Technology

PragerU's Attempt To Violate YouTube's 1st Amendment Rights Shot Down By 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The conservative nonprofit Prager University alleged the company should not be allowed to place its videos on "Restricted Mode."

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed that YouTube, a Google subsidiary, is a private platform and thus not subject to the First Amendment. In making that determination, the Court also rejected a plea from a conservative content maker that sued YouTube in hopes that the courts would force it to behave like a public utility. 

Put another way, had the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Prager University—also known as PragerU—and against YouTube, it would have violated YouTube's First Amendment rights. 

Headed by conservative radio host Dennis Prager, PragerU alleged in its suit against YouTube that the video hosting platform violated PragerU's right to free speech when it placed a portion of the nonprofit's clips on "Restricted Mode," an optional setting that approximately 1.5 percent of YouTube users select so as not to see content with mature themes. (It's worth noting that PragerU is not an actual public or private university, but rather "an online video resource promoting knowledge and clarity on life's biggest and most interesting topics.") 

"PragerU runs headfirst into two insurmountable barriers—the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent," wrote Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown. "Just last year, the Court held that 'merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints,'" she wrote, referencing the recent decision in Manhattan Cmty. Access Corp. v. Halleck.

Indeed, the conservative nonprofit's lawsuit sought to radically alter the First Amendment, which constrains the government—not private actors like YouTube—from infringing on free speech rights. PragerU's suit rested on the claim that YouTube has become so ubiquitous that it is now a public utility owned by the people. The claim seems more at home among the rising democratic socialists often criticized by PragerU in its videos, and it's one that the Ninth Circuit fundamentally rejected.

"Such a rule would eviscerate the state action doctrine's distinction between government and private entities because 'all private property owners and private lessees who open their property for speech would be subject to First Amendment constraints,'" noted McKeown. "Importantly, private property does not 'lose its private character merely because the public is generally invited to use it for designated purposes.'"

PragerU's argument boils down to the following: YouTube performs a function of value to the public, so it is therefore a public utility bound by the same rules as any other government agency. But that argument would require, at minimum, for YouTube to hold a monopoly on internet video hosting. As that is not the case, PragerU was essentially asking YouTube to be treated like a government agency based on its largeness. 

PragerU also put forth claims under the Lanham Act, contending that the company engaged in false advertising when it said, for instance, that "people should be able to speak freely, share opinions, foster open dialogue, and that creative freedom leads to new voices, formats and possibilities." Not so, said the Ninth Circuit, likening such declarations to non-actionable "puffery" that do not constitute binding commercial behavior.

"Google's products are not politically biased. We go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in such a way that political leanings are not taken into account," Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, told Reason in September, following oral arguments. 

In Prager's defense, videos that fall under Google's Restricted Mode are tagged with an algorithm and often evaluated again by a human reviewer, who inevitably comes to the table with his or her own intrinsic biases. For instance, restricting PragerU's "Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?" makes sense; tagging "The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know" does not. (Karan Bhatia, a former conservative operative and now Google's vice president for government affairs, said the video references mature themes, like murder.)

Even so, a private company's flawed review system does not constitute a free speech issue. What's more, a win for PragerU would have obligated YouTube to grant children access to "adult" content published by producers who have much larger portions of their videos restricted. Even the History Channel has a larger portion of its videos tagged in restricted mode than does PragerU:

At the heart of PragerU's lawsuit is a desire to compel YouTube and similar companies to treat his world view with kid gloves, something that Circuit Judge Jay Bybee alluded to in August.

"If your representations are correct, it seems deeply disturbing that they put your stuff in the restricted area," he said. "I'm not sure that creates a First Amendment issue."

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  1. This is the issue of our time and while the best course of action is probably to do nothing. However the fact that Reason has 0 sympathy for the suppression and censorship of speech through denying revenue to “controversial” opinions based on ridiculous metrics that aren’t clearly enforced and are totally judgmental based on a population of technocratic authoritarians that believe they know best is par for the course. Google is doing a disservice to their customers and content creators by hiding their metrics for deciding who and what to deplatform. It’s a complicated issue and google isn’t necessarily the good guy or making the right decision and that is separate from whether they should be legally compelled to do something. Should we revisit Reason’s tone of coverage on the cake bakers?

