Monday, October 5, 2009

(empo-utoobd) YouTube's account termination policy

Continuing in the series of posts that I was inspired to write after receiving a Your account has been permanently disabled message from YouTube, it's appropriate to see what YouTube's own Terms of Service say about account termination.

7. Account Termination Policy

1. YouTube will terminate a User's access to its Website if, under appropriate circumstances, they are determined to be a repeat infringer.

2. YouTube reserves the right to decide whether Content or a User Submission is appropriate and complies with these Terms of Service for violations other than copyright infringement, such as, but not limited to, pornography, obscene or defamatory material, or excessive length. YouTube may remove such User Submissions and/or terminate a User's access for uploading such material in violation of these Terms of Service at any time, without prior notice and at its sole discretion.

The key point here is "without prior notice and at its sole discretion." In essence, I have no right to know why YouTube terminated my account. The Terms of Service can say whatever it wants about "repeat infringer" language or whatever, but in the end it doesn't matter, since YouTube reserves to itself the power to determine when it terminates accounts. And it even reserves the right to post contradictory information:

If a user posts a video or otherwise behaves on the site contrary to these Guidelines, we will generally remove the offending material, and apply a Community Guidelines warning strike against the account of the poster. These strikes stick with the accounts belonging to that user for six months from the date they are received. If a user receives such a strike they will be notified when they next log-in to their YouTube account. For reference, copies of the notice are also sent to the user's email address and YouTube private message inbox.

The first strike on an account is considered a warning. If an account receives two strikes within a six month period, the ability to post new content to YouTube from that account will be temporarily disabled. If there are no further issues, full privileges will be restored automatically after a period. If an account receives a third Community Guidelines strike within six months (before the first strike has expired) the account will be terminated.

When a user has posting privileges temporarily disabled on one account, for the duration of the suspension that user is also prohibited from posting material to YouTube using any other account. Attempts to circumvent this rule may result in immediate termination without warning of all accounts.

Presumably the terms of service take precedence over a "General Policy Enforcement Information" page, which means that despite all of the stuff about notification and strikes, the operative language is still

YouTube may...terminate a User's access for uploading such material in violation of these Terms of Service at any time, without prior notice and at its sole discretion.
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