A video filmed by Derbyshire health chiefs aimed at shocking young people into drinking less has been banned by YouTube.
The Bloody Mary video, which shows a teenage girl urinating in the street as she is jeered at, was removed from the internet site following complaints.
NHS officials said they realised some people may find the film controversial. They said it aimed to use dark humour to get across the dangers of excessive drinking at Christmas.
A YouTube spokesperson said: YouTube's rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. If the content breaks our terms then we remove it and if a user repeatedly breaks the rules we disable their account.
The two-minute clip, which featured professional actors, was one of two filmed by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust in Chesterfield Market Place.
The second film, entitled Tequila Slammer , shows a drunken man in fancy dress being run over by a car.
Bloody Mary received 15,000 hits in the eight days in was on YouTube and was also distributed to local media as part of a £25,000 Cocktales campaign to highlight the dangers of drink to 18 to 24-year-olds.
Turkey's Internet Technologies Association, or INETD, has applied to the European Court of Human Rights seeking the annulment of a ban imposed on access to a popular video-sharing site.
Access to YouTube has been banned in Turkey since May 5, 2008, after complaints were made about video clips insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.
INETD President Mustafa Akgl said the group's suit was filed in the name of the public and all those who have suffered as a result of the ban. Turkey is literally waging war on the Internet, said Akgl, adding that the ban
on YouTube is in violation of the Constitution and various articles of the European Human Rights Convention.
INETD had exhausted the entire domestic appeal process without any result and was thus forced to apply to the European court last week, the group's president said.
The main aspect of the lawsuit is based on Article 10 of the European convention regarding freedom of expression. The association said that while it is possible to filter and block certain video clips on the Web site, a blanket ban on an
international sharing platform is a disproportionate curtailment of freedom of expression.
The ban was issued without any trial and, instead of being a short-term ban, has been in force for more than a year now. There was no attempt to seek an explanation either, Akgl said, calling the ban a legal disaster.
Magazine publishers represented by the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) have urged the government against inadvertently widening the scope of new video on demand regulations to include content streamed through the websites of magazine
The UK government is scheduled to implement a European directive on audiovisual content by 19 December 2009.
The directive aims to regulate TV-like VOD. Not the audio-visual material which is used to complement text and graphical material usually found on magazine publishers' and business media companies' websites.
Guidance on the scope of the VOD services covered by the new law is due to be published. But PPA is concerned that the lack of clarity in the proposed guidance may unintentionally impact its members.
PPA Legal Director David Hyams said: Video streamed through our members' websites is already subject to the Committee of Advertising Practice Code and editorial content on their websites is covered by the Press Complaints Commission code. Both
of which go further than the proposed regulations.
Under the new rules, the Advertising Standards Authority will continue to regulate streamed video advertising, although the directive requires that regulations will now be enforced against the media owner rather than the advertiser.
Hyams added: This has serious cost, compliance and contractual issue for PPA members.
BBC Worldwide is planning a paid for international version of the iPlayer, which would allow it to break ranks with iTunes and raise charges for its premium content.
The global iPlayer would host premium catalogue material from the UK, such as Doctor Who , Torchwood and Top Gear , historical material from the BBC's deep archives and catch-up material from overseas channels.
BBCW has been working on the plans for more than six months but has yet to make a formal submission about the service to the BBC Trust.
Executive vice president Luke Bradley Jones, who heads BBCW's digital operations in the US and is managing director of BBC.com, told PaidContent that the global iPlayer would enable the business to raise its prices.
Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay 10 bucks an episode rather than two bucks, he said, referring to the price-ceiling imposed by iTunes. He did not indicate whether BBCW would continue to partner with iTunes.
The BBC Trust has said that stringent parental controls should always be included on BBC iPlayer to ensure children do not watch inappropriate content. The BBC's governing body expressed concern yesterday that there is no direct equivalent of
the watershed online .
