Facebook’s Jugular Blow for Journalists?

Graham Phillips

As with certain other journalists, including, notably, Anatoliy Shariy, my main output is my YouTube channel. Not only output, as I’ve chosen to be independent it generates, via advertisements, a modest but invaluable revenue.

I’ve had a few issues with YouTube over my time with them, in which I’ve grown a channel from nothing to over 70,000 subscribers, near 45 million views. Yet I’ve found them generally fair, and reasonable to deal with.

The most common cause my direct interaction with YouTube is when someone simply steals one of my videos – takes it, re-uploads it. The reason for this is often rather malign – Ukrainian media wants to use / misuse my material to attack me, but doesn’t want to promote my work. Back in September, they chopped a piece down from over 20 minutes, to under 7 minutes, removing all context in the process, to delight in my forceful ejection from an opposition meeting in Moscow.

I felt their doing this simply showed up how Ukrainian propaganda works, so let their chopped video stand –

Then, at the end of October, I recorded myself interviewing Ukrainian Aidar 1romabattalion member Roman Smagulov (right). To surmise the interview, POW (shortly before release) Roman wouldn’t say why he was fighting for Ukraine, confirmed that Ukraine shelled civilian areas, and said that he didn’t know history. However, for his supposed stoicism in the face of an ‘interrogation by the dreadful Graham Phillips‘ – it was really just 8 minutes of polite questions – Ukrainian media decided to make him a ‘Ukrainian hero‘. That’s fine, they can do what they like, but what they can’t do, as they did, is simply steal my video, re-upload it, and use that in their articles.

They did, I complained to YouTube, the video was removed –

However, then, it was posted on Facebook, by a Euromaidan group, where it gained considerable traction – coming up for 100,000 views, which would generate a reasonable income on YouTube.

I reported the matter to Facebook – my original content was being used without consent, a standard copyright violation. And got this reply –


Thanks for your report. It appears that the content you reported is being used for Fullscreen capture 12112015 153003.bmpthe purpose of commentary or criticism. In this context, we don’t understand how this content would violate your rights.

If you still believe this content infringes your rights, please clarify why you believe this particular use of the reported content violates your copyright, including reference to statutes or legal decisions where applicable.


Intellectual Property Operations

This, despite my having clearly stated in the original complaint that the video violates my copyright by using my work without consent. A mock-baffled ‘In this context, we don’t understand how this content would violate your rights.’, then pompous Facebook reply designed to end the matter there and then ‘reference to statutes or legal decisions where applicable’…

I’ve been busy over the past few days creating more content, which can seemingly be ripped off and posted at will on Facebook, but replied today –

Ref #1650367861919146

The posting of this video on Facebook violates my rights because it’s my content, I didn’t give permission for them to reupload it onto their Facebook account. I’m an independent journalist, and my YouTube channel is one of my main sources of Fullscreen capture 12112015 155846.bmpincome. They’ve taken this content from my YouTube channel, and posted it on their Facebook page where it now has near 100,000 views – from which I would derive a reasonable income had the content been viewed on my channel. 
Anyone is free to engage with my content in whatever way they like, including ‘for the purpose of commentary or criticism’, however why couldn’t they have just linked to my video? Why was it necessary for them to reupload it, without my consent. It’s simple theft of intellectual property, of creative content. 

If Facebook support this, you are supporting the right of any Facebook user to steal content and simply reupload it onto Facebook. This sets a dangerous precedent for any content creator. When I raised the matter with YouTube, they removed the video in question immediately – youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h17MJDRL1Y

I ask, once again, that you remove this content – https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan/videos/892849720811366/ – or, leave it, and let it be known that Facebook supports theft of content, breach of copyright, and flagrant disrespect of intellectual property.

Yours, Graham

So, let’s see what Facebook’s next move will be.

3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Jugular Blow for Journalists?”

  1. Graham, under US copyright law (and by inference internationally) there is a right to make reasonable use of others’ published material for purpose of criticism or commentary. Otherwise coherent advancing discussion would be fairly impossible. There appear to be two valid bases on which you could object to the fascists’ use of your video.

    1) Omitting to provide a link or other means for the viewers to access your own original (to verify they are not misreprenting it).
    2) Using excessive amounts in a way not justified for criticism or commentary but just as an act of plagiarism.

    I don’t think objection 2 is likely to have much relevance to your case, indeed you object rather to them chopping out instead.

    If they have failed to abide by the criteria of objection 1, then you have a valid grounds to take to youtube or FB and I urge you to do so.
    They may well be clap, but best to treat them as making an honest mistake as I expect they have huge numbers of such complaints, with most of them being knowingly unsound anyway (as many people like to get vids removed for censorship purposes).

    So please check out those statutes of the US copyright law, see wickedpedia for a start. And quote them to facelessbook. Cheers, D


    1. I should clarify that lack of your consent is irrelevant in a case of commentary or criticism. People generally are often not going to give consent for their work to be criticised by opponents. The people most likely to be critical are exactly those most unlikely to be given consent.


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