Pharyngula

This is insane: YouTube has become an overzealous nanny, protecting kooks from offense, now banning the eminently respectable JREF.

There’s only one way to respond to this, in addition to writing letters of protest: I’m going to have to stop using YouTube at all. I’ll be posting no more YouTube videos until the JREF is fully reinstated, and even then I’ll be looking for alternatives (XTube? RedTube? No, I know…GodTube! (seriously, don’t go to any of those, they’re awful)). YouTube is ubiquitous, but it’s a common technology, there are lots of sites that can implement it, and there’s no need to tie ourselves to the one host that seems to be run by nervous nellies with brain rot.

Comments

  1. #1 FishyFred
    March 30, 2009

    Vimeo is much better.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    March 30, 2009

    We do need to listen to the reason given, if any, though. If none is forthcoming, however, we have cause to believe that there is no good reason.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  3. #3 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2009

    Yeah, Vimeo and Hulu are both pretty good. Maybe people can list more alternatives here, too.

  4. #4 Patrick Q.
    March 30, 2009

    Our fellow educators might find TeacherTube to be a viable alternative for posting and viewing materials for students.

  5. #5 Stephanurus
    March 30, 2009

    Well, I’m still waiting. Wot wuz the reason?
    stephanurus

  6. #6 David
    March 30, 2009

    It should be pointed out to youtube’s bankers that youtube has lost their critical thinking skills.

  7. #7 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    One can only hope that youtube will become less popular over time.

  8. #8 Dinah
    March 30, 2009

    There’s Google video, I haven’t used it except to watch a couple of videos so don’t know much about it, but that may be an option.

  9. #9 JD
    March 30, 2009

    WTF??? But they have soft porn. How bad can JRF be? Spoon bending exposure is no worse than mammalian protruberance exposure.

    Whereas, youtube is fucking retarded.

  10. #10 Gruesome Rob
    March 30, 2009

    @Dinah:

    YouTube is owned by Google

  11. #11 John Morales
    March 30, 2009

    LiveLeak

  12. #12 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2009

    The reason for this particular event is irrelevant, given YouTube’s history of bowing to the demands of creationists and other kooks. Might as well give up and concede it to them — it’s on the road to being another godtube.

  13. #13 Tony Sidaway
    March 30, 2009

    Tweeted this. If you’re on twitter, please retweet

    https://twitter.com/TonySidaway/status/1420019413

  14. #14 bob
    March 30, 2009

    I don’t know if there’s anything that could mobilize skeptics like effing with Randi. The JREF site has a short and all-but-info-less message about it, and says they’re “researching” it.

  15. #15 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    Really, how much does the company Google support freedom? Of course, only so much as it helps their business – but does this really help their business?

  16. #16 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Insanity. (Or, better, uttah, uttah madness.)

    What is the reason they’ve given?

  17. #17 blf
    March 30, 2009

    The statement at JREF is:

    Problem with YouTube
    Written by Jeff Wagg
    Monday, 30 March 2009 12:19 [timezone not known -blf]

    Our YouTube account has been suspended, which means all of the Randi Speaks and other JREF videos are temporarily unavailable. We’re researching the problem, and will be back online as soon as possible. Thanks very much for your patience.

  18. #18 jpf
    March 30, 2009

    I’m sorry to report that GodTube has changed its name to Tangle.

    With “GodTube” you knew exactly the sort of crazy you were getting. But “Tangle”? What the hell does that even mean? While it still has the crazy videos, for all you’d know from the name it’s just some generic Web 2.0ish thing now.

  19. #19 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    Wow, this is quite terrible. I’ve really been enjoying the “Randi speaks” videos.

  20. #20 386sx
    March 30, 2009

    Hmm I wonder if arch nemesis Uri Geller is behind it…

  21. #21 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    I deny that “retweet” is a word.

  22. #22 Stipoon
    March 30, 2009

    My jaw dropped when I read this.

    What? Astrology and psychics foundations threatened to stop advertising on Youtube if this did not happen? Or what?

  23. #23 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    “I’ll be looking for alternatives (XTube? RedTube? No, I know?GodTube! (seriously, don’t go to any of those, they’re awful)).”
    Perhaps you can host them on your own website, perhaps even as a .swf flash file if it is a short video.

  24. #24 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    “I’ll be looking for alternatives (XTube? RedTube? No, I know?GodTube! (seriously, don’t go to any of those, they’re awful)).”
    Perhaps you can host them on your own website, perhaps even as a .swf flash file if it is a short video.

  25. #25 Crystal D.
    March 30, 2009

    Sounds like the crazy kook asses who kept banning our Minnesota Atheists Wikipedia page. Oh, and the person that kept denying it? A fundie, of course… Jack asses.

  26. #26 Paul F
    March 30, 2009

    I don’t really see any good way to contact them from the linked page. Aside from writing a snail-mail letter or phoning them, there doesn’t seem any method of getting through.

    Anyone find a better, more direct link to a complaint form?

  27. #27 QrazyQat
    March 30, 2009

    Seems to me that the correct way to address this is to find out why the account was suspended — whether in error or not, and for what reason. Google could have goofed, or they could have done something stupid, or (unlikely I’d think) there could be a legit reason.

    And of course use not just YouTube but other video sources for any videom you want seen — no one says you have to put all your eggs in the one company’s basket. Another very good reason to do this is to make it more possible that your works can be seen in places that ban YouTube completely; the more places your videos can be seen the more likely one will be available.

  28. #28 Azdak
    March 30, 2009

    Hulu doesn’t work outside the Excited States, currently, so that solution is somewhat limited.

    I realize that JREF getting suspended is not exactly shocking, given YouTube’s tendency to kowtow to the Moral Majority brigade, but is there any kind of backstory available? Y’know, apart from “YouTube is managed by a bunch of twats.”

  29. #29 Matt
    March 30, 2009

    JREF gets suspended but not Pat Condell?

    What on earth could JREF have done?

  30. #30 Irene Delse
    March 30, 2009

    More alternatives to YouTube: Vuze (an open source alternative), DailyMotion (one YouTube’s oldest competitors) and Kewego, based in Europe.

  31. #31 Pauline in UK
    March 30, 2009

    I can watch JREF videos in U.K. Has YouTube seen sense?

  32. #32 Rich
    March 30, 2009

    Utter madness. Complaint sent to YouTube and I uploaded the video to my YouTube channel.

  33. #33 Paul
    March 30, 2009

    Another alternative that no-one seems to have mentioned yet is dailymotion.com

    The video quality isn’t great but the service is entirely free.

  34. #34 Wildflower
    March 30, 2009

    @#29

    Educated guess based on previous similar events with more or less popular YouTube accounts that promote reason and critical thinking: JREF got flag-botted or falsely accused of violating the DMCA.

    I don’t know how thorough and/or automated YouTube’s review process is. Since Pat Condell exclusively posts unique material and doesn’t use any music it’s easy to see that DMCA claims just plainly can’t apply. Perhaps that’s why. Or he just hasn’t been a target of vote- and flag-bots yet.

  35. #35 Iason Ouabache
    March 30, 2009

    YouTube seems to have a habit of banning first, asking questions later. I would place bets that some stupid psychic/dowser got their panties in a wad and filed a false copyright claim.

  36. #36 Jake
    March 30, 2009

    I weep for you my American brothers. This is ridiculous, what the hell could you have against a man such as Randi?

    As has obviously been stated previously, YouTube is slowly becoming GodTube. If my 2 cents are worth anything, Vimeo is the greater solution, available everywhere and pretty friendly player with most browsers (Including IE6 used in most work places (hint hint)).

  37. #37 Steve
    March 30, 2009

    I’m still with YouTube, but only because I haven’t had any real problems with it, plus I’ve been on it since 2005. I also use MySpace and LiveVideo as alternatives, though.

  38. #38 comics guy
    March 30, 2009

    Hey, what’s wrong with xtube?

  39. #39 deep
    March 30, 2009

    Some bozo whose woo was being slammed by the JREF probably sent in a false copyright claim. It’s how all the other get away with it. Youtube has a “suspend first, ask questions later” policy that let’s people get away with that. It’s amazing what some people will do to cover their own ass.

  40. #40 lordshipmayhem
    March 30, 2009

    Well, it looks like my little problem came along just in time…

    Last weekend I did a hardware upgrade from my ancient Pentium III white-box to a dual-core Compaq with Mandriva Linux 2009, using the 64-bit version of the OS. Now Flash doesn’t want to work, which is apparently a common but solvable problem with Flash and 64-bit operating systems. While I chase down the solution, I’m inadvertently boycotting Youtube – none of their videos want to work.

