YouTube CEO urges YouTube creators to protest European copyright law

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki warns video makers about the threat of a controversial copyright law in the European Union and urges them to “take action immediately” and protest the ruling with videos and social media posts.

“This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world,” she writes in a blog post published Monday.

Wojcicki focuses on Article 13 of the EU’s new Directive on Copyright, which passed in early September and makes tech platforms liable for copyright-protected content. Essentially, this means that giant platforms that rely on user-generated content, including Google‘s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, would be responsible for making sure that users don’t share copyrighted material. As it stands now, the platforms aren’t fiscally accountable for violations, although they do need to remove copyrighted content when rights holders ask them too.

Critics say that Article 13 could could threaten people’s ability to share material like memes or parodies.

Proponents say that the legislation is necessary to protect fair pay for creators, and that major tech platforms have been able to skirt responsibility for too long.

Wojcicki argues in her blog post that assuming liability for all of YouTube’s content would make it too risky for the platform to host videos from smaller content creators.

She also writes that YouTube’s Content ID already protects content owners. Content ID automatically compares the content of new videos to a database of copyrighted video and audio and lets copyright holders decide whether to block a video that uses their content or run ads against it.

The EU is expected to vote on a final version of the proposal next year.

Here’s Wojcicki’s full statement on Article 13:

All of this is possible because of the creative economy powered by you. However, this growing creative economy is at risk, as the EU Parliament voted on Article 13, copyright legislation that could drastically change the internet that you see today.

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. And it threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere. This includes YouTube’s incredible video library of educational content, such as language classes, physics tutorials and other how-to’s.

This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world. And, if implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ. The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies. 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. This language could be finalized by the end of the year, so it’s important to speak up now.

Please take a moment to learn more about how it could affect your channel and take action immediately. Tell the world through social media (#SaveYourInternet) and your channel why the creator economy is important and how this legislation will impact you.