YouTube suspends JREF account

The JREF’s YouTube account has been suspended. As of right now, there are no details. The JREF has yet to receive an explanation. Watch this video (if you want) then follow the instructions below to complain to YouTube.

We will update as we receive information.

To complain to youtube follow this link;

Scroll to the very bottom and click on “new issue”

Select “suspended account” from the options and express your opinion.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. i am curious if its more bogus DMCA claims (see: Thunderf00t) from activist IDers, creationists, sylvia browne bored at home, Pope Benny, the suspects list could go on and on…. None of the “Randi Speaks” that i have watched have any cp’d material. Aren’t they just the man himself talking in front of the camera? My shenanigans sense is tingling.

  2. I screamed aloud when I read this.

    The time-honored, always effective, corporate Cover Your Ass maneuver.

    Despicable, whatever their supposed reason.

    These big social networking services aren’t our friends. They don’t exist for our benefit, they exist because there was a demand, and somebody saw an opportunity to make a buck.

  3. on the account: JamesRandiFoundation, the issue is with likely to be with the following videos:

    Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels
    Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels with James Randi 1/11 (9:52)
    Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels with James Randi 2/11 (9:20)
    Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels with James Randi 3/11 (9:51)
    Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels with James Randi 4/11 (7:27)
    11 videos View Playlist Play All

    which give the error msg:

    This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.

    copyright issues??

  4. @infinitemonkey: They may have started the war, but we will finish it ! It’s not nice to piss off geekdom…

    I’ve sent my complaint to YouTube about JREF and just noted @KimboJones comment about Rational Response and Atheist Media above. Looks like this may get ugly.

    Has anyone submitted this to Digg yet? Hopefully we can get the skeptical community riled up properly.

  5. The account “AtheistMediaBlog” is fine, but the account “AtheistMedia” says it’s suspended. Were these 2 versions of the same account?

  6. I’m removing the following updates from the post… leaving them here. One other account being suspended may be linked or may not. We’ll just wait for more information, and right now worry about the JREF.

    If anyone wants to complain about the RRS, feel free.

    * Update 7PM EDT – Atheist Media and Rational Response have also apparently had their accounts suspended.

    **Atheist Media seems to be up and running just fine. And it seems that RRS host their own videos at I’m still looking into this.

    **Rational Response Squad is, in fact, suspended. Username: Rational Response

  7. @Elyse:
    Worry about the JREF? Not me.

    Randi and company are, more than any other skeptic organization I can think of, fully capable of a full recovery, and a blistering counter-attack. And that’s if they stood alone….they’ve got an loyal army of skeptic/geeky troops behind them.

    We’ll beat this so frakkin’ hard.

  8. @Elyse: Hmm, confusing. Something must have changed. Perhaps they have already taken their own action. When I linked to it before, it also said “suspended”. Now, you’re right, it’s gone entirely.

    In any case, JREF and RRS still appear to be silenced.

  9. My message to YouTube:

    Please restore JREF’s account on YouTube.

    Failing that, please suspend the accounts of anyone who has ever used YouTube to express support for any religious, metaphysical, or philosophical viewpoint.

    In fact, please suspend the accounts of anyone who has ever used YouTube to express an opinion about anything ever.

    I clicked Submit before I realized that a good half of the population is unable to recognize sarcasm in any form.

    Apologies in advance.

  10. Has there been any response from youtube yet on a reason for this. If it is war then war it shall be. We didn’t start this war but god dam we will finish it!

  11. Anyone know how to reach AtheistMedia? I’m not finding any way to contact them from their site. They’ve posted about the JREF suspension but not about their own.

  12. Done and Done.
    As an aside they do have a box which apparently allows an unlimited number of characters, but you response is limited to 350 characters. Tres Bizzare no?

  13. How do we:

    1) start flagging complaints against Creationist sits and crap

    2) trace what the removal reason was. If it was a bogus DMCA notice, then there are actually penalties for falsly filing thougs that can be leveled against people in court, (I think).. Of course, if there aren’t penalties, then we could start filling our own false ones…

  14. @Spacepope:

    You tube feels that anything you can’t say in 2 Twitter updates or less is just not that important.


    Diligent in reporting them against legitimate copyright claims, yes. Against real usage violations, yes. Flagging them to annoy them to get even, no.

    We don’t have any jesuses to save our souls from our sins… so we must act in a way that reflects the consciences our minds have given us. That means only responding with the most ethical and honorable of tactics.

  15. YouTube keeps falling for these bogus claims. I’m sure it will get reinstated pretty quickly, but it’s still a pain in the ass, and it should never have happened in the first place.