    1. Needs more “To be sure”.

      1. Actually, YouTube should place more of its videos in restricted mode, particularly if they involve any form of illegal “parody.” Imagine how dire the impact would have been here at NYU if YouTube, rather than Gmail, had been used as the platform for illicit mimicry in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case. See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. Hurrrr durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Section 230 means that government-protected oligopolies should be able to violate their own terms of service with impunity! Free minds and free markets baby! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Guess what’s not referenced at all in the decision. Section 230. Nor is any other part of the Communication Decency Act.

      2. If you think they’re violating their terms of service, sue them for breach of contract.

        1. These days, “Terms of Service” are vaguely written enough to allow all sorts of wriggle room while simultaneously sounding like they might mean something, which happens to be whatever the company claims. It’s a lawyerly art.

    3. Nothing complicated at all. It’s private property. None of your business how they piss off customers, or if hey piss off customers. None of the government’s business. None of PraegerU’s business.

    4. “by hiding their metrics for deciding who and what to deplatform”

      I mean right there in the article is a study showing these secret metrics. But so what? If you don’t like a company, we absolutely should say “Don’t use them”.

      There is nothing sympathetic about Prager’s case. The only reason to be sympathetic is if you feel like all conservatives should always get sympathy under all situations. But Prager is not being censored by You Tube. He just had a tiny number of his videos marked restricted. And this has impact on a tiny number of youtube users. And for all this, he is running to the government demanding that it slap a private company around. To offer such tactics sympathy is to encourage thousands of horrible lawsuits trying to force private companies to do the bidding of ACTIVISTS. And if you think that Liberals won’t abuse the shit out of those precedents, you are nuts.

      As someone sympathetic to conservatives, I actually wand Prager to shut the fuck up. He has such a weak case that he gives liberals and companies like Google air cover to dodge more serious cases.

      1. Possibly true, if as you say.
        But:
        “To offer such tactics sympathy is to encourage thousands of horrible lawsuits trying to force private companies to do the bidding of ACTIVISTS. And if you think that Liberals won’t abuse the shit out of those precedents, you are nuts.”
        You can’t pretend this isn’t already the case. This is what “liberals” (accurately known as progressives) already do. And they’ve won. Google will enforce that totalitarian will as much as they can get away with

    5. “that aren’t clearly enforced”

      That’s the real issue. It’s arbitrary and they obviously know it’s a problem because they’re dishonest about their bias. I agree that YouTube should be allowed to determine what goes on their site, but then they should be responsible for what is on their site. You can’t have it both ways.

    6. Oh please private company let me use your infrastructure for free in order to make a lot of money and also I will tell you how you can run things as well for my free usage!

      1. “Free usage” is a funny way of saying “making money for the shitbag owners of YouTube”.

    7. ALTHOUGH I don’t disagree with youtube having its own business practices, I have a hard time agreeing with this argument that it is NOT a functional monopoly. That seems intentionally ignoring its existance

    8. A private company can censor as much speech as it wants for whatever reason.

  2. I gave XCorp several thousands of $$ to publish my book. They kept the money and didn’t publish it.

    Reason: they have a first amendment right not to publish your book. STFU.

    1. That’s a contract issue, not a 1A issue.

      1. Which at best would entitle him to get his money back, not force XCorp to publish his book.

        1. I don’t see it referenced here, but there is an issue of “de-monetizing” videos. Several content creators labeled as “alt-right” have been de-monetized by YouTube. This means that their content is still available (but perhaps much harder to find), and still bringing in clicks and advertising revenue for Google, but they are not sharing that revenue with the content creator because of their badthink.

          Which is kind of genius. Signalling my virtue while simultaneously keeping all the revenue for myself sounds like a fantastic model.

          1. “and still bringing in clicks and advertising revenue for Google, but they are not sharing that revenue with the content creator because of their badthink.”

            No, if a video is demonitized, it does not serve ads. There are a lot of complex things here. First of all, Prager plays both sides of this- they advertise on YouTube to drive people to their channel, where they get views that result in money. When a video is marked as restricted, it does not get ads, and so therefore does not get money. This game of arbitrage worked very well for awhile, as always happens on new-ish ad platforms. But arbitrage like that is actually an inefficiency in the ad market, and generally the market makers are always working to close those inefficiencies. Over the last year, YouTube has been identifying ways to close these arbitrage oportunities, and so prager U has been dependent more and more on straight up advertising money driven from non-ad-sourced areas.

