YouTube Yanks Legal Insurrection’s Channel

YouTube Yanks Legal Insurrection’s Channel

Many conservative outlets are using YouTube to reach an ever-widening audience. One of those is Professor William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection blog. But as of today, Legal Insurrection no longer has a YouTube channel. Why? Because YouTube pulled the entire channel.

So what happened? Well, at first the channel just disappeared, with a notice stating that copyright infringement was involved, and LI says they received no prior notice.

But eventually, Professor Jacobson and his blogging team were able to find out what triggered the removal.

In an email, Jacobson said that he never received notice of the claims prior to the channel’s removal on Thursday. On Friday the publisher received notification from YouTube that the copyright claims were filed by the Modern Languages Association (MLA) based on audio posted of a recent MLA vote on a resolution to boycott Israeli universities. The boycott resolution at the MLA Delegate Assembly failed.

“Clearly this was a politically motivated move,” he told “I never received any request or complaint from MLA. These were perfectly legitimate fair use excerpts with great news value.”

“This is an attempt to silence our reporting on a matter of great public importance,” added Jacobson, whose website reported on the vote. “We intend to pursue all available remedies, and call on YouTube to restore our account.”

Jacobson wrote on his own blog post:

We intend to fight this both at the YouTube and legal level. It is highly questionable that MLA owns the copyright for oral presentations at the Annual Meeting, and even if it did, the limited excerpts we used from the nearly 2-hour video posted by MLA on YouTube are well-within fair use. What I think is really going on here is that anti-Israel activists at MLA complained to MLA that MLA had posted the audio on YouTube. MLA took down its own 2-hour video and now seeks to silence our reporting.

This would not be the first time that anti-Israel activists have attempted – and succeeded – in getting videos from conservative outlets that support Israel kicked off or placed under restricted viewing on YouTube.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The more that YouTube gets exposed as caving in to complaints without actually researching the videos being pulled, the better. Legal Insurrection plans on fighting this, but this incident should serve as fair warning to conservative outlets on YouTube (not to mention Twitter and Facebook) – back up your stuff. When you put your intellectual and creative property on a privately owned platform, you run the risk of having it disappear at any moment, even if it violates the “terms of service.” YouTube is a far-reaching platform, but it is one that operates on its own rules. Hopefully the legal action brings YouTube to its senses, and the channel will be restored.

Late this afternoon, Legal Insurrection’s YouTube channel was restored!

In updating his blog post, Professor Jacobson says that while the channel is back up, there will be a legal fight over the content of the disputed videos. Stay tuned.

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1 Comment
  • VALman says:

    Meanwhile, we could stop using YouTube. I know my world won’t be impacted that much. However, if enough people do the same, perhaps their’s will be.

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