There's one issue that is shared among many websites, from video-sharing communities, to short-story outlets and article distribution sites. That is the dreaded issue of copyright infringement. It deals with what to do when someone claims that their (or someone else's) copyright has been treaded upon, and whether or not the complaint has any merit -- or an attempt at arbitrary censorship.
Let's take one example, as mentioned in an article at wired.com. A Finnish YouTuber who went by the name of STSanders rose to fame by his hilarious parodies of rock guitarists and bands, in what was called "shreds". It gained the attention of some famous musicians depicted in these parodies, and his creative humor even earned him a guest spot on Jimmy Kimmel. However, according to a YouTube insider, all it took was complaints from 3 artists without a sense of humor (in contrast to the many that had one and praised his work), for YouTube to deactivate his account.
However, just as there is copyright protection, there are also protections in place that cover parodies and "fair use". The same YouTube insider also said that in order for STSanders to get his account (and his work) reinstated, he would have to hire a lawyer to appeal the infringement claims.
It's worth noting that this wasn't a court ruling -- it was solely YouTube's decision to pull the plug based on complaints (3). This also begs the question, to take it a step further -- can anyone along with a few cohorts get just about any video removed from YouTube , for arbitrary reasons under the claim of copyright violation? In this case, the burden of proof seems to rest on the accused, not the accuser. And as we all know, hiring a lawyer to appeal can be costly.
Legal fees can also be realized by YouTube, who may not want to shell out dollars for every instance of copyright complaints just to see if the case has merit. Therefore, it's much cheaper and easier to simply pull the video and leave the legal fees to the accused to make their own appeal.
Where am I going with this? Perhaps any of you have, or are thinking of starting a website where you would publish user-generated content. Though there are some safeguards you can put in place, such as having a disclaimer for them to acknowledge that they are the creative owner of the work, such safeguards are only good until a complaint is made. Perhaps the complaint is legally valid. Or perhaps it's a case of someone simply not liking someone else's article / story / video for other reasons. Or yet, maybe it's just malice.
Then you are faced with a decision. What would you do?