EFF: YouTube shouldn't block works by video artist Amy Greenfield

Update: YouTube has reversed its decision, and Greenfield's art will not be blocked.

(Video contains artistic nudity).

EFF and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) wrote to YouTube today, asking the video hosting giant to reconsider its removal of the work of internationally recognized video artist Amy Greenfield. Snip from commentary by Kurt Opsahl at EFF.org:

Amy Greenfield received notice from YouTube that her works, which contain some artistic nudity, did not conform with YouTube's "community standards." Under YouTube's policies, "films and television shows may contain [full nudity]; however, videos originating from the YouTube user community must abide by the YouTube Community Guidelines and are not permitted to include such content." (emphasis in original). The Community Guidelines purport to allow nudity with "some educational, documentary and scientific content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic," but does not recognize the value of nudity in art.
Video Above: TIDES, by Amy Greenfield, which has been screened at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; The London and Edinburgh Film Festivals.
"We do not stand on the shore and inquire of the ocean what was its movement in the past. We know that the movement of its nature is eternal to its nature."—Isadora Duncan, The Dance Of The Future.


  1. Artististic nudity remains a grey zone on social networking or “community” sites like youtube; too often it can be misinterpreted by the more conservative set as porn, so broad-stroke content policies tend to play it safe and define all nudity as offensive, to avoid potential legal issues (aka the lowest common denominator approach to content allowance). Yet, violence is still pervasive… the old story.

    1. You can rub your crotch until it’s sore on YouTube. As long as you’ve got your knickers on. But non-sexual nudity is taboo.

  2. It is probably better for Youtube to keep enforcing their policy of not permitting explicit nudity for the sake of consistency and fairness. If youtube were to make exceptions on the basis of artistic merit, you’re inviting a greater fallout of accusing the site of capricious, unpredictable, and selective censorship.
    The fact the clip exists on Vimeo proves that the internet offers free access to a full spectrum of content from a corresponding spectrum of providers.

  3. ugg, I can understand YT’s position, because then it opens up the door for artistic sexuality, i.e. when does pr0n stop being art and when does it start becoming exploitation?

    and I say that as someone who thinks this should be on YT, but it may be a no winner

  4. I have no opinion on YT’s position. Let them cover their ass by covering ass. Or whatever.

    But that piece was absolutely wonderful, beautiful, relaxing, transporting, moving–great thanks to Xeni for linking such an artist.

  5. Agreed. The combination of conservative groups, and the fine line between art and pr0n make artistic nudity hard to define. I certainly understand why youtube is playing it safe. I’ve got relatively conservative views on sexuality, but I’m fine with that video. I do know a lot of people who are afraid that seeing a breast will “corrupt the youth”, and can’t separate nudity from sex. My girlfriend’s merfolk art has scandalized more than a few people.

  6. So who gets to decide whether it is pr0n or art? Is it just the “I can’t define it [pr0n/art] but I know it when I see it?” instincts of the appointed YouTube censors?

    It’s their site, they can allow or disallow what they want, I guess. Pr0n does have a tendency to drown out everything else by its sheer volume where it is permitted. And I’d pity the guy whose job it would be to filter out the inevitable illegal pr0n from the merely raunchy. So, I understand YouTube’s position against “community-created” nudity. It’s not so much that nudity is more acceptable in a theatrical movie or TV show than it would be in an artistic video. It’s just that there isn’t so damn *much* of the former to slog through.

    If I were an artist who’d created video pieces as lovely as TIDES I’d probably eschew public video sites like YouTube anyway, in favor of my own domain….

  7. If I was living in a “community” whose “standards” had no room for appreciation of the female form, I’d move out.

  8. wouldnt it be neat if a bunch of artists started voluntarily removing their works from youtube in protest. tho i’m not sure if that would really do much

  9. As antinious so wittily pointed out, there’s plenty of content on youtube that’s more pornographic than this, albeit with less nudity. Content that’s clearly intended to arouse. For a blatant example: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=busty

    While greenfield’s work contains more nudity, it’s largely non-sexual.

    However, there is something to be said for keeping the standards simple.