  41. #41 Marlon
    March 30, 2009

    This page explains YouTube guidelines and how to flag inappropriate content:

    http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines?hl=en_US

    The JREF videos were probably flagged by some pea-brained nitwit and the YouTube staff has yet to review the videos.

  42. #42 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    We do need to listen to the reason given, if any, though.

    The reason is well known, as it has occurred to several other “atheist” accounts: the fundie have votebots that flag sites for violations, and over some threshold YouTube automatically suspends the account. Hitting JREF may actually be a good thing, if it gets YouTube — which has ignored complaints in the past — to change their broken policy.

  43. #43 deep
    March 30, 2009

    AHH, rational responders has also been suspended. They are attacking our reason!

  44. #44 Aaron
    March 30, 2009

    Someone said that it was banned for using copyrighted music in its videos.

    Not sure if that is true.

  45. Godtube/tangle refused to host my purity video (how I overcame watermelon lust), so I had to settle for the more secular (or are they) youtube. now, I guess I’ll move it and the others somewhere else.

  46. #46 Zar
    March 30, 2009

    Methinks a flagging campaign against fundies is in order.

  47. #47 Jadehawk
    March 30, 2009

    “What on earth could JREF have done?”

    probably nothing. i bet all it is is too many wooists complaining. or another ridiculous “he quoted me without permission” BS

  48. #48 AVSN
    March 30, 2009

    Don’t know alot of details but do dislike the censorship. I may have my complaints about the JR”E”F, but they have a right to speak too.

  49. #49 blf
    March 30, 2009

    Someone said that it was banned for using copyrighted music in its videos.

    (emphasis added.)

    Oh for feck’s sake! A citation or reference of linky-clicky-thingy, please.

  50. #50 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    While I chase down the solution

    I got Flash working in FireFox on my AMDX2 Debian Lenny system by downloading the plugin directly from Adobe; other attempted solutions failed.

  51. #51 arekksu
    March 30, 2009

    i deleted my account a while ago anyway. vimeo is much nicer, with better quality video and nicer looking video-players.

  52. #52 Stephen
    March 30, 2009

    The proper thing to do would be getting this on Slashdot, Digg and whatever else we can thing of.

    Sure the bad publicity should be worth something.

  53. #53 BigZ
    March 30, 2009

    http://twitter.com/culmastadm

    I tweeted it as well. Now two more (maybe) people are involved. Fight the power!

  54. #54 Daniel
    March 30, 2009

    Please don’t use Hulu! Only Americans can watch videos on that site. As someone has already mentioned, DailyMotion is a great alternative.

  55. #55 Hampus
    March 30, 2009

    Systems Online

    Boycott sequence activated

  56. #56 mus
    March 30, 2009

    Comic’s guy at #38:
    Hey, what’s wrong with xtube?

    Too many promotional previews, not enough full length, HQ videos?

  57. #57 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    Someone said that it was banned for using copyrighted music in its videos.

    Not sure if that is true.

    Wow, what a paragon of skepticism.

  58. #58 Heraclides
    March 30, 2009

    Hulu content can only be streamed to users in the USA, so it’s not a good solution.

  59. #59 stephanurus
    March 30, 2009

    What is YouTube’s email address? They keep it well hidden to avoid being found.
    stephanurus

  60. #60 ocminimoto
    March 30, 2009

    maybe we need secular tube? Surely there is enough talent in the skeptical community to put it into operation.

  61. #61 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    Methinks a flagging campaign against fundies is in order.

    Yeah. And let’s all start believing in the literal truth of the bible, as long as we’re emulating them.

  62. #62 Alverant
    March 30, 2009

    There’s a site called Break.com. I don’t use it much. The search feature is pretty good. I use it when I want to see their “Moments of Unnecessary Censorship” clips. It’s from an ABC affiliate that “bleeps and blurs everything if it needs it or not”. It’s amazing at how with a few properly placed bleeps you can even make Sesame Street into a dirty-sounding program.

  63. #63 Joe
    March 30, 2009

    One thing nobody seems to understand is that if this is a DMCA takedown request, the content provider HAS to take it down before review. It’s part of how the DMCA works…. not limited to just Google/YouTube. If you’re angry, you should be angry about the ridiculous law that is the DMCA. On the flip side, false requests can be prosecuted by law, but sadly so far, this hasn’t been tested in court.

  64. #64 IceFarmer
    March 30, 2009

    This crap drives me completely insane. Why do people have to pull this garbage? In a free society, people are allowed to watch what they want as well as NOT watch whatever they want. I hate most things on television because I find most of it drivel and some of it offensive but I choose to watch or do something different.

    If someone finds something offensive or not to their taste, they should use their own discretion and turn it off!

    Youtube is becoming nothing but a bunch of pussies that will show videos filled half naked women and ones with idiots but shy away from anything with substance because it’s “safe” and good for advertising sales to the lowest common denominator. We are moving towards societal idiocracy day by day.

  65. #65 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 30, 2009

    PZ, you’ve covered this sort of thing before. This isn’t the only such example. http://www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/02/tube_atheists.php

  66. #66 Blake Stacey
    March 30, 2009

    Back in the day, there was the Internet Archive. . . Holy Zarquon’s flying fish — it’s still there!

  67. #67 Tulse
    March 30, 2009

    Hulu content can only be streamed to users in the USA

    …or to those outside the US who use Hotspot Shield.

    Just sayin’…

  68. #68 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    What is YouTube’s email address? They keep it well hidden to avoid being found.

    There are other avenues:

    You can contact YouTube at the address below.
    YouTube, LLC
    901 Cherry Ave.
    San Bruno, CA 94066
    USA
    Phone: +1 650-253-0000
    Fax: +1 650-253-0001

  69. #69 Rhysz
    March 30, 2009

    Step 1: Suspend
    Step 2: Check facts…….

    Great, Who doesn’t love the DMCA!!!!

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  70. #70 mirshafie
    March 30, 2009

    I don’t know what kind of stupid game they’re playing. They are claiming that they cannot censor videos that display criticism towards certain governments (take China/Tibet for example); in the next breath they remove videos that express atheist views?

    It’s not even sensible from a business perspective and it’s not sensible from a legal perspective. That leaves me with the thought that some manager at SuckTube must be the Devil incarnate.

  71. #71 Mark
    March 30, 2009

    To Joe, I don’t know whether or not the DMCA has been “tested” in court, but the youtube user thunderf00t has certainly tested false DMCA reports out of court with the giant a**hat himself venomfangx. Hopefully if this is a false DMCA, the JREF can get whoever filed it to face the consequences. There is a possibility that it could be a real DMCA, i guess…, but I have more trust than that in the JREF.

  72. #72 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Youtube is becoming nothing but a bunch of pussies

    Sometimes I feel like SCisyphus.

  73. #73 Slaughter
    March 30, 2009

    I just went to youtube.come and searched for James Randi and got 11,200 hits.

  74. #74 Northernskeptic
    March 30, 2009

    This is just typical, from the shennanigans pulled by Hovind’s crew to kowtowing to Uri Geller YouTube has been ruled by knee-jerk suspension policy without actually investigating first.

  75. #75 Erik
    March 30, 2009

    Most likely someone’s letter-writing campaign crossed a suspend-first-ask-questions-later-to-cover-our-ass threshold.

  76. #76 Blake Stacey
    March 30, 2009

    For a while, the Internet Archive was having trouble with embedding videos (at least, I couldn’t get it to work very well), but they’ve apparently improved in recent months.

  77. #77 zaardvark
    March 30, 2009

    I was just watching videos on their channel last night. This is so wrong. What kind of sad little person would want this?

  78. #78 Richard Kong
    March 30, 2009

    I believe the channel is back on. I can view the videos now. However I’d still lodge a complaint on youtube demanding a public explanation of this, I’d suggest other users to do the same.

  79. #79 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    One thing nobody seems to understand is that if this is a DMCA takedown request, the content provider HAS to take it down before review.

    Nice overgeneralized swipe. There’s quite a bit that you don’t seem to understand, like that this is an account suspension, not a takedown, what it takes to file a DMCA takedown request, and what the history is at YouTube in regard to “anti-Christian” sites. This is far more likely to be a fundie flagging operation than a DMCA takedown.

  80. #80 DaveX
    March 30, 2009

    Well, I’m no fan of censorship, but I’m not exactly a good friend of the JREF either– I endured no small amount of BS while trying to sign up at their site a couple years back, and found the majority of people I conversed with on their site to be rude, overly self-assured, and less enthusiastic about sharing than with making fun of others.

    Nonetheless, YouTube is being stupid. I’m all aboard with Vimeo– it’s a much more useful site, and the community is top-notch.

  81. #81 Rhysz
    March 30, 2009

    @ 77
    It’s probably a collective effort, that’s why we need to make a stand. I feel very strongly about this, we need to help our friends, complacency is our enemy.

