Barely months after Hyderabad police profiled ‘Dalit Camera’ a You-Tube channel and allegedly resorted to a secret enquiry about persons behind it, the popular YouTube channel dedicated to caste discrimination has suddenly and inexplicably been terminated by You-tube. You-Tube is an American video-sharing website.
While YouTube has alleged “copyright infringement,” Dalit activist Ravichandran Bathran, who is the founder of Dalit Camera has said that that they upload original content and the accusations of copyright infringement are baseless. “I take a video and upload in YouTube, now you claim that it is your video. …When one person is protesting, in the background there is a music. How does this becomes a copyright issue?”, Ravichandran Bathran, Founder, Dalit Camera demands.
“This account has been terminated because we received multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement regarding material the user posted,” a declaration by the YouTube on the terminated page reads.
Dalit Camera is an attempt to document the realities of life in India “through the eyes of the untouchable”. The channel had, more than 1,30,000 viewers per month and some of its videos were viewed more than 60,000 times. “I feel like they cut my root,” Bathran, who is a research fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study says. The channel has covered the Una agitation, the recent Tamil Nadu protests and also of course the agitation at University of Hyderabad after Rohith Vemula’s death and suspension of his collagues. In December 2016, when four research scholars of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), associated with DC, were convicted for defamation over videos uploaded on social networking sites through ‘Dalit Camera’.
“Rohith Vemula’s video is available online, now who has copyright for Rohith? ABN may make claims, NDTV will make a claim, but we cannot, because we do not have financial strength of NDTV, ABN etc.,” adds Ravichandran.
Dalit Camera had earlier uploaded a video of Rohith Vemula, in which he talks about his caste, which was recorded by some of his friend. This video has also come under scanner.
“I take a video you claim copyright for it. How would I respond?,” Ravichandran asks.
Kuffir Nalgundwar, who is the co-founder of Round Table India also resonates the same, alleging that the termination, is a planned attack. ¨Whoever has done this represents larger, fascist forces.¨ he said.
This seems like a meticulously planned attack. A channel that is so widely appreciated can’t be ‘terminated’ in this fashion, overnight, like applying the guillotine. Whoever has done this represents larger, fascist forces. We need to come together to challenge it Kuffir Nalgundwar, Co-founder of Round Table.
¨This incident once again lays bare how fragile a foothold our voices — Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi, minorities’, have even in the ‘globalised’ etherspaces. We need to protest together to display our dissent in full strength,” Nalgundwar adds.