            But YouTube has a responsibility to Advertisers. They do not want an advertiser pulling their ads because they appear before controversial stuff. So you may say that a discussion of the ten commandments isn’t really “mature”. But even if youtube weren’t biased against conservatives, they might still see a business interest in demonetizing that video because they don’t want a bunch of SJW monkeys complaining to an advertiser that they are “supporting a bigot” like Prager.

            1. “But even if youtube weren’t biased against conservatives, they might still see a business interest in demonetizing that video because they don’t want a bunch of SJW monkeys complaining to an advertiser that they are “supporting a bigot” like Prager.”

              And that is how the SJWs win.
              Libertarianism will never succeed, only continue losing ground, until it finds a solution to this.
              Capitalism, especially as the corporatism it is today, will always be vulnerable to tyranny of the mob.
              It’s a dilemma that eventually has to be dealt with, before all is lost

              1. You won’t find a solution to this, because libertarianism is all vaporware…vague ideas that essentially amount to “do nothing and let freedom work it’s magic.” So Youtube’s doing what it wants, too bad for you.

            2. A factor that can’t be measured is that Google still profits from unmonetized videos in the form of the data of users who view those videos whose behaviors they package and sell to advertisers.

              One of the problems with applying brick-and-mortar world understandings to the digital economy is that it is easy to miss that transactions of value can occur without money changing hands. Unfortunately, its not a problem that is easily fixed.

              1. One of the problems with applying brick-and-mortar world understandings to the digital economy is that it is easy to miss that transactions of value can occur without money changing hands.

                Like all the stuff Google provides for free?
                Sorry, There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

        2. Actually no, you mindless fucking piece of ignorant dogshit, enforcing his rights under the terms of the contract would mean he could absolutely force them to publish his book AS AGREED UPON IN THE CONTRACT. If the failed to perform under the terms of the contract he could seek relief in the form of financial compensation to be determined through litigation.

          1. As Steamboat notes, specific performance is usually an available remedy for breach of contract. It’s often not used in situations like a book publisher, because the author can just have a similar publisher publish the book.

            Adopting that analogy to Prager would assume there are other Web video publishing services Prager could use, and sorry, there isn’t another one with the reach, the copyright licenses, and the ties with payment processors like Youtube.

            Which conservative groups have found out when they’ve tried to set up a competing service. The copyright licensing issues alone are a gigantic obstacle.

            But hey, we kept our purity by not making Youtube publish anything they didn’t want to, and Youtube kept their statutory immunity from suit. So it wasn’t a complete loss.

            1. I always hear from libertarians and conservatives that if you don’t like something, build your own platform! Innovate! Ideals sure are fun when you try to put them into practice aren’t they?

          2. Specific performance of a contract is generally not available as a remedy for a breach of contract. Instead, the typical remedy for a breach of contract is monetary damages. To be entitled to specific performance, you have to establish that monetary damages are inadequate.

            I’m starting to think your grasp of the law isn’t all that great.

            1. You’re probably right about not understanding the law. And specific performance is normally a land conveyance contract remedy.

              But what money damages would be appropriate for Prager in this case? AIUI, Prager wasn’t getting any money from advertising in the video. They weren’t getting any money from viewers. They’re a non-profit that hired an entity to disseminate its message. Since part of their cause of action was a Lanham Act claim, are they entitled to Youtube’s advertising profits from showing those videos? Otherwise, how would you assess a monetary harm that Prager suffered?

              If a monetary award would be nebulous to define, accordingly, wouldn’t specific performance—especially since all youtube would have to do is allow the video on its servers, no different than any of the other billions of videos on their systems—or simply not censoring Prager’s videos, be a better remedy than an award of damages?

              1. “But what money damages would be appropriate for Prager in this case?”

                I have no idea. Prager first would have to have a valid cause of action, which they didn’t in this case. If this was a breach of contract case, the terms of the contract would be relevant.

                “They’re a non-profit that hired an entity to disseminate its message.”

                Did they hire YouTube, or did they just click on a couple of boxes and start uploading things? I really have no idea.

