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The CEO of YouTube has expressed concern about the European Parliament’s “unrealistic” approach to modernising copyright rules in the EU.
Susan Wojcicki warned of the potential unintended consequences of the recently-passed copyright directive’s article 13, in a blog post shared yesterday, November 12.
Wojcicki, who was involved in the founding of YouTube’s parent company, Google, explained that creators use YouTube to share their voices and build their livelihoods.
She said that now-famous music artists, like Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran, broadcast their work on the video-sharing platform long before they were discovered by a music label, and YouTube works hard to fairly compensate artists and creators for their work.
Last year alone, YouTube paid content owners across the EU €800 million ($901 million).
“However, this creator economy is under threat from a section of the EU’s efforts to revise its copyright directive, known as article 13,” according to Wojcicki.
The European Parliament voted in favour of modernising EU copyright law on September 12, with 438 MEPs voting in favour of the amendments and 226 opposing the directive.
Article 13 of the directive holds internet companies directly responsible for any copyright infringement that occurs in content shared on their platform.
Wojcicki explained that YouTube supports the goals of article 13, which would require online platforms to filter or remove copyright-violating material from their websites, but warned that the proposal will have unintended consequences for the livelihoods of creators.
Wojcicki said that the European Parliament’s approach to the modernisation of copyright rules is “unrealistic” because, in many cases, copyright owners disagree about who owns the rights to a work.
“If the owners cannot agree, it is impossible to expect the open platforms that host this content to make the correct rights decisions,” she said.
This is particularly challenging for platforms like YouTube, to which more than 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute across more than 35 million EU channels.
Wojcicki warned that, as a result, EU-based consumers could be “cut off” from certain videos as YouTube may block content if it’s unclear who all the relevant rights owners are, in order to avoid liability under article 13.
She said that YouTube wants to work with policymakers and industry to develop a solution to the article 13 problem; such a fix would protect right owners while also allowing the creative economy to thrive.
In Wojcicki’s view, smart rights management technology, such as YouTube’s Content ID, is a good solution for managing rights on a global scale.
“Platforms that follow these rules, and make a good effort to help rights holders identify their content, shouldn’t be held directly liable for every single piece of content that a user uploads,” she concluded.
This is not the first time that a YouTube representative has spoken out against the copyright directive.
In September, YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl warned that article 13 could undermine the creative economy by discouraging platforms from hosting user-generated content.
YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, EU copyright directive, European Parliament, online copyright infringement, user-generated content, video hosting platform, music