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Why Is YouTube Blocking Gangnam Style And Justin Bieber In Germany?



BERLIN – When Germany talks about social networks, it is usually talking about Facebook and Twitter, not about YouTube.

And yet the video platform, with its 800 million daily users, is certainly in the Facebook league and is used by many more people than Twitter. The fact that YouTube has become the biggest pop-cultural archive in human history doesn’t come through in Germany.

The reason is the on-going conflict between YouTube’s mother company Google and the German copyright protection association GEMA, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

The practical result is that 61.5% of the 1,000 most popular YouTube videos are blocked. Compare that to 0.9% in the United States and a little over 1% in Germany’s neighboring countries Austria and Switzerland. In terms of YouTube, Germany is a developing country – even the Vatican and South Sudan offer a greater variety of top hits than Germany!

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Screenshot YouTube

Blocked videos on a long list include the original version of Gangnam Style – with 1.2 billion views the most popular Internet video ever – and virtually all videos by teenage idol Justin Bieber.

YouTube hits in Germany consist, for example, of a video of a baby who bites (Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!) and The Gummy Bear Song. That is presumably the reason why Germans fail to recognize YouTube for what it has long been seen as elsewhere: the world’s most important social video network.

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Migrant Lives

The Damning Proof Of Migrants Tortured In Libya — And Italy's Complicity

The Refugees in Libya movement has posted shocking images to awaken our consciences. But here, all is silent, and the hope for humanity is entrusted to a Europe that is reborn from the bottom up.

Aereal photograph of Staff members of the desert patrols of the Libyan Illegal Immigration Control Department and some stranded African migrants at the Libya-Tunisia border

Staff members of the desert patrols of the Libyan Illegal Immigration Control Department and some stranded African migrants are seen at the Libya-Tunisia border

Mattia Ferrari


TURIN — "Let me die."

These were the desperate words of yet another migrant tortured by the Libyan mafia. Like many others from sub-Saharan Africa, this teenager had to leave his homeland wrecked by global apathy and injustice. And like many others, he ended up in the hands of a local criminal organization, who imprisoned him in one of the notorious camps in the Libyan town of Bani Walid.

We know of his fate from videos of his torture, which were shot in order to extort ransom from his family back home. A social movement led by the migrants, "Refugees in Libya," has been sharing this footage in hopes of awakening Europe's conscience.

But on this side of the Mediterranean, all is silent.

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