According to the Trust's latest review of BBC Editorial Guidelines, clearer labelling must be placed on the catch-up service to flag up strong or challenging content . When we make audio or visual content available on demand on BBC
platforms, and where appropriate, we must provide information to enable users to understand its context and to make informed choices about its suitability, both for themselves and for children, before they access, the organisation said.
The new editorial standards stipulate that any post-watershed programming should be flagged with a G For Guidance rating to highlight its potential unsuitability for younger audiences, with a system of content labels indicating the
More stringent parental controls must also be included on BBC iPlayer, involving a lock function for challenging content which can then only be accessed by inputting a password.
Both these functions are already in place on the catch-up service, but this is the first time that the editorial guidelines have factored in their provision.
The Trust is now holding a public consultation on the proposed guidelines, with licence fee payers able to have their say until December 24. When approved, the new editorial standards will come into force in summer 2010.
A couple of weeks ago we at BBC Radio took a first tentative step on what will hopefully be a significant journey. We started to identify chapters within programmes. Chapters is the term we're using to describe sections of a programme,
rather like the chapters of a DVD.
We're excited about chapters for several reasons.
Firstly, they allow listeners or viewers to navigate back and forth through programmes e.g. jumping to the start of an interview, or replaying an item you found interesting. We think this will be useful for existing fans of programmes.
Secondly, chapters will help people to find items of interest from across the BBC - including items from programmes they might never have watched or listened to before.
In the future you might be able to download those chapters, or embed them in a blog, or sign up to get a podcast of all items on a particular subject... but we're only just starting to think about these possibilities.
5live were the first to experiment, and they're adding chapters to several of their programmes. You can find links to them on the 5live homepage (look out for pink links) and the Simon Mayo show is a great example (visit any episode, or click on
the Chapters link).
We're starting slowly, with a limited selection of programmes, as we learn about what does and doesn't work. A couple of factors that may influence the selection are whether there are people available to do the extra work, whether we are able to
add chapters from a rights perspective, and whether we think it's editorially appropriate and valuable to add chapters. The intention is to grow the number of programmes over time, but in a controlled and measured way.
The UK Electoral Commission has said it will not be able to police the expected explosion in spoof internet videos at the next general election.
Some experts believe unattributed videos on YouTube and e-mails could be used to spread false information.
Election leaflets must include a named individual to prevent foul play - but there are no such laws on the internet. The elections watchdog has told the BBC it does not have the resources to scour the internet for malicious videos.
The Electoral Commission says candidates' websites should include details of who published the material as a matter of good practice but they are not required by law to do so.
In 2003, it said spoof websites were an acceptable part of the democratic debate as long as they were clearly identifiable as such and did not seek to deceive the voters. But the advent of video sharing sites such as YouTube has led to a massive
increase in political material on the internet - and it is expected to play a crucial role at the general election, which must take place before June.
An Electoral Commission spokesman said it had no plans to police internet material during the general election campaign: There is nothing in electoral legislation that would cover that kind of stuff. Our job is to provide guidance for those
people taking part in an election and to help them stay within the law.
But he makes clear that complaints about potentially defamatory material, under electoral laws, remain a matter for the police and that cases will be investigated.
Ofcom have published a consultation on the future regulation and cenorship of Video on Demand (VOD) services.
Under revised European law, content on VOD services such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player, SkyPlayer and Demand Five will be regulated from 19 December 2009. Such services are available through Virgin Media, Sky and BT Vision as well as through
Regulation of these services is a requirement of the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive and covers all VOD services which are, according to the Directive, TV-like. The Government plans to give the overall duty to regulate these
services to Ofcom.
Electronic versions of newspapers, private websites and unmoderated user generated material (hosted on services such as YouTube) will not be regulated.
