The YouTube CEO urges ‘Creators’ to oppose an EU article of authors’ rights

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has given a glimpse of the lobbying angle that parent company Google will use in the months to come to fight against the European Union’s proposed Copyright Directive. In a blogpost, the executive urged “creators” who are us.

Susan Wojcicki – Executive Director Youtube

Article 13 is addressing the “value gap” issue by requiring online services hosting user-generated content to take down unlicensed content or have proper licenses in place. Wojcicki’s maneuver was described as “heavy lobbying by YouTube” with “hysteric arguments” by German Member of the European Parliament Helga Truepel‏.

She added: “But platforms can license and practice notice and take down. Our goal are licenses for UGC, users get legal security and platforms responsibility, win-win.”

Wojcicki wrote that YouTube, which has over one billion users, has generated a creative economy powered by millions of “creators.” She claimed that this “growing creative economy is at risk,” because copyright legislation “could drastically change the internet that you see today.”

She added, “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.”

Wojcicki said she acknowledges “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 for her, the “unintended consequences of article 13” are that it will put at risk the creative ecosystem around YouTube. The legislation would make it “too