The Crown Prosecution Service Press Release on Gareth Hemingway: “Conviction for uploading racist videos to YouTube
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has successfully prosecuted a man for distributing racially inflammatory recordings after he uploaded racist video clips to the video-sharing website YouTube. Gareth Hemingway pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to five offences under section 21(1) of the Public Order Act 1986 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Following sentencing today at Leeds Crown Court, Stuart Laidlaw, reviewing lawyer for the CPS, said: ‘Freedom of speech carries with it responsibilities. Publishing something that is abusive and insulting and that is likely to stir up racial hatred is against the law and the CPS will work with the police to prosecute robustly anyone who does so.
‘Gareth Hemingway decided to use the very public forum of YouTube to distribute videos of a racist and inflammatory nature which he had edited, and which were designed to provoke violence against ethnic minorities, particularly those living in Dewsbury.
‘They called for a racial holy war, described acts of violence and made supportive references to far right groups such as Combat 18 and POWER (Patriots of White European Resistance).’
Mr Laidlaw said that using the internet as a forum for distributing this type of material does not guarantee anonymity. He said: ‘Using the internet does not mean that people are immune from prosecution. They can be tracked down and prosecuted, as this case shows.’
Gareth Hemingway was prosecuted in relation to five videos that he uploaded to YouTube between January and June 2007. They included titles such as ‘red, white and blue through and through’, ‘oi monkey’ and ‘Dewsbury needs help’, and featured racist references and imagery including an assault on a black man by a white man.
When police arrested Gareth Hemingway, they found a collection of Nazi and racist memorabilia at his home.
The material came to the attention of the police when a local journalist researching Dewsbury on the internet came across the videos Gareth Hemingway had posted and reported them. Following an appeal in the Dewsbury Reporter, Gareth Hemingway was identified in an anonymous call to Crimestoppers.”
Flash News: last updated on 04.11.2010: entry by Dr. Yaman Akdeniz: Despite the earlier news that Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube after almost 2.5 years, YouTube reinstated the four videos that were removed by a licensing agency in Germany. YouTube, in a statement circulated in Turkish late Monday night stated that the four videos did not violate its copyright violation policy and therefore they were put back into the system.
I did verify the statement and the four videos are available where they were used to be available. YouTube also announced that it continues to use a “local blocking system” and therefore Turkish users will not be able to see these videos from Turkey if YouTube remains accessible from Turkey. However, those videos will be available and accessible from outside Turkey.
It remains to be seen how the Turkish authorities will react to this action by YouTube but I strongly suspect that they will issue a new injunction to block access to YouTube.
So far, and as of 03.11.2010 no ban has been enforced on YouTube despite several misleading stories in Turkey and elsewhere. There was an attempt at banning YouTube by the lawyers of Deniz Baykal, the former leader of CHP, the opposition party yesterday. However, the allegedly obscene videos involving Baykal and his former mistress were removed from YouTube servers as they were deemed to be sexually explicit. As a result of YouTube’s removal of those videos the court injunction to block access to YouTube was not enforced.
There is no update to report as of 04.11.2010 but YouTube remained accessible for another day.
This entry will be updated as the story develops….
“Note: Nothing has changed in Turkey in terms of its censorship law. Access to approximately 8000 websites remain, and although the YouTube news is welcome, this should not be seen as a step towards democratization in Turkey. The government officials found a loophole (by dancing around the censorship law and by keeping the law as it is) and claimed copyright infringement to get the videos removed from the YouTube servers. I will write a longer piece about the whole issue sometime soon.” (Dr. Yaman Akdeniz)
BBC News – Turkey lifts two-year ban on YouTube: “Turkey lifts two-year ban on YouTube
Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube, two years after it blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country’s founder.
Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, who is in charge of internet issues, said the government had been in contact with Google, which owns YouTube.
Mr Yildirim said there was no longer any reason to ban the website, because the offending videos had been removed.
Insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or ‘Turkishness’ is illegal in Turkey.
The video clip prompting the ban was reportedly posted by Greek users of the website and dubbed Ataturk and Turks homosexuals.
YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future’
End Quote Binali Yildirim Turkish Transport Minister
The move was nevertheless widely criticised by many Turks, including by President Abdullah Gul, who asked officials to find a solution.
Speaking on Turkish television on Saturday, Mr Yildirim said the ban had been lifted after ‘common sense prevailed’.
‘But we didn’t get here easily – we have been through a lot in the process,’ he told NTV.
‘I hope that they have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future,’ he added.
In a statement, YouTube said that it had received reports that some users in Turkey were once again able to access its content.
‘We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process,’ it explained.
‘We are investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright policy,’ the company added.
In 2007, Turkey’s parliament adopted a sweeping law that allowed a court to block any website where there was ’sufficient suspicion’ that a crime had occurred.
The eight crimes listed include child pornography, gambling, prostitution, and ‘crimes against Ataturk’.
