UPDATE: YouTube says it mistakenly blocked Canadians from watching a video parodying cable companies.

After reports earlier this week that the "First Honest Cable Company Ad" was blocked in Canada due to a "defamation" complaint, YouTube owner Google said it had reinstated access to the video to viewers located in Canada.

"With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it," said Wendy Bairos, a spokesperson for Google, which owns YouTube, in an email to HuffPost.

Original story follows below.

If you can’t see the video above, it’s because someone in Canada just expanded their crusade against parodies of cable TV companies.

A video titled “The First Honest Cable Company Ad” went viral last April with its cheeky take on the customer-unfriendly practices of certain U.S. cable providers. But it appears YouTube has pulled the video for viewers in Canada “due to a defamation complaint.”

Fortunately, in typical internet fashion, some YouTube users copied the video and some copied versions are still available to Canadian viewers (hence the video above, which was still working in Canada last time we checked).

“Are you looking for a fast reliable internet connection, a large selection of your favourite HDTV channels and 24/7 access to the best customer support technicians, all at a fair price?” a fictional cable company rep asks in the video. “Fuck you. You’ll take what we give you.”

The video was produced by Extremely Decent Films, which has parodied everything from The Lord of the Rings to the lack of snow in winter due to global warming.

The censored video raises some interesting questions, such as: Who is trying to stop Canadians from watching parodies of the U.S. cable industry? And why would a U.S.-made parody of U.S cable companies be defamatory in Canada, but not the U.S.?

True, Canada’s defamation laws are more favourable to complainants than U.S. defamation laws, but the whole thing still doesn’t add up.

HuffPost Canada has posed these questions to Google, which owns YouTube; we’ll update this story when or if Google responds.

To be clear: We have no reason to believe that one of Canada’s cable providers is behind the take-down order, so we won’t be naming any of these suspects.

But it does seem to fit a pattern of Canadian institutions using copyright and defamation arguments in efforts to censor online content.

Just last week, it emerged that Alberta Tourism was behind a complaint that pulled an anti-oil sands video from YouTube in Canada.

In that case, though, the complaint was copyright violation, not defamation, and the video’s content may have indeed infringed on material copyrighted by Alberta Tourism. Harder to see is how a fictional cable company "ad" could be defamatory.

Maybe the part about “oligopolies” hit too close to home for someone in Canada’s telecom industry, which has often been accused of operating as one.

“We are part of what is called an oligopoly,” the fictional spokesman says at one point.

“It’s like a monopoly, only legal. In closed door meetings with four or five of the other major providers, we secretly agreed not to have differing prices, allowing us to eliminate any competition and allowing us to raise our prices to optimum cockbag levels.”

That's actually a definition of "collusion," not "oligopoly," but either way, if you're in the telecom business, it's got to sting.

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  • North Korea

    Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea's 24 million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotels are allowed full access to the Internet.

  • Iran

    Most Western social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, as well as political opposition and sexually explicit websites. But proxy server sites and other methods are widely used to get around the official restrictions. Iran has announced plans to create its own domestic Internet with fully monitored content, but international experts question whether such a complete break from the worldwide Net is possible. Earlier this week, Iran accounted it had developed its own YouTube-style video sharing site.

  • China

    There are more than 500 million Chinese online but they contend with an extensive Internet filtering and censorship system popularly known as the "Great Fire Wall." Censors police blogs and domestic social media for content deemed pornographic or politically subversive and delete it. Many foreign websites, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times are blocked. Searches for controversial topics such as corruption scandals or jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo return error messages. Users evade controls using proxy servers.

  • Cuba

    Tight control, slow connections and high costs mean only around 5 percent of Cubans have access to the global Internet, with another 23 percent relying instead on a government intranet with very limited content. Web access is mainly via public facilities where people must first register with identification.

  • Gulf Arab States

    Political sites deemed threats to the state are often blocked. Since the Arab Spring, authorities across the Gulf have stepped up arrests of bloggers and others for posted considered offensive to rulers or advocating political reforms.

  • Central Asia

    Internet censorship is prevalent across former Soviet Central Asian republics, but the strongest restrictions have been recorded in Iran's authoritarian neighbors to the north, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Controls are strictest in Turkmenistan, where social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are out-of-bounds, as is video-sharing site YouTube and numerous news websites. Uzbekistan has taken a less extreme approach, but sites critical of the government are blocked as a matter of course. Tajikistan, which is like those countries also ruled by an unchallenged strong-man ruler, has twice this year barred access to Facebook after web-surfers used the site to post material critical of government officials.

  • Eritrea

    The government restricts access to the Internet and closely monitors online communications. The U.S. State Department's latest human rights report said the Eritrean government monitored email without obtaining warrants as required by law, and that all Internet service users were required to use one of the three service providers owned directly by the government or controlled through high-ranking members of the country's sole party. But the vast majority people do not have Internet access.


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  • $83,000 In Sales On Amazon

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