Industry Bodies ATVOD and ASA
Ofcom is consulting on its proposal that two bodies carry out most aspects of the regulation on its behalf: Ofcom proposes that VOD services are regulated by the industry body, the Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), and that
advertising included in those services, is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
But VOD programming would not be subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, which broadcast services currently licensed in the UK have to observe
Under the proposed co-regulation, Ofcom will have back-stop powers to intervene if the new co-regulatory system does not work effectively and Ofcom will also retain the power to impose sanctions against service providers.
Under the proposals for consultation ATVOD would regulate VOD services and would be required to ensure that programming on VOD services adheres to a number of minimum standards from the Directive which will be set out in UK legislation.
Programmes, for example:
must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality
must not provide material which might seriously impair the physical, mental, or moral development of minors unless it is made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see such content
sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements.
Since 2004 the ASA has regulated TV and radio advertising in the UK under a co-regulatory agreement with Ofcom. Under the proposals for consultation the ASA would regulate the advertising on VOD services.
The new legislation requires that advertising on VOD services must also comply with a number of minimum standards. For example:
advertising must be readily recognisable and cannot contain any surreptitious advertising or use subliminal advertising techniques
advertising must not encourage behaviour that is prejudicial to the health or safety of people
tobacco products, prescription-only medicines or medical treatments cannot be advertised.
Under Ofcom's proposals any complaints that viewers have about video material that they feel has breached these rules will be assessed by ATVOD or the ASA.
BBC content is jointly regulated by the BBC Trust and Ofcom.
Content on the BBC iPlayer will be subject to these new regulations but as with other BBC content will be regulated by the Trust and Ofcom and not under the proposed co-regulatory arrangements.
Our consultation closes on 26th October 2009. See further details
A controversial ad that uses Hitler to scare viewers away from unsafe sex was pulled from YouTube, according to news reports.
The Regenbogen (Rainbow) Association ad features a steamy sex scene in which the face of Hitler, heretofore a disguised lover, suddenly leers at the viewer, followed by the message AIDS is a mass murderer. It is due to air later in
September on German TV.
The association's web site also shows poster designs featuring Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin, each with a naked woman, under the same slogan.
But Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the French news agency AFP that while the ad might gain attention for an important issue, it was an insult to the victims of the Nazi era, among them gays
and lesbians who were sent to concentration camps in the thousands.
A Queensland man plans to sue police who arrested and charged him for child abuse offences after he uploaded a video of a man apparently recklessly swinging a baby to a video website.
Australian prosecutors have dropped all charges against Chris Illingworth opening the door to a compensation claim.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to proceed with the case. The decision follows soon after censors responded to a separate complaint about the clip by giving it the equivalent of a
This prosecution was discontinued yesterday after the matter was reviewed... taking into account all of the circumstances involved including the classification given to the material by the Classification Board, prosecutors said.
Queensland Police want to send a man to jail for up to 20 years on child-abuse charges over a video the Federal Government's own censors have classified as MA15+.
Chris Illingworth was charged late last year with accessing and uploading child-abuse material after he published, on a video-sharing site, a video of a man swinging a baby around like a rag doll.
Despite having no involvement in the creation of the three-minute clip, he was committed to a trial by jury in the District Court on July 8. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for each of the two charges.
Illingworth's solicitor, Chelsea Emery has said that, if the case goes ahead, every Australian who surfs the net could be vulnerable to police prosecution.
But the Australian Communications and Media Authority, responding to a complaint about the video on July 9, sent the clip to the Classification Board, which classified the content MA15+.
Under the Classification Board's guidelines, the impact of MA15+ material should be no higher than strong and violence and strong themes should be justified by context. MA15+ material is considered unsuitable for persons under 15
years of age.
As a result of the Classification Board's decision, the content is not prohibited under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, read a letter from ACMA, seen by this website.
Queensland Police has said any Australians who simply view the clip could face a maximum of 10 years in jail but today it refused to comment on the apparent disparity between its and the Classification Board's definition of child-abuse material.
The information on the Classification Board's classification decision has been passed on to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. A spokesman said Illingworth's case would be reviewed.
