Fake Cable Ad Apparently Hits Too Close To Home; Bogus Defamation Claim Censors Video In Canada

from the what-is-defamatory? dept

Back in March, we had written about an absolutely hilarious fake cable ad by the good folks at Extremely Decent Films. It’s funny, and you can watch it again here… if you’re not in Canada:

Why not in Canada? It appears that YouTube has pulled the video based on a defamation claim. I confirmed this by logging into a Canadian server on my VPN, and got the following:
This raises all sorts of questions, none of them good. There’s nothing defamatory in the video at all. I don’t care how ridiculous Canada’s defamation laws are (and they are kind of ridiculous), this video isn’t defaming anything. It doesn’t name a particular cable company, and it’s clearly parody anyway. It makes no statements of fact about any particular cable company anyway. Furthermore, it’s clearly focused on the US, not Canada (at 24 seconds it shows a map of the US). So, it seems like an interesting question to know who made the defamation claim against the video? Furthermore, this is the first time I’ve seen that particular error message on a YouTube video (it’s usually a copyright claim). I’m curious as to how carefully YouTube reviews the defamation claims and if the counternotice process is the same as with a copyright claim. Either way, it seems like whoever decided to file such a claim on the video basically decided to censor a video because they don’t like what it says… and, of course, that’s only going to serve to give it that much more attention (yet again).

Update: YouTube has now reinstated the video, telling us: “Sometimes we make the wrong call. When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed or blocked mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.” It’s still not clear who made the original defamation claim, unfortunately.

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Comments on “Fake Cable Ad Apparently Hits Too Close To Home; Bogus Defamation Claim Censors Video In Canada”

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Anonymous Cowarder says:

Re: Re:

I don’t know! (Yet!)

Proposition. Something declarative, which inherently can only be either true, or false, but not both.

Consider now the sentence:
“if changing your ip to get around a block is a violation of cfaa, is the converse true?” to be two propositions p and q

p: changing your ip to get around a block
q: Is a violation of cfaa.

In the scenario, it is the implication that if p, then q is also true. (p -> q)
That is, if p is true, then q must also be true.

Now let us examine the converse where (q -> p) that is, if q is true then p must also be true.

Semantically this makes no sense: Is a violation of cfaa, change your ip to get around a block!

Now! remember, if q is true, that is, you are in violation of the cfaa, then p must also be true!

Thus we conclude inconsistency as you can be in violation of the cfaa but not have changed your ip!

sorrykb says:

From the dslreports.com link:

In the film, a fake cable industry representative (Nick Smith) promises poor service, underwhelming broadband speeds, and a “plethora of hidden fees,” before educating viewers on the finer points of what being an oligopoly really means.

I thought truth was an absolute defense to defamation.

out_of_the_blue says:

OR some copyright minimalist filed an equally fake claim!

Or someone else mis-using the system for some end, perhaps only the childish pranking so popular here. May be highly significant that an event of so little weight was even noticed. And then ginned up.

Since you don’t know, and apparently aren’t going to bother, don’t need facts to gin up controversy among your twenty or so fanboy-trolls, then your claim that “whoever decided to file such a claim on the video basically decided to censor a video because they don’t like what it says” is on same level as Kerry’s claims about Assad regime behind the chemical attacks: SHEER ASSERTION.

This post mainly to point up how little substance Mike has, and how easy his technique is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: OR some copyright minimalist filed an equally fake claim!

You posit a false flag operation and wonder why people discount everything you say.

It’s weird that in amongst the endless stream of nonsense that pours out of you, every now and then there’s a bit that looks like a well considered thought.
Unfortunately, as it’s smothered by the torrents of inane drivel you propound it takes on a dreamlike quality where you recall very clearly that you were piloting a plane but then the hood on the car you were a passenger in flipped up and totally blocked your view of the WWF match your grandparent’s were in as a tag team, but then granny switched sides and it was 3 against 1 and you were shouting no no it shouldn’t be 3 against 1 it’s supposed to be two, two, two, number two and then woke up having had an undefined accident.

Right up until the moment you say it out loud, it seems to make sense and then you realise you don’t even have that type of carpet, either at home or work.

***** scanned for sense *** none found

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

You broke it, you bought it

Unfortunately, the telecoms and cable companies have seized the internet. Those of us who are old enough to remember the early days of the Internet can tell you that it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

So now, basically, it’s their network, and if they say your video comes down it comes down.