  10. Wait — what’s the argument here? Is it that the standards exist, or that they’re flawed, or that they have been applied unfairly, or something else? That NCAC letter implies that YT has grown in ubiquity to the point that it is a kind of public service, and that it therefore should bear the burden of public access for the public good — is that the crux?

  11. That’s really lovely–am I very much mistaken, or are some parts of the video actually reversed? (See for instance 1:58 and following) It’s oddly disorienting/cool.

  12. What ? A nipple, even hard from the coolness of the ocean, is going to make someone blind? What are they protecting most of us against? Or are they trying to protect the minority of those who have never seen a nipple (or a bush for that matter) without feeling guilty or blushing?
    Just put a warning about being over 18, as if that is going to help

  13. That was gorgeous. I really don’t care about the standards debate now. I want to watch the upside down backwards part around 7:00 again. Wow.

  14. Although I am strongly opposed both to censorship and to prudery, I can understand YouTube’s position on this. If they were to allow nudity in user-uploaded content, how could they be sure that the nude people in the videos (a) were not underage, and (b) consented to have a nude video of them posted online for all the world to see? I’m assuming that thousands of videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. So, it’s a lot easier and less risky for YouTube to have a blanket policy of no nudes than to try to make case-by-case judgments, or to allow any exceptions to its policy, and thereby open themselves up to the possibility of a lawsuit, or even to criminal charges, if they make the wrong call. They have little choice but to err on the side of caution. So, although I see nothing wrong with Amy Greenfield’s video, I don’t fault YouTube in the least for removing it.

  15. Youtube took down a music video directed by a friend of mine that featured nudity but they got it put back up due to it having artistic merit. And I think it does, but for the most part the video is a guy playing drums on porn stars butts and porn stars topless making out with each other.
    I feel like if youtube okays that, they should probably okay an artist who is recognized by MOMA.

    Update: I was going to post the video, but it looks like after being up for two years it has been taken down as well… never mind.

  16. ok, so, youtube wont let it one THEIR site…


    if Youtube were the only possible place in the world then that would be a bad things, but last I looked, there are 40 Billion websites out there, some of which also streams video.

    Heck, for about 1,000 a year, you can set up your very own website and stream it directly. thats what lots of people do…

  17. What just about everybody else said.

    I’m as absolute a First Amendment absolutist as they come — not to mention an ardent defender of pornography in all its wonderful forms — but I agree with YouTube’s policy here. There are enough other video sites; they don’t have to carry everything.

  18. Add me to the list of people supporting Google’s policy here. It isn’t easy to balance the rights of the person posting with the rights of those filmed, and when nudity is involved it gets even trickier.

    I even understand the relaxation for films and television shows, since they can provide release forms or other proof of consent. That this particular artist fell through the cracks in the legalese is a case of Google actually showing spine, not making exceptions just because the user (Ms. Greenfield) is known.

    I also feel the user guidelines are pretty liberal, and that they don’t use the term “artistic merit” doesn’t bother me in this post-John Cage world. After all, one could argue that even the infamous Goatse image has artistic merit. Besides, I think YouTube should only be one site among many, not the end- and be-all of video hosting. After all, how hard was it to link to Vimeo?

  19. Yawn. Can we finally get over the nudity/porn/art debate and agree that underneath our clothes we all have naked bodies, most of us have seen members of the opposite sex without clothes, and seeing somebody’s wee-wee or woo-woo isn’t going to do a damned bit of mental damage to you unless you were whacked to begin with? As for those who are offended by nudity, tough luck; being offended is not sufficient reason to prevent somebody from expressing themselves. Puritanism really needs to be squashed like the cockroach that it is.

  20. Yes yes and all that about Youtube, but that video is special. For the first few minutes I was enjoying the nudity as much as the ocean. Then, after setting a really strong frame of reference, it used camera orientation and rewind creating that blissful drift in me that I knew the subject was revelling in. Great vid, awesome editing.

  21. I like the video, reminds me of works made by Bill Viola.
    Forget about YouTube, all the cool kids use vimeo anyway.