It is not suggested that the Classification Board's decision to give the content a relatively minor MA15+ rating will have any bearing on Illingworth's trial, but the case has caused much controversy because the clip has already been shown on
numerous Australian and US TV news shows and can still be found online today.
The video was just one of hundreds that Illingworth has uploaded to the Liveleak video sharing website as an administrator of the site.
This decision by the Classification Board shows either that the criminal definitions [of child abuse material] are too broad, or that the police and the public prosecutors are overly enthusiastic in bringing criminal charges under those
provisions, Nic Suzor, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said.
In the Queensland Police brief of evidence, Susan Cadzow, specialist pediatrician at Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, said she thought the clip represented child abuse: The child's demeanour at the end of the video would seemingly suggest
that no significant injury has occurred. However, it does not exclude the presence of a [hidden] injury, Cadzow said in her statement.
Music videos featuring the world's leading artists will return to YouTube after the website settled a royalty dispute that left British users unable to access tens of thousands of videos for six months.
Google, owner of the video-sharing website, has signed a deal with PRS for Music, which collects royalties for songwriters and composers for music played in Britain.
Although PRS had offered the website a choice between paying 0.22p per song played or 8 per cent of its UK music turnover, it is understood that the new deal is a one-off lump sum. Neither party would reveal the figure, but it is thought to run
to tens of millions of pounds.
YouTube is still in a dispute with Warner Music, which has resulted in videos by artists such as Madonna and Kid Rock being pulled from the site.
The company is also planning to offer new films to rent. YouTube is said to be in talks with major film studios including Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony and Warner Bros about putting full-length films on the site. It is thought that titles would
become available on the same day that they come out on DVD.
YouTube have increased the range of activities that are barred to include, amongst other things, invasions of privacy.
If a video you've recorded features people who are readily identifiable and who haven't consented to being filmed, there's a chance they'll file a privacy complaint seeking its removal, say its new guidelines: Don't post other people's
personal information, including phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and government IDs. We're serious about keeping our users safe and suspend accounts that violate people's privacy.
It also said that material designed to harass people was not welcome. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it on YouTube, say the new guidelines: And if you're looking to attack, harass, demean, or impersonate others, go
The new guidelines also seek to govern the behaviour of people reacting to videos: Users shouldn't feel threatened when they're on YouTube. Don't leave threatening comments on other people's videos.
YouTube has confirmed to the Observer this weekend that it is investigating the presence of films praising the dissident republican terror groups on its worldwide video-sharing network.
A number of propaganda videos for the two groups are thrown up when the words "Real IRA" or "Continuity IRA" are typed into the YouTube search engine.
In the latest video to be posted on YouTube a masked man in a green combat jacket carrying an AK-47 rifle is seen at a riot in Armagh City on 13 July this year. Continuity IRA supporters have posted a video recorded at Easter of two masked men in
combat fatigues addressing a crowd at a bar in Armagh. During their speech they threaten Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and brand him a traitor.
A different video posted by a group called the Free Derry Media , entitled The War Goes On , is accompanied by a song denouncing the Provisional IRA. The lyrics include a verse telling the British to stick your decommissioning up
your ass . The imagery in the video includes masked gunmen firing a final salute over the coffin of Real IRA activist Joseph O'Connor who was shot dead by the Provisional IRA in west Belfast 10 years ago.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson described the films as a form of cyber-terrorism. The junior minister at Stormont said: It's entirely wrong that terrorist organisations can engage in blatant propaganda and cyber-terrorism without any
apparent sanction. Democratic governments need legislation to limit the capacity of these groups to spread their propaganda. At present, in effect, YouTube are broadcasting hardcore terrorism, unfiltered.
Donaldson pointed to the example of Facebook, which he petitioned to remove a pro-Real IRA network from last month, as an example of confronting terrorists on the web. His own Facebook group Stop Terrorism has 40,000 members, many of whom
wrote to Facebook calling for the pro-Real IRA group to be taken down, he said.
