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Germany

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

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG (Germany)

Worldcrunch

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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Rail War: How Belarusians Are Secretly Fighting Putin And Lukashenko

It remains unclear whether Belarus' strongman Alexander Lukashenko will join Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Yet as popular support for the war remains low, many in the country are actively fighting back by sabotaging the rail network.

Photo of a railway tracks in Belarus

Railway tracks in Belarus

Anna Akage

On March 24, exactly one month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Vitaly Melnik set fire to trackside railway electrical cabinets, resulting in massive delays for 22 freight and 17 passenger trains. Earlier this month, a regional court in Belarus convicted Melnik, a 40-year-old man from Minsk, to 13 years in a maximum security colony.

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Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Melnik had also "posted negative messages on the Internet about [Belarusian President] Alexander Lukashenko," announced the prosecutor.

On Dec. 27, three other Belarusian citizens were sentenced to prison for terms of 21 to 23 years. Their crime? Trying to prevent the transportation of military equipment to Ukraine during the early days of the Russian invasion.

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