  22. Being a body is such a disturbing experience, i wish people would stop reminding me of it. That’s not what cyberspace promised in the first place. Therefore people should not be allowed to publicly display their surface, and even more so on the web. In this case, maybe one could deal better with her video, if she got knocked out by being thrown on a rock or bitten in half by a big white in order to point at the dangers of her behaviour. But this broadcast enjoyment of being thrown around and touched by daylight and water is clearly pornographic. Is that what they teach in ‘art school’?

  23. The fact that she is a natural woman with hair between her legs and non-hollywood breasts made my day (as opposed to the new prepubescent craze of hairlessness coupled with big tits).

    Also yt is ridiculous in their double standards on sexuality but so are loads of sites (like facebook having a blue waffle group but banning breast feeding pics). It’s their site, their rules and like people pointed out you will be able to find other sites to support whatever thou wishes.

  24. This somehow reminds me a lot of Apple’s recent App Store idiocy: I could live with their content policy decisions (no matter how much I personally disagree with them), but it’s the open inconsistency that pisses me off. App for a store selling swimsuits? Bad! Playboy App? Good! User-made nudity? Bad! Professionally made, for-profit nudity? Good!

  25. What a laugh… This blog complaining about “Censorship”
    A Few here should Practice what they Preach.

    And Taking Their Position now, I Side with Youtube.. It’s Their site and can do as they wish. Don’t like it? Try another Blog.. Opps I mean another Video hosting site.

    1. Do you know that your shift keys are busted? I’d get that fixed if I were you. Nobody likes to read random capitalization.

      1. @donniebnyc: No. Did you actually read the article I linked to; or did you just skim the first paragraph and jump to a conclusion? And did you read my earlier comment (#21) where I explained why YouTube might have a policy against nudity?

        The article I linked to was about Google employees who were prosecuted, tried, convicted, and sent to prison because SOMEONE ELSE, not affiliated with Google in any way, posted an inappropriate video to Google. Even though Google took down the video as soon as they found out about it, they were nonetheless held CRIMINALLY LIABLE for allowing the video to be uploaded in the first place.

        Suppose you worked for Google or YouTube, and you knew that you could go to prison if you allowed anyone to upload an inappropriate video. Don’t you think you’d be extra cautious about what you allowed to be posted? Don’t you think you’d quickly take down anything that looked even remotely questionable? If Google employees are sent to prison for unintentionally allowing a video of a violent assault to be posted, what do you think will happen to you if you slip up and allow someone to post a nude video of an underage girl? I don’t think you’re going to waste any time trying to “guesstimate” the age of the girl in the video. The moment you see nudity you’re going to take it down; because getting chewed out by a video artist in a BoingBoing post is not as bad as being sent to prison for aiding and abetting child pornography, and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

        Remember, with thousands of videos being uploaded every day, the folks at YouTube don’t have time to carefully review each and every one of them in order to judge their artistic merits on a case-by-case basis. They sure don’t have the time to investigate whether the people shown in each of these videos are all of legal age and have consented to having nude images of themselves posted online. So, the moment they see exposed flesh, they pull the video. And if I were their lawyer, that’s exactly what I’d advise them to do. Supporting the arts might be a worthwhile endeavor; but it’s not worth going to jail over.

        1. “Remember, with thousands of videos being uploaded every day, the folks at YouTube don’t have time to carefully review each and every one of them in order to judge their artistic merits on a case-by-case basis.”

          Precisely, which is why (in all likely-hood) someone flagged this video as inappropriate (that someone being a panties-in-a-twist-conservative-tightwad-afraid-of-any-female-flesh-below-the-neck-and-is-convinced-sex-is-only-for-reproduction-whom-didn’t-want-his/her-children-being-corrupted-by-a-random-page-on-the-internets). The girl in the video isn’t underage, so why even both bringing it up? I think we are all aware of youtube’s policies for taking a video down.

          “Suppose you worked for Google or YouTube, and you knew that you could go to prison if you allowed anyone to upload an inappropriate video.”

          Not in this lifetime, the case in Italy aside; there has been no precedent setting case where an ISP or tech company has been held responsible for content posted by its users. Not in the US, not in the UK, not in Europe (the Italian case has different circumstances as I understand it, those being procecuted had nothing to do with the video in any way; not it being posted, reviewed or deleted).