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  82. #82 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    Sometimes I feel like SCisyphus.

    Rock & roll, baby.

  83. #83 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    I believe the channel is back on.

    You believe wrongly. http://www.youtube.com/user/jamesrandifoundation -> “this account has been suspended”

  84. #84 parkylondon
    March 30, 2009

    Either its back or its US only. I just did a search for “james randi educational foundation” on YouTube from the UK and got over 100 returns..

  85. #85 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    I’m not exactly a good friend of the JREF

    Irrelevant much?

  86. #86 Ritchie Annand
    March 30, 2009

    There has been a rash of votebotting of smaller atheist/anti-theist video posters, flooding them with 1-star ratings. I would not doubt that such scum would engage in flagbotting as well.

    Anyone been associated with the Under The Bridge folks for long enough to know how successful they’ve been in tracking down botters?

  87. #87 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    I just did a search for “james randi educational foundation” on YouTube from the UK and got over 100 returns..

    So do I, but I can’t imagine why you think this is relevant.

  88. #88 RickK
    March 30, 2009

    Why can’t skeptics, atheists and real scientists write Youtube flagbots too? Is it because we don’t have the time ’cause we’re still employed?

  89. #89 Newfie
    March 30, 2009

    Reddit Link

    Digg Link

    if anyone wants to vote them up.

  90. #90 bunnycatch3r
    March 30, 2009

    Youtube is the frontline of the current internet wars. I’m really surprised that the godbots have nothing left except for flagging campaigns. They have all of the resources and a larger constituency.

  91. #91 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    I just went to youtube.come and searched for James Randi and got 11,200 hits.

    And a search for god gets 938,000 hits, but that doesn’t mean that god has an active account there. Sheesh.

  92. #92 Andrew
    March 30, 2009

    A flagging campaign against fundies is a bad idea. Better to just flag anything and everything until Google realise that the policy doesn’t work even a bit.

  93. #93 Northernskeptic
    March 30, 2009

    @80

    The forum sign up on the JREF site is just as streamlined as most forums are, and the commenters are generally a friendly bunch, the only ones who seem to complain are those who post unsubstantiated claims and then get up in arms when asked to back them up.

    in your case how did you find them rude (link the thread if need be?

  94. #94 Michelle R
    March 30, 2009

    The problem with hulu and the likes is that they are overzealous about the countries they are being available to.

    Youtube… They are being more and more crazy.

  95. #95 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    Why can’t skeptics, atheists and real scientists write Youtube flagbots too? Is it because we don’t have the time ’cause we’re still employed?

    Why do you confuse “have no desire to” with “can’t”?

  96. #96 Heather
    March 30, 2009

    Fora.tv is awesome. It’s the YouTube for Science Geeks like us.

  97. #97 Buzz
    March 30, 2009

    Here is mine under the 350 char limit:

    My understanding is that youtube has suspended the account of user:JREF as some videos were flagged inappropriate by users who do not like the ideas presented in the videos. If the youtube team would take time to actually view the videos, they would see that the videos are not inappropriate and that the JREF account should be reactivated.

  98. #98 Quidam
    March 30, 2009

    The account has been and still is suspended. While you can still view videos ABOUT Randi and the JREF, you can’t view videos posted BY Randi anf the JREF

  99. #99 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Fora.tv is awesome. It’s the YouTube for Science Geeks like us.

    My experience with it isn’t that extensive, but I like fora.tv, too.

  100. #100 MAJeff, OM
    March 30, 2009

    My experience with it isn’t that extensive, but I like fora.tv, too.

    You can actually watch videos? I didn’t think it possible!

  101. #101 Aenthropi
    March 30, 2009

    Do any of us even know what is going on? Let us no go off half cocked here.

  102. #102 LightningRose
    March 30, 2009

    Joe @#63 is correct. Under the terms of the DMCA Google *has no choice* but to take down videos when someone claims a copyright violation, as venomfangx has been known to wrongly do in the past.

    The only way for JREF, or anyone else, to avoid this is to host *all* materials on a server outside the jurisdiction of US law, or any country with a similar law.

    You could also petition your Senators and Congresscritters to rewrite the DMCA, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  103. #103 Michelle
    March 30, 2009

    Aw poo. Now’s where’s Dale gonna get his QualiaSoup?

  104. #104 veganerd
    March 30, 2009

    It would be funny if someone invented a bot to flag all videos on you tube. I imagine youtube would very quickly realize their policy is stupid.

  105. #105 sailor
    March 30, 2009

    I think a couple of people here are confused. Utube has not banned all videos showing Jame Randi, of these there are plenty, as you can quickly see. What they have done is suspended the JREF account, meaning you cannot see any videos posted by JREF. This explains the thousands of hits still available.

  106. #106 Jackie
    March 30, 2009

    Did my part and sent in a complaint.

  107. #107 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    You can actually watch videos? I didn’t think it possible!

    In my office, sure.* :) And YouTube and a few other types here at home, but I usually pay the price. (I still think Emmet did some geeky fix to the antique laptop – does seem to be working way better.)

    *Except at the moment, funnily enough, fora.tv videos.

  108. #108 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    Joe @#63 is correct.

    Let’s beat that strawman to death.

    Under the terms of the DMCA Google *has no choice* but to take down videos when someone claims a copyright violation

    We don’t know that this is a DMCA case, which requires

    the copyright owner must provide notice to the service provider with the following information:

    * The name, address, and electronic signature of the complaining party [512(c)(3)(A)(i)]
    * The infringing materials and their Internet location [512(c)(3)(A)(ii-iii)], or if the service provider is an “information location tool” such as a search engine, the reference or link to the infringing materials [512(d)(3)].
    * Sufficient information to identify the copyrighted works [512(c)(3)(A)(iv)].
    * A statement by the owner that it has a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for the use of the materials complained of [512(c)(3)(A)(v)].
    * A statement of the accuracy of the notice and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on the behalf of the owner [512(c)(3)(A)(vi)].

  109. #109 jj
    March 30, 2009

    There’s Google video, I haven’t used it except to watch a couple of videos so don’t know much about it, but that may be an option

    Well youtube is owned by google, and last I heard they were actually going to ditch google video in the near future, but i could be mistaken…

  110. #110 Tassie Devil
    March 30, 2009

    Running flash on the newer windows systems can be a problem; my laptop (bought last year) steadfastly refuses to run several players. I went through all the suggested alternatives, but at the bottom of the troubleshooting list is a suggestion that you go into the windows code and alter it. Umm – no, how about invalidating your guarantee at a single stroke. Curiously my laptop also denies that the youtube site exists – I get a site not found message, which varios ‘experts’ have been unable to explain.

    I just think my computer’s atheist.

    Someone needs to set up scitube, a woo free zone with regular erasure of inane comments.

    BTW, talking of copyright issues, what happened over Expelled’s hijacked Harvard ‘inside the cell’ clip?

  111. #111 Pauline in UK
    March 30, 2009

    Ah, thank you for the correction on the YouTube videos – I’m not much of a YouTube-er.

    I tried Hotspot Shield, it reduced my broadband speed from 1.9Mbps to 0.3Mbps. :-(

  112. #112 Fiziker
    March 30, 2009

    I second XTube. That way Phil Plait can do his videos in the style of softcore porn.

    NB: I only use Phil Plait because I haven’t seen any videos that PZ has done. Obviously, if he were to do a video, we’d all want him to do it as explicitly–if not more so–that Phil. I think that’s a compliment.

  113. #113 Bas - Serial Expat
    March 30, 2009

    You’ve missed a good opportunity for making it really go viral.

    Both in the video as well as the blog post:
    1) You fail to explain what JREF is and what its importance is;
    2) You fail to explain how it got banned from YouTube and what YouTube’s reasoning is;
    3) You fail to explain why YouTube’s wrong.

    With good reasoning, I’ll gladly stumble, tweet and digg this and talk about it on Facebook. Without it, I won’t spread it. I need to be informed.

    Feel free to send me an email when there’s content available including all of the 3 aforementioned points.

  114. #114 JQisAwesome
    March 30, 2009

    I know why James Randi was suspended from youtube!!!

    The official reason is this:

    Youtube tried to claim the one million dollar prize because the videos produced by Chris Crocker were GAYER than the natural laws permit. Only a supernatural force could explain the utter queerness, the unreal level of gayness, attainable in his videos.

  115. #115 Tony Sidaway
    March 30, 2009

    Please don’t everybody run into a kneejerk boycott. Think first.

    The nutcase who made the complaint in question wants rational voices off Youtube. They’d love to see us all leave.

    Stick around and make a noise until Youtube stops acting like this. Make sure JREF’s channel is restored and Youtube (which is owned by Google) stops pulling this kind of crap.