The video-sharing network is understood to be replicating its decision in England and Wales to remove any material that involves people using or glorifying weapons like knifes and guns. The company moved to ban this material last year in response
to the national outcry over knife crime.
YouTube's policy on the broadcasting of weapons in videos varies from country to country. There is no ban in the United States because weapons are legal. It is understood that the company is moving towards removing the Real and Continuity IRA
films because both organisations are illegal under British and Irish law.
Online video platform Joost will cease to be a consumer-facing website as part of a strategy rethink that will also see Mike Volpi stand down as chief executive.
It will now focus on selling white label web video platforms to third parties such as broadcasters, cable and satellite providers and video aggregators. Joost will restructure the business and scale back its international operations.
In these tough economic times, it's been increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform, Volpi said.
Volpi did not confirm the number of job losses resulting from the new strategy, which effectively ends Joost's position as a competitor to the likes of YouTube and US broadcasters' video-on-demand platform Hulu.
Joost, the web telly firm founded by the blokes behind Skype, has liquidated its UK subsidiary.
As reported by The FT and TechCrunch Europe, Joost UK was put into liquidation earlier this month, yet another step in the slow decline of the Netherlands-based outfit.
Joost retains operations in the Netherlands and New York, but on October 2, the company called for an end to its UK arm. Liquidators tell The FT that Joost retains a skeleton staff. But TechCrunch says the company's furniture is already in the
hands of another startup
Redemption Films are very pleased be able to announce that our internet based TV 'theatre' is now live and ready for viewing. Basically you can now view our films online as well as on DVD so should you fancy a bit of Brigitte Lahaie in the
afternoon and there isn't a DVD player around all you have to do is log on to: www.redemptionfilmstv.com select your film and you're immediately watching Brigitte or whoever has taken your fancy in action!
Available to view right now are titles like Jean Rollin's and Lips of Blood, The Nude Vampire, Satanic Sluts and Saint Francis starring the amazing Dita Von Teese.
Culture secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed he will create a co-regulatory body, led and funded by the industry, to take on responsibility for regulating programme content on video-on-demand services. Under the new rules, all UK
providers of VOD services will need to notify the co-regulator that they are providing a service, Burnham's department for culture, media and sport said.
Burnham's announcement signals the UK government's acceptance of most of the provisions in the European Commission's new Audiovisual Media Services directive (AVMS), drafted in 2007 to replace its 20-year-old Television Without Frontiers rules.
AVMS, which is being implemented by EU member states, makes the first regulatory distinction between linear and on-demand media, which was designated to get only light-touch regulation.
Burnham's implementation through co-regulation will throw the spotlight on the existing Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), which has operated since 2003 to self-regulate the sector.
Burnham said: Video-on-demand services only come within the scope of the AVMS directive if they are mass media services whose principal purpose is to provide TV programmes to the public on demand.
But technology is changing rapidly and the interpretation already appears out-dated. Not only is YouTube already available on TV sets through Apple TV, Nintendo Wii etc, and not only do services like Joost absolutely want to provide TV shows
on-demand… most web-based VOD services ultimately also want carriage to the TV, too. In appealing to those such services, BBC's Project Canvas, for example, is aiming to make internet VOD mass media , just as Burnham defined.
YouTube is blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Right Society (PRS).
Patrick Walker, YouTube's director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was regrettable.
Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was outraged... shocked and disappointed by YouTube's decision. The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a matter of urgency.
This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties. The body, which represents music publishers, added: Google has told us they are taking this step because they
wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing. This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of
negotiations between the two parties.
Walker told BBC News the PRS was seeking a rise in fees many, many factors higher than the previous agreement: We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS. We are making the
message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site.
The Privacy Trial of the Century is already waving jail time at three current Google execs and its former chief financial officer. And now there's an added complaint against the company itself.
