YouTube Bans Cody Wilson Press Conference and Fundraising Videos

'It’s self-evidently an attempt at controlling our culture and people’s discovery of it'

Cody Wilson holds a 3D-printed gun / Getty Images

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Cody Wilson said that video-sharing giant YouTube removed video of his recent press conference announcing the sale of gun blueprints and a fundraiser for his ongoing legal fight over the publication of the same blueprints.

"YouTube removed my fundraising video and my press conference," Wilson told the Washington Free Beacon. "They're saying it's ‘promotion of the sale of firearms.' They removed every video I've ever made on ghost gunner and Defcad. Press conference, attended by the NYT and AP is still gone."

An email from YouTube to Wilson's company, obtained by the Free Beacon and dated August 31, 2018, tells the company it has violated Community Guidelines.

"As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow—and don't allow—on YouTube," an email from "The YouTube Team" to Wilson's company said. "Your video Cody Wilson—Press Conference—Defense Distributed—8-28-2018 was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we've determined that it violates our guidelines and we’ve removed it from YouTube."

The video in question, which has already been reposted by other accounts on YouTube, shows a press conference Wilson gave for a collection of reporters from major media outlets including the Associated Press, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and others. The 46-minute video features Wilson explaining his reaction to a recent ruling by a federal judge forcing the State Department to abandon its settlement with Wilson, which would have allowed him to publish certain gun files, including his design for a gun made mostly from 3D-printed components, pending further legal action. After explaining that he would begin to sell the files online and sharing them over email or other secured means of transmission in response to the judge's assertion that doing so would likely be legal, Wilson then took questions from the press for about 40 minutes.

When asked why YouTube considered the press conference video to be a violation of their guidelines, a YouTube spokesperson said the video included a link to DefCad.com where Wilson currently sells the blueprints. The company said it does not allow content that features firearms that intends to facilitate either the sale of firearms or their manufacture or links to sites selling firearms.

"We routinely make updates to our policy enforcement guidelines," a YouTube spokesperson who refused to be identified on record told the Free Beacon. "In March, we notified creators of planned updates around content facilitating the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, giving them several months to review their accounts and remove violative content. The accessories include those that convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds). Channels who still have content that violates these policies will start to have those videos removed and may have strikes applied to their account."

YouTube also removed a recent fundraiser video Wilson posted as part of an effort to raise $400,000 in support of his continued legal fight to publish the gun blueprints for open download.

The removal of the videos are the latest efforts by major tech companies to keep their users from sharing gun blueprints. Facebook recently banned any content discussing CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, which hosts the same blueprints Wilson wants to publish, and Amazon removed the site from its webhosting service. Amazon went on to ban a book containing the raw code for Wilson’s 3D-printed gun design from sale on its site.

Wilson said YouTube has not responded to his attempts to appeal the takedown decisions. He said the company is trying to keep people from hearing his message.

"It's self-evidently an attempt at controlling our culture and people's discovery of it," Wilson told the Free Beacon.

Stephen Gutowski   Email Stephen | Full Bio | RSS
Stephen Gutowski is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He founded his own site as a junior in college and has been writing about news and politics since that time. He spent 4 years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. His email address is Gutowski@FreeBeacon.com. His twitter handle is @StephenGutowski.

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