#Civil Rights

Nick Gisburn's video on YouTube, which consisted entirely of English translated quotes from the Qur'an, was deleted. His accounts have been deleted and he has been banned to ever use YouTube again. Recently, YouTube argued that they deleted his video due to copyright infringement, the guidelines for which are significantly unclear due to the loose definition of "fair use." However, Nick was misinformed that the videos and account were deleted for inappropriate content, as opposed to copyright violations.

This petition has been written in the spirit of free speech to get Nick back on YouTube based on the misinformation he was given, his resulting innocence in these series of events, and his value to the YouTube community.

Thank you for your response to this issue. We read through the tips on copyright (http://www.youtube.com/t/howto_copyright). We still find certain aspects of the policy unclear. Is there any way YouTube could add a more thorough section on the principle of "fair use", perhaps with examples? One of the most common types of video on YouTube consists of a person lip-sinking and a copyrighted song playing in the background. Does YouTube consider this fair use? If so, why is this fair use, while an animation with a copyrighted song playing in the background is not? Both videos use a copyrighted track. Can you clarify this to us as well as the YouTube community under the Copyright Tips section in order to more effectively layout copyright guidelines?

Also, we, the undersigned, believe that Nick Gisburne is in fact not a repeat copyright offender, because he was misinformed not once, but on multiple occasions by generic responses from YouTube explaining that the video was taken down for "inappropriate content," "content inappropriate," "removed due to its inappropriate nature," etc. (please see http://nick.gisburne.com/ngban1.php for screen shots of these messages). These messages consistently explained that it was the inappropriate nature of the content that was the violation and not copyright infringement. Based on the actions of YouTube, Nick was led to believe that his video was a fair use of copyrighted material. If you followed the entire series of events as we did, it is absolutely clear that he would not have posted it again if he was accurately informed. So he did not knowingly repeat the copyright offense. He was also not guilty of repeating the offense of inappropriate content, made clear when YouTube stated that he was not taken down for showing inappropriate content (http://www.youtube.com/blog) (see below). We now understand why YouTube did what it did and we appreciate your effort to answer our concerns. Some of us are professional artists and greatly respect copyright issues. However, in this case, we strongly feel that it was not legally appropriate to ban Nick from using YouTube in the future, based on the fact that he was misinformed and not a deliberate repeat offender of copyright infringement. Nick Gisburne is a valuable member of the YouTube community. He was standing up for our rights to express our opinions. He represents what we thought was the free speech and perspective sharing spirit of YouTube. He also helped improve YouTube by bringing this confusion caused by generic communications to the attention of the YouTube staff. Ethically, he should be offered a chance to open a new account based on the convincing evidence that any repeat copyright violation was the result of being misinformed by YouTube's generic responses, and based on the convincing evidence that he will never commit copyright infringement now that he has been properly informed.

There's been a bit of buzzing on the blogs today with people suggesting that we've taken down a video because we didn't agree with the point of view of its content. This simply isn't true. Unfortunately, we're partially to blame for the confusion because a user was accidentally sent a generic message about inappropriate content instead of the appropriate copyright notice. We corrected the mistake earlier today, once we figured out what had gone wrong.

We realize that sometimes users whose accounts are closed have fans that feel the loss as well. Many of you have written to us requesting that accounts be reinstated. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) actually requires that the accounts of "repeat infringers" be terminated.

We hope this clears up the confusion and want assure everyone that we will never censor videos because they favor one viewpoint over another. We only remove videos for terms of use violation and copyright disputes, as laid out under the DMCA.

For more information about our copyright guidelines and takedown policies, please check out our Help Center.

Thanks for reading,
The YouTube Team

We, the undersigned, call on YouTube management to reinstate Nick Gisburne's account, his videos, and to re-evaluate and adjust the YouTube procedure for appropriate content review and censorship. According to the terms of use, "YouTube...reserves the right to decide whether Content ...is appropriate..., such as, but not limited to, pornography, obscene or defamatory material, or excessive length."

Recently Nick Gisburne's video quoting an English translation of the Qur'an was deleted multiple times supposedly "due to its inappropriate nature."

The video can be viewed at http://nick.gisburne.com/

This is simply unjustified. Other videos approved by YouTube quote from the Bible and Koran frequently.


As long as they cherry pick the warm and fuzzy quotes they seem to be approved. But in this case, when someone tried to help balance the cherry picking by revealing the quotes that contradict a warm fuzzy feeling, the video was deleted. By approving or deleting videos that quote scripture based on which quotes they pick you are preventing people from getting a fair, true, and balanced view of what an important religious text actually contains in its entirety. Nick Gisburne's videos on YouTube were backed up with facts and logic. His videos did not contain pornography or obscene defamatory material. The argument that the video would incite anti-Muslim sentiment holds no water. A dialogue that fairly incorporates apposing views is the only way different cultures can achieve an understanding of each other. This user did not call for people to take violent action against a religious group. This video did not contain a militant battle cry of prejudice. Ironically, there are videos that incite militant violence. Example:


In our opinion it is better to be aware of other perspectives as opposed to remaining ignorant. It is better to use dialogue to promote understanding as opposed to isolation and bias.

Nick Gisburne's video was the equivalent of a Bible study course. We, the undersigned strongly recommend the re-establishment of Nick Gisburne's videos and account, and a thorough review and revision of your procedure for deciding who gets to talk and who doesn't, to prevent this unfair and unjustified censorship from happening again.

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The Bring NickGisburne back to YouTube petition to YouTube was written by Anonymous and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.