          Youtube’s response was heavy handed and unnecessary, they have “over 18” and “objectionable content” warnings for videos that may apply; there was no reason to delete the video just because someone complained about it, or one employee found it offensive.

          1. @cymk: I don’t think you’re getting my point.

            The whole purpose of having a policy is so that you don’t have to make case-by-case judgments. The folks at YouTube don’t have time to review each video in detail and try to determine whether or not it is appropriate: whether the people in the video are all of legal age, whether they have consented to have their images posted online, whether the video has artistic merit, etc. So they have a blanket policy which, if consistently applied, removes any need for them to judge each video on a case-by-case basis. Their policy is clear: no nudes. It makes sense given the fact that, if they were to allow nudes, lots of people would be uploading inappropriate content every day, forcing YouTube to carefully screen each video, and subjecting them to the possibility of legal action if they allowed an inappropriate video to be posted.

            This isn’t about the risk of people being offended: it’s about the risk of people’s rights being violated. Imagine that you were to discover that someone had posted on YouTube, without your permission, a hidden camera video of you in the nude. Or imagine that you were to discover that your 16 year old daughter (who could easily pass for 18) had posted a nude video of herself on YouTube. These things are grounds for lawsuits (and, in the case of the underage girl, possibly even a criminal investigation). YouTube is not going to take the chance of getting sued (or worse); and I wouldn’t blame them. So they have a policy in place so that this doesn’t become an issue. The policy doesn’t seem to be based on prudery (which I detest), but on prudence (which I applaud). In my view the policy is both reasonable and fair.

            You said yourself that we’re all aware of YouTube’s policies. Well, at least we should be, since they’re very clearly posted (and there’s even a link to them in the post above). The policy is no nudes in user-created content (with a qualified exception for videos dealing with medical issues, such as breast cancer). The policy is clear and consistent. And it makes sense, given the fact that YouTube wants to limit its own legal liability, and doesn’t want to have to judge each video on a case-by-case basis. So I fail to see how taking down the video was “heavy handed and unnecessary”. They were simply following their quite reasonable policy. Are you really suggesting that YouTube ought to make an exception to its policy just to accommodate Ms. Greenfield’s work? Would that be fair?

            If you don’t like the policy, that’s fine: don’t use YouTube, and don’t invest in its parent company, Google. No one is forcing you to. But keep in mind that Google IS a private company, not a public service; and it has the right to set its own policies in accordance with the advice it’s getting from its lawyers. No one is being harmed by the policy of taking down videos containing nudity. (But someone might be harmed if they didn’t have this policy.) And, besides, there are other places that are willing to host the video — which should be obvious given the fact that it is embedded above for all of us to watch. So the plaint against YouTube’s refusal to host the video is essentially moot.

          2. @strangefriend: Not to get off topic; but I do agree that these laws have gotten way out of hand. I think everyone who is not an actual pedophile agrees that there ought to be strict laws against kiddie porn. But I would hope that most reasonable people would recognize that there’s a huge difference between a video of a grown man raping a small child and a video of a teenage girl, alone in her bedroom in front of a webcam, taking her top off. Nonetheless, the law is the law, like it or not; and I don’t fault YouTube for wanting to avoid getting bitten by that particular law — because that law has some really sharp teeth. Besides, even if these sorts of videos were decriminalized, there would still be the risk of lawsuits by angry parents; so YouTube would still be wise to keep its “never nude” policy intact.

          3. I don’t think you’re getting my point. The whole purpose of having a policy is so that you don’t have to make case-by-case judgments.

            Um. If you have a policy, you have to make case by case judgments to decide if there are policy violations. It’s not done by magic. Adhering to policy still requires judgment and intervention.

  26. I just searched youtube for “murder” and got 238,000 results. Even if only 10% percent depict someone being killed, that’s 23,800. So that’s acceptable, but a little innocent nudity presented in an artistic and beautiful way is deemed somehow harmful.

    What a screwed up society we are.

  27. The problem is youtube, being an American based company, has the same prudish attitude that America has in general towards nudity. Its a shame that an artist can’t share her/his work for free on youtube, but I’m sure there are other free sites, like Vimeo, that are not strict when it comes to incidental nudity.

