[artinfo] YouTube suspended channel with my films

Oliver Ressler oliver at ressler.at
Tue Aug 10 12:30:22 CEST 2021

Newsletter Oliver Ressler

YouTube suspended channel with my films

Hi all,

On August 2, 2021 YouTube deleted my entire 
YouTube Channel without any prior warning or 
communication. The email from YouTube reads:

  "We have reviewed your content and found severe 
or repeated violations of our Community 
Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your 
channel from YouTube. [...] Spam, scams or 
commercially deceptive content are not allowed on 

The videos YouTube removed constitute an archive 
of 31 films I made between 2000 and 2018. These 
are films shown hundreds of times in exhibitions, 
film festivals and social movement contexts. They 
have appeared in several biennials and in museums 
such as the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid and the 
Centre Pompidou, Paris.

  I immediately appealed the removal of my YouTube 
Channel, following the recommended steps. Since 
then I have received no further response from 
YouTube. Meanwhile, 
remains offline.

  I began making complete films available on my 
webpage and on Vimeo many years ago, but for a 
long time I was reluctant to involve YouTube as 
an additional online platform. I felt 
uncomfortable about using a Google-controlled 
platform for films centered on a critique of 
capitalism, climate breakdown, forms of 
organizing and resistance.

When I set up my YouTube Channel in 2020, 
mid-pandemic, I did so for strategic reasons. 
YouTube is not only the world's largest video 
platform, it is also the second-largest search 
engine. I hoped it might constitute a way to 
reach people who neither visit art exhibitions 
nor are politically organized.

But whether algorithmically or by direct human 
intervention, YouTube has now declared my work a 
"scam", slapping the epithet on a body of work 
that often focuses critically corporate scams and 
builds an archive of democratic organization.

I am not astonished that YouTube shut down my channel, but I am angry.

They shut down a platform summarily then 
afterwards pretend to offer an appeal process. 
This is like carrying out a punishment first, and 
only then offering the penalized the opportunity 
to appeal afterwards.

Just how seriously Google takes the right to 
appeal is laid bare here by the lack of any 
response from one of the world's richest 
corporations after more than seven days. They 
know very well that they operate in a lawless 
field skewed in their favor.

What YouTube is engaged in here is outright 
political censorship. They make use of their de 
facto monopoly to act as they please.
Censorship is nothing new to me. I have 
experienced it in various forms over the years. 
What is different this time is that the censor is 
not a state or province, but a private entity. 
That a corporation is allowed to be in a position 
to censor says a lot about the lack of democratic 
oversight in the global media industry.

I believe democratic oversight will only ever be 
achieved by collectivizing Google. And yes, 
Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all the 
rest as well of course. This is a necessary step 
to regain control over our lives.

In the meantime, if you see value in having these 
films available on YouTube again, please consider 
sharing this through your networks, tagging 
YouTube. Concerted public opposition is the only 
power that will make them reverse their decision, 
the one thing that could ever influence their 
future actions.

There are two texts on this case:



Best wishes


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