In this comprehensive blog post, we’re going to walk you through how to remove defamatory and malicious content and videos from YouTube, how to submit a defamation complaint on YouTube, and why YouTube defamation poses a serious threat to your personal and professional reputation.
- To remove defamatory false malicious videos from YouTube, submit a complaint with Google via their ‘Submit a Complaint’ link, by including your contact information and capacity as the complainant, the video url, exact statements alleged to be defamatory, and several legal affirmations of truth. You may also submit a free form defamation complaint which may be submitted by email, fax, or mail.
- Some other common methods of removing and suppressing defamatory videos and content from YouTube include; (1) filing a DMCA takedown if the content infringes your copyright, and (2) utilizing proper SEO tactics to push negative content to the bottom of Internet search results.
- While it may seem like defamatory content on YouTube should be classified as ‘slander,’ as it’s technically spoken and appearing in verbal form, defamatory content on YouTube is actually classified as ‘libel’, which covers all defamation preserved in a tangible, fixed, and permanent medium. Videos are fixed in permanent and tangible medium.
Online Defamation Removal Tip: When removing defamatory and malicious videos from YouTube, we strongly suggest making a copy of the video or taking screenshots of any offensive material. Doing so will help refute any claims by the opposing party of evidence tampering. Furthermore, we recommend having a trusted family member or friend take supporting screenshots as well to ultimately strengthen its veracity.
If you’ve been the victim or subject of false and defamatory videos or content posted on YouTube, it’s time to act! Let’s put an end to the online abuse and humiliation now! Reach out to the defamation removals of Minc Law and let’s get started.
At Minc Law, we know the ins and outs of United States defamation and libel law, and have secured the removal of over 25,000 pieces of defamatory content/websites in our storied tenure. Furthermore, we’ve litigated in over 22 states and 3 countries, and boast a nearly 100% online defamation removal and takedown rate – and, we do it all for a flat, reasonable fee.
We’ve worked tirelessly with countless website administrators, third-party arbitration firms, and online content managers, so rest assured you’re in good hands when choosing Minc Law.
Table of Contents
The Facts: YouTube’s Evolution & Online Defamation
Created in February of 2005, and later sold to Google (2006) for USD $1.65 billion, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing and third-party user generated content platforms in the world. If you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with YouTube, and have spent more hours than you’d like to admit watching YouTube videos before work the next day.
But, what happens when content turns sour and defamatory on YouTube? When music videos turn to public shaming, product review videos cross over into defamatory rants, and supportive comments morph into false and malicious accusations?
Well, unfortunately, that’s an all too present reality thanks to YouTube’s third-party user generated content platform. And, it stands to adversely affect not only your personal reputation, but your professional one as well.
For starters, YouTube is the number 2 website in the world according to Alexa rank – a popular website traffic, analytics, and statistics tool – meaning it’s the second highest trafficked and popular website online. Such stature means few things.
Let’s take a look at some statistics to see just how big YouTube has become over the years:
- In 2010, YouTube received more than 2 billion views per day,
- It was used to stream the U.S. Presidential debates in 2012,
- YouTube surpassed 1 billion monthly users in early 2013,
- 400 hours of content uploaded to Youtube per minute (2017),
- One billion hours of content watched per day (2017), and
- YouTube has now amassed over 1.9 billion logged in monthly users.
As you can see, YouTube has unfathomable amounts of content posted per day, even more comments left, and unprecedented amounts of content being removed. But, it’s not always timely and effective. YouTube also acknowledges such challenges in removing content in their response to the Culture and Media Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom after facing criticism for how they police their videos and content, by stating:
“We have strict rules on what’s allowed, and a system that enables anyone who sees inappropriate content to report it to our 24/7 review team and have it dealt with promptly. We educate our community on the rules and include a direct link from every YouTube page to make this process as easy as possible for our users. Given the volume of content uploaded on our site, we think this is by far the most effective way to make sure that the tiny minority of videos that break the rules come down quickly.”
YouTube is the definition of a viral beast, which could either make or break your reputation depending on which side of the coin you’re on.
And, if you’re unconvinced of the potential for unsavory, libelous, and defamatory content on Youtube and other social media platforms, we strongly recommend you check out this Transparency Report issued by Google.
Some key highlights include:
- Requests to remove content due to copyright: almost 4 billion URLs and 2.2 million specified domains requested to be removed filed by over 160,000 copyright owners (across 147,000 reporting organizations).
- Government requests to remove content: 25,000+ requests to remove content in the year 2018 – a far step up from the 1,000 requests by governments in 2009. Note that almost 2700 of those requests were due to defamatory and libelous content on the web.
Now, let’s get to it. Is it considered libel or slander when someone posts false and defamatory content about you online?
Online Defamation Law Fact: Document everything. Oftentimes, defamation victims forget to properly and thoroughly document a libelous post or video online, making for a tougher time bringing a claim. Make sure to preserve all evidence. We recommend screenshotting the offending and defamatory material, and reaching out to a trusted friend or family member to assist in the documentation process – doing so may help refute claims by the opposing party that you tampered with the evidence.
