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YouTube bans author of 3D-printed gun blueprints, Cody Wilson

The Liberator, a 3-D printed handgun created by Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed. (Defense Distributed/Facebook)
September 07, 2018
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In another move cracking down on guns on social media, YouTube has banned videos from the author of 3-D printed gun blueprints.

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed and author of blueprints for 3-D printed guns, said YouTube removed numerous videos that he’d posted – including a video of a press conference and fundraiser – citing violations of community guidelines, Washington Free Beacon reported Friday.

“YouTube removed my fundraising video and my press conference,” Wilson told the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re saying it’s ‘promotion of the sale of firearms.’ They removed every video I’ve ever made on ghost gunner and Defcad. Press conference, attended by the NYT and AP is still gone.”

Wilson also provided an Aug. 31 email he received from YouTube, explaining the violation.

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“As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow—and don’t allow—on YouTube,” the email said. “Your video Cody Wilson—Press Conference—Defense Distributed—8-28-2018 was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines and we’ve removed it from YouTube.”

The video displayed a 46-minute press conference Wilson provided for The Associated Press, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and other major media outlets. In the press conference, Wilson announced a fundraiser for his legal battle over the publication of his blueprints, and also announced that he would begin to sell the blueprints through secure online transfers, which a judge deemed legal.

Wilson also discussed his reaction to the latest legal ruling that forced the State Department to retract its settlement with him.

After a multi-year legal battle, the State Department settlement announced in July permitted Wilson to publish his 3-D printed gun blueprints online. In 2012, Wilson published the blueprints online where they were downloaded over 100,000 times, but the State Department forced Wilson to unpublish the blueprints or face significant fines, causing him to sue over free speech infringement.

Since the announcement, anti-gun groups have scrambled to block the blueprints’ publication, citing danger to the public. Social media platforms have followed suit in cracking down on content that promotes guns.

“It’s self-evidently an attempt at controlling our culture and people’s discovery of it,” Wilson of YouTube’s decision.

A YouTube spokesperson told Washington Free Beacon that the video violated their guidelines because it included a link to Wilson’s website, DefCad.com, where he lists the blueprints for sale.

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“We routinely make updates to our policy enforcement guidelines,” the spokesperson said, wishing to remain anonymous.

“In March, we notified creators of planned updates around content facilitating the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, giving them several months to review their accounts and remove violative content. The accessories include those that convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds). Channels who still have content that violates these policies will start to have those videos removed and may have strikes applied to their account,” the spokesperson explained.

Other social media platforms have also taken measures to ban content related to Wilson’s blueprints. Facebook banned any posts created or shared linking to CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, which hosts Wilson’s 3-D printed blueprints. Amazon’s webhosting service also banned the site, and banned a book from the Amazon’s bookstore which included code for Wilson’s blueprints.

Wilson has attempted to appeal YouTube’s decision, but has not been successful thus far.

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