The best we can hope for now is to create some alternative to the Internet. Something that does not rely on the telecommunications industry. And by the way, that same telecommunications industry is the weak link in regard to privacy. Once this new network comes into being, then we have to make sure it doesn’t become just another shopping mall or cable television.

Wolfy says:


He is a pretty smart cookie. I’m sure he/she’s well paid by the copyright industry to derail the conversations here, and as many other similar sites as possible.

He wins every time you write to refute his nonsense or respond to him. Whenever he/she can derail the discussion, away from the topic at hand.

Just click to hide his posts and be done with it. That would drive him/her crazy.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Hello Miss Streisand!

When are idiots out there going to learn about the Streisand effect? Do they really believe that this will not be able to be viewed now in Canada? Can they block Techdirt in Canada? It will be reposted on hundreds of of other sites available there and they just drew much more attention to it. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hello Miss Streisand!

I’m going to use it to good ends. Here is the link to the youtube channel of the people that made the cable video : http://www.youtube.com/extremelydecent
They don’t seem to be censored in Canada and there is even a mugging in Canada that explains very well how ISPs work up here. (Although they extend the process to TV and phones.)


Canuck says:

My money is on Rogers, though my second guess would be Shaw. Rogers controls most of the East while Shaw controls most of the West for cable. Rogers seems more like the type to abuse takedowns and be overly sensitive to parody. But Rogers is also more diverse (Also a cellular phone, media, radio, etc.) while Shaw is mostly just cable ISP and a media provider.

Being from the West, I instantly envisioned Shaw as the target for the parody, but that’s also because they are my only option for cable internet in my area. My only other option for non-cellular ISP is ADSL from the other member of the Canadian telecom oligopoly, Telus.

In case you’ve heard any of us Canadian’s bitching, you’ll notice the same few names over and over again.

Internet: Rogers, Telus and Shaw
Cellphone: Rogers, Telus, Bell
Media: Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw

If you heard talk about Verizon possibly moving into Canada (Which they recently decided not to), you’ll notice that there was a major attack ad campaign going on against it, sponsored by Rogers, Telus and Bell… Mainly complaining how it’s unfair to allow an foreign company to buy up smaller providers when they are not allowed to do the same. (Due to competition laws they can not buy out the smaller carriers as they would gain a true monopoly in the marketplace. But as it stands, they already have over 90%)

badassbrian says:

I’m in Canada and tried both your link and the YouTube url itself on YouTube and received the same defamation message above from 2 different internet service providers. However the youtube url below still works.


If the censors-that-be take down this one, I, badassbrian, do so solemnly swear to put it back up again. You “anti-defamationists”/pro-censorship folks have my word on that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hits too close to home...

I think this was too close to the truth for Canada so one of the big guys (or maybe all 3 of them plus the union) tried to shut it down. Is there any way to find out who made the defamation claim against the video? Might be very interesting to find out. Telus, Bell and Shaw together with the Unions have been fighting a propaganda war to maintain the status quo for consumers so that there is no chance of a better deal for average joe consumer. They keep telling us what a great deal Canadians are getting and that any competition would really harm the customer since the customer might be left with some unspent cash at the end of the month.

Chris says:

Not banned

Relax people, there’s nothing weird going on in Canada.

I can watch it here in Ontario. I suspect the video is taken down automatically when the complaint is made and is then reinstated when a human determines there is nothing wrong with the clip.

It happens hundreds of times a day. You all just got caught in the producer’s PR campaign to get more viewings.

Don’t you feel ashamed?

Rudi says:

Guilty- YOU must prove your innocence

I have had three of my videos of cover bands blocked for cooyrite infringement. They take the side of the complaintant first, even a ‘bot’ sniffing for song titles. I had to point out the song was a cover band playing in an establishment that pays the fee to allow a DJ or band to play popular music. All have been reinstated. I do think there should be someone observing the content first before a decision was made.

Anonymous Coward says:

We have groups of humorists bashing companies into the ground in Canada since forever. In the early 90’s a very popular one bashed its own sponsor : McDonald’s, and even if it caused some rumbles, it actually created no real backlash against them.

To act so idiotic and shrill about this, only BHell (Bell) could be considered to have caused this. Even if they aren’t a cable company. The colours (this type of blue over white background) is a staple of their commercial since 20 years+

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