Is it Libel or Slander If You’re Defamed on YouTube?
We imagine this question might actually trick quite a large percentage of you reading this. Let’s first walk you through the definition of defamation, and the fundamental differences between libel and slander.
Simply put, defamation refers to a false statement of fact which is communicated or published to a third-party, which subsequently causes harm or damage to another person’s reputation. Defamation generally consists of four elements (sometimes five, depending on your state):
- A false statement of fact which is ‘of and concerning’ the plaintiff,
- An unprivileged publication or communication to a third-party,
- With fault on behalf of the defendant amounting to at least negligence,
- Causes damage to the plaintiff’s reputation.
Defamation may then be broken down into two core types; libel and slander:
- Libel: a written or published (includes media) false assertion of fact to a third-party, which subsequently causes harm or damage to another person’s reputation.
- Slander: an oral and spoken false assertion of fact to a third-party, which subsequently causes harm or damage to another person’s reputation.
Take a second to think about whether a defamatory communication and publication on YouTube should be considered libel or slander…
Alright, great! Now, we imagine a healthy percentage of you chose “slander.” After all, videos contain spoken assertions of fact, which are oral in nature. That’s great reasoning, however, slander does not cover defamation which is communicated or published in a preserved medium. Cue libel!
If you read the above definitions carefully, you’ll see that we mentioned “includes media,” in our definition of libel. While you might think libel refers to a traditional printed medium, such as a newspaper, magazine, or other document, it actually extends to today’s digital age. Websites and online videos are now considered “fixed in nature,” meaning it is capable of existing online forever. As a general rule, almost all defamation that you will find online will be grouped under libel (non-capture live-streams may sometimes be considered slander).
Libel Removal Tip: Confronting online libel and defamation can be overwhelming and stressful, as time is often of the essence. Libel and other false attacks online are like wildfire, and have potential to spread at a rapid pace and to a global audience. We recommend setting up a Google Alerts account to monitor your online reputation. Not only is it free, but it’s effective, and notifies you anytime your name is mentioned online.
Removing online defamation can be an arduous and stressful process, so we strongly recommend you consult an experienced and knowledgeable online defamation removal attorney. Contact us today to schedule your free, initial no-obligation consultation by calling us at (216) 373-7706, or by filling out our contact form online.
It’s time to take back your online narrative!
Common Consequences of Online Defamation & Libel
In this section, we’re going to walk you through the numerous repercussions and consequences which can arise as a result of online defamation and libel. It always bears repeating, online defamation take a very similar form to a wildfire, meaning it has potentially to spread very quickly if not stopped at the root. Stay proactive, aware, and vigilant.
Below is a table showing the potential effects online defamation and libel may have on your reputation.
|Mental anguish, anxiety, and loss of sleep||Loss of customers and business|
|Embarrassment and humiliation||Severance of sponsorships, advertising, and partnerships|
|Strain and severance of personal relationships (family, friends, loved ones)||Increased media attention and scrutiny|
|Paranoia||Denial of future employment opportunities or promotions|
|Ostracization from one’s community||Having to close one’s business down for good|
Above are just some of the potential consequences an individual or business may face when libeled or defamed online. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. If you’ve been the victim of online defamation and false/libelous attacks and comments, reach out to the online defamation removal attorneys of Minc Law now!
The online abuse stops now!
Reputation & Brand Monitoring Tip: Establishing a healthy budget for online reputation and brand monitoring is essential for the future of your company or business. Doing so is an effective way to gauge community perception/views of your product or service, and identify any intellectual property infringers as soon as they pop up.
How to Remove Defamatory Videos & Content From YouTube
Right of the bat, it’s important to understand that YouTube was purchased by Google in November 2006 for roughly USD $1.65 billion, and as such, it operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. A quick Google search of “YouTube Defamation” will lead to the top result being from Google Support, as their removal policies are directly tied to Google (after all, they were purchased by Google).
Google’s ‘Defamation’ support page notes that while the definition of defamation various around the world, “…in general, defamation is any untrue statement that is harmful to someone’s reputation or causes someone to be shunned or avoided.” Furthermore, they will take into account local legal considerations in their defamation removal and blocking process.
So, let’s get started. How do you remove defamatory videos and content from YouTube?
Submit a Complaint With Google
The most direct method for removing defamatory videos and content from YouTube is by submitting a defamation complaint via their ‘Submit a Complaint’ link – this link actually re-directs you to YouTube. If you’re having to submit a complaint via Google’s website, then “waving the flag” under a YouTube video (the toolbar with buttons) to report a video which you think violates YouTube’s Community Guidelinesprobably didn’t work. So, it’s time to get serious.
Here’s what you should include in your complaint to remove defamatory videos and content from YouTube.
- Complainant Information: country of dispute, your full legal name, YouTube channel (if relevant), whether you’re acting on behalf of yourself or a client, and your contact information.
- Details of the complaint: include the video url, exact statements made in the video which you allege to be defamatory, and requisite legal affirmations about the veracity of your statements (and signature).
The YouTube defamation web-form may be found here.
