Sidhu Moosewala’s “SYL” Music Video Removed: Why is YouTube removing content?


Owned by Google YouTube has removed a new song by late Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala from its platform in India, citing a “government legal complaint”. The song SYL is available on YouTube in other countries and also on audio streaming platforms like Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn in India.

Why did YouTube remove the video?

The only reason YouTube cites is the government’s legal complaint. In a statement, the video-streaming platform’s spokesman said: “We have clear guidelines on removal requests from governments around the world. We review government takedown requests when notified of the proper legal process, and we also review content for violations of our Community Guidelines. And where appropriate, we restrict or remove content in accordance with local laws and our Terms of Service after a thorough review. All of these requests are tracked and included in our transparency report.” The platform did not give the exact reason for the removal of the video.

What is Sidhu Moosewala’s song about?

The song, titled SYL – named after the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) channel under construction – was recorded just weeks before the singer was killed and released on June 23. The song is based on the water issue between Punjab and Haryana for a long time, and the music video, which has now been removed, spoke of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and showed the Sikh flag being raised during peasant agitation at the Red Fort . The YouTube video was viewed 27 million times in less than three days. It also received 3.3 million likes on the video streaming platform.

What makes YouTube remove videos from its platform?

YouTube uses various mechanisms to remove videos from its platform, including community reports as well as requests from government agencies, law enforcement agencies, court orders, etc. The government requests are made either through formal channels such as web forms, etc., or through informal channels such as Google’s Public Policy Team. Some requests may allege infringement of intellectual property rights, while others may allege violation of local laws that prohibit types of content on grounds such as defamation.

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How many times has YouTube received content removal requests from authorities in India?

According to the Google Transparency Report, there were 1,670 government requests to remove content from YouTube in 2021. This spanned categories such as defamation, criticism of the government, violence, religious offences, national security, hate speech, copyright, privacy and security, etc. In 2020, 1,538 such requests were made.


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