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Tuesday, November 27, 2007Sara over at Suburban Oblivion (I love that blog name) dropped me an email today to point out a post at the League of Maternal Justice.
The post is a press release claiming YouTube has "banned" a breastfeeding advocacy video they uploaded. Here's a snippet:
A mom-produced internet protest video attacking Facebook's banning of breastfeeding pictures was itself banned by the popular video sharing service Youtube after gaining recognition as the top-five most discussed of its day. A group of moms called Youtube's action hypocritical and harmful, and pointed to dozens of sexually explicit and harmful videos currently allowed on the service. The moms also pointed to a number of state laws specifically stating that public breastfeeding was not inappropriate.
The video is available for viewing on the League of Maternal Justice site and is well worth watching. It's basically a compilation of images of mothers nursing their children.
The video is no longer available on the YouTube site. Running a search for the direct name of the video brings up an error message:
If you look at the YouTube TOS, you'll find the following under Section 6: Your User Submissions and Conduct:
B. You shall be solely responsible for your own User Submissions and the consequences of posting or publishing them. In connection with User Submissions, you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that: you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize YouTube to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to any and all User Submissions to enable inclusion and use of the User Submissions in the manner contemplated by the Website and these Terms of Service.
Now, I didn't figure the LoMJ has purchased licensing rights to Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" which runs as the soundtrack to the video, so it made perfect sense to me that the song might be the issue. Obviously, the LoMJ isn't the only group swiping music or video and posting it without owning the rights, but based on the amount of traffic the video had generated (more than 90k views according to the LoMJ's press release) it probably got in front of a review panel a lot more quickly.
Wanting to get the full story, I dropped an email to Julie and Kristen to ask them about the music issue and to see if they'd heard anything else from YouTube. They told me they'd received an email notice citing "inappropriate content" as the reason for the video's removal. The email didn't state what the inappropriate content was and it mentioned nothing about copyright infringement, so the duo assumed it was the breastfeeding that was the issue.
I can see how they might jump to that conclusion, but I'm not sure I agree with them. "Inappropriate content" could be defined as anything that violates their terms of service, including copyright issues. Since YouTube is pretty well known for letting almost anything be uploaded in terms of content, I'm going to take the logical route and assume it's the song.
Remember, as much as breastfeeding moms are used to being stomped on, it pays to take the time to make sure it's the breastfeeding that's the issue. Nothing makes the movement lose credibility faster than jumping to conclusions and going to war against those who were never opposed to us in the first place.
Julie and Kristen tell me they plan to recut the video with new, properly licensed music and to upload it again. If it's removed a second time, they'll let me know. If I find out YouTube IS removing content simply because it contains imagery of breastfeeding moms, I'll be one of the first in line to join the fight. Until then, I say we all calm down and wait to get confirmation of what the issue really is here.