Sunday, August 06, 2006

"YouTube is Pissing Me Off!" Rant

I feel as though YouTube is actively trying to sabotage my abilities to screen out child pervs from viewing my videos.

Many of my readers probably don't know much about me, but I teach gymnastics. Making music videos of people I know has become a hobby for me. If you aren't aware of it, I do have a gymnastics blog, primarily for the purposes of hosting my vids from the gym. I have over a hundred videos uploaded to YouTube from almost 2 years of video-making. Many of them involve children.

Yesterday morning I painstakingly went through each gymnastics video, and changed the setting to private. There's no feature that allows me to mass-set them on private. I do have a few vids hosted by Livedigital. So you can see an example of one of my recent vids if you click here.

Let me sort of start at the beginning of my woes...

It's hard not to love something that comes for free. I love discovering blogger and YouTube has been great in so many ways. It's hard to complain about a free service. That being said, YouTube's customer service stinks to high heaven. I can only guess that they were ill-prepared for their own success. They come across to me as disheveled, disorganized, and unprofessional. A while ago, they closed my account, with little warning, when they all of a sudden began cracking down on copyright infringement (I had a couple of 60 Minute segments up, and a clip from Malcolm in the Middle- "War is not the Answer"). This person reflects some of what I experienced. Within a short space of time, all of a sudden I found that my account had been shut down. I wrote to them repeatedly, to no avail. In the end, I opened up a new account, and kept my uploads limited to the hundred plus music videos I have made for the gym I work for. Hosting them on blogger was an easy way to share the videos with family and friends. I once used Yousendit.com, but it was wearisome.

Being naive without realizing I was being naive, I categorized and tagged my videos. I knew there were child predators on the internet (how many times has MSNBC shown their Dateline specials?); I just didn't know they all had YouTube accounts.

Initially, I set most of my vids to a private setting, willing to share a few that I was proud of, with the public. But YouTube changed their feature in such a way, that in order to be viewable from my blog, I had to make the video publically accessible. The private setting only seemed to be of use if I directly sent out an invite to specific videos to those on my contact/friend list. At this point, I had begun noticing that people who were listing my vids as "favorites" had profiles that made my skin crawl. I hit the "block user" button each time, and even looked up their friends to preemptively block them as well. I also removed all of my tags. YouTube makes it so that you have to tag it with something, so I would try to come up with gibberish. You also have to fill in the category field. They made it challenging for me to make my vids the least accessible.

I began fretting all over again, when I was getting pervs who I had blocked, listing a new video of mine as their favorite. Not too long ago, they took away the feature that allowed you to examine who was listing your vids as a favorite. Just within the past few days, I imagine, they once again updated so as to make it hard to determine who has subscribed to your videos, and completely stripped you of your ability to "unsubscribe" people from being alerted to new vids. I found this out yesterday morning when I got a notice that a blocked user just subscribed to my videos.

Also, I had recently figured out that labeling and tagging my videos with "^", made it impossible to click on the video; the tag search also came up in "error". But the embedded videos still worked from my blog. My only problem was the playlists (another power I wanted to have over my vids was removing them from people's playlists), from which my vids were still accessible. I liked being able to see "links" to my vids; but not comfortable with others being able to see it, as I didn't want the pervs to track my vids back to my gymnastics blog.

A couple of users wrote me, wanting to let me know that they could not access my vids. Good. Unfortunately, they must have complained to YouTube as well; because now the "^" no longer sends the link into "error".

Added to this, there are many things that aren't working properly. It's like everything is scrambled (and as I said earlier, "disheveled and disorganized").

I have written their contact dept a number of times, offering my suggestions and complaints as professionally and politely as I could. The response is a cut-and-paste of their general "rules and guidelines" and "faq's". At every turn, I feel like YouTube has done everything they can to disarm me of my abilities to control my videos on their site, making things worse off than before when I had initially opened an account. Shouldn't it be the other way around?!

