An Atlanta video blogger has settled a lawsuit approximately two weeks after filing against video-sharing website YouTube, LLC over the company’s terminating of his account. Kevin M. Oliver — aka “NotYourTypicalNegro” — filed the suit Friday, May 11, 2012 in the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, for claims of breach of contract and defamation. Oliver was contacted on May 25 by a Google attorney seeking to settle the case.
Mr. Oliver’s YouTube account was suspended and later terminated on June 8, 2011, following the posting of a controversial video featuring comments by popular megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar widely believed to be in support of scandal-ridden megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long. The video — which went viral — features Creflo Dollar scolding church members for leaving his colleague Eddie Long’s church and telling them to “get back over there”. The video received hundreds of thousands of views, and was discussed or featured worldwide across broadcast media, print, and the blogosphere, before YouTube suspended Mr. Oliver’s account the next day for supposedly violating the site’s “Community Guidelines” policy.
YouTube offered to restore Oliver’s “NotYourTypicalNegro” channel in exchange for dismissing his complaint. In an email response, Oliver declined:
So as explained in the aforementioned, I am firm in my belief I did nothing wrong. And to accept this settlement simply to get my YouTube channel back up and running would be to compromise on some very important issues and principles. And frankly, that would be quite difficult to do.
However, I do believe this matter can be settled very constructively, and in a manner that will benefit not just be, but all YouTube users. Here is my proposal:
- Immediate restoration of my “NotYourTypicalNegro” YouTube channel, where I will in return immediately file the dismissal of my complaint.
- Personal commitment by YouTube or to review and clarify its spam policy, as well consider ways in which all its policies can be more objectively applied.
- Personal commitment by YouTube to continue working to find technological solutions to issues, rather than placing undue policy burdens on users.
I thank you in advance for your consideration of these terms, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
In response, YouTube accepted Mr. Oliver’s proposal and reinstated his YouTube account on June 5, 2012. Mr. Oliver in response filed with the court a dismissal without prejudice.
“At first I didn’t think this was a big deal. I was just fighting for free speech and what I thought was right”, said Mr. Oliver. “But now, I think what I did was pretty important. I don’t think anyone has ever gone up against YouTube or any other social media site in this manner before.”
Mr. Oliver has dedicated himself to fighting for free speech rights in social media, as well as assisting others in preserving theirs.
A copy of Mr. Oliver’s complaint and other resources for countering DCMA complaints are provided below.
COMPLAINT: Oliver vs. YouTube (pdf)
Sample Lawsuit Against YouTube for Defamation, Breach of Contract (doc)
DCMA Complaint Responses (doc)