Comedy troupe loses YouTube account after viral success of "PS Gay Car," can't get anyone at YT to listen to them

Wil Wheaton sez,

On November 17th, 2012, New York-based comedy music group Fortress of Attitude uploaded a music video they created for their song "PS Gay Car" (using the exact words of a mean note they found on their car one day) to YouTube. The pro-gay rights video was immensely popular, garnering coverage from, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, College Humor and Queerty. The video gained 39,800 views in its first month, and then a month later YouTube took down the video, claiming they'd used bots to drive up views.

The story that unfolds is Kafkaesque: Fortress of Attitude hires New Media Rights to help them get their video reinstated, and Google/YouTube's response is to send form letters back that just restate the alleged initial TOU violation. Ultimately, Google/YouTube refuses to consider any evidence or explanation from Fortress of Attitude, and deletes the video permanently.

Google deletes "PS Gay Car"— We need your help! (Thanks, Wil!)


  1. One more plank in the “why you shouldn’t trust your ____ to free services from Google” edifice.

  2. Apparently, one way to get a video you don’t like pulled from YouTube is to have bots watch it. Google interprets this as an attempt to game the system on the part of the uploaders and pulls the video.  Perhaps that’s what happened here.

    1. Except I don’t think that’s what happened here. 40,000 views over a month? That’s really nothing worth paying for. It IS pretty believable that you’d get around that kind of traffic after getting re-posted around the blogs like HuffPo.

      1. But if 10k of those are from the same IP number or small IP block?
        Someone botting for censorship will do something that obvious.

        Of course, that could happen just from being popular on a single large college campus, too, if they used NAT.

    2. Yeah but because its easy to detect automatically, Google is using this as a means of detecting abuse by owners of content, without considering that its a means of censoring things as you point out. I can foresee a lot of things being censored by this very easy means in the future. 
      I am amazed they have no means to contact them. 

      1. Yeah, I was kidding. And in the absence of any human response to we really know with any certainty what the reason was for the pull? For all we know the author of the note works for Google.

  3. People should realize that if they have original material it should go someplace that isn’t typically home for massive amounts of copyright infringement.

    1.  So, what, they should start their own video service and market to advertisers so they can release their one video?

      1. Or use a service like Vimeo or Funny or Die which are  designed with original content in mind.  YouTube is so busy dealing with DCMA for anything they’ll pull first and ask questions later.

  4. The real issue at stake here is that, well, I’m sure with Wil Wheaton & Cory Doctorow’s attention they’ll get this fixed, but there are certainly MANY other cases without “celebrity” attention that have the same problem, you know?

    1. Yep. I had my AdSense account pulled for the same reason and you can be sure I won’t get celebrity attention to fix it. The problem is much larger than this one video, it’s YouTube’s lack of customer service and accountability.

      1. Seriously. I had a minecraft video pulled for crap reasons. There is no way to talk to someone, and figure out what’s going on. Especially when all your content is legit. 

  5. YouTube gained a lot of ground early and became the defact-Oh go-to video site on the net, but I’m surprised that it’s prominence remains unchallenged in the face of it’s constant expression repression.

    How can the seed of culture be expected to even begin to germinate with such stilted sweeping policies? Creators have better things to do than give a shit about laws, IP, attribution, and other such blah-bitty-blah.

    1. Youtube is a business, not a public service. For the past several decades culture has taken root in the cracks left between corporate intellectual property and that is unlikely to improve any time soon. 

  6. Youtube is famous for not actually having any people to talk to when they screw up. Just about the only way to contact youtube on /any/ issue is to go through lawyers.

  7. It’s unfortunate that the web page these folks put up doesn’t have a concrete action item on it.   Tell youtube to put the video back?   How?

  8. If you watch the deleted scenes from Brazil, they show harried junior executives rushing past the offices of Youtube.

    In my world, they do.

  9. Large free content providers do this. You simply cannot have a human address every issue when there is an hour’s video being uploaded every second. It’s impossible.

    When my Geocities account got hacked, I gave up trying to get it returned to me after three years of failing to talk to a human, and instead used a DMCA takedown on my own site to have it taken down instead.

    Legal depts have taken the place of tech support depts, now, as the only way to speak to a human – and even most of that is automated. DMCAs don’t get read by humans, and certainly there’s nobody with the time to watch each of the videos they get a DMCA takedown for, and check whether it’s fair use.

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