Thursday, June 13, 2013

UPDATED: Is Gay Activist Attorney Trying to Censor My Video Interview of Him at Chick-fil-A?

Update, 13 June 2013: Now Vimeo has removed the video. Vimeo's email to me: "Your video 'Gay Attorney Supports Official Abuse of Power Against Chick-fil-A' has been removed for violating our Guidelines. Reason: Violates Privacy." Incredible! The attorney was openly demonstrating with other protesters on a public sidewalk in broad daylight and consented to being interviewed. That's a violation of privacy? Really?!? 

Update, 21 August 2012: YouTube did it: They disabled my video interview of a gay Chicago attorney. You can still see it here, however, because I also posted it to Vimeo. Read the original post below for full info. Here is the email that YouTube sent to me on August 21:

Regarding your account: 

The YouTube Community has flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed by the YouTube Team against our Community Guidelines. Upon review, we have determined that the following video(s) contain content in violation of these guidelines, and have been disabled.

One of the things most hated about YouTube is this: When somebody complains about a video, YouTube does not tell you who that person is and the reasons given are so vague that you often cannot know exactly why the complaint was lodged against you. Such is the case for me with this complaint that "an individual" filed. Worse, even after I explained to YouTube that the video was not in violation of anybody's privacy, they disable the video anyway.

That is why I am asking for legal help to sue YouTube and Vimeo.

ORIGINAL POST:
August 20, 2012 - As the result of my video interview with a gay attorney on August 3, I am being harassed by unknown persons.

When I interviewed an openly gay attorney at the "Kiss-In" protest at the Chick-fil-A Water Tower store, I did not think that I was violating anybody's privacy.

How "private" is this? David Amen and a buddy posed
for photos and a very public kiss at Chick-fil-A Chicago
I still don't think I did so, but "an individual" filed a complaint with YouTube about it. It is, in my opinion, pure harassment. I posted the video and my report on Chicago News Bench on August 3. YouTube informed me of this via email on Saturday, August 18 (see below). To be pro-active, I have also posted the video to Vimeo (above).

"This is to notify you that we have received a privacy complaint from an individual regarding your content," YouTube wrote.

The video was an interview of attorney David Amen, an adult, openly gay attorney in Chicago. He was at the public event, on a public sidewalk, knowingly being interviewed by me.

The only information about Mr. Amen contained in the video was whatever he said about himself, plus the publicly available fact that he is a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago and a State's Attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, both of which are noted on his public profile at the website of the Lesbian And Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC).  Do a Google search for "David Amen Cook County State's Attorney's Office" and you'll find all kinds of public information.

A privacy complaint? Really? About what? The public kiss that Mr. Amen gave to another man as he posed for photographers in front of Chick-fil-A? For what he said to me in the interview to which he consented? He identified himself on camera. He identified himself as being gay.  

As you can see in the video, Mr. Amen was cordial and seemed happy to say what he said on camera.

I asked Mr. Amen whether he was protesting or representing by being in front of Chick-fil-A. His response was, "I'd say making a statement about what we believe." A public statement, of course. His response was slick, spoken like a slick attorney, but clear:

Mr. Amen was there to get public attention in order to make his anti-Chick-fil-A statement. He was not doing anything in private. No privacy was violated by this video. Anybody else in that video, in the background, was walking on a public sidewalk and was not identified.

Please note that I am NOT saying that the "individual" who filed the privacy complaint with YouTube is Mr. Amen. I do not know who that person (or persons) may be, and YouTube did not identify the "individual."  I do say, however, that somebody is clearly trying to intimidate me, and their intent is obviously to have the video removed from YouTube.  

YouTube's Email to Me (with my emphasis added):

Who complained to YouTube and Vimeo?
This is to notify you that we have received a privacy complaint from an individual regarding your content: We would like to give you an opportunity to review the content in question and remove any personal information that may be used to uniquely identify or contact the complainant. 

You have 48 hours to take action on the complaint. If you remove the alleged violation from the site within the 48 hours, the complaint filed will then be closed. If the potential privacy violation remains on the site after 48 hours, the complaint will be reviewed by the YouTube Team and may be removed pursuant to our Privacy Guidelines (http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy_guidelines). 

For content to be considered for removal, an individual must be uniquely identifiable by image, voice, full name, Social Security number, bank account number or contact information (e.g., home address, email address). Examples that would not violate our privacy guidelines include gamer tags, avatar names, and address information in which the individual is not named. 

We also take public interest, newsworthiness, and consent into account when determining if content should be removed for a privacy violation. If the alleged violation is located within the video itself, you may have to remove the video completely. If someone's full name or other personal information is listed within the title, description, or tags of your video, you can edit this by going to My Videos and clicking the Edit button on the reported video. 

Making a video private is not an appropriate method of editing, as the status can be changed from private to public at any time. Because they can be turned off at any time, annotations are also not considered an acceptable solution. We're committed to protecting our users and hope you understand the importance of respecting others' privacy. 

When uploading videos in the future, please remember not to post someone else's image or personal information without their consent. For more information, please review our Privacy Guidelines http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy_guidelines

MY RESPONSE TO YOUTUBE:

I CONSIDER THIS COMPLAINT TO BE HARASSMENT BY THE COMPLAINANT.

Your notification...is terribly vague and non-specific. The man that I interviewed in the video, Mr. David Amen, is (a) an adult and (b) put himself out in the public eye by appearing at a public protest and consenting to the interview, as it obvious. I listed his name and two of his job titles, both of which are public information and publicly posted on his and related publicly available websites. You claim that you are "committed to protecting our users," but I wonder if you are also committed to the fairness of those who are unfairly targeted for unwarranted complaints. The man that Mr. Amen kissed at the beginning of the video is also an adult and similarly consented to be on camera, was knowingly at a public event on a public sidewalk in full view of news media and cameras.

Also See: 
WANTED: Conservative Attorney With Courage To Help Me Sue YouTube and Vimeo

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