YouTube CEO criticizes Article 13 of new European copyright directive
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has criticised the European Parliament’s recent approval of the Article 13 section of the proposed new European copyright directive. She also hinted that this norn could force her company to block videos from smaller creators, including educational channels.
Wojcicki explained in her latest quarterly letter to creators:
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. 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.
She then continued:
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.
Music rightsholders have argued that Article 13 would simply require user-upload platforms to use technology to monitor uploaded content for copyright infringement – Content ID, essentially. YouTube’s argument, as made by Wojcicki (and by chief business officer Robert Kyncl before the Article 13 vote) is that the legislation would affect creators and free expression online far beyond the music industry:
We realise 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 finalised by the end of year, so it’s important to speak up now.
Wojcicki's quarterly letter wasn’t just about Article 13: she also revealed that the number of YouTube channels with more than a million subscribers has grown by 75% in the last year, and reminded readers that YouTube’s monthly music audience is more than one billion people. Then she wrote that thousands of creators have started using YouTube’s ‘channel membership’ feature, which was introduced this summer as a way to make additional revenues by selling badges, emoji and other perks to their keenest fans, via monthly subscriptions.