In June, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the law was being used to block access to more than 5,000 sites, making internet censorship in Turkey amongst the heaviest in the world.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Bans on websites containing a small amount of content in violation of Turkish law may be depriving people of their constitutional right to free access to information, according to a legal scholar in Istanbul.
The popular websites YouTube and Google are among those Turkish users often have difficulty reaching, a problem the country’s president chalked up to tax-related issues, rather than censorship, in a recent speech.
‘The law initially aimed to protect children and families, but it has mostly been used for political control and censorship,’ Yaman Akdeniz, a lawyer and professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review late last week after an informational meeting. The meeting is a first step toward discussions that will be held among civil-society organizations and the Parliament on the ‘Internet ban’ law in Turkey.
Law No. 5651, which entered into force in November 2007, followed by the approval of three related bylaws, authorizes the country’s courts or its telecommunications authority to cut off access to Internet websites under certain circumstances.
‘Banning access [to Internet sites] does not solve the problem,’ Akdeniz said, adding that problems such as child pornography, libel and the like, included in the framework of the law’s eighth article, cannot be solved in this way. Even if the law could solve such problems, blanket bans on access would be a disproportionate response, he said.
Akdeniz also said there were many gaps in the law and existing provisions were not being implemented properly by the relevant public authorities. ‘Those who commit crimes such as posting child pornography are not punished by the Internet ban,’ he said, adding that it is the general public that is harmed by such bans.
‘This is why I believe the law takes a disproportionate approach,’ he said, explaining that criminals are left free to repeat their crimes while innocent people are deprived of the ability to use Internet website sources for educational, informational and other legal purposes. Moreover, Akdeniz said, the Turkish penal code already covers the crimes listed in Article 8 of the Internet ban law.
Once a court decides to ban access to certain Internet sites, the decision can be appealed within 10 days after it enters into force, a procedure Akdeniz objected to. ‘I see banning access to information as a violation of my constitutional rights,’ he said, adding that there should be no time limit to appeal Internet ban decisions.
Moreover, Akdeniz said, even when he had appealed such decisions on time, the court said he had no right to appeal as he was not a party to the case, something he said was also unjust. ‘The wrong methodology is being applied,’ he said.
Akdeniz also said Internet ban decisions carried the status of preventative measures, which had to be temporary in legal terms, but whose effects could eventually last permanently.
‘The validity time for such decisions must be determined either by law, or by a court decision,’ he said, explaining that the court had said in related decisions that a ban would be annulled once the violation of law No. 5651 had ended.
‘This also constitutes a concern,’ Akdeniz said, adding that Turkish courts considered the violation ended only if the content violating Turkish law cannot be accessed from anywhere around the globe. ‘Although many website-managing companies, such as YouTube, can localize an access ban to [block] content that violates Turkish laws within Turkey, Turkish court decisions have no jurisdiction across borders,’ he said.
President Abdullah Gül said Friday in a speech to students at Columbia University in New York that blocking of websites in Turkey was due simply to unresolved tax issues. ‘A problem that stands is that some Internet sites are unreachable in Turkey, but this is not a result of censorship,’ Gül said. ‘Tax laws have not been updated, and I have urged them to do so.’
Responding to the idea that certain Internet sites had been blocked because their owners had not paid taxes in Turkey, Akdeniz said Turkish tax law does not include any provisions predicting this scenario.
‘Turkey is a country that aspires to join the EU, but its Internet policies are approaching [those of] China,’ Akdeniz said.
The academic said after having exhausted all legal channels within the Turkish system, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a last resort, a place where the issue may find a resolution that does not violate people’s fundamental right to be informed and get access to information.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Hurriyet Daily News&Economic Review
Spanish court clears YouTube of copyright liability for uploaded videos: “YouTube is not liable for copyright infringement because users have uploaded video material from Spanish television station Telecino, a Madrid court has ruled. YouTube is not obliged to monitor all content and weed out infringement, the court said.“
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Spanish court throws out copyright infringement claims against youtube – The Inquirer: “Spanish court throws out copyright infringement claims against Youtube
Says content owners must do their homework
By Lawrence Latif
Thu Sep 23 2010, 17:41
VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has had copyright infringement charges against it dropped by Spain’s federal court in Madrid.
The case was brought by Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, which claimed that Youtube was liable for user uploaded videos that contained copyrighted content. The owner of Youtube, and just about everything else on the web it seems, Google said the decision was a ‘clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it’.
Youtube already has procedures in place for copyright owners to identify and notify the website of any videos that allegedly breach copyrights. The Spanish federal court’s decision follows European Union law, which states that the onus of notification is on content owners not websites such as Youtube. Once notification has been made, it then becomes the responsibility of the website, in this case Youtube, to remove the allegedly infringing content.