                “Otherwise, how would you assess a monetary harm that Prager suffered?”

                If you can’t show damages, you are going to have a hard time making a case for breach of contract. But sometimes there are statutory damages that are available and sometimes you can also ask for nominal damages.

                “If a monetary award would be nebulous to define, accordingly, wouldn’t specific performance—especially since all youtube would have to do is allow the video on its servers, no different than any of the other billions of videos on their systems—or simply not censoring Prager’s videos, be a better remedy than an award of damages?”

                Assuming that Prager could somehow manage to prove that it had been damaged in some legally cognizable way, the answer is still likely no. It would put the court in the position of having to review Prager’s videos before they were posted to determine whether the video should be tagged as restricted.

          3. you mindless fucking piece of ignorant dogshit,

            You made a total public ass of yourself, AGAIN.

            You’re just wrong on what the contact says.
            And I assume you’re an alt-right Pragerite. (An authoritarian)

  3. For instance, restricting PragerU’s “Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?” makes sense;

    —–

    Why?

    1. Because parents who use the restriction field wanted this kind of content blocked?

      1. The only way to evaluate that question would be to see if content making the 1 in 5 allegation in the first place were similarly blocked.

        1. NOPE (sigh)
          DUMBASS, YOU DON’T GET TO DICTATE HOW PARENTS CAN RAISE THEIR KIDS. REGARDLESS OF WHAT PRAGER SAYS

          1. YEAH, ONLY YOUTUBE GETS TO DO THAT HURRR DURRR

      2. And also, importantly, Advertisers on the platform do not want their ads showing in front of controversial ads.

        I would not want my company called out on twitter by thousands of SJWs because my company “supported a rape denying video”.

        I totally disagree with that narrative of course (hence the scare quotes). But I don’t see why it is a good business practice to force YouTube to keep such videos monetized when the likely result for YouTube is that the advertiser simply stops advertising on their platform all together.

        1. Terrorism works

        2. You know there actually are rape denying videos on Youtube though right?

      3. Because facts are violence.

    2. Because it goes against the prevailing narrative and is wrongthink?

  4. So Judge Bybee’s comment was that there wa s a Constitutional issue but that PragerU’s case described YouTube as acting in bad faith if accurate. Refusing the Lanham Act charge basically said how YouTube presents itself is a fraud, but not an actionable fraud.

    1. Exactly this.

    2. Total immunity from liability for publishers is foundation to human liberty. Did you know that there was literally no free speech until Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – the rest of which was struck down as unconstitutional – was passed? FREE MINDS AND FREE MARKETS BABY! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! LIBERTARIANS FOR GOVERNMENT-CREATED OLIGOPOLY!

      1. Hey, they have to have some incentive for tracking and spying on you and reporting it to the government.

      2. No one’s stopping you from starting your own service where you give free shit to people and compete…isn’t that the libertarian way? If you don’t like it, just start your own competition and the free market will decide?

        Or you could just bitch on the internet like libertarians ACTUALLY do.

        1. Actually, the screeching SJW’s actively work to stop anyone with wrongthink from starting up a competitor. Guess you missed those Rico Suave posts about it.

  5. YouTube performs a function of value to the public, so it is therefore a public utility bound by the same rules as any other government agency.

    “The Voice” performs a function of value to the public, so it is therefore a public utility bound by the same rules as any other government agency.

    The Sun performs a function of value to the public, so it is therefore a public utility bound by the same rules as any other government agency.

    1. Why are you using those two examples? The only ones who get on “The Voice” are the ones talented enough to be good singers. It has nothing to DO with speech content. As for “The Sun” – what?

  6. Maybe PraegerU and anyone else so inclined could create their own website, free from the YouTube’s constraints.

    1. Good idea. Then he can sue for restraint of trade when Google, Paypal ,Twitter and Facebook collude to prevent him from doing so. Binion will then tell us how wrong he is.

      1. Really, Youtube has prevented Vimeo and Dailymotion? Wow I didn’t know they could do that!

    2. Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr just start your own ISP, bank, payment processor, domain registrar, hosting company, hardware manufacturer, and search engine hurrrrrrr durrrrrrrrrrrrp durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

      1. You realize that PragerU already has its own website that hosts its own videos, right?

      2. Look around, waste case. There’s lots of websites out there.

      3. Isn’t that the libertarian philosphy? Maybe you’re just lazy.

  7. I actually agree with the ruling, but Youtube should not be getting service provider protections due to its curation of its content.