In September 2006, someone posted a three-minute cell-phone video to Google's Italian website in which four Turin teenagers make fun of a classmate with Down's Syndrome. And in July, after two years of investigation, Italian authorities filed
criminal charges against four Google execs. The four are charged with defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data.
The trial of the Google execs was set to begin this week in Milan, but after a short hearing the judge delayed proceeding until February 18. During the hearing, the City of Milan filed a complaint against Google itself. An Italian legal mind
tells the IAPP that local law allows public entities to file for compensation when a claim involves someone with disabilities.
The video in question showed a 17-year-old with Down's Syndrome as four other 17-year-olds hit him over the head with a box of tissues. It was uploaded on September 8, 2006, and almost a month later, Google received two takedown notices - one
from an individual user and one from the Italian Ministry.
The search giant removed the video within a day of receiving the complaints. But Italian authorizes argue that company execs broke the law by allowing the posting in the first place.
Google declined to discuss the trial, but provided the following statement: As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been
identified and punished. However, we feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It's akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What's more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for
content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.
Chinese censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) have shut down 131 unlicensed video Web sites and penalized a further nine for carrying supposedly pornographic videos as part of its continuing crackdown on
SARFT said that the crackdown, which began on Jan. 5 and will last until the end of February, has also resulted in the country's 307 licensed video Web sites deleting content from their platforms. Among these are Tencent, which has deleted 12,841
videos; Tudou, which has deleted 3,214 videos; PPLive, which has taken down 440 videos; PPStream, which has removed 85 videos; Joy.cn, which has deleted approximately 10,000 videos and posts; 6.cn, which has deleted over 2,300 videos and 2,500
comments; and Funshion, which closed its forum and picture-posting areas.
Plans to revolutionise internet television in the UK dramatically collapsed as reguators pulled the plug on the venture proposed by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The video on demand (VOD) tie-up, codenamed Project Kangaroo, is now dead in the
water, according to insiders.
All three broadcasters yesterday signalled they were unlikely to appeal in the wake of the shock ruling by the Competition Commission.
There was general disbelief at the decision to block the project, designed to provide a catalogue of thousands of hours of programming, largely for free.
The Commission said it had decided to block the proposed VOD joint venture. It feared the broadcasters were effectively creating a cartel that would squeeze out rivals in the online market because the BBC, through its commercial arm
Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 control the majority of UK-originated television content.
The broadcasters released a joint statement expressing their disappointment: While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers.
The big beneficiaries of the decision, said one broadcast insider, were companies such as Sky, Virgin Media, Five and BT, who were likely to have lobbied the Commission against Kangaroo.
A study into the state of Video-on-Demand (VOD) in the UK, from the perspective of the viewer, has revealed that fragmented delivery technologies, confusing rights restrictions and expensive download charges risk driving viewers away from
legitimate VOD services. Many viewers are keeping their use of VOD to a minimum, while others are turning to illegal download sites. But the study: VOD State of Play , developed by Essential Research, found that there is strong consumer
demand for a TV-based VOD service and that viewers are willing to accept advertising to help make this a reality.
The report, which combines qualitative and quantitative research from hundreds of VOD users, predicts that once barriers to VOD are resolved, a seismic shift in the way that TV is consumed will take place: Currently 80% of PC VOD users only use
the services occasionally, however 24% of VOD users claim that they now watch more TV then they did before.
26% of PC VOD users admit to using peer-to-peer or torrents to download video content, with 42% of illegal VOD users saying that watching programmes that are not scheduled in the UK is a key driver. Price is also a factor with 75% of VOD
users saying that on-demand services should cost less than the equivalent DVD.
Stuart Knapman, Partner at Essential Research and Director of the Study comments: There is a growing realisation among audiences that they can control what they watch and when they watch it and this has huge appeal. But most are not doing it
regularly as they feel that the industry is not keeping up with their expectations. Viewers want a hassle-free, cinematic TV experience with the right content and the right commercial model. When this happens, TV is going to change forever. But
for most people the current reality is a computer screen with confusing rights restrictions and lots of proprietary software.
