By Ray Wilson
I was sitting on a bench and listening to one of my favourite street performers. It was a late Sunday afternoon, and it was warm in the sunshine.
“Hi there, Si! How’s it going?”
“Yeah, all right, I guess.”
He told me about his Sundays and how he really enjoyed spending a morning at a car boot sale sorting through all the old vinyl, finding crappy tunes, listening to them, and then figuring out the chords on his guitar and learning to play them, followed by the afternoon busking. He told me that YouTube’s policies regarding street buskers performing cover songs are the same as their policies for any other user uploading copyrighted material. If a street performer performs a cover song and records it on video, then uploads it to YouTube without permission from the copyright holder, they may be subject to a copyright strike.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I okayed it with the copyright holder as I always do, but they still gave me a strike. It’s really scary because I have thousands of videos; it pays a pittance, but three strikes and you are out. And all that work is gone.”
“If a copyright holder finds a video on YouTube that infringes on their copyright, they can submit a request to have it removed. If the request is valid, YouTube will remove the video and issue a strike to the user who uploaded it. If the user receives three strikes within a 90-day period, their account may be terminated.”
“I can’t even talk to a real person,” Si rubbed his head in exasperation.
“It sounds like a very unfair system,” I said. He was packing up all his gear, his guitar, and other small items into a bag with a wide blue and yellow stripe.
I began to explain about a video that I posted on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. I already suspected that this would end badly. I said that the issue of tyrannical government control over YouTube is a controversial one that raises concerns about freedom of expression and censorship.
YouTube is a privately owned platform, and its policies are primarily based on its community guidelines, which are designed to promote a safe and appropriate environment for all users. However, in some cases, governments have attempted to influence or control speech on the platform, either by pressuring YouTube to remove or restrict certain content or by passing laws that restrict what can be posted on the platform.
“So did the video have any music in it?” he asked.
“Well, there were about 5 seconds of Mr. Bluesky, which they said was copyright, but they allowed it to be posted.”
“What was the title of the video?” he asked.
“Truth be told,” I replied.
“What’s it about?”
I knew at this point that, in all probability, I was on a hiding to nothing, and so it proved.
“It was a short film showing thousands of people demanding some recognition for all the vaccine injuries they had suffered and, in some cases, the deaths of their loved ones,” I began.
“COVID misinformation, thats why,” he said.
“Well, not really,” I said. “These people have been diagnosed by medical professionals as having suffered injuries from a so called government promoted “safe and effective vaccine,” and their claims have been accepted by the authorities, but they have not received any help, and time is running out for settlement of their claims.”
“It’s misinformation,” he insisted. “The government just wants to make sure that everyone is fully protected, so they want to make sure that nobody is scared away from taking the vaccine, and that would put themselves and their families at risk.”
Si looked around nervously. “You’ll be saying it’s a depopulation shot, next,” he whispered.
He added that spreading false information about the vaccine could have serious consequences, and he urged people to rely on trusted sources of information.
I wanted to extricate myself from a potentially heated argument. I pointed out that an example of government control over YouTube speech is the censorship of political speech. In some countries, governments may attempt to remove or restrict content that is critical of the government or that promotes ideas that are deemed politically undesirable. This can have a significant impact on free speech, as it restricts individuals ability to express their opinions and engage in political discourse.
Another issue is the use of YouTube to spread hate speech or propaganda. Governments may attempt to remove or restrict content that promotes hate speech or extremist ideologies, but this can also lead to concerns about censorship and the suppression of legitimate political discourse.
“So, Si,” I said, “can’t you use an alternate platform like Rumble?”
“If I lose YouTube, I will probably give up,” he says.
“I thought about using TikTok, but with all the time it takes to upload them, I’ve got thousands.”
I sense the fear of losing an income, albeit a small one, and a massive following of fans, which is simply too much for Si to contemplate.
“You must never give up,” I say.
This is truly a silent war, and as in the lyrics of Brad Skistimas-Five Times August: “It’s so sad watching these times as they change, and it’s so bad the battles have been violent and strange, as they lock us indoors in the prison of this silent war.” It is for some people a prison of their own consciousness, within their own mind, and it is more rigid than a physical barrier.
I have rarely felt so moved to sadness, and it is strange because, on a superficial level, nothing has changed but everything has. Si described to me the comfort of his Sunday routine as a boxed off, compartmentalised day in time. He had configured his movements within predetermined geographical boundaries where all his needs for the day, Sunday, were fulfilled. It reminded me of electroshock therapy, or the physiological manipulation of thoughts within strictly controlled boundaries. The idea of limiting oneself to a specific area for the sake of routine and predictability seemed suffocating to me. It made me wonder if he was truly living or just going through the motions of life. It certainly complied with government dictates, predictive programming, and all the goals of Agenda 21.
I knew that the traditional archetype of the Rock-n-Roll rebel had died in 2020, but talking to Si crushed my spirit. He was scared of singing an “inappropriate song” and saying a word that had been newly defined as offensive. The threat of his income streams being permanently curtailed and the fear of his subscribers leaving, leaving cruel comments, or both, were too much to consider.
Eric Clapton collaborated with fellow musician Van Morrison on the song “Stand and Deliver” in late 2020, which was critical of lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions. Eric Clapton said that he felt “incredibly unwell” after the first dose and that his hands and feet were either “frozen, numb, or burning.” He also stated that he experienced “chronic pain” and that he was worried he would “never play again.” Despite these concerns, Eric Clapton received the second dose of the vaccine but suffered even more severe side effects, including “profuse sweating” and “extreme lethargy.”
Eric Clapton went on to blame the “propaganda” surrounding the vaccine and accused the media of “ignoring the side effects.” He also claimed that he was being “ostracised” and “shamed” for speaking out about his experience.
In December 2020, Right Said Fred released a song titled “We Are All Criminals” as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
The song includes lyrics such as “It’s all signs and parking fines, cameras in your face. I don’t recognise this place. Oh, it’s a bloody disgrace. Can’t work; can’t play; can’t leave; can’t stay We’re all criminals. Can’t kiss, can’t hug.”
They are lone voices among the compliant, possibly fearful celebrities; many are still actively pushing “vaccines” and denying the unvaccinated entry to their concerts.
The ministry of misinformation is busy censoring books, internet sites, and changing words and their meanings. It has always been a core tactic of the “establishment” to control controversy and bend it to their will, to criticise and punish those “spreading misinformation,” in other words, questioning the official line. This was especially focused on musicians singing about the vaccine and downplaying the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What about our songs, even the oldies? Will they rewrite the lyrics?
“You haven’t got a card machine yet,” I said.
“Nope, it’s cash for me; no CBDC shite either.”
“Thats good, as I only use cash.”
I hand Si a tip as he walks away.
“Rock and Roll,” he says.