  28. Maybe art.youtube.com?

    Or copying Channel 4 from the late 80s with their Danger: ‘Art-Nudity’ strand and their ‘red triangle’?


  29. Not to point out the obvious, but I think a primary concern is to stop youtube from having a huge streak of fat guys wanting you to look at webcams of their penises. This seems to be a recurring theme in a lot of webcam-ish places.

    I wouldn’t mind nudity of all types, but these boring boring boring shoots, static centered frame, from man boobs to thighs, should be blocked – sexual fetishes shouldn’t be allowed to be as boring as that.

  30. Nah, I’m with those saying that YouTube should maintain their policy. With their scale, getting them to make thousands of value judgements on whether nudity is artistic or not is just not going to fly, and the site would be flooded with ‘artistic’ porn.

    Plus, this is such a lifeline for Vimeo! As long as Amy’s works are visible there, I’m happy to leave YouTube for the surprised kittens and laughing babies.

  31. An additional thought:

    If a video or song is marked as “this may contain offensive material” and you go ahead and listen to it anyways, and subsequently become offended, whose fault is it? The person who created the offending material? No. The website who is hosting it? No. You were given a warning, yet you failed to yield to that warning, its your own damn fault.

    For example, all NSFW vids here on BoingBoing are thusly marked. If I view one of those videos while at work, and get caught doing so (getting in trouble at my work place, maybe even fired), the fault lies with me for viewing it, not BoingBoing for posting the video.

  32. If YouTube allowed “user community” nudity, then within 1 week 75% of all YouTube videos would contain it. When people get their hands on new technology, their first instinct is to use it for a) porn and b) violence.

    I’m really glad that posters here have seen YouTube’s point of view; I felt sure we were heading for “OMGZ WTF CENSORHIPZ” :)

    This is an erotic video. It lingers over the nude female form. I don’t think it’s porn, but the road between this and porn is a short one.

  33. YouTube can do as they please. They are a private entity. I am a fan of the EFF but I am not sure this is what they should be focusing on. I don’t even consider this “censorship.” The artist is free to host her work on her own or another site that does not mind a little bit of art. Not having access to (someone elses) large stage does make for censorship.
    Speech is free, but youtube is moderated. Similar to some other websites I enjoy.

  34. The big problem with YouTube’s anti-nudity policy isn’t just artistic nudity, but the lifestyle of nudists/naturists. They are totally out in the cold if nakedness per se is the problem. Nudism is also why concerns about ‘underage’ girls is BS. The whole point of nudity is to feel sun & wind on your skin, & well, being able to roll around naked in the surf. They see nakedness as a family value & abhor sexual shenanigans. So at naturist get-togethers, you see toddlers to tennagers to mom & pop to granny & grandpa nude, & no one comments on the warts, fat, or wrinkles.

  35. @sapere_aude,

    The only legal action google or youtube has had to take to date is a order to remove content, and that is mainly for copyright infringement. At no time has google been held responsible for the content uploaded by its users, if google was responsible for the content its users uploaded then you could sue google for caching websites and images off the web; did you give permission to google to crawl your site with your private pictures? Just like google can cache your site, you can get your photo taken in public without your permission.

    Google does play nice, removing your image at your request from street view and the like, but if your face ends up on some guys pic of a random street corner, tough shit (yes, you can request he blur it out or use legal action to make him do it, but that is not the point). Point being when your in public you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Period.

    We aren’t talking about vids someone made in my bathroom of my flabby ass, we are talking about art. If I or someone else wants to search for Ms. Greenfield’s art on youtube I should be able to find it ( under the assumption she has posted some). The same goes for any modern video artist if they want to host their videos (cheaply and efficiently) on youtube, they should have the opportunity. Not everyone can afford server space/ web address or understand the technology enough to get them; should a 60 year old nude performance artist be denied the right to host his/her videos on youtube just because he/she doesn’t understand the web?

    Again, we aren’t talking about 60 year old nude performance artists, we are talking about the responsibility youtube/google has to nanny its users to death because they can’t make responsible choices of their own. The internet is full of nudity or various kinds, legal and illegal but you don’t see it every time you turn on your computer; only when you actually look for it do you find it.