    1. “I actually agree with the ruling, but Youtube should not be getting service provider protections due to its curation of its content.”

      +1

  8. “Google’s products are not politically biased. We go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in such a way that political leanings are not taken into account,” Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, told Reason in September, following oral arguments.

    Well, that’s just flat out untrue. They were clearly coordinating with other platforms on taking right-wing content providers out. There was zero question of those actions being “politically neutral”.

    1. A government-created oligopoly exercising total control of web publishing is free minds and free markets baby! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! LIBERTARIANS FOR CENSORSHIP!!!!!!!

      1. You should seek help.

        1. But he’s not wrong.

    2. Sure…except go to liberal channels and listen to THEM bitching about being demonetized too. You only know about the conservative shit since libertarians are basically just conservatives who want to smoke weed.

  9. Reason’s “thinkers” are not going to agree with this, but let’s face it: free speech only exists in the abstract. We live in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria. The idea that the founding fathers thought that this is the way we should go is laughable at best.

    Big Social Media is now the accepted norm for speech. It is the largest way we all get our ideas out there. For them to be the main deciders that some views are to be held down is not only morally wrong, but illegal, if we were comparing it to other means of communication (phones, texting, etc.).

    Big Social Media should not be thought of as having 1st amendment rights that are more powerful than the 1st amendment rights of those who use those platforms. They should be treated as utilities and regulated to the point where ALL points of view have equal treatment.

    1. Yes. We must seize the means of production to create a truly equal society.

      1. That’s great lingo, but it doesn’t really address the point, does it?

        1. I think it does. Your complaint is that these private companies have too much control over a sphere of the economy and are using their power to unduly influence the politics and society of the nation, at the expense of the common man. This is essentially the same argument at the core of all forms of socialism.

          The “means of production” doesn’t just refer to factories and machinery, but any form of capital. Though I guess in this case, “seize” might not be exactly the right term, since you’re advocating regulation instead of nationalization, but I think it works by analogy. And regulation is sort of an intermediate step, or perhaps a hybrid solution, on the path to nationalization.

          1. It is a weird circle, isn’t it?

            Because the left (socialists, progressives) explicitly target these areas for takeover. They have position papers on it and everything. They intend to use control of the institutions of communication for the furtherance of their agenda.

            And then fighting against those efforts actually runs the risk of becoming the thing you are fighting against.

            Society really does work better if everyone is acting in good faith. Unfortunately, it seems that most everyone is apt to replace those “four legs good, two legs bad” posters when nobody is looking.

    2. We live in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria.

      CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…

      1. Except they did pass a law…

        1. Which law was that?

          1. CDA, and the oft cited section 230

            1. Which has nothing to do with this case, so super.

              It also has virtually nothing to do with us living “in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria.” That’s always been the case. Sometimes you could even be murdered have having opinions that don’t meet certain criteria, and I’m pretty sure that was a lot more common in the past than it is now.

              And if you want to explain how Section 230 abridges the right of free speech, or of the press, go right ahead.

              1. “CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…”

                Is what I was responding to.

                1. And if you want to explain how Section 230 abridges the right of free speech, or of the press, go right ahead. Because otherwise they didn’t pass a law abridging free speech or the press when the passed Section 230. Other parts of the CDA, sure, but not Section 230.

    3. “We live in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria. The idea that the founding fathers thought that this is the way we should go is laughable at best.”

      I mean, sure two of our founding fathers shot at each other other opinions they expressed about each other, but go with that.

      “Big Social Media is now the accepted norm for speech. It is the largest way we all get our ideas out there. For them to be the main deciders that some views are to be held down is not only morally wrong, but illegal, if we were comparing it to other means of communication (phones, texting, etc.).”

      Freedom of the press has never guaranteed anyone access to a printing press (or the equivalent). If you couldn’t find anyone to publish your work or afford your own printing press, you were just out of luck. Why would the internet be different?

      “Big Social Media should not be thought of as having 1st amendment rights that are more powerful than the 1st amendment rights of those who use those platforms.”