Two months ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, stunned the public by admitting that he has joined hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens in doing something that the country’s courts say is forbidden: watch clips
on the internet video portal YouTube.
Commenting on an unrelated political issue, Erdogan told reporters that they should get on YouTube. When a reporter remarked that access to YouTube is blocked in Turkey, Erdogan replied: I get in, you can do so as well.
Access to YouTube in Turkey was blocked in May, following a decision of a court in Ankara that reacted to a clip allegedly insulting Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Comments like the one by Mr Erdogan show that the ban is very
unpopular and widely ignored, but observers say the blockage is unlikely to be lifted as long as the law behind it is still on the books.
The law was a mistake and the implementation is flawed, said Ibrahim Sarioglu, general secretary of the All Internet Association, or TID, an internet lobby group that has several leading telecommunications companies among its members.
Sarioglu said the law, officially known as the Law Concerning the Regulation of Internet Broadcasts and the Fight against Crimes Committed via these Broadcasts, which came into effect in late 2007, has put Turkey on the list of countries that
YouTube is not the only popular website that has been a victim of a ban in Turkey: Wordpress, Geocities and the Turkish Google Groups were also hit with temporary bans in the past, triggering fears Turkey’s image abroad may be damaged.
I do not want to see Turkey among those countries in the world that ban YouTube, Abdullah Gul, the president, said in a recent television interview.
Sarioglu said the internet law made it difficult to get rid of bans as courts in Turkey can without a hearing close down access to a website if the website or it content is deemed to cause offence. To get access re-established, the owner of the
website or a Turkish citizen who argues that the ban causes him harm can apply to the judiciary. In the case of YouTube, no one has filed a case yet to get access cleared, Sarioglu said. This is Turkey. People are afraid of the state.
The TID has applied to the Danistay, the top administrative court in Turkey, to get the law revoked. The Danistay could also decide to ask the constitutional court to declare the law null and void, Sarioglu said. But the legal battle will take
time. It may take two years or even longer for the Danistay to reach a decision in the TID’s case.
The transport minister, Binali Yildirim, whose responsibilities include telecommunications, admitted last month the application of the law was causing trouble. “There are mistakes stemming from the interpretation of the law, Yildirim
said, referring to the frequent court decisions to ban websites: Unfortunately, the YouTube matter has reached a point beyond the original aim of the ban.
Erdogan’s comments, however, showed that many Turks have found ways to get around the bans. Following the prime minister’s advice to the reporters on board his plane to India, several Turkish media provided tips on how to beat the
YouTube ban. The website is believed to be the 9th most popular in Turkey and the television news channel CNN-Turk estimated last year that about 1.5 million access it every day.
It seems that YouTube are now censoring music videos by removing the audio if they think there's been a breach of copyright.
All well and good but they've even been censoring things like top ten countdowns from old episodes of The Chart Show just because it showed 3s of a particular music video (in this case, the user had already removed all the full length music
videos from the countdown as it had been taken down once before following objections)
One person compiled a video to look like the intro to US show Cops but using clips taken from UK police shows. But because it used the original theme music from Inner Circle, they censored the audio for alleged copyright infringement.
Yet, the original music video, the original intro and other homages continue to pop-up elsewhere on their site.
The Israeli Defense Force has launched its own YouTube channel to bolster its case for the air assault against Hamas. It includes footage of Hamas terrorists loading rockets into a truck in a residential neighborhood. There are also clips of
attacks on Hamas weapons sites and tunnels used for smuggling.
But some videos were removed after Hamas sympathizers flagged them as inappropriate.
While some clips were later reinstated, the IDF said in a statement on its YouTube page: We are saddened that YouTube has taken down some of our exclusive footage... it is imperative that we in the IDF show the world the inhumanity directed
against us and our efforts to stop it.
Meanwhile, Israel is developing an independent blog where the videos can be viewed without any issues.