Google and YouTube also accept free form defamation complaints, which may be submitted by email, fax, or mail. It’s extremely important that you are as detailed as possible when filing a complaint with YouTube and Google, as Google has noted under their “Reasons we don’t remove” that they will decline to remove URLs and content when there’s a failure to provide enough information about why it’s defamatory or infringing.
Now, let’s turn to some other effective ways to remove or suppress content on YouTube.
Consulting an Experienced Online Defamation Removal Attorney
A tricky area of online defamation law is understanding the proper jurisdiction in which to file your defamation lawsuit. This especially rings true in cases of YouTube libel and defamation, as one party may upload a video while in State X, defaming a party in State Y, which is seen in its majority by residents of State Z.
It’s important to understand that you will not be able to bring a defamation or libel suit in every state where the defamatory content is viewed and published – thanks to the single publication rule, which limits defamation recovery to a singular instance (unless there’s a subsequent alteration of material substance).
We strongly recommend you consult an experienced defamation attorney if you’re unsure which state is proper to file your defamation and libel lawsuit in. An experienced online defamation attorney may also assist in the procurement of a valid court order, which Google/Youtube recognizes may be required in certain instances.
Also, if you’re concerned about online defamation and libel, we suggest setting up a Google Alerts account, to notify you anytime your name has been mentioned online. Not only does it allow you to monitor the web for interesting content, but it enables you to stay proactive about protecting your reputation.
Filing a DMCA Takedown
As we noted above under Google’s ‘Transparency Report’, DMCA takedowns for copyright infringement and violations are in the millions, so keep this in mind if you encounter a defamatory or libelous video concerning you on the Internet which also infringes upon your copyright.
Most copyright infringers are unaware that an image of another person, or video shot by another person, likely means the copyright vests with that person – and as such, the infringer does not then have a valid copyright to the material. It can sometimes be tricky to understand what is fair game under intellectual property and copyright law, as there are some exceptions, such as “fair use” which you need to look out for.
DMCA takedowns can also be a bit tricky to navigate, as you can see from a past blog post we wrote on DMCA takedowns, so we also recommend you reach out to an experienced online defamation and Internet attorney before filing one.
Utilization of Good SEO Practices
Removing defamatory and libelous online content isn’t always an option for some, especially when there’s several free and effective methods injured and defamed parties may employ to minimize its visibility. Just remember, utilizing good SEO practices will not fully remove defamatory and false online content. It will only suppress it in the search results.
There’s several free and easy ways to suppress libelous search results (including a YouTube video’s rankings in the search results).
- Create positive and constructive content of your own (this could include a YouTube video with your name in the title),
- Open up your social media profiles and start commenting publicly on blogs, websites, and videos,
- Start using online review websites to rate local businesses and restaurants,
- Link between your social media and online accounts (doing so creates one giant spider web of positive content).
If done correctly, utilizing proper SEO tactics could lead to a defamatory post or video being pushed far down in the search results. And, you can take solace in knowing that most individuals or consumers rarely venture to even the second or third page of Internet search results for their information.
Ohio Defamation Law Fact: Ohio defines defamation as a false statement, concerning a person, which is published without privilege to a third-party, with fault amounting to at least negligence, and it was either (a) defamatory per se or caused special harm to the plaintiff. Specifically, Ohio recognizes four classes of statements as defamatory per se: words charging a plaintiff with an indictable offense, words imputing a contagious disease on a plaintiff, words injuring a person in their profession, and words subjecting a person to public hatred or ridicule.
Work With Defamation Removal Lawyers to Takedown Defamatory Videos!
If you’ve had defamatory and libelous videos posted about you on YouTube or other social media sites, reach out to the defamation removal lawyers of Minc Law now! At Minc Law, we’re here to fight for your reputation, and know the ins and outs of United States defamation and libel law.
In our tenure as nationally recognized defamation removal lawyers, we’ve secured the removal of over 25,000 pieces of defamatory and libelous content/websites, litigated in over 22 states and 3 countries, and boast a nearly 100% online defamation takedown rate. Furthermore, we are also well-versed in the area of revenge porn takedowns and removals. Rest assured when working with the online defamation lawyers of Minc Law, you’re in good hands.
Here’s what you can expect when working with the Cleveland-based lawyers of Minc Law:
- Respect & Courtesy: We understand how invasive and stressful online defamation can be, so take solace knowing that we’re here to treat you with the utmost respect and courtesy. After all, your goals are our goals.
- Open Dialogue & Constant Communication: Some defamation removal attorneys and firms go missing once the online removal process has begun, not us. We understand the important of communication and staying in the loop, so rest assured knowing we’ll constantly update you with details concerning your case and takedown!
- Websites Respond to Us: That’s right, websites and businesses respond to Minc Law! As mentioned above, we’ve removed over 25,000 pieces of content and websites from the Internet in our tenure, and support a nearly 100% online defamation removal and takedown rate.
What are you waiting for? Let’s put an end to the online defamation and libel before it spreads. Contact us today to schedule your free, initial no-obligation consultation by calling us at (216) 373-7706, or by filling out our contact form online.