Feeds

YouTube clasps naked dancer to bosom

Nude video clips are okay - as long as they're 'art'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

It's official: smut is now allowed on YouTube – so long as it's artistic smut.

And with this recognition that not everything that is naked is evil, YouTube appears to have scored one up on the slightly more straitlaced types over at Facebook.

More seriously, by instituting a formal appeals process, it may have set the ball rolling on a trend that users of major online services have been demanding for a very long time.

Earlier this year, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) got involved after YouTube first removed, then restored videos - including "Element" and "Tides" - by dance-artist Amy Greenfield. NCAC expressed serious concerns about the lack of an appeals process for individuals who believe that their work has been unfairly removed from the site as well as the absence of "art" in the list of exceptions to the YouTube community guidelines banning nudity.

As if to prove a point, work by by LA artist Susan Mogul was then involved in further controversy in July. For once, a major online free service provider proved itself up to the task of listening – and, according to NCAC, YouTube has now put in place an appeals process, as well as amending the community guidelines to include "artistic" purpose as the basis for permitting an exception to the no nudity requirement.

In return, YouTube is asking that posters provide reviewers with enough information to make an informed decision when reviewing flagged work. It's all about "context". YouTube now tells users: "Titling and tagging your video correctly is the best way to add context to your videos. When our team is reviewing flagged content, titles or tags with words as simple as "human rights" or "police abuse" will help us understand the context of the footage you’re uploading.

"Try to add some specific information into the description: who is in the video, what is happening, where and when did it happen, and why?"

The floodgates may well have opened, if not on a tidal wave of smut, at least on a long debate on what constitutes art.

Over at Facebook, meanwhile, the picture remains muddy. Readers may remember how, back in September, Facebook first banned a picture of Bliss Dance – then allowed it when the poster explained, in words of one syllable, that it was a statue and it was art. Gulping down a large helping of humble pie, a Facebook spokesman said: "Our reviewers look at thousands of photos a day that are reported to them. Of course, they make an occasional mistake.

"This is just an example. Our compliments to the artist - the statue is quite lifelike. We encourage the person who uploaded the photo to repost it and apologize for any inconvenience."

A Facebook spokeswoman originally claimed that there was an artistic exemption in their T&Cs, but has since agreed that there isn't. A close reading of what is written there shows no such exemption. Perhaps Facebook means that users of the site should apply a certain amount of artistic licence when reading through their T&Cs.

She told us today: "Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures. We recognise that this policy might in some cases result in the removal of artistic works; however, it is designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.