YouTube rallies creators to oppose EU copyright law

YouTube CEO criticizes Article 13

YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki has voiced concerns over changes to European copyright legislation that she said could hurt smaller original content creators.

Writing in a blog post, the CEO urged YouTube creators to educate themselves on the legislation and how it could affect their channel, and "tell the world through social media" via the hashtag, #SaveYourInternet.

“Article 13 as written threatens to shut down the ability of millions of people – from creators like you to everyday users – to upload content to platforms like YouTube,” Wojcicki wrote. “And it threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere.”

The EU Parliament recently approved amendments to the Directive on Copyright (formally named the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market). In it includes Article 13, which Wojcicki claims can drastically impact content on YouTube.

Article 13 states original content platforms – like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – are responsible for any copyright infringement undertaken by its users, and must “cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorised protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services” by filtering or removing such content.

The full piece of legislation can be read here.

Wojcicki believes this rule, which will go through another vote in January 2019, will be disadvantageous to individuals who upload content to the site.

“The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies,” she stated. “It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content.

“We realize the importance of all rights holders being fairly compensated, which is why we built Content ID and a platform to pay out all types of content owners. But the unintended consequences of article 13 will put this ecosystem at risk. We are committed to working with the industry to find a better way.”

Other critics include the CCIA, a lobbying group that includes Google, Facebook, eBay, Netflix and Amazon, as well as Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Proponents of Article 13 include the Society of Authors, which says the directive modernizes copyright in the digital age and forces large platforms to take greater responsibility for the content they host.

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