  116. #116 Brownian
    March 30, 2009

    1) You fail to explain what JREF is and what its importance is;

    Oh, is Google down?

  117. #117 bob
    March 30, 2009

    @113:

    Are you serious? Yes, I’m sure PZ will be happy to comply with your demands. Get the hell over yourself.

    In the meantime, let me address your “aforementioned points”: we don’t know why Youtube banned the JREF, and http://lmgtfy.com/?q=jref

  118. #118 xebecs
    March 30, 2009

    Godtube/tangle refused to host my purity video (how I overcame watermelon lust), so I had to settle for the more secular (or are they) youtube. now, I guess I’ll move it and the others somewhere else.

    Folks, we have been visited by Jesus’ General. Why aren’t we celebrating in the streets?

  119. #119 Itzac
    March 30, 2009

    This is likely the result of a fake DMCA claim or some other legal injunction. In either case, a more productive thing to do than boycott YouTube is to bug your congress critters to fix/repeal the DMCA and fix the severely busted copyright and IP laws that stifle innovation and creativity in the US.

  120. #120 MAJeff, OM
    March 30, 2009

    a more productive thing to do than boycott YouTube is to bug your congress critters to fix/repeal the DMCA and fix the severely busted copyright and IP laws that stifle innovation and creativity in the US.

    Anyone have as much cash as Disney, Warner, or NewsCorp?

    I hate to say it, but DMCA ain’t going anywhere until we can match the cash used by the media conglomerates to buy Congresscritters. Even SCOTUS has basically approved of perpetual copyright.

  121. #121 Northernskeptic
    March 30, 2009

    @Itzac

    YouTube’s knee-jerk responses have long been an issue beyond the DMCA’s flagging campaigns have been carried out and videos have been removed in the past with little or no investigation by Google

  122. #122 Voldemort13
    March 30, 2009

    “Why can’t skeptics, atheists and real scientists write Youtube flagbots too? Is it because we don’t have the time ’cause we’re still employed?” I can’t speak for all skeptics but I think part of the reason is, Because we have morals!

  123. #123 Gary F
    March 30, 2009

    Message sent. I can’t believe the Youtube management would do something this supportive of everything JREF stands against. Surely a website like that Youtube would be run by people who valued critical thought.

  124. #124 Kristin
    March 30, 2009

    Shockingtube. Nothing can beat that.

  125. #125 clinteas
    March 30, 2009

    Comprehensive list of video sharing sites and portals here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_sharing_websites

    As a player/portal,I suggest miro.

  126. #126 Ted Onion
    March 30, 2009

    I’ll just add youtube.com to my ad blocker until the JREF’s account is re-established.

    Don’t forget to send a complaint!

  127. #127 MadScientist
    March 30, 2009

    That’s not all – I also hear that AtheistMedia is suffering similar problems.

    Anyone want to start a campaign to raise money so the JREF can host its own videos (and perhaps even videos from other reputable organizations)? I think it would be a great idea because then you don’t have to sift through so much excrementa to find good videos.

  128. #128 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    That’s not all – I also hear that AtheistMedia is suffering similar problems.

    And RationalResponse and cruciefiction

  129. #129 senecasam
    March 30, 2009

    youtube’s ban on JREF doesn’t completely extend to all things Randi – I just viewed Randi’s criticism of Peter Popoff from 2 years ago, and also a 1 year old clip of Randi and a dowser.

    Also a link to youtube for user comments:

    http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/request.py?contact_type=account

  130. #130 jellay
    March 30, 2009

    http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&answer=94459

    Unfortunately it appears it is impossible to complain to YouTube. The only thing I have found is a statement saying they do not care for others’ opinion on the issue of suspended accounts, which is odd considering they are so ban-ready on JREF, which is in turn odd considering the enormous number of copyrighted and sexually explicit videos they fail to take down.

  131. #131 jasonk
    March 30, 2009

    Youtube tried to claim the one million dollar prize because the videos produced by Chris Crocker were GAYER than the natural laws permit. Only a supernatural force could explain the utter queerness, the unreal level of gayness, attainable in his videos.

    Oh good. Pharyngula needed more homophobia.

  132. #132 debaser
    March 30, 2009

    Why in the world would you want to do something as stupid as counter-flagging? You want to become the same level of asshole who has to ban everything they don’t like? It doesn’t make any sense. You don’t fight censorship with censorship. There’s no point in killing the value they attacked with their intolerant bullshit.

    It’s such a common problem though. Even the most rabid fundie would be pretty tolerable if they could take no for an answer. But its not enough for just them to believe, everyone else has to play along to. Such childish crap.

  133. #133 CalGeorge
    March 30, 2009

    Outrageous. I won’t have anything to do with YouTube until he’s reinstated.

  134. #134 Daniel
    March 30, 2009

    Tulse @67

    Cool! I hadn’t heard of Hotspot Shield. Thanks for the link.

  135. #135 TheCid
    March 30, 2009

    It’s time to fight back. Let’s start flagging the hell out of the fundies for everything possible.

    Start with every single one of this guy’s videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/venomfangx

  136. #136 TheCid
    March 30, 2009

    To #132: The reason to counter-flag is not to censor them; but to get the currently badly flawed flagging policy removed.

  137. #137 Discombobulated
    March 30, 2009

    TheCid@135:

    It’s time to fight back. Let’s start flagging the hell out of the fundies for everything possible.

    Start with every single one of this guy’s videos

    Or we could wait to hear back from the JREF on the official response from Google about it:

    Statement from randi.org

    Phil sez they’re in contact with YT. Relax and have some dip.

    Also, don’t you think (trying to) start a flagging campaign to censor “the other side” is… censorship?

  138. #138 Andrew Manderson
    March 30, 2009

    I remember seeing a great video on how to tackle this very problem. It’s a shame I cannot remember the link, but if I recall, it involves going to YouTube’s marketing department and complaining through there. It seems that the response is VERY quick when done this way.

  139. #139 Murray
    March 30, 2009

    This is ridiculous. In one week I will be deleting my YouTube account. Between now and then I’m going to try to convince as many of my fellow YouTubers to do the same.

    YT is great for watching videos of apes eating poo and guys getting hit in the nuts, but for those of us who have something to say, it’s becoming an oppressive environment. Fuck YouTube. We can do better.

  140. #140 Colin
    March 30, 2009

    I still can’t figure out how to complain to youtube re Randi, but yeah, counterflagging is idiotic, counterproductive, wrong.

  141. #142 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    youtube’s ban on JREF doesn’t completely extend to all things Randi – I just viewed Randi’s criticism of Peter Popoff from 2 years ago, and also a 1 year old clip of Randi and a dowser.

    These sorts of comments are rather strong evidence for PZ’s recent comment that atheists are not necessarily intelligent. JREF’s account has been suspended; period. Of course YouTube has not removed videos posted by other people that happen to have James Randi in them.

  142. #143 frog
    March 30, 2009

    lordmayhem: You need proper linkage between nspluginviewer and your 64-bit browser — which can be a problem and is very distribution specific; there may be a lib64/plugin64 directory you need the nsplugin wrapper in (and you may need to run nsplugin to pick it up).

    An easy solution is to use a 32-bit browser — most distributions have FireFox32 or IceWeasel as a 32-bit version of FF.

  143. #144 jasonk
    March 30, 2009

    This is ridiculous. In one week I will be deleting my YouTube account. Between now and then I’m going to try to convince as many of my fellow YouTubers to do the same.

    It’s a huge pain in the ass when good videos, that we have bookmarked and used to be able to link to, suddenly disappear. Deleting your account will hurt fellow atheists more than it will hurt YouTube.

    By all means, stop uploading new videos to your account. And disable comments before you disappear if you have SIWOTI syndrome. But don’t take down your videos.

  144. #145 Cephus
    March 30, 2009

    I highly doubt that James Randi was doing anything objectionable, except to the religious wingnuts that complain about anything that falls outside of their narrow religious beliefs. YouTube is notorious for bowing to the squeaky wheel and banning anything that gets complaints, we know that the fundies have bitch-bots that they use to take down videos that they don’t like, I’m sure that’s what happened here.

    What we ought to do is use the same tactics. Since the Pharyngula audience is so good at crashing online polls, everyone here ought to go spend an hour or two on YouTube, complaining about EVERY THEIST VIDEO ON THERE! Give YouTube a choice. Either take all theist videos down, or stop pandering to them.

  145. #146 The Tim Channel
    March 30, 2009

    I have a youtube account, and several blogger accounts as well, BUT I ALSO HOST MY OWN DOMAIN. Maybe it isn’t enough ‘protection’ to keep from being silenced by legal means, but it’s a helluva lot better than having to worry about my content being totally disappeared from the web by some third party bullsquat.