      They aren’t.

      “They should be treated as utilities and regulated to the point where ALL points of view have equal treatment.”

      Yes, the government can totally be trusted to regulate the internet in such a way that all points of view have equal treatment. When has the government ever let us down?

      1. ^THIS
        A voice for liberty drowns out the voices of oppression — the fascist right, where Prager is a demigod/

      2. I like your thinking, jph.
        Violence should be used against Google execs.

        1. I like your thinking, jph.

          (lol)

          Violence should be used against Google execs.

          The precise opposite of what he thinks!

          But your Authoritarian Right has always demanded more gummint regulations .. but only of your own “values”

          1. You’re going to die, hihn

    4. I Callahan,

      “We live in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria.”

      Read what you are writing. The first amendment applies to government restriction of speech, not private industry’s restriction of free speech. Imagine if a company had to allow employees to ‘say whatever they want’. Should a Mcdonald’s employee be allowed to tell customers, ‘these burgers are made from ground people’ ??? If a company owner claims ‘speeches with two stars on their bellies are not speeches, but animals and should be treated as such…’ are banks, suppliers to his company, etc. legally required to do business with his company because of 1st amendment rights???

      I find it quite ironic a conservative entity (PragerU) is asking the government to tell a company how to control aspects of their business.

  10. We live in a country where you can be fired, ostracized or financially ruined for having opinions that you state out loud that don’t meet certain criteria.

    As libertarians/Libertarians want it to be.

    In the abstract, at least. It’s a “leopards eating faces party” kind of thing. They’re always outraged and shocked when it’s their faces getting eaten.

    So, yeah, your first line was right on the money.

    1. Rawr. This was supposed to be in response to I Callahan.

  11. (yawn) The Authoritarian Right is bellowing against individual liberty AGAIN.

    One more time: The First Amendment … indeed, the entire Constitution … restricts government, not people. DUH

    Left – Right = Zero
    Both now authoritarian, demanding “special rights” … seeking to impose their values on everyone, through government force.
    Mandated Conformity.

    AND ALL THOSE CONSPIRACIES!

    1. One more time: The First Amendment … indeed, the entire Constitution … restricts government, not people. DUH

      All right, which one of you assholes made me agree with Hihn?

      1. LOL… +10000 and Agree.

        1. That is inseparable from this

          Left – Right = Zero
          Both now authoritarian, demanding “special rights” … seeking to impose their values on everyone, through government force.
          Mandated Conformity.

          AND ALL THOSE CONSPIRACIES!

  12. Ok, libertarians: you want to be seen as something more than impotent bullshitters?
    Let’s have some real ideas on how to deal with the problem.

    1. Let it go.

      Seriously. 25 years ago, this SAME EXACT argument was being made, I shit you not. This conservative company had basically gotten a near monopoly over the distribution of videos. And they used this near monopoly to FORCE content creators to edit their videos down to be more morally straight. All of my friends told me how important it was that the government get in there and regulate Blockbuster Video so that the “Blockbuster Cut” was prohibited. Nobody saw Redbox, or Netflix or the rest of that stuff coming and any attempt to “fix” the problem back then could very well have derailed all sorts of market adaptations.

      It is really easy to think we are living in a crisis with no remedy. But the Market really does work to move around impediments, assuming the government isn’t in there making mandates.

      1. Well Said — Bad actors cannot keep an edge for too long. AT&T Landline(practically non existent now), Yahoo(Lower end of popular), Microsoft(losing more-so everyday), eBay(Getting demolished by Amazon); I can name a few more. They don’t loose their edge overnight but it seems so long as the free market can function without GOV intrusion they always loose their edge eventually.

      2. Maybe you’re correct, but it’s a position supported only by faith.
        It might turn out like you say.
        Or, the progressives win (as they have been for over a century) and eventually reach the heights of other progressive movements in Germany, Russia, China, and elsewhere. When it gets there, all is lost

        1. “Maybe you’re correct, but it’s a position supported only by faith.”

          Faith? Or experience? Which is something conservatives used to value.

          “Or, the progressives win (as they have been for over a century) and eventually reach the heights of other progressive movements in Germany, Russia, China, and elsewhere. When it gets there, all is lost”

          And your solution is, what? Beat em to the punch? That sure will teach them.