    I’ve posted my complaint to YouTube and posted up a mirror of the video. My first ever video on there. :O

    Smack these idiots with the Ten Commandments with extra Eighth, then have them murdered in the face by bears! >:[

  16. Excuse me, but what exactly are people meant to complain against?
    Does anyone know the reason the account was suspended? If not, then on what basis do you complain? Rumours of what you’ve’heard about’?

    As skeptical thinkers, should we not wait for information before jumping to conclusions?

  17. @chillzero: Several skeptic- and/or atheism-related accounts appear to have been suspended at once. That is suspicious. It is possible that Randi, and RSS, AND SkepticMedia did something to warrant suspension. So I am waiting before jumping to conclusions. I don’t know why the account was suspended. But I’m more likely to give JREF the benefit of the doubt than YouTube, given their respective histories.

  18. I can see the suspicious nature.
    However, someone elsewhere surmised one possibility is that perhaps the account had been hacked and used maliciously – in which case complaints to YouTube are unwarranted as the action is entirely appropriate. I just wondered on what grounds we are supposed to complain. I agree that JREF deserve benefit of the doubt, however I feel unable to complain about anything when I don’t know what the charge should be.

  19. Even if the JREF were doing activities on their YouTube account that warranted getting banned, the very fact that we don’t know about them just goes to show how YouTube’s lack of transparency in these matters is entirely problematic.

  20. Has there been any response from the organizations themselves? Surly they can provide some insight.

  21. @Elyse: Ahh.. you see, that depends. I actually have two axes to grind.

    I’m deeply and fundamentally opposed to the entirety of the DMCA. If there is a legal way to abuse it, I actually want to do so just to make a point. I am also deeply opposed to the types of tactics that fundamentalist like to use.

    In my mind, if there is a legal way to file bogus claims against creationist sites though… Well, for me this is the best of all possible worlds. I irritate the hell out of one of my ‘enemies’ by using another one. If I’m really lucky, the result would be a rising up of the fundies against the evils of the DMCA.

    Really this is a win for everyone. ;)

  22. Hey, just letting everyone know that according to dprjones, if you re-watch the video around the 41 second mark an update pops up. It reads the following:

    “My understanding is that a number of “complaints” (I’m assuming flagging) were made in relation to 2 of his videos. I received a message from the JREF on 31/3/09 indicating that the channel will hopefully be re-instated by the end of this week.”

    As of right now it’s still suspended but this sounds like we should have an answer why it was by the end of the week!

  23. Did a little more digging and thanks to fellow skeptic Kate Holden’s comment on my FaceBook page, the main compliant the caused the suspension came from Oprah’s production company HARPO over copyrighted material.

    So we can thank Oprah’s mouth for silencing the JREF channel, like so many unsuspecting Chicken McNuggets before!

  24. My little screed:

    “Please restore the account of the James Randi Education Foundation. And please consider that your company is rapidly gaining a reputation as being too reactionary in responding to radicals wishing to suppress free speech. I can’t help but think that other video sites will gain a competitive advantage over you eventually if that persists.”

    Never hurts to suggest they’ll lose viewers and money if they keep kowtowing to assholes.

    And I could have been a lot more lurid, but there’s a 350-character limit. Cripes.

  25. Atheist Media was suspended a long time ago in October for copyright complaints against 3 documentaries related to Islam. all three complaints were in the same week (almost 2 years after the channel was created) But it seemed like two of them were valid (C4 and BBC)

    I did not try to get it back because most of the content on the channel was not original anyway(Mostly documentaries).

    Now we have a new channel that focuses more on News

  26. @Elles: You’re right.

    I guess now we try and find out *why* this happened in the first place. And I do want some answers. If this was an illegal DMCA takedown notice, then I expect some charges to be filed and people to either pay the Randi Foundation (and others) for their deeds – or go to jail.

    This is, of course, only if it turns out that there were illegal actions going on. But – I guess we’ll find out.

  27. @Elles: It is indeed. Yay!

    @David74: Aaah, thanks for the info. I wonder what happened to RRS…

    @johnhummel: Apparently, there were complaints about a few videos that have since been removed. Seems excessive to suspend the account…I thought the policy was to remove specific videos first.

  28. That’s generally not the way the DMCA notice-and-takedown procedure works. There generally isn’t criminal liability when there is actually a legal question to be resolved. “Valid” (to use the terminology from a couple of comments up) means that the actual copyright holders made the complaint and believed the material to be infringing. There’s a good chance they were wrong, because copyright holders usually have a very conservative view of what constitutes fair use, but fair use is vague and the DMCA process requires YouTube to act in certain ways. See the chilling effects site.

    JREF basically either had to fight it by sending a counter-notification and prepare to go to court if the copyright holder decided to pursue the matter, or to remove the videos. They went with the latter, and I believe that the particular course of action is practical, but not at all ideal. The DMCA is often used in this manner. If you care, support groups like EFF, ALA, and Public Knowledge.

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