Last night, YouTube cut Steven Crowder’s Louder With Crowder livestream of a watch-along of a CNN townhall with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but later restored it over an hour later after a copyright claim turned out to be apparently bogus.
For those who don’t know, Crowder is a conservative Canadian-American commentator, actor, and comedian. He hosts a YouTube show, Louder with Crowder, and is a former contributor at Fox News.
The show posted this compilation showing the moments where YouTube cut the show’s feed, and then apparently restored the show’s ability to stream.
Originally, YouTube notified the show, which was in the middle of streaming a watch-along of Joe Biden’s live televised remarks on YouTube, Facebook and TheBlaze, that it could no longer continue its stream. The reason YouTube offered was that “Warner Bros. Entertainment” had supposedly made a copyright claim against the use of CNN’s content.
Crowder immediately made the point that the newsworthy broadcast was clearly being used in a transformative way that would fall within the common law of “fair use” that allows content creators to use such copyrighted materials. In the moment, Crowder also decried YouTube’s “selective enforcement of the rules”, citing that he had no such issues with other livestreams, including those featuring President Donald Trump.
The Plot Thickens.
Later, the show claimed that the copyright strike was “manually detected” by someone who found the stream and made the copyright claim. That means that it was not flagged by any social media algorithm. That also means that an actual person had to have dropped a dime on Crowder for something that, under most reasonable standards, is totally legal.
Crowder’s website goes into further detail of how everything turned out – so we’ll let them explain:
Here’s what happened. Someone purporting to represent Warner Brothers issued a copyright claim which triggered YouTube to remove the stream. Innocent until proven guilty? Please. In the online world, such fairness is but a pipe dream.
It gets worse.
What we found out with simple searches is this “mbentkover” character has violated federal law (making false copyright claims) since 2018. Oh yes, we have evidence. Meaning YouTube either:
1. Allows this bad actor to continue issuing false strikes against channels, thus putting those entire channels at risk.
2. As the biggest tech company in the world, YouTube lacks the ability to stop a random fraud with a Gmail account from successfully abusing the system against the biggest conservative channel their platform has ever seen. And other smaller channels to boot.
As evidenced on Crowder’s site, the accusing email account has a history of making false copyright claims.
Yikes. This is not a good look for YouTube at all. A serial copyright troll manually makes a claim, and YouTube knocks over on command? YouTube doesn’t do any apparent due diligence? How can YouTube justify that?
Crowder has a legitimate beef. He followed all of the rules that content creators on YouTube are required to follow, and got screwed badly. The fallout of YouTube screwing Crowder goes beyond a loss of views. I guarantee that he is going to have to make partial return of ad revenue or provide some kind of remuneration to advertisers who purchased time specifically because Crowder has earned a huge following on YouTube – close to 5 million strong.
Imagine if this happened to our show. We don’t have the resources that Steven Crowder has earned (don’t worry, we’ll get there – we’re still relatively new!) If this is a glimpse of what is to come, then it’s time to brush up on copyright law!
This is just further proof that Big Tech businesses are not platforms – they take too much interest in content for that. Or should we say, too much interest in conservative content. Progressives on platforms like Twitter can post whatever vile comments they want, but a legitimate business gets taken down by an anonymous email with a history of false claims? When the censorship is one-way, it’s a clear indication of bias.