I don't want to close myself off from the world, as the safest thing to do is not to share my videos online at all. Or not to even make them at all. To never photograph a child. But that's no way to live, either.

Other share services, like Livedigital, doesn't have any kind of screening features. But at least I can get away without tagging or labeling my videos with any kind of description, so as to not be found.

Let me add, that not all viewers have been pervs. I gained an adult client, because she had seen one of my vids and thought it would be a fun gymnastics place to workout at. And I've met someone else across the country who shares my same hobby and whose daughter is a gymnast. But like many things, it only takes a few bad apples in society to terrorize the whole orchard and rain on your parade.

More frustrations here (comments section is worthwhile also).

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11 Comments:

Blogger Curt said...

You and YouTube just do not get along....I remember when they banned your first account. It maybe worthwhile for you to invest in a larger server and host your own vids, that way you can control everything.

Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

No disrespect Word, but its too dangerous nowadays to post cute little children doing anything!..Sorry to hear bout your woes..sigh..Good luck with a new server!..:)

Sunday, August 06, 2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I also read an article where you don't actually own the videos once you put them online and YouTube can sell them etc.

Stupid perves. They're everywhere nowadays.

And why did you get banned?

Sunday, August 06, 2006 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

True about cute kids and dangerous pictures.

It's disgusting and completely unnecessary. Since when is it someone's civil right to be a child molester?

It bothers me now that people act as though such a right exists.

Sunday, August 06, 2006 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Angel, I agree that there is risk. But the majority of pervs are just pervs; not psycho stalkers who would track you down and do harm. The question is, if there is even a 1% chance, is it worth it to make yourself vulnerable, even a little? This is a sort of terrorism in itself, where we are terrorized into not living our lives and enjoying modern technology to its fullest potential to enrich our lives. We have to weigh the benefits and the risks. A line does need to be drawn somewhere, but where exactly? Most gymnastics clubs will have on their website, "gymnast of the week" photos...or team photos, or summer camp photos, or class photos to bring in business. Anyone with a predatory mindset could potentially see a kid's picture, and from there, track the kid down to the gym. Places that do business working with kids...how are they to advertise if they cannot show photos of kids having fun? How much do internet ads accomplish, as far as bringing in business? How many of us now rely on googling rather than use the yellow pages when looking for a certain kind of service?

I don't want to live a life, paranoid of every camera that just happens to capture an image of my children. We cannot be thought police; and as much as it may sicken me to think that someone out there might be jakking off to a picture of my child, or to a picture that I took, you would go nuts if you worried about such things. Where the danger lies, is when someone acts upon their fantasies. Celebrities deal with it all the time, we know. Well, I don't know the actual statistics on how often they deal with psychos. Since we only hear about them when they occur, it may be a perception that celebs deal with it all the time.


Jen,

I got my account disabled after 3 successive warnings. I think I had a short SNL political clip, a 60 Minutes segment on stem cells, and the Malcolm in the Middle clip, "war is not the answer". They didn't even really give me time to process all that was happening before I had my account nullified. One of the links I provided really explains the situation I went through well:

See, I got kicked off YouTube over two months ago. The reason? Contributing to the success of their service. I uploaded a good number of videos to YouTube, almost none of which I owned the copyright to, all of which I got from other sources on the internet. My first video, the “banned” Xbox 360 ad, was for a time the second most watched video on YouTube, with close to two million viewings.

On February 24, I received two emails, detailing how a video I had posted, a Saturday Night Live sketch in which President Bush asks a Santa Dick Cheney for an Xbox 360, had been rejected due to a third party notification of infringement. It included this warning:

Please Note: Repeat incidents of infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos that you do not own the rights to and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others.

Four days later, I received another notice, regarding a commercial for Google that aired on Nova. While I doubted that anyone cared enough about the commercial to actually report it, I was more concerned by this:

Please be aware this is the second video rejection for your account. If you receive one more video rejection, your account will be permanently disabled and you will lose all your previously uploaded videos.

