YouTube Defeats Defamation Claim in ‘Remove-and-Relocate’ Case–Bartholomew v. YouTube

12 11 2017

YouTube has been sued numerous times for “removing-and-relocating” videos it thinks were promoted by spam. When it does a remove-and-relocate, YouTube takes down the video, discloses at the original URL that “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service” with a link to YouTube’s “Community Guidelines Tips” page, and then allows the reuploading of the video at a new URL. The relocation of the video kills the existing comments, resets the view counter, and breaks any inbound marketing links, so it can vex uploaders–enough to occasionally make them litigious.

Some of the legal friction comes from YouTube’s imprecise disclosure about the removal. In the cases where YouTube suspected spamming to promote the video, YouTube didn’t technically remove the video because of “its content.” I still don’t understand why YouTube didn’t immediately fix this language to make it more general. Despite the language’s imprecision, the litigant’s real beef typically is with YouTube’s decision to remove the video, not the disclosure about the removal, and I think YouTube should have the right to police its premises as it sees fit.

Bartholomew experienced a remove-and-relocate.


Case citation: Bartholomew v. YouTube, LLC, 2017 WL 4988177 (Cal. App. Ct. Nov. 2, 2017). Superior court ruling.

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