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Removing Defamation from YouTube

By John DiGiacomo


YouTube is a worldwide online forum where people can post almost anything they want, but what if someone’s post is considered defamatory? What kinds of repercussions are available against such an Internet giant? The answer depends on where you live.

Under Google’s policies for YouTube, the Internet giant acknowledges its size and that defamation laws will vary from country to country. However, they also advise contacting the user who posted the content directly and requesting that the video be removed before getting in touch with YouTube directly.

Defamatory statements can have a major impact on someone’s reputation, business, and life as a whole. YouTube’s policies suggest that they take this matter seriously, but also seem to acknowledge that for the most part, they do not think they are liable. In the United States the existence of limited to no liability for service providers like YouTube carries a lot of truth due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”). [link to Section 230 post]

YouTube clearly lays out steps for users to take if they believe a video is defamatory. First, they recommend contacting the user who made the post. If the user refuses to take the post down or you are unable to reach the user, YouTube suggests looking over their Privacy or Harassment Policy. If you can prove that the video violates any of the policies outlined, YouTube will review your complaint and if they agree, look at having the video removed. Finally, if contacting the user does not work, and you do not feel that the post fits under a violation of any of YouTube’s policies, YouTube offers a comprehensive Defamation Complaint form.

In completing the form YouTube requires some of your personal information along with a detailed explanation of why certain comments in the post are defamatory. Making a claim that the entire video is defamatory will not suffice. You must be clear and specific when making your claim.

The challenge with using the complaint form in the United States is that whether you have a valid claim or not, YouTube is under no obligation to remove the defamatory post. This is why contacting the actual user who made the post is likely to be more effective.

Another option for removing defamation from YouTube is via court order. YouTube has even acknowledged under their policies that depending on the jurisdiction, they require a court order to remove any defamatory post. They do not specify which jurisdictions across the globe they are referring to, but given the broad scope the case law has offered to Section 230 of the CDA, one could assume that the United States could be one of those jurisdictions.

For more information about what options are available to you and what you can do to remove defamation videos from YouTube contact Revision Legal’s Internet Defamation attorneys through the form on this page or call 855-473-8474.

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