    To quote you, “no one is forcing you to.” No one is forcing you or anyone to search youtube or google for naked women or Ms. Greenfield’s art. It is your choice to search for it, and in this specific case, its your choice to sexualize the nude human form.

    “… someone might be harmed if they didn’t have this policy.”

    And in this rare instance (yes its rare, go find me how many new stories involve youtube removing a video because it caused someone to get hurt) the offending vids get pulled. The only vids I can recall youtube pulling would be vids of people committing sexual crimes, and the rare student beating vid that always gets reposted a dozen times before youtube mods let it go.


    “If YouTube allowed “user community” nudity, then within 1 week 75% of all YouTube videos would contain it.”

    Considering the plethora of youtube clones devoted solely to porn, I highly doubt this would happen. As long as they drew the line at porn then there would be no issue, and as I said above, if you want to sexualize the human form thats up to you. As for violence there is plenty already on youtube, nothing new there.

    Google and youtube are well within their rights to decide what kind of content they want to allow, as sapere said they are a private company, but at some point they are going to have to realize that the genie is already out of the bottle and there is not getting him back in. Saying you want only certain kinds of nudity and only certain kinds of violence is begging for people to break the rules.

  36. I still don’t think you’re quite getting my point. You still seem to want YouTube to evaluate videos on a case-by-case basis, when they simply can’t. They have to have a blanket policy that can be applied consistently across the board. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Policies exist so that you don’t have to make case-by-case judgment calls; because there’s just not time for that.

    (And, to Antinous, you’re certainly right that the policy has to be applied to each case; but that’s not what I meant by “judgment”. Policies can be applied bureaucratically and even mechanically — the old “rubber stamp” treatment. By “judgment” I meant actually weighing the merits of each individual case in order to come up with an optimal decision for that particular case. That’s quite a different matter.)

    Anyway, the fundamental problem is that about 10 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day — 24/7. There is simply no way that the folks at YouTube can watch each video and judge it on its individual merits. The only thing they can do is wait until a video gets flagged, then check it out to see if it violates their terms of use policy. But, even then, there are so many flagged videos that they can’t spend hours deliberating on each one. The best they can do is take a quick glance at it to see if it has any of the things they prohibit: nudity, graphic violence, etc. I seriously doubt that anyone at YouTube has watched Ms. Greenfield’s video from start to finish as we have. I’d guess that they watched the first five seconds, saw nudity, and immediately pulled it. That’s all that can do — there’s just not time for them to gather a group of people around the screen, watch the video from beginning to end, discuss whether it looks like the woman in the video is of legal age, debate whether the video has artistic merit or ought to be considered pornographic, do some research on the artist to make sure she’s legit, and then run it by the legal department to get their take on it before making their final decision about whether to leave it up or take it down. At best, one guy — probably an entry-level employee at the very bottom of the corporate totem pole — watched it just long enough to see bare breasts and, knowing that nudity is not allowed on YouTube, immediately clicked the “reject” button, and then moved on to the next video in his queue. Chances are he couldn’t tell whether this was a work of art by a well-known video artist, an amateur porno, or a stalker video of someone on vacation at a private beach, for the simple reason that he probably only saw a few seconds of it, and probably in fast forward. Nor would he have really cared whether this was a work of art, a porno, or a stalker video, since the policy is clear and inflexible: no nudes.

    Now, you may not like the policy. You may think that it’s overly restrictive, and ought to be more flexible, especially in the case of artistic works. But when you’re dealing with thousands upon thousands of videos being uploaded every day, and you’re under constant pressure to do a better job of policing your content to get rid of the porn and violence, you can’t afford to be flexible. You’ve got to make a quick decision based on a clear and consistent policy. And the “no nudes” policy is the only policy that will get the job done.

