According to Cody Wilson, the man behind the 3-D printable firearm company Defense Distributed, YouTube has removed a video of his recent press conference announcing the sale of gun blueprints and a fundraiser for his ongoing legal fight over their publication.
“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.”
Ghost Gunner is a CNC mill sold by Defense Distributed which runs on open source software and has the capabilities of manufacturing selected 80% lowers and frames such as the AR-15, AR-308, and the M1911.
DEFCAD is a database hosted by Wilson’s company where at the moment anyone can go and buy blueprints for a 3-D printable firearm.
Wilson received an email from YouTube on August 31 explaining that his videos had been flagged and were determined to violate the video sharing platform’s community guidelines.
“As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow—and don’t allow—on YouTube,” the email to Wilson’s company read. “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 flagged and censored video shows a press conference Wilson gave where the 30-year-old reacted to a recent ruling by a federal judge forcing the State Department to drop a settlement which granted him the right to publish certain gun files.
Wilson explained to reporters at the conference that he would begin selling the blueprints for 3-D printable guns and parts on his website instead of giving them out for free. By doing so, Wilson believes this legally bypasses the judge’s decision to bar him from distributing the blueprint files for free.
“I’m happy now to become the iTunes of downloadable guns if I can’t be the Napster,” he said.
In response to questioning over the censoring, YouTube explained that the video included a link to the DEFCAD.com database. The company said it does not allow content that features firearms that intends to facilitate either the sale of firearms or their manufacture or links to sites selling firearms.
“We routinely make updates to our policy enforcement guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson told the Free Beacon. “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.”
Wilson’s fundraising video removed by YouTube was posted as part of an effort to raise $400,000 in support of his continued legal fight to publish the gun blueprints for download.
Wilson told the Free Beacon that YouTube has not responded to his attempts to appeal the takedown decisions. He believes these actions are intended to suppress his message.
“It’s self-evidently an attempt at controlling our culture and people’s discovery of it,” Wilson said.
The video of Cody Wilson’s recent press conference has since been uploaded by other YouTube channels. Watch it below.