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YouTube removes influential conservative website's channel

A picture illustration shows a YouTube error logo reflected in a person's eye, in central Bosnian town of Zenica, early June 18, 2014.  (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

A picture illustration shows a YouTube error logo reflected in a person's eye, in central Bosnian town of Zenica, early June 18, 2014. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

The YouTube channel of influential conservative politics and law website Legal Insurrection has been removed by the video sharing service, citing copyright infringement claims.

“This account has been terminated because we received multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement regarding material the user posted,” explains YouTube, in a notice posted to channel’s page.

Legal Insurrection founder and publisher and Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson voiced his anger and astonishment at the channel’s removal. “It’s very frustrating, it’s very scary, to have 8 years of content removed without a chance to defend yourself,” he told FoxNews.com.

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In an email, Jacobson said that he never received notice of the claims prior to the channel's removal on Thursday. On Friday the publisher received notification from YouTube that the copyright claims were filed by the Modern Languages Association (MLA) based on audio posted of a recent MLA vote on a resolution to boycott Israeli universities. The boycott resolution at the MLA Delegate Assembly failed.

"Clearly this was a politically motivated move," he told FoxNews.com. "I never received any request or complaint from MLA. These were perfectly legitimate fair use excerpts with great news value."

"This is an attempt to silence our reporting on a matter of great public importance," added Jacobson, whose website reported on the vote. "We intend to pursue all available remedies, and call on YouTube to restore our account."

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The Legal Insurrection website, which is widely cited in the conservative media, receives hundreds of thousands of visitors a month. Its YouTube channel contained a wealth of content, including original reporting, according to Jacobson.

“We take copyright issues very seriously both on YouTube and our website," he said.” We have a large readership, and the videos that disappeared included substantial original content that has been shared widely at other websites."

Owners of copyright-protected work that was posted on YouTube without their authorization can submit a copyright infringement notification to the video sharing site, according to YouTube's website. YouTube also has a counter-notification process in place if a user believes a content owner has misidentified their video, and will reinstate videos if a user succeeds in that process or if it receives a retraction from the content owner that submitted the original notification.

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"It is the MLA's practice to issue takedown notices when its proprietary material is used without permission," an MLA spokeswoman told FoxNews.com, via email.

Founded in 2005, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion the following year. YouTube now has over a billion users, encompassing almost one third of all users on the Internet.

 

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers