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Censor 'Planet of the Humans'? Josh Fox Tried. He Failed.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

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  • Jun 8, 2020

On June 5, Google Inc. restored the controversial documentary Planet of the Humans to YouTube after removing it two weeks earlier. 'Planet' had been taken down due to complaints from a video producer, whose 4 seconds of copyrighted material had been included in the film without permission. Apparently, powers-that-be at Google agreed with the film's director, Jeff Gibbs, that in context the footage qualified as "fair use" under U.S. copyright law, which allows unauthorized use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances.

As it turned out, however, the owner of the copyright didn't seek compensation from producers - he simply didn't like the message of the movie. Was the movie obscene, or offensive? Did it libel or defame any of the film's cast of characters?

None of the above. Planet of the Humans shows how renewable energy has been dominated by large financial interests, who recognize a potential source of immense profit from selling an illusion. It shows how solar and wind have been presented as viable solutions to the existential problem of climate change - when in truth, they're anything but.

Josh Fox, director of the documentary Gasland, found the film particularly objectionable. In caps-lock riddled emails to colleagues, he labeled 'Planets' "A GIGANTIC CROCK OF SH!T...absolutely, disgustingly horrible...amateurish and inept...cherry-picking and ignorant," before demanding "You must take it down ASAP." In another email Fox urged a group of public relations professionals and organizers to help suppress the film, writing “A number of reputable websites are hosting this abomination and I need your support in getting them to take it down."

Though both and YouTube removed the film briefly, it was restored after producers and freedom-of-speech activists condemned its removal as "censorship".

Interestingly, the film doesn't proselytize or take sides on the value of renewables. Sierra Club, Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Richard Branson and others show what's driving the Green Energy movement - greed - by their own words and actions. Maybe the vitriol in response to 'Planets' is misdirected anger at learning the truth, of learning the promise of renewables, as a viable solution to climate change, was instead a lie.

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