    I’ve always been leery of ‘free’ hosted stuff because of this kind of foolishness. FWIW, I’ve been paying for my own domain for almost ten years. No ads, no banners, no popups, nothing for sale. I used to own thetimtimes.com, but it got hijacked when the hosting fee came due and they sent my renew notice to a dead email account at my old job. So now I have thetimchannel.com. I could have ‘bought’ my domain back (maybe still could), but I’m not paying extortion fees for the privilege. I like thetimchannel better anyway.

    I have followed Randi for years, even being credited by name in his column for a story lead I gave him. I have no problem going directly to his site to see his videos. Screw Youtube if they are going to be pulling crap like this.

    Enjoy.

  146. #147 Ichthyic
    March 30, 2009

    I only use Phil Plait because I haven’t seen any videos that PZ has done. Obviously, if he were to do a video, we’d all want him to do it as explicitly–if not more so–that Phil.

    something tells me it would be some sort of soft-porn with squid…

    PZ talking about the development of neurons in squid while he rubs live squid all over himself…

    *shudder*

    I’m going to stab myself in the eye with an icepick now.

    excuse me.

  147. #148 frog
    March 30, 2009

    Why would counter-flagging be counter-productive? I see a claim, but no reason behind it other than personal squeamishness. A good way to get rid of a bad system is to highlight its weakness — youtube wars would seem to be exactly in order.

  148. #149 Doug M
    March 30, 2009

    Someone may have mentioned this already (I haven’t read every comment), but Google (who owns YouTube) is notorious for closing down people’s accounts (whether it’s YouTube, AdSense, gmail, etc) without any kind of warning and without giving any reason for doing so.

  149. #150 Ichthyic
    March 30, 2009

    I would place bets that some stupid psychic/dowser got their panties in a wad and filed a false copyright claim.

    could David Mabus finally have had his revenge on Randi???

    sorry, but I would laugh my ass off if that were the case.

    especially knowing that it would be dismissed with prejudice within 24 hours, and JREF would be back up.

  150. #151 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    lordmayhem: You need proper linkage between nspluginviewer and your 64-bit browser — which can be a problem and is very distribution specific; there may be a lib64/plugin64 directory you need the nsplugin wrapper in (and you may need to run nsplugin to pick it up).

    An easy solution is to use a 32-bit browser — most distributions have FireFox32 or IceWeasel as a 32-bit version of FF.

    None of this is needed any more because Adobe finally released a 64-bit version of Flash: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/

    It’s labeled alpha, but it seems to work fine.

  151. #152 Hipstermama
    March 30, 2009

    WTF?!! I finally got on board with Youtube JUST to watch Randi’s videos…guess I have no reason to go there anymore!

    PZ I hope when you find out their reasons you can post it here for us!

  152. #153 Dan J
    March 30, 2009

    None of this is needed any more because Adobe finally released a 64-bit version of Flash: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/

    It’s labeled alpha, but it seems to work fine.

    Strangely, it works for me in Opera 9.6.4, but not in Firefox 3.6.8 (64-bit Ubuntu 8.04).

    For an alternative to YouTube, or other video hosting services, I suggest Flowplayer, an embeddable player for hosting videos on your own site. Of course, this can eat up a lot of bandwidth for very popular videos.

  153. #154 mewletter
    March 30, 2009

    hrrrmmm… I just watch a James Randi video less than 12 hours hours ago… And Youtube had shut down the channel? That’s cruel.

  154. #155 Kim
    March 30, 2009

    Most of the time when I try to watch Hulu links, they don’t work as they are blocked for people outside the US. SO make sure that whatever video thing you use, it can be seen internationally.

  155. #156 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    youtube’s ban on JREF doesn’t completely extend to all things Randi

    If you go to the top of this page, you will see a video, announcing that JREF’s account has been suspended. Where is that video hosted? I realize that the clues are very subtle, but see if you can puzzle them out.

    Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that, when PZ says that “YouTube has banned the James Randi Educational Foundation”, he’s characterizing information in the cited video; it’s not like he’s some onmiscient diety who knows all and whose words should be taken literally and without question. The account has been suspended; that’s the only sense in which JREF has been “banned”. Consider banning here at P — it’s not as if no one else is allowed to mention John Kwok (or his high school) just because he can’t post here.

  156. #157 Nova
    March 30, 2009

    Sent this complaint in:

    I’m writing to complain about the banning of the JREF. It’s an outrageous and blatant act of corrupt partisanship and it’s incredible that you shun the very forces of free speech and scientific criticism that ultimately spawned your enterprise and sustain it today – try to run PsyTube with mental videos, see how that works out!

  157. #158 Nova
    March 30, 2009

    Remember, Google owns YouTube, so changing it from your default search engine and uninstalling Google Chrome if you have it are other forms of protest, I’m certainly doing that.

  158. #159 The Science Pundit
    March 30, 2009

    I’ll just chime in with Joe (#63) and others who have pointed out that YouTube is bound by the DMCA to take videos down and ask questions later. Taking accounts down is part of YouTube’s three strikes policy (meaning that there were probably at least three copyright claims filed against JREF) and that policy would be the only thing that YouTube could legally change on its own. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that. YouTube isn’t exactly a big money generator for Google, and quick resolution of false copyright claims would require hiring more staff dedicated to just that. JREF will get their account back (and will most likely soon get a YouTube partnership account) and the best thing that we can do right now to speed things up is to make a lot of noise to YouTube.

    For the person who asked why Pat Condell hasn’t been suspended, he has had a video wrongly removed and been placed on probation. That situation was resolved when scores of YouTubers did exactly what Thunderf00t is suggesting with Pat’s deleted video.

    As for all of you who are saying that YouTube is “targeting reason” or that YT is turning into GodTube, you’re simply wrong. You’re only hearing about atheists that get their accounts suspended wrongly, when this is actually happening across the board. Although when Christian or Muslim accounts are wrongly suspended it’s usually not the atheists who went on flagging campaigns or filed false copyright claims. In fact, some YouTube atheists have been known to mirror falsely removed videos by Christians or Muslims in the name of free speech.

    Doing what Thuderf00t asked is likely to be more productive than a boycott.

  159. #160 Benjamin Geiger
    March 30, 2009

    %lt;obligatory>
    Methinks it is like an IceWeasel!
    %lt;/obligatory>

  160. #161 Enon
    March 30, 2009

    Despite Google’s motto to “not do evil”, it’s a corporation and legally obligated to maximize their profits.

    If you want to get their attention, kick them where it counts, in the wallet.

    Stop clicking on Google sponsored ads.

    And Google is not the end-all and be-all of search. There are hundreds of interesting and (sometimes) useful search engines. Here’s an interesting up and coming search engine, one that seems to have a lot more respect for your privacy than Google has.

    http://www.yauba.com/

  161. #162 ozzy1248
    March 30, 2009

    Update – Received word from JREF about suspension:

    “Sean: there were a few complaints about Oprah material and some from Dean Radin, as well. YouTube shut us down pending our resolution of these problems. I expect we’ll be back up very soon…

    James Randi.”

    Hopefully we’ll see them back shortly.

  162. #163 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    I’ll just chime in with Joe (#63)

    You might want to talk to John Kwok about the effectiveness of repetition. Meanwhile, we don’t know that this is a DMCA issue. More common have been fundie flagging attacks.

  163. #164 nothing's sacred
    March 30, 2009

    “Sean: there were a few complaints about Oprah material and some from Dean Radin, as well. YouTube shut us down pending our resolution of these problems. I expect we’ll be back up very soon…

    James Randi.”

    So this may have been legitimate action on the part of YouTube and the reaction — including my own — was irrational and excessive. The question is, who will learn from this and who won’t?

  164. #165 Tom
    March 30, 2009

    did you seriously just say that Redtube and Xtube are awful PZ!!??

  165. #166 rb
    March 30, 2009

    you need to pharyngulate YouTube,
    start reporting nut case creationist and ID crap (except the funny stuff like bananas)

    get them to start banning everything

  166. #167 Jadehawk
    March 30, 2009

    *sigh*

    so this falls back on “the DMCA is pure, unadulterated evil”. i mean, who’s ever going to allow quoting if they’re going to be made fun of?

    ffs, we really need to come up with some smarter way to regulate intellectual property. this is just stupid.

  167. #168 The Atheist Jew
    March 30, 2009

    I think we should all pray for Randi’s Channel to appear by on Youtube.

  168. #169 efrique
    March 30, 2009

    So where’s Google’s motto now?

  169. #170 Tony
    March 30, 2009

    So, how long before someone posts a tortured translation of a Nostradamus quatrain foretelling the suspension of James Randi?

