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YouTube clarifies ban on privacy, harassment and threats

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YouTube has clarified the conditions under which it would remove videos that invade people's privacy or harass, impersonate or threaten them.

YouTube maintains 'community guidelines' and removes videos that are flagged by users as violating them. According to the site: "YouTube staff review flagged videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate our Community Guidelines. When they do, we remove them."

Those guidelines banned videos containing sex or nudity; hate speech; shocking or disgusting content; dangerous or illegal acts; copyright violations or inappropriate material involving children.

The company has now increased the range of activities that are barred to include, amongst other things, invasions of privacy.

"If a video you've recorded features people who are readily identifiable and who haven't consented to being filmed, there's a chance they'll file a privacy complaint seeking its removal," say its new guidelines. "Don't post other people's personal information, including phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and government IDs. We're serious about keeping our users safe and suspend accounts that violate people's privacy."

It also said that material designed to harass people was not welcome. "If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it on YouTube," say the new guidelines. "And if you're looking to attack, harass, demean, or impersonate others, go elsewhere."

"Impersonating another user by copying someone's exact channel layout, using a similar username, or posing as that person in comments, emails or videos is considered harassment. If you want to keep your account, stay away from participating in any form of impersonation or harassing activity on the site," say the new rules.

The new guidelines also seek to govern the behaviour of people reacting to videos, not just to those posting them.

"Users shouldn't feel threatened when they're on YouTube," they say. "Don't leave threatening comments on other people's videos."

A YouTube spokesman said that the expansion of the guidelines was not "a new policy or a change to our Community Guidelines but rather additional explanatory material to help our users understand the Community Guidelines".

The guidelines are viewable here, (viewable when user setting is set to 'worldwide').

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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