For those who don't know, pianogate refers to a storm-in-a-teacup incident involving YouTuber Brendan Kavanagh who was livestreaming playing a public piano in London and some Chinese citizens who happened to be nearby. See the original YouTube video, currently named "PIANOGATE LIVESTREAM - (under imminent threat of removal by YouTube)"

Kavanagh's recent YouTube video claims that YouTube sent him an email:

Screenshot of his YouTube video showing an email purportedly from YouTube

Piecing it together from the YouTube video, I transcribe the email content below:


Upon additional review, we found that the personal information at issue has not been sufficiently removed from the content. We invite you to make use of the following resources as needed. YouTube offers a Custom Blurring tool that allows you to blur anything in your video, including individuals or information. For more information on the blurring feature, visit the Creator blog and Help Centre. Please also check the title, description, audio or tags of your video for relevant personal information. YouTube offers metadata editing tools that you can access by going to My videos and clicking the Edit button on the reported video.

The information reported as violating privacy is at

(1:43 - 2:50)
(16:51 - 17:20)


The YouTube Legal Support Team

(I haven't reproduced the links in the email as I don't know where they link to. I shortened the list of time windows to save space.)

This video has cropped up on Reddit, where Redditors are questioning its legitimacy, e.g. this comment:

No way that's legitimate e-mail from someone at youtube.


Question: Did YouTube send YouTuber Brendan Kavanagh an email to: threaten removal of 'Pianogate'?

  • 1
    Without considering the genuineness of the e-mail, the request iitself s perhaps not as unlikely as the Reddit commenters seem to assume. Even if the video is not violating the rather liberal UK privacy laws, I strongly assume that YouTube must follow other countries' laws as well, also in countries which have stricter privacy laws. IANAL, but I am pretty confident that the publication of the video violates e.g. German law. Commented Feb 7 at 17:25


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