I emailed YouTube, explaining that if they were removing content and threating users without legal notice from the copyright holder, then they were making a mistake. The majority of YouTube’s content breaks the same rules mine broke, and they would be better off waiting until someone complained before removing anything. They disagreed.

I also objected to them sending me emails that essentially accused me of copyright violations, and called me a criminal and repeat offender. I believe that such cases occupy far more of a gray area, in which the sharing of other people’s content, in small amounts for no profit, constitutes promotion of the content, and should be considered permissable until such time as the copyright holder objects, at which point it should be immediately removed with complete understanding that both parties acted in good faith. Again, they disagreed.

On March 15, my account was deleted, and all my videos were removed. The reason? A minute-long clip from the show 24, taken poorly with a digital camera, showing that Google Earth was being used in the show. If that doesn’t constitute fair use, I don’t know what is. YouTube deleted my account, because as a repeat offender, I clearly posed a danger to the world, and had to be stopped.

This included several videos I did own the copyright for, creating much problems for myself. I had to restore many of the embedded videos in my posts with Google Video versions.

Anyway, I’m done with YouTube, almost. It is clear they have no interest in preserving a digital archive of video content for the future, and that I cannot rely on them for posterity. I will continue to look for video sharing services, but it is clear YouTube has value merely as a bandwidth saver, not as an actual utility for web publishing. Any video I link to or embed can dissapear at a moments notice because of an unrelated and questionably legal video.


airforcewife, a user on YouTube first alerted me to the pervs who would link to my vids. He gave me a link to some sicko site that was into child models and such. I read some of their rules and regulations and it was like I stepped foot into some secret society skull and bones club for pervs. They talked about the dangers of hotlinking and not to be blatant on lascivious comments, so as not to draw the attention of those who are working to shut them down. So they seem to have their own way of ogling little kids without using language that would hurt them in a court of law. It is just depressingly sick.

Curt, that may be my one sure option. I'm not as internet savvy as some may think, so I'll have to do some homework on this. I have a website and domain, from a year ago for my paperfolding business. Cost me almost $200, and I still haven't bothered to build it, since I have little clue as to where to begin with it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Gr. If that's the case then the entire site should be shut down. Look at all the Comedy Central clips that are on the show, those people are "violating" copyright laws also. Same with all the music videos.

Sunday, August 06, 2006 8:40:00 PM  
Blogger Bushwack said...

Pedofreaks, a bunch of sick bastards that should be hung by their little pee pee's from an oak tree, soaked with our lowest grade lighter fluid and set on fire. It should be broadcast on CNN international to let Everyone know we don't play that crap here in the States.

I might have some violent tendencies and probably should seek help, Nahhh I'll live with it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006 9:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

As I still have a dial-up connection I obviously am not familiar with YouTube, but this just doesn't sound right to me, Wordsmith. And it's terrible that we have so many perverts out there, but the fact is that we do. Kudos for you in trying to control who watches these things. I think Curt makes a good suggestion by saying "invest in a larger server and host your own vids" so that you have complete control.

Monday, August 07, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This is way sad to me!!! But I'm very proud of you for being vigilant in trying to protect these kids. I've been hesitant to post pics of my kids on my blog because of a friend warning me about the very things you are mentioning. I may post one occasionally (I'm wanting to post some from my trip) but it won't be very often. Its sad that we have to be so vigilant.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 8:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bullshit,
I am no pedo but come on, people like you and all the others who posted on this blog make me sick
#1. if this is a guy your ether gay or a sicko yourself for video taping kids, if your a woman Youtube and the Internet in general is not for kids NEVER has been, Who but a pedophile would enjoy your vids anyway? I would not enjoy watching a vid of someone elses kids, it's gymnastics not the freaking olypics I am sorry but I don't agree with you, J.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

When you're done shaking the sand out of your vagina, maybe you can post in a less vitriolic manner? And why not read the entire post, including the comments preceding yours? Maybe you won't come across as so foolish in your illogic. Thanks for trying to contribute, though. Glad folks like us piss you off.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 8:12:00 PM  

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