          1. And your solution is, what?

            Same as it’s been for centuries. Conservatives burning books, punishing anyone who does not conform, censoring the media … by church, state, or both combined (the Inquisition)

            Beat em to the punch?

            Beat them to death .. since the right has no alternatives that Americans accept. On anything. “Keep gummint out” is … authoritarian .. FUCK CONSENT OF THE GOVERNMET, DO IT MY WAY,

            1. Except your very founding notion is completely upside down ——-
              The Conservative Platform doesn’t support that…….
              National Socialism DOES!

          2. “Faith? Or experience? Which is something conservatives used to value.”

            Faith.
            But perhaps you can come up with a comparable example?

            “And your solution is, what? Beat em to the punch? That sure will teach them.”

            I don’t have a decided solution more detailed than: don’t give up and actually fight back.
            Wish I did, but I wouldn’t be asking otherwise.

            1. “But perhaps you can come up with a comparable example?”

              Comparable example of what? Markets working better than government intervention? Moral panics blowing over?

              “I don’t have a decided solution more detailed than: don’t give up and actually fight back.
              Wish I did, but I wouldn’t be asking otherwise.”

              How is treating YouTube like a government entity fighting back? It seems like capitulating to me.

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  15. The democrat debate was a case in point in favor of Youtube being a sack of shit. I was watching Razorfist do live commentary (something that is legal) on it, and his stream was suspended and shut down halfway through, he was forced to scramble to find an alternate way to stream, eventually getting on twitch. The next day, the stream was unsuspended, but he lost out on donation revenue and view counts (that matter to youtube’s algorithms). Youtube will immediately come down on small viewers for legal use of material via commentary, educational, or parody purposes, if a large company like CNN throws a fit. They don’t investigate at all, and then put the burden of proof on the accused. It doesn’t have to be political, youtube’s completely fucked with how it treats the people that keep it alive

    1. darkflame,

      Was razorfist also streaming a broadcast of the debate? If they were just streaming their commentary that is one thing, but streaming another private company’s broadcast of the debate and talking over it is probably against YouTube terms of service.

      Other wise I could monetize some one else’s programming merely by “commenting” over it.

  16. By this logic, Reason would have no problem with my cell carrier reviewing and censoring my texts.

    1. No, by this logic Reason would agree that your cell carrier reviewing and censoring your texts wasn’t a First Amendment violation. Which should be perfectly obvious.

    2. Or the internet backbone companies.

  17. “In Prager’s defense, videos that fall under Google’s Restricted Mode are tagged with an algorithm and often evaluated by a human reviewer, who inevitably comes to the table with his or her own intrinsic bias.” So fucking what if the reviewers have bias? That’s not a point in Prager’s defense. Private companies have no obligation to be impartial. Jesus, you just wrote a whole article explaining how a court finally got its head out of its ass and strengthened that private/government distinction, and you think that’s a point in Prager’s favor? Then you follow it up with, “a private company’s flawed review system does not constitute a free speech issue.” You’re damned right it doesn’t, so what’s flawed about it? YouTube’s employees are doing exactly what YouTube’s owners want them to, and what it has a right to expect them to do. That’s not a flaw. That’s private property. Deal with it.

  18. In Libertopia, the internet backbone companies have the right to ban any traffic by or about you.

    “Muh Free Market!”

  19. With telephones, users can keep spoofing their numbers circumvent other users from blocking them. You can keep adding the spoofed number to your device blocked list, but with 10 digits there are 10 billion numbers out there to use. Neither the phone company or the government will help. With Google, they go out of their way, at great expense, to restrict messages from users that they think other users don’t want to see and limit their own advertising revenue. Telemarketers make lots of money spoofing numbers and many Youtube users make lots of money if they have a popular Youtube channel. You don’t have to listen to the Youtube channel if you don’t like it, but you have to keep getting calls from telemarketers. There must be a reason Youtube is limiting their own profits and profits of users and the Telephone company does not.

  20. If YouTube wants to be a “private platform”, they should be legally liable for everything they publish, like any other private entity. Choose.

    Of course, as long as Google and YouTube are in bed with Democrats (and they are), they will continue to get these sweetheart deals. Let’s hope Trump’s judicial appointees will end this kind of corruption.

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