  170. #171 normalityrelief
    March 30, 2009

    I’m a stalwart fan of Vimeo .. plus it has some great new & fresh content!

  171. #172 Ryan F Stello
    March 30, 2009

    Yet another DMCA-related debacle.

    Whether the claims are legitimate or not, I can’t come up with a good reason for the guilty until proven innocent notion embedded in the “safe harbor” clauses of the DMCA.

    That said, this definition struck me:

    In order to ensure that copyright owners do not wrongly insist on the removal of materials that actually do not infringe their copyrights, the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA require service providers to notify the subscribers if their materials have been removed and to provide them with an opportunity to send a written notice to the service provider stating that the material has been wrongly removed. [512(g)]

    from: http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/faq.cgi#QID670

    …because it certainly sounded like the JREF had to do their own legwork to determine the cause.

    I’m thinking of raising that question to both the JREF and Youtube: What exactly is expected or reasonable time to deliver such a notice?

  172. #173 bob
    March 30, 2009

    If it’s purely a copyright issue, why are the RationalResponse and AtheistMedia accounts also suspended? Is the timing just a coincidence? As Randi says: I doubt that.

  173. #175 ChrisZ
    March 31, 2009

    I have to disagree with you, PZ, that we should just give YouTube up to the Creationists. YouTube is too popular for us to not have a voice on it, even if we have to fight for every video we have on it.

    Now, in the long term we may need to look for a site that isn’t so trigger happy with the suspensions, but I think that until that site gains at least some main stream recognition we need to at least mirror videos on YouTube and another site.

  174. #176 BlueIndependent
    March 31, 2009

    YouTube has been getting increasingly restrictive of everything. The Young Turks regularly have to fight for their channel’s “life”, and they seem to fall under some sort of claimed “misuse” regulation every couple weeks. IMO YouTube is very reactionary and basically goes right for the jugular when someone even hints that something is wrong.

    This sort of policing by YouTube also makes me wonder why they seem to catch so much good content and filter it out, but miss all the rank racism, rampant use of vulgar language, and general lack of first grade-level intelligence on the part of most people posting comments. The internet seems like a very fickle place…and then you read the average page of YouTube comments for a video and realize the rest of the net probably isn’t so bad. It is pathetic and stupid though. There are other YouTube-style services out there…but they don’t have nearly the same quantity of content, and in RedLasso’s case, their video player sucks big time.

  175. #177 Escuerd
    March 31, 2009

    PZ, I can’t believe you’re comparing XTube and RedTube with GodTube. The first two are at least stimulating in one sense of the word.

  176. #178 Escuerd
    March 31, 2009

    JayQisAwesome @ 114

    Youtube tried to claim the one million dollar prize because the videos produced by Chris Crocker were GAYER than the natural laws permit.

    Does even mentioning YouTube’s name somehow attract the kind of stupid commenters that its videos are notorious for?

  177. #179 Zombie
    March 31, 2009

    Youtube certainly seems to have no problem leaving up videos that get spammed to forums, blogs, etc.

  178. #180 SourBlaze
    March 31, 2009

    There is Ning and LiveLeak…

  179. #181 JYB
    March 31, 2009

    Jeez, do we jump to conclusions much around here? I feel like I wondered into a Digg post or something. What happened to waiting until the facts came in? Here’s a video of James Randi speaking at Google on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTPj9VlNzQ0

    There’s probably not a vast conspiracy against him…..

  180. #182 Douglas Watts
    March 31, 2009

    Does even mentioning YouTube’s name somehow attract the kind of stupid commenters that its videos are notorious for?

    Apparently, yes.

    I feel like I’m in a room with scientifically illiterate 14 year-olds.

  181. #183 SourBlaze
    March 31, 2009

    I should mention that what probably happened was that someone abused the DMCA to take the account down. If JREF comes back up, at some point another creationist group/jerk will do it again. We need to find alternatives.

  182. #184 Murray
    March 31, 2009

    It’s a huge pain in the ass when good videos, that we have bookmarked and used to be able to link to, suddenly disappear. Deleting your account will hurt fellow atheists more than it will hurt YouTube.

    By all means, stop uploading new videos to your account. And disable comments before you disappear if you have SIWOTI syndrome. But don’t take down your videos.

    Good point. Fortunately I don’t really have any videos on my account. I’m in it more to watch the videos created by people with more talent than me, and also for discussions in the comments. Kind of like why I come to Pharyngula I guess.

  183. #185 Raiko
    March 31, 2009

    I also deleted my account a while ago. I don’t make videos anymore, anyway, and I am looking for stuff on other pages, if they have it.

    It would be awesome, though, if someone could construct an “anything-but-youtube” search engine for videos. Hehehee! Because we’re never going to agree on whether everyone should all move to xtube, vimeo or dailymotion, or whatever!

  184. #186 MacNTosh
    March 31, 2009

    Raiko, you can do this already. In Google’s advance video search, you can put “don’t return things from youtube.com”. Works like a charm….

  185. #187 Carole
    March 31, 2009

    I think we should blame the Bad Astronomer – they are probably watching him closely since that “naked pose with a large telescope” picture.

  186. #188 Liberal Atheist
    March 31, 2009

    It’s not very nice to first become the most used video sharing site in the world, and then turn around and act like this. Why must they wait until it’s too late before they start showing their true colours?

    Lately I have started to just download every video I want to be able to watch again. Sooner or later, it will disappear.

  187. #189 Ryan
    March 31, 2009

    eBay is the same way. I was banned from there indefinitely for requesting eBay usernames and passwords. One person made an accusation and then several people followed suit without actually investigating (only one person in the group questioned them). However I did no such thing, I simply had a link to a website that has a log in screen on one of its pages. Apparently they can’t figure out the difference between a normal website and a phishing site.

  188. #190 Greta Christina
    March 31, 2009

    This is almost certainly not just about the DMCA. YouTube has a nasty history of caving to complaints about atheist videos. Remember that guy who had all the videos of himself desecrating communion wafers in a variety of creative ways? He got kicked off, too. And those videos were pure, “this is my and my self-made content,” copyright- issue- free videos. Exactly the sort of thing YouTube was created for. Except, apparently, when some people consider it “offensive.”

  189. #191 G. Tingey
    March 31, 2009

    THIS is where the narrow parochialism of the USA REALLY bites.
    There are probably mort readers of PZ OUTSIDE the US than inside…
    ( All of Europe, NZ, Aussie, SA, Canada, etc…. )

    Erm, DMCA – what that?
    EXPLAIN, please?

  190. #192 Bill
    March 31, 2009

    If you are looking for alternatives, you should try mypornmotion.com :D:D:D

  191. #193 SourBlaze
    March 31, 2009

    I found YouTube’s ToS: http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines

    My only guess is that either the DMCA was fraudulently invoked by some creationist “Secret Agent for Jesus,” or maybe actually educating the public is “hate speech” towards folks who aren’t reality-based.

    Your call. Frankly I bet it was both. :(

  192. #194 Freidenker
    March 31, 2009

    I live in a city called Holon in Israel, which is adjacent to Bat-Yam – the city in which Uri Geller was born and raised in.

    As someone who frequented Bat-Yam on many occasions, I can safely say that it’s a shitty place to grow up in.

  193. #195 Anonymous Coward
    March 31, 2009

    Perhaps this will teach people that you’re better off posting your videos on your own website. Since the arrival of Bittorrent it doesn’t even have to cost a lot of bandwidth anymore and as a bonus you don’t have to use FLV and you get fullscreen playback without choppiness. Seriously, you don’t need YouTube or similar services, so why depend on them?

  194. #196 Freidenker
    March 31, 2009

    Bah, fact check: Geller was born and raised in Tel-Aviv – an even worse place to grow up in. I still find it embarrassing to live in the country that exported that hack.

    Too bad Americans fail to notice how good Israelis are with BS. Our entire culture is based on it – in that that the Jewish people survive thanks to trickery and deceit. The American woo public was like a fish in a barrel for Uri.

  195. #197 Rick Schauer
    March 31, 2009

    I contend Sylvia Brown is behind this JREF YouTube flap. And I need zero physical evidence to support that contention.

  196. #198 norzoc
    March 31, 2009

    Rational Response is suspended to!
    http://www.youtube.com/rationalresponse

  197. #199 Flip van Tiel
    March 31, 2009

    Is this the beginning of an ‘analyse and evaluate’ campaign? Something in the line of the Oklahoma action against Richard Dawkins and the ‘legal complaint’ concerning Amanda Gefter’s creationism detector in New Scientist? By the way: NS has still not answered any of the questions regarding their ‘temporary withdrawal’ of Gefter’s piece (which appeared in their 28 February issue).

  198. #200 Turkagent
    March 31, 2009

    #167

    The fact that he was shown for a spotlight in a google author video is not relevant to the fact that youtube suspended this account 2 years later.

