Embed Disabled By Request — A Brief Rant on The Open Source That YouTube Should Be

“Embed disabled by request” seems like it could be the title of some free flowing hipster poem, maybe by Ginsberg or Diane Di Prima. And yet, it is one of the most frustrating aspects of my job.

The idea behind it confounds me — that some YouTuber would disallow their video to be shared in some context sort of defeats the whole idea of YouTube. YouTube, back in the days before the ad game set in, used to be pure and open and everyone looked at and accessed everything. It was this sort of beautiful concept, the way so many utopian abstracts (or distracts?) begin — but then the corruption and greed sets in and reduces those veritable Gardens of Eden to rubble. It always happens.


If you don’t know what I mean by “embed disabled by request,” then go to the likes of, say, YouTuber How to Basic’s page. He has made his videos, most of them with extremely high view counts, non-embeddable. And the question is, why?

Technically, by putting something on YouTube, these people are inviting an open forum. They’re asking for our audience. To deny it, or to deny the means through which someone chooses to view said videos seems to fly in the face of everything that YouTube used to stand for. The same goes for the denial of video comments. While yes, there are trolls out there who say mean things, there are also receptors who can in turn dispense meaningful advice or comments that can enlighten, inform or further entertain other viewers. YouTube for as much of a “singular” medium as it can be, is really very much a group experience. And to shortchange people of that experience, well, either you’re elitist or paranoid that your “art” won’t be used as it’s intended. And is either answer really acceptable in this day and age?

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