YouTube Blocks Blender Videos Worldwide

Thursday June 21 2018, by Ton Roosendaal

Last night all videos came back (except the one from Andrew Price, which still is blocked in USA).
According to another person in Youtube we now *do* have to sign the other agreement as well. You can read it here.

I’m not sure if we should accept this. Will be studied on.

Wednesday 17h, June 20 2018, by Ton Roosendaal

None of our videos play still.

Wednesday 10.30h, June 20 2018, by Ton Roosendaal

Last night the Youtube Support team contacted Francesco Siddi by phone. As we understand it now it’s a mix of coincidences, bad UIs, wrong error messages, ignorant support desks and our non-standard decision to not monetize a popular Youtube channel.

The coincidence is that Youtube is rolling out their subscription system in Europe (and Netherlands). This subscription system will allow users to stream music and enjoy Youtube ad-free. They updated terms and conditions for it and need to get monetized channel owners to approve that. Coincidentally our channel was set to allow monetization.

The bad UI was that the ‘please accept the new terms’ button was only visible if you go the new Youtube “Content Manager” account, which I was not aware of and which is not active when you login to Youtube using the Foundation account to manage videos. The channel was also set to monatization mode which has no option to reset it. To make us even more confused, yesterday the system generated the wrong agreement to be signed.

(Image: after logging in to the Foundation account, the menu “Switch Accounts” – shows the option to login as “Content Manager”).

Because of not accepting the new terms, the wrong error message was to put all videos on “Not available in your country” mode, which usually signals that there is a copyright issue. Similar happened for Andrew Price’s video last year, which (according to our new contact) was because of a trademark dispute but that was never made explicit to us.

All support desk people we contacted (since December last year) couldn’t find out what was wrong. They didn’t know that not accepting ‘terms and conditions’ could be causing this. Until yesterday they thought there was a technical error.

After reviewing the new terms and conditions (which basically is to accept the subscription system, I decided to accept that. According to the new Youtube contact our channel then would be back in a few hours.

Just while writing this, the video thumbnails appeared to be back! They don’t play yet.

Tuesday (afternoon) 19 June 2018, by Ton Roosendaal

We are doing a PeerTube test on video.blender.org. It is running on one of our own servers, in a European datacenter. Just click around and have some fun. We’re curious to see how it holds!

Tuesday 19 June 2018, by Ton Roosendaal

Last night we received a contract from Google. You can read it here. It’s six pages of legal talk, but the gist of the agreement appears to be about Blender Foundation accepting to monetize content on its Youtube channel.

However, BF already has an ad-free Youtube account since 2008. We have monetizing disabled, but it looks like Google is going to change this policy. For example, we now see a new section on our channel settings page: “Monetization enabled”.

However, the actual advertisement option is disabled in the advanced settings:

Now there’s another issue. Last year we were notified by US Youtube visitors that a very popular Blender Conference talk wasn’t visible for them – the talk Andrew Price gave in 2016; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists. It had over a million views already.

With our channel reaching > 100k subscribers, we have special priority support. So we contacted them to ask what was wrong. After a couple of mails back and forth, the reply was as follows (22 dec 2017):

Thanks for your continued support and patience.

I’ve received an update from our experts stating that you need to enable ads for your video. Once you enable, your video will be available in the USA.

If there’s anything else you’d need help with, please feel free to write back to us anytime as we are available 24/7 to take care of every partner’s concerns.

Appreciate your understanding and thanks for being our valuable partner. Have an amazing day!

Which was quite a surprising statement for us. My reply therefore was (22 dec 2017):

I’m chairman of the Blender Foundation. We choose to use a 100% ad-free channel for our work, this to emphasis our public benefit and non-profit goals.

According to your answer we are being forced to enable advertising now.
I would like to know where this new Youtube policy has been published and made official.
We then had every other month a reply like this:

Please allow me some time to work with specialists on your issue. I’ll investigate further and will reach back to you with an update at the earliest possible.

Appreciate your patience and understanding in the interim.

Just last week, June 12, I mailed them again to ask for the status of this issue. The reply was:

I completely understand your predicament. Apologies for the unusual delay in hearing back from the Policy team. I’ve escalated this issue for further investigation and assistance. Kindly bear with us while we get this fixed.

Appreciate your understanding in this regard.

And then on June 15th the entire channel went black.
To us it is still unclear what is going on. It could be related to Youtube’s new “subscription” system. It can also be just a human error or a bug; our refusal to monetize videos on a massively popular channel isn’t common.
However – it remains a fair and relevant question to Google: do you allow adfree channels without monetization? Stay tuned!

Monday 18 June 2018, by Francesco Siddi

Since a few days all Blender videos on the OFFICIAL BLENDER CHANNEL have been blocked worldwide without explanation. We are working with YouTube to resolve the issue, but the support has been less than stellar. In the meantime you can find most of the videos on cloud.blender.org.

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