    And the folks at YouTube are under a lot of pressure to better police their content. Take a look at this article, for example: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/3358061/YouTube-attacked-by-MPs-over-sex-and-violence-footage.html

    Now, personally, I have nothing against Ms. Greenfield’s video; and I’m glad that she found a video hosting site where she could post it for all the world to see. We need more art — and we need to get over our collective societal hangups about nudity. But I respect YouTube’s policy as prudent, pragmatic, and well within their rights as a private company who must try to strike a workable balance between serving their customers and complying with the laws and “community standards” of the multiple jurisdictions they operate in. Sure, it would be nice if Ms. Greenfield’s work could be hosted on YouTube — perhaps they could create a special section specifically for artists, where the standards for nudity were more lax. But I’m annoyed by the allegations of unjustified censorship, and the sense of entitlement, that I’m hearing in many of these comments, as if YouTube were somehow violating Ms. Greenfield’s most fundamental human rights. They’re not. They’re simply expecting her to adhere to the same basic rules of the road that all other YouTube users are expected to adhere to. And that, to me, sounds fair.

    Okay, as fun as this was, I’m tired and am going to bed. If anyone wants to argue this any further, I’ll be back in the morning, after I’ve had my coffee. :-)

    1. Having done compliance (in health care), I can tell you that the more policies you have, the more time you have to spend weighing your judgments.

  37. …which would seem to reinforce sapere_aude’s point, yes? They have a straightforward policy that is easy to apply, and therefore scales well. If they were to start incorporating artistic merit as an exception to the policy, the time spent weighing judgements would most certainly increase.

  38. Thank you so much for boingboing’s and all your comments and support! I am especially moved at your comments on Tides. Your reactions are what an artist lives for, the reward for the often lonely but for me always ecstatic and essential experience of making the work.

    When You Tube removed my videos I vowed to fight it at I knew it was wrong. I emailed the National Coalition Against Censorship who viewed my work on Vimeo, supported it and asked if i would allow them to use my experience with You Tube to bring to light that YouTube places nudity in art in the same category as pornography. I was and am eager to bring to light the issue for all artists. EFF then partnered with NCAC. They both have and are doing such an amazing job! Due to their efforts as boingboing repors, You Tube has re-reviewed my work and re-posted it, even if in the restricted category. And i’m glad that YouTube responded so quickly and positively, if very partially, to the NCAC/EFF letters to them. It’s highly possible that your support helped.

    If you go to http://www.ncac.org you’ll get more concrete information about the issues involved and the actual letter which went to the head council for You Tube.
    In essence, we’re still hoping that YouTube will not just put back my own work, but change their guidlines to include art as an exception to blocking nudity, as they do for education, science and documentary. The guidelines are far from hard and fast rules – my film Element was blocked from my page but kept up on my art dealer’s page.

    I’m always mystified why children are taught that the human body is naughty and taboo. My friends in Europe are shocked at this. To me, celebrating the human body in art is to celebrate our existence, and so has been some of the most important art since pre-history. i want to restore the sanctity of the body and the catharsis and meaning that can be expressed through it. If some see tits and ass so be it, that’s OK – all’s in the eye of the beholder. But your responses show me that, yes, many more see INTO and BEYOND the body.

    If you would like, you can now view a segment from my 11 minute film, Light of The Body, and a few minutes of my film, Dark Sequins on YouTube. Both films are seen complete, with four more are on my 60 minute DVD, CLUB MIDNIGHT, just out on http://www.facets.org.
    You can find out more about it if you want to on http://www.clubmidnight.net.

    Again thanks

    Amy Greenfield

  39. I woke up on this snowy morning realizing i hadn’t been accurate about a few things on the Amy Greenfield/YouTube story (I’m Amy Greenfield). Okay, so . . .
    One of my videos YouTube took off hasn’t be re-reviewed and reinstated by YouTube This must be because NCAC didn’t bring it specifically to their attention to protect the performer in case there was negative consequences for her. So NCAC/EFF will now be bringing it to YouTube’s attention.YouTube took MUSEic off immediately, but for two month left up horrors like the italian video and leaves up scuzz like drummers playing on prostitutes butts. Also while you can see Element and Tides on YouTube on CTS, my art dealer’s account, you still can’t from mine because of what seems to be a technical error which won’t go away.
    Keep tune for more progress!

  40. the “Girls on Film” music video by Duran Duran is on youtube and that has nudity and youtube hasn’t taken it down.

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