  199. #201 OptimusShr
    March 31, 2009

    Dailymotion has a 20 minute and 150 megabyte limit.

    Vimeo is a good host as they have a really great player and no length limit (AFAIK), but they only allow you to upload a maximum of 500 megs per week.

    Viddler is another option, 500 meg limit per video and no length limit.

  200. #202 savocado
    March 31, 2009

    You forgot about youporn – also a good video hosting website

  201. #203 beanjavert
    March 31, 2009

    wait, what’s RedTube?

    Is it Youtube for Cold War PSAs?

  202. #204 Voss
    March 31, 2009

    So this may have been legitimate action on the part of YouTube and the reaction — including my own — was irrational and excessive. The question is, who will learn from this and who won’t?

    I haven’t seen the Oprah or Radin videos, but I can’t believe JREF would use that material in a way not covered by fair use. Not that fair use means much to Youtube, or to the corporations which file groundless DMCAs.

  203. #205 jimvj
    March 31, 2009

    OT: Some good news on the Youtube front:

    http://crookedtimber.org/2009/03/30/lectures-on-youtube/

  204. #206 sean hogge
    March 31, 2009

    First of all – yes, this is probably a joke of a suspension.

    However, doesn’t anyone see the problem with typically rational, fair people being incited to a letter writing campaign when we essentially know nothing? Doesn’t that sound a little to close to the behavior of another camp we scorn (and for good reason)?

    Pretty much the only thing anyone here can write to YouTube about would be a request for the reason behind the suspension. Their terms of service are clear, and the JREF agreed to them. Even if the terms are ridiculous and ambiguous, the JREF are still bound by them.

    From the information presented so far, it is equally likely to be a simple mistake of the JREF or YouTube. Perhaps the crusade can wait until we know more about the Internet “brown people” we’re marching against?

    Admittedly, YouTube’s history does show a trend. So this is as surprising as it is tolerable. Even if they rescind their suspension, perhaps it’s time to move to pleasanter videonvirons as suggested.

  205. #207 Codswallop
    March 31, 2009

    Google Video is not an option. Google is in the process of divesting itself of that feature. OTOH, I just joined Vimeo–hope I like it.

  206. #208 Me
    March 31, 2009

    “Even if the terms are ridiculous and ambiguous, the JREF are still bound by them.”

    Youtube doesn’t make the rules. Your congress makes them. Everyone in the US is bound by them. To quote one of the courts in the Sapient v. Geller case:

    “If that result [referring to a part of the DMCA process] seems asymmetrical and unfair, then the problem should be resolved by Congress, not this court.”

    If you find the DMCA ridiculous and ambiguous, join the EFF. Donate. Or at least skip over there and read their material on the DMCA, and the court cases they’ve been involved in (pay extra attention to what organizations and companies that’s provided amicus briefs in support for the DMCA targets). Educate yourself, so you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Then talk your congressman, or whatever you do over there when you want your government to fix broken things.

    Ranting on the web doesn’t change a thing; the congress doesn’t read your blog. And uninformed ranting only makes things worse – why should anyone listen to you when you yell and threaten them?

    And what’s with the flagging campaigns and posting individual mail addresses for Youtube employees? You guys may not be Christians, but there’s definitely no shortage of mindless fundamentalism and other sorts of battery/nuttery here…

  207. #209 mas528
    March 31, 2009

    Posted by: sean hogge | March 31, 2009 11:02 AM

    First of all – yes, this is probably a joke of a suspension.

    However, doesn’t anyone see the problem with typically rational, fair people being incited to a letter writing campaign when we essentially know nothing? Doesn’t that sound a little to close to the behavior of another camp we scorn (and for good reason)?

    Since google doesn’t deem it necessary for us (or JREF for that matter) to know why the suspension took place, tt is t is very reasonable to have a letter writing campaign.

    I consider it very bad policy to ban with no explanation.

  208. #210 Gordy
    March 31, 2009

    sean hogge #206: “However, doesn’t anyone see the problem with typically rational, fair people being incited to a letter writing campaign when we essentially know nothing? Doesn’t that sound a little to close to the behavior of another camp we scorn (and for good reason)?”

    Yes, it does, I’m afraid. Since our problem with that other camp is their behaviour rather than their existence, we would do well to avoid copying it.

  209. #211 The Tim Channel
    March 31, 2009

    I’d just like to give a few bonus points to the poster who mentioned bit torrent. If I had anything controversial that I wanted to post and was worried that Youtube would ban it, I would simply blast it out on bit torrent AND EVERY OTHER VIDEO HOSTING SERVICE I could find. No need to put all your eggs in one basket anyway.

    I’m not going to drop my Youtube account at this point. I still embed some of their videos into my website. I think I have all of three videos that I have uploaded myself.

    The biggest thing that you can do to get banned is use ANY other clips of copyrighted material. The idiots at Youtube haven’t got the time, energy or inclination to properly screen for fair use. It’s easier, quicker and cheaper for them to just ban the account. Guilty until you prove yourself innocent I guess.

    Enjoy.

  210. #212 Fiziker
    March 31, 2009

    #206

    The outrage is in fact justified. This is not the first time that an account has been suspended or videos removed. This sort of thing has happened many times in the past so it is reasonable to assume that it’s what’s happening now. Obviously if we found out that this wasn’t some baseless attack on the JREF then our position might change. This is perfectly valid.

    Also, YouTube’s terms of service protect them legally. No one has the right to complain that they violated what they said they’d do unless it appears that they did indeed violate it. The outraged expressed by people is about YouTube’s policy: YouTube is too prone to knee-jerk reactions.

  211. #213 Me
    March 31, 2009

    “or JREF for that matter”

    Why do you keep reposting this crap? Here’s the quote from #162 again:

    “Sean: there were a few complaints about Oprah material and some from Dean Radin, as well. YouTube shut us down pending our resolution of these problems. I expect we’ll be back up very soon… James Randi.”

    Still claim that the JREF doesn’t know what’s going on?

  212. #214 sean hogge
    March 31, 2009

    mas528 (#209): Agreed. I think it’s in poor taste. However, that’s their call. I run my sites the way I want, just as PZ does. So while it’s not exactly politic, it isn’t precisely a sign of moral turpitude. However, a campaign to ask for information seems entirely reasonable, if perhaps doomed to be fruitless.

    Me (#213): I never claimed that JREF doesn’t know what’s going on or what the allegations are. I claimed that we didn’t, and they weren’t being clear with us on what they were. Though they probably have a very good reason for not being clear, that means our hands are tied.

    The bottom line is that we don’t know what JREF did, either mistakenly, or without proper research before the fact. I myself went to send my scathing letter. But when I set to typing, the only rational thing that appeared on my screen was “Can you tell me what the precise allegations are, and where they occurred?”

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m on anyone’s side only insofar as evidence and explicit knowledge allows. JREF has my bias, but they don’t have my faith.

  213. #215 Mike Caton
    March 31, 2009

    My office is about 5 miles from Youtube HQ in San Bruno, CA. Tomorrow (Wednesday 1 April) at lunch (noon Pacific Time) I’m going to head over there with printed complaints in hand. Maybe a physical visit will convince them more than emails or letters or blog comments. Are you in the Bay Area too? I’ll see you over there. In the meantime, if you want your printed complaint hand-delivered to Youtube HQ, leave them below:

    http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com/2009/03/im-going-over-to-youtube-tomorrow.html

  214. #216 sean hogge
    March 31, 2009

    “Dear YouTube:

    Though I have no affiliation with JREF, or access to any of its practices, policies or postings, I’d like to tell you that the claims you’ve made against them resulting in the suspension of their account are completely false, regardless of my lack of knowledge in any detail or determining factor.

    Please accede to my wishes, especially if there are many others who share my ignorance and demand. Please overlook the fact that I may very likely be using the same tactic to reinstate the JREF as might have been used against it.

    Sincerely,

    Whining Vagina (with teeth)”

  215. #217 LightningRose
    March 31, 2009

    Posted by: nothing’s sacred @#108

    (quoting moi) Joe @#63 is correct.

    Let’s beat that strawman to death.

    Under the terms of the DMCA Google *has no choice* but to take down videos when someone claims a copyright violation

    We don’t know that this is a DMCA case…

    You’re correct, we don’t yet know for certain it’s due to a DMCA take down notice, but I made an assumption, not a strawman argument.

    It may be a false assumption, but it happens all too frequently. And, IIRC, Randi has had DMCA problems in the past with Uri Geller video clips. I believe these were resolved in Randi’s favor, but it still resulted in his videos being offline for a time.

    And my conclusion that the only way to avoid DMCA for certain is to host all your material beyond the reach of US (or similar) laws is still valid.