If Youtube had to screen videos prior to making them available, it is likely that the viability of the entire operation would come into question. Google claims that 24 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute and having to pre-screen all of these uploads would cause Youtube to ‘grind to a halt.’
Throughout its statement of victory, Google was careful to say that it respects copyright laws. It even talks about ContentID, a system that it claims ‘prevents copyright abuses and gives owners control over their content’. Apparently many broadcasters already use ContentID throughout Europe, allowing them to not lose out on potential revenue should their copyrighted videos be uploaded to Youtube.
It’s likely that as case law builds up in favour of Youtube, other broadcasters will realise that going to court against an equally well-funded outfit that is simply offering them a chance to make even more cash isn’t really such a good idea.
This latest European court victory for Youtube should help Google turn the web’s most popular video sharing website into a profitable venture. µ”
Pornographic videos flood YouTube: “(BBC News)
Video-sharing website YouTube has removed hundreds of pornographic videos which were uploaded in what is believed to be a planned attack. The material was uploaded under names of famous teenage celebrities such as Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers. Many started with footage of children’s videos before groups of adults performing graphic sex acts appeared on screen. YouTube owner Google said it was aware and addressing the problem.
(Via QuickLinks Update.)
Court in Khabarovsk region orders internet provider Rosnet to block YouTube over ultra-nationalist video
* Tom Parfitt in Moscow
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 July 2010 12.15 BST
* Article history
YouTube The regional ban was made because YouTube hosted Russia for Russians, an ultra-nationalist video. Photograph: The Guardian
Russia’s blogosphere reacted with anger today after a regional court banned YouTube because it carried a single video containing ‘extremist’ content.
The court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk region in the Russian far east ordered Rosnet, a local internet provider, to block YouTube as well as three online libraries and a website that archives deleted web pages.
The regional ban was made because YouTube hosted Russia For Russians, an ultra-nationalist video which was added to the justice ministry’s federal list of banned extremist materials after a separate court decision in Samara region in November.
The other four sites – Web.archives.org, Lib.rus.ec, Thelib.ru and Zhurnal.ru – all carried copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Anton Nosik, Russia’s leading internet guru, condemned the decision. ‘The level of crassness in this court ruling is typical of legal proceedings concerning the internet in Russia,’ he said. Google, the owner of YouTube, said the ruling violated Russians’ constitutional right to freedom of information.
Many bloggers also decried the ban, warning it could be a slippery slope to tighter censorship across the country.
‘I can imagine it now,’ wrote Ghost82 on LiveJournal. ‘Russia in 2015, YouTube is banned everywhere. In search of a gulp of air, people travel to the border with Georgia where they will sit with their laptops and pay unimaginable sums to connect to the internet via powerful Wi-Fi transmitters for a taste of depraved western civilisation.’
Alexander tweeted on RuTvit: ‘YouTube has been given to understand that Russia, Pakistan and North Korea have much in common.’
An engineer with Rosnet said the company had suggested prosecutors should contact the portals concerned directly to request they take down the offensive material, rather than issuing a blanket ban. ‘They [prosecutors] remained deaf to these pleas,’ he told the Gazeta.ru news website. Rosnet is appealing the ruling.
While television is tightly controlled by the state, Russia’s soft authoritarian government has so far done little to rein in the internet. Social media and blogging sites are popular and provide a vital outlet for opposition and civil movements.
However, a package of laws to be reviewed by parliament in October could give the security services new powers to close down sites at short notice.
The YouTube ruling is likely to be an embarrassment for President Dmitry Medvedev, who recently launched his own channel on the video-sharing site.
Other countries that have banned YouTube include China, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.
Published 28 July, 2010, 13:56
Edited 29 July, 2010, 07:22
A court in Russia’s Far East has banned access to YouTube, accusing the video sharing site of hosting extremist ideology.
A court in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur obliged the local Internet provider Rosnet to limit access to five websites, which included YouTube, Lenta.ru reported.
The video-hosting site has come under fire for a video titled Russia for Russians which, according to judges, contains extremist elements.
Other banned websites had electronic versions of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, branded extremist and prohibited in Russia.
According to Rosnet owner Aleksandr Ermakov, the court decision is absurd.
‘These decisions should not be taken by a court,’ he said. ‘All of mankind is using this website. And providers like ours do not violate Russian law. But we are still being forced to close the website so that our users can not log on and watch the videos. This is absurd!’
‘According to this logic, we have to demolish all buildings that have swastikas on the walls. Or when two people are discussing a bomb over the phone, we have to take away the phones from all people across Russia,’ Ermakov added.
According to journalist Ivan Zasursky, it is not web content that should be subject to control.
’In my view, any kind of content can be allowed to be hosted anywhere, because content by itself does not make things happen,’ he said. ‘Content is there for people to see, and people who view the content are the ones that, under law, are responsible for their actions.’
‘The point of control should not be the web, it should be the people as responsible citizens that, under the law, should act in a proper way,’ Zasursky added.