Faux YouTube Ad Draws Real Defamation Complaint

Techdirt found an interesting example of how easy it is to censor videos on YouTube. After this faux ad appeared to criticize the control of cable companies, someone filed a defamation complaint and, as shown below, the video was removed. That’s right a faux ad criticizing unnamed cable companies was the basis for a defamation complaint according to the site.

I suppose the makers at Extremely Decent Films could argue the truth defense, but it gets tricky. Do they have to argue real truth or faux truth?


24 thoughts on “Faux YouTube Ad Draws Real Defamation Complaint”

  1. I suppose this is a good a post as any to reference an article about branding. I read the article below this morning in the New Yorker after reading the daily dose of posts on this blog. Always a dispiriting effort…but necessary. I do not want or need false hope…
    And I suppose that is the nexus of my feelings of this article and this blog with the added understanding that it is our ever loving pursuit of the surface, the superficial, the image disassociated from the underlying character and “self” that has be disturbed by what I read here…
    It applies, however loosely, to this post because of the branding that is the “message” of these companies in direct opposite and essential “lies” of the realities of these companies as so well satirized in this film.

    I reference this blog in my comments I posted to the article, and copied here.


    Just doing some morning reading in one of my favorite places, The New Yorker, and came across this article on personal branding. I thought I understood the concept, but now know I had no idea what was intended by the phrase.

    Throughout the read I kept saying to my self “…this is wrong…”.

    And realized that this notion of branding which seems to have thoroughly defined the operational and meaning contexts of both our personal space as well as our business space is exactly the opposite of what I hold dear and true which is to be true to oneself, and to be self aware, and honest with ones self and ones shadow.

    I don’t know how actually pervasive this framework of understanding and projecting ones identity actually is. If it is truly at the level this article posits it reveals and explains much about the inner workings of our society. And here an essay in rebutal and with a call to return to our true selves and to have our identity be congruent with who we are is called for.

    But to go to the conclusion of that essay, I would say that because of this split in our-self and our-image we have no strength to withstand the various waves of lies and untruth that sweeps over us daily.

    I’ll example that statement by referencing the detailed work of legal professor Jonathan Turley http://jonathanturley.org. Other examples from the national level : NSA, the lust to war, again, by Obama, financial collapse and the rise of the billionaire class – and the much larger “thousand-aire” class, pervasive fear about nearly everything, and a legalistic response to anything that offends us or causes us difficulty.

    If we are spending our time preening our image, our brand, we’ll have less time, and no ability to see thru the lies that the branding of others are telling us.

  2. My cable provider was on a telemarketing roll last week and I received a call from “insert name” who wanted to offer me a real deal in bundling. I told him I wasn’t interested and hung up. The phone rang immediately and it was the same guy asking me why I hung up on him when all he wanted to do was offer me savings.

    “Well, well,” I said, “‘Insert name’, you obviously do not like to be told no by a woman.” Then I hung up again and called customer service to voice a strong complaint. I’m now looking for a new cable company. What a racket!

  3. That kid has a future on TV. The scary part is that is too true. I do not see who could sue him? Which cable company is he referring to? It is obviously an attempt to silence critics and that can’t happen in America…can it?

  4. All they have to do is complain. It is my understanding that No legal claim must be made. And that is why we were told the Internet is so free and all the newspapers and cable services can be owned by a few guys because the INTERNET IS SO FREE and diverse. What a …….

  5. OS
    I have Comcast. Internet ONLY!
    Yet they keep soliciting to bundle my land line, haven’t had one for years, with my cable, never had that either. It confuses the service reps all the time…

  6. Can this removal be challenged? This is clearly an act of free speech. I would also call it political free speech given the now proven connection between the govt. and most internet companies, aka, fascism.

  7. All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.
    – Marshall McLuhan

    After my wife died, I had the television cable cut off and only kept the internet. I stayed with Charter for the Internet.

    After my wife died, we had no more need for a land line phone when I realized that in three months, we got exactly three legitimate phone calls. All three of those came from my brother-in-law, who knows my cell phone number anyway. The other two or three hundred calls during those three months were all telemarketers, phishing scams, and political robocalls. Two or three years ago I was listening to public radio in the car. The story was about telephone service, and the person being interviewed believed telephone land lines would go the way of the telegraph eventually.

    My daughter and I were watching an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per week. The only thing I ever seemed to watch was a few of the channels that carry only documentaries. It was a no-brainer to cut the service off. When my daughter and I went out to the cable company office to return the cable boxes, it was late and almost closing time. The assistant manager was the only one to wait on us and the place was empty. He was in a chatty mood, and confided that it would not be long before everything was Internet based. I got the impression from him that because of their insistence on bundling things, it was killing the service.

  8. Never dealt with Charter, LK. But Dish is consistently rated as having some of the worst customer service of any business in America.

  9. Really now, I don’t even see how the elements can be pled.
    There isn’t enough particularity for a defamation lawsuit.

    And finally, if they know what they are doing, they will move to dismiss on anti-SLAPP statutes, as well as privilege via satire and parody – well developed defenses in jurisprudence.

    Don’t see where such a lawsuit could be going.

  10. When I have issues with my Internet…
    … I seem to always know more than the customer representatives.

    When I ask for the service tech supervisor (aka know it all)…
    … I still seem ago know more.

    DNS… Comcast reps have no idea what it means.
    (Hint: it’s THEIR server)

  11. LK,

    My bet is either Comcast or Time-Warner. They’re the worst offenders in giving crap service in markets where they have little or no competition.

  12. I’d kill for the speed consumers get in Japan, or any one of over a dozen countries. I get barely half of what I pay for and the cable company tells me it must be my computer- which is old and limping along. Except that the better half has a virtually brand new, fully loaded (electronically) and tweaked hot-rod of a computer and he gets the same speed. I hate my Cable company.

    Great video, I wonder who sent the complaint.

  13. “Corporations are people too, my friend.” (very effective people with congressional connections)

  14. Funny stuff and disturbing that it was removed. Last week I wrote my monopolistic cable company complaining about the same things that the video highlighted, except I added that they have a cumbersome and brutally inefficient website. These companies are certainly too big and charge too much for lousy service, but as long as they own their local congresscritter, they are free to rob customers at will.

  15. Funny stuff and disturbing that it was removed. Last week I wrote my monopolistic cable company complaining about the same things that the video highlighted, except I added that they have a cumbersome and brutally efficient website. These companies are certainly too big and charge too much for lousy service, but as long as they own their local congresscritter, they are free to rob customers at will.

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