  216. #218 Red Skeleton
    March 31, 2009

    Google are slowly ruining Youtube piece by piece, and I don’t just mean ruining it for us. I realise it sounds silly for little old me to be criticising the business sense of a company like Google but just wait and see. They’ve already banned music video viewing here in the UK and that’s forcing people to look elsewhere. This is the Internet, it’s not like they’re the only source for the service they’re providing. People will inevitably start looking elsewhere for a better deal or will create one for themselves.

  217. #219 Crux Australis
    March 31, 2009
  218. #220 Rob W
    March 31, 2009

    Avoid Hulu if possible… I’ve never seen a video they hosted that I was allowed to view (in Europe…).

  219. #221 Jon Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    Prior bans on Scientology critics and Rational Responders have been rationalized on alleged copyright violation.
    YouTube may be caught in a legal bind since they get a lot more copyrighted material uploaded than any other web-hosting site.
    Quite a few copyrighted Disney movies in their entirety are on YouTube, as well as old 60s TV episodes which are technically not supposed to be there, but which they haven’t taken much steps to stem the tide of. There is such an avalanche of such stuff (illegally) on YouTube that media lawyers are selective in choosing their battles as to what they will contest. As such, YouTube is so compromised herin that they probably have to err on the side on caution whenever ANY lawyer says an account has violated their copyright.
    If YouTube had a better way to stop the posting of old movies, they could probably afford to give James Randi and others the benefit of the doubt when copyright infringement is alleged.

  220. #222 SourBlaze
    March 31, 2009

    I posted this on BA; hope PZ Myers won’t mind I repost here (he’s looking for ideas just as much as the rest of us.)

    I don’t mean to advertise, but after sleeping on it I think Ning would be a good choice.

    This is what Ningers can do: http://about.ning.com/product.php

    This is Ning’s ToS: http://about.ning.com/tos.php#14

    It seems Ning is pretty liberal about the content posted. They used to (NOTE: USED TO) allow porn, believe it or not — until the porn ones cost them too much money: http://help.ning.com/cgi-bin/ning.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3451&p_sid=mz8yBbuj

    So the point I am trying to make is that I think we would be safer over there. No “OMG atheism offends me so I’ll falsify federal documents to shut them down” crap. (At least, I hope.)

    Sorry about all of the links; normally I know multiple linking is kind of discouraged, but in this circumstance I hope everyone will understand my motives. I just think it may make a good alternative.

  221. #223 Skeeve
    March 31, 2009

    I’ve been using Ning for our website for about 8 months. As with our YouTube account, we can share the embed code and put them anywhere. They also give you the option of placing a watermark (either a graphic or text) on the your videos. The only drawback compared to YouTube would be that each Ning site would be your “channel”, and viewers would have to visit each site, as I don’t think there is a global “recent videos” function for Ning.

    But for hosting and sharing videos, Ning isn’t a bad alternative.

  222. #224 TheThomas
    March 31, 2009

    Changing sites would be avoiding the controversy. Skepticism needs more controversy, not less. More than 40,000 people have viewed dprjones’ video about Randi getting banned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7Cn_gjevik

    A healthy amount of those people have never heard the name of Randi, a much smaller amount actually went out of their way to learn something about him. This is not a loss for skepticism, it isn’t even much of an inconvenience.

  223. #225 Matthew Reynolds
    April 1, 2009

    I’m not mirroring videos or saying anything until I know why the channel was suspended.

    I mean, what if it was part of some wizard alliance police raid?

  224. #226 nothing's sacred
    April 1, 2009

    The outrage is in fact justified. This is not the first time that an account has been suspended or videos removed.

    The first statement doesn’t follow from the second. Much of the outrage is uninformed and out of proportion to the facts in this case.

  225. #227 nothing's sacred
    April 1, 2009

    If it’s purely a copyright issue, why are the RationalResponse and AtheistMedia accounts also suspended? Is the timing just a coincidence? As Randi says: I doubt that.

    That’s a rather stunning distortion of, and exploitation of, Randi’s skepticism. What about: “Can science explain the paranormal? As Randi says: I doubt that.” Does that fly for you? In fact skepticism, the having of doubts, a caution toward epistemological commitment — is the opposite of statements like “I doubt that”.

  226. #228 Fiziker
    April 1, 2009

    #226

    The first sentence in #212 follows from the third, which is based on the second. This is induction. Admittedly I wasn’t going about the reasoning in full detail (further steps are left as an exercise to the reader).

  227. #229 Harold
    April 1, 2009

    OK, why is there still an information blackout on this? Is there some sort of gag order? Is the JREF pussyfooting around YouTube, trying to kiss up to it until the account gets unsuspended? Is there some value in having paople who fancy themselves rational and skeptical whipping themselves into a hysterical mob, retaliating against anyone they think has caused offense and sending letters to protest a situation about which they have no background information?

    There’s still no further information on the JREF site, on Bad Astronomy, or here. There aren’t even responses to requests for information. It’s like all of the parties involved have just moved on.

    P.Z. says “The reason for this particular event is irrelevant.” I say, bullshit. Are you asking us to take this on faith? Give us information.

  228. #230 Anti Hulu
    April 1, 2009

    Hulu is only available from US IP addresses. Worthless if you’re not in the US.

  229. #231 SourBlaze
    April 1, 2009

    Harold: The logic behind saying “the reason is irrelevant” is that this kind of crap not only has happened before, but will continue to happen. This “secret agent for jesus” phenomenon will not end on YouTube because YouTube simply cowtows to the behavior.

    Frankly, if you ask me, forging a DMCA notice under false pretenses, especially for no other reason than to target someone else’s freedom of speech, should be a federal crime. In fact, I wonder if it is… and if I were JREF, I’d pay the best fed lawyer to find out if charges could be brought up.

  230. #232 Demonhype
    April 2, 2009

    SourBlaze:

    I thought it was a federal crime, but I could easily be mistaken. I recall when I signed up for YouTube that there was a lot of to-do about DMCA and the penalties for filing false ones. Not that I’ve ever heard of anyone filing a false DMCA getting in trouble, and it was my personal experience that the person who files, false or not, gets the upper hand in the situation courtesy of YouTube.

  231. #233 Harold
    April 2, 2009

    SourBlaze: So do we KNOW that someone forged a DMCA complaint against the JREF under false pretenses? I haven’t seen that on any of the official messages. This is now in its fourth day, and as far as I know, the information blackout is continuing – the information in comment 162 is as much new information as I’m aware of. If nobody who knows can tell us what led to this, can they at least tell us WHY they can’t tell us what led to this?

    I’d like information, not speculation, conjecture, guesses, and bets. Until then I’m going to try to do what the president of the JREF asked us to do: be patient. But that’s getting harder and harder to do.

  232. #234 Gerry
    April 2, 2009

    I warned JREF via email about Youtube’s censorship practices. As much as I greatly admire Mr. Randi and his foundation, they and anybody else who uses Youtube deserve exactly what they get.

    I’m sorry but you’ve all been blind to this for too long for me to be nice about saying I told you so.

  233. #235 Goldenmane
    April 3, 2009

    JRF channel is back up and running. I don’t have any further details, though.

  234. #236 Patrick
    April 3, 2009

    NY School Attorney doing his job? Sincerity test

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZfqJR_rqNY

  235. #237 Dave
    April 3, 2009

    “We’re pleased to announce that our YouTube channel is back online.

    Our account had been suspended by YouTube due to some copyright complaints on a handful of videos we had uploaded. The videos in question have been removed, the proper hoops have been jumped through, and YouTube restored the account. We are currently going though our inventory to make sure any videos that we even suspect might be in violation are removed. There are 200+ of them, so it’ll take us some time, but we’re on it.

    I’d like to thank all our supporters once again for the outcry when this happened. But I’ll also gently chide some of you: there were many rumors, accusations, and conclusions jumped-to when our account was taken down. As you can see, no one was attacking us, and no one acted unfairly – the complainants were within their rights, and YouTube acted according to their rules. In fact, when we started conversing with one of the complainants and with YouTube, everyone acted in a civilized and even friendly manner. The matter was resolved quickly and, I think, to everyone’s satisfaction.

    Because of this, I’d like to personally thank everyone involved with this as well.

    So we’re back on the air! You can expect to see more Randi Speaks soon, as well as our usual skeptical take on all things unskeptical. Thank you to everyone for your support and patience.”

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/505-the-jref-youtube-account-is-back-online.html

  236. #238 Luke T.
    April 6, 2009

    “YouTube has become an overzealous nanny, protecting kooks from offense”

    Thanks for demonstrating such stellar critical thinking without a single fact at your disposal and crying, “Wolf!” like that.

    Well done.

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