate program, even if he had to say things that utterly contradicted the things he supposedly believes to be true.

    In that case, how can any person consider his witness to be faithful? If he speaks about his supposed faith, what would cause us to grant him the benefit of the doubt when we know that he’ll lie to get what he wants?

    Letting him go through the program and perjur himself is the best possible response.

  39. #39 Mike P
    February 12, 2007

    If you watch the entirity of the CNN clip, Stephen A. comes off a lot less ignorant than the one comment highlighted in this clip. Yeah, he says his share of stupid things, but he is technically on the atheists’ side, and does a passable job arguing with those harpies.

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    February 12, 2007

    Dr. Fastovsky and other members of the Rhode Island faculty said they knew about these disagreements, but admitted him anyway. Dr. Boothroyd, who was among those who considered the application, said they judged Dr. Ross on his academic record, his test scores and his master’s thesis, “and we said, ‘O.K., we can do this.’ ”

    He added, “We did not know nearly as much about creationism and young earth and intelligent design as we do now.”

    sounds remarkably like what happened with Jonathan Wells at Berkeley.

    Of course, the guys in MCB were far more ignorant of what the implications of Wells’ background were than those in Zoology. Even still, there was enough ignorance (I take the 5th) of creobots in the Zoo dept. to go around.

  41. #41 BC
    February 12, 2007

    Stephen A Smith: “I heard that, I read that, I just don’t believe it…”

    I thought it was pretty ironic that the two women were bashing atheists and he says that. I have to wonder if Stephen Smith could come up with a single example of some ethnic, religious, or sexual orientation group that could be bashed like that on the news with no protest from anyone on the panel. Wasn’t it George Bush Sr who said in 1987: “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” Could any major politician make that statement about some other group without inciting a major protest? Could you imagine if he said, “No, I don’t know that [Blacks or Jews] should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.”

    Now he is talking about time being faster at the beginning of the Big Bang, and his inference is that the earth is younger than we think because of it or something like that.

    I heard that one of those creationist organizations switched to the view that the universe was created 6,000 years ago, but everything was moving really fast, causing some sort of relativistic time effect – all to explain away the fact that the universe actually looks old.

  42. #42 AustinAtheist
    February 12, 2007

    I successfully uploaded the offending video, which was “processed,” as they like to call it, and will not appear because evidently I have violated their terms of use. Excuse me while I keep a close watch on my account.

  43. #43 Ichthyic
    February 12, 2007

    Could any major politician make that statement about some other group without inciting a major protest? Could you imagine if he said, “No, I don’t know that [Blacks or Jews] should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.”

    Time wounds all heels.

  44. #44 AustinAtheist
    February 12, 2007

    Nick has just informed me that he will be uploading a new video soon because “the situation is getting more complicated by the minute, believe me.”

  45. #45 Russell Blackford
    February 12, 2007

    Oh come on, the claim about atheists being the most hated group, blah, blah, does sound shocking and implausible on its face. I assume it’s true, but you can hardly blame Smith for being sceptical when confronted with it. In fact, that kind of scepticism about wild-sounding claims is actually a good thing. I don’t see how it makes him stupid.

    OTOH, “stupid” is far too weak a word for the egregious … well, actually, stupidity … of the other two. As someone said, they should have given Smith (and the viewers) reason to think later on that there is some evidence corroborating that seemingly wild claim about the hatred for atheists.

  46. #46 AustinAtheist
    February 12, 2007

    If not most hated, the least trusted.

  47. #47 Kristine
    February 12, 2007

    So it’s okay for Al Qaeda et al to use YouTube? Okay doke, CNN. “Anybody who’s not an atheist is a friend of mine!”

    I like the idea of atheist “Hallmark” cards, however. I’ll get right on those.

  48. #48 Jim Lippard
    February 12, 2007

    The latter video wrongly attributed the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli’s language about the U.S. not being a Christian nation to Thomas Jefferson. The language was written by Joel Barlow, ratified by the Senate, and signed by John Adams.

  49. #49 Jim Lippard
    February 12, 2007

    I watched part of Nick Ginsburne’s Koran video, which uses copyrighted music in the background (“Clubbed to Death” by Rob D., from The Matrix soundtrack).

    On February 5, Viacom asked YouTube to delete 100,000 videos that infringed on its copyrights, and declined to enter into a licensing agreement with YouTube as Universal, CBS, NBC, and Warner have done.

    I believe the music track in question belongs to Warner, but they may have just licensed it for The Matrix. If it belongs to Viacom, then I’d suspect that’s a likely cause of the removal here.

  50. #50 AustinAtheist
    February 12, 2007

    If copyright infringement is the issue, which I suspect, as does Nick, is not the case, then YouTube could at least respond to his queries by being a hell of a lot more specific in their charge.

  51. #51 Trinifar
    February 12, 2007

    I don’t understand this. Google’s YouTube service costs you nothing and yet people are complaining about their policies? Isn’t this simply a case of getting what you paid for?

  52. #52 Brian1625
    February 12, 2007

    Trinifar: YouTube likes the gloat that it’s users create the content. So in essence people “pay” with content as oppose to dollars, so it’s not exactly “free” considering everyone puts in a share of it’s profits. I think this is what makes Google genius, why invest in making content when you can have someone else do it for you?

    Stephen A, didn’t seem like he wanted to step on the toes of the atheist to much.. he just got caught in the crosshairs of the other panelist and his own faith. I’m a number 6 atheist and I was skeptical of those stats as well, I’m more inclined to go with “Just as much” as oppose to “more so”

  53. #53 AustinAtheist
    February 12, 2007

    Nick’s current account has been suspended.

  54. #54 Pablo Flores
    February 12, 2007

    I can’t add much more to the comments above. I’m a user of Blogger, also owned by Google, and though my blog is not about atheism, I’m writing a denunciation of this there, and urging my readers to link ‘YouTube censorship‘ to the place where I read the news. I’d like to see Google returning matches about this in the first page of search results.

  55. #55 MTran
    February 12, 2007

    they may have just licensed it for The Matrix. If it belongs to Viacom, then I’d suspect that’s a likely cause of the removal here.

    My understanding is that when Youtube removes a video for copyright infringement it clearly says that and when you try to play such a video after it is yanked, the page tells you it was removed due to copyright violation.

    That’s not what happened here. Instead, it appears there were numerous viewers who tagged the video as “offensive” for inappropriate content and that’s what the Youtube email says. It’s also what the page said when I tried to play the banned video.

    As to licensing of music, a license normally only grants the licensee a right to use the music for a specified purpose. The licensee does not get any additional rights to the copyright in the music. Radio stations, for instance, obtain permission to broadcast music but they have no further rights regarding the music.

  56. #56 TAW
    February 12, 2007

    I know what I’m going to do is one- try to upload the video. That just annoys the youtube people. And two- I’m also going to go to all the videos in favor of christians and muslims and religion I can find, and flag them as inappropriate. If nick’s was inappropriate for whatever reason, then I’m sure at least some of the videos I flag will be inappropriate too :P

    (by the way, I got the idea from a couple of video responses)

  57. #57 Thony C.
    February 12, 2007

    I have no idea who the blond bird brain in the CNN video is but all I can say is I that I’m real glad that I’m a European if she’s an example of an American.

  58. #58 Jim Lippard
    February 12, 2007

    “As to licensing of music, a license normally only grants the licensee a right to use the music for a specified purpose. The licensee does not get any additional rights to the copyright in the music. Radio stations, for instance, obtain permission to broadcast music but they have no further rights regarding the music.”

    That’s why I said “if it belongs to Viacom.” If Warner owns it, then there’s clearly no copyright issue, because Warner has given YouTube a license for its users to use Warner music. The mere presence of this song on a Warner-labeled soundtrack doesn’t mean Warner owns it, however.

    Those who have pointed out that YouTube’s behavior is different for copyright infringement issues have strengthened the case that this possibility is a red herring…

  59. #59 Don Thieme
    February 12, 2007

    Outfoxed by CNN? ? ? How fair and balanced can they get!

  60. #60 MTran
    February 12, 2007

    Warner has given YouTube a license for its users to use Warner music.

    I had not realized Warner had already taken that step. Personally, I think that’s a sensible business decision and I’m gald to learn about it.

  61. #62 CortxVortx
    February 13, 2007

    Okay, idea for the next video: Just the suras containing the word “doom,” with GIR’s “Doom Song” in the background.

    Victory for ZIM!

    — CV

  62. #63 Caledonian
    February 13, 2007

    Or, an even better idea: a video featuring quotations from the Koran and no copyrighted content.

    You morons.

  63. #64 Ichthyic
    February 13, 2007

    finally got to see it, thanks to Austin.

    If I didn’t know better I’d say the people who wrote the Quran are REALLY into outdoor BBQ’s.

    as ‘ol franky might say:

    “Fire Bad!”

  64. #65 AustinAtheist
    February 15, 2007

    Caldonian,

    Could you please click here, scroll down until you see Exhibits A, B, and C. Press play on each. Then report back with your findings.

  65. #66 Pablo Flores
    February 15, 2007

    This article has been cited on the CT Blue blog, under the category “Creeping Totalitarianism”. It seems the YouTube censorship google bomb we launched in support of Nick is working; the link was number 4 in the 1st page of results from Google… Let’s bring YouTube censorship down!