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Blip.tv Says Response Better Than Censorship

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Charles Hope of Blip.tv posted an email exchange he had with a site visitor who complained about some controversial videos hosted on the site.


Blip.tv Says Response Better Than Censorship
Blip.tv Says Response Better Than Censorship

The videos in question came from 1938Media.com. They featured Loren Feldman performing a series of sketches that Valleywag and others found offensive.

Feldman’s videos have been placed on Blip.tv, where their presence inspired one visitor to write a complaint to Hope about them. Hope subsequently posted the exchange to Blip.tv’s blog.

Hope’s answer to the complaint proved well-written and memorable. Offensive content can be dealt with effectively online, not by censorship, but by response:

I found the video distasteful and not funny. But as a company we don’t delete videos on that basis. Instead, we err on the side of free speech, and enabling discussions. I think that a remix or response video would be more effective a refutation than censorship.

That answer didn’t mollify the complainer, who tossed a section of Blip.tv’s terms of service back at Charles and demanded the removal of the videos due to those terms. Hope showed he understands his company’s TOS quite well in his response.

I find it shortsighted that you see a response as less effective than a perpetual quest from service to service, asking each one to delete his videos. Surely you don’t think he would ever run out of new hosting services to try!

I urge you to focus your energy on creating positive change in people’s hearts and dry up the market for Loren’s opinions. We have enough futile attempts at silencing foul speech, but we don’t have enough deep, inspiring, illuminating speech.

Hope pointed out that censorship of these videos would likely lead to them gaining even more attention, with social media sites eventually picking up on them. That could make more people curious about them, possibly leading to broader media coverage.

As Hope pointed out, broadband is infinite. Anyone who wants to create a response that would outlive the original offender has the bandwidth to do so. It seems like a sensible approach in these already troubled times.

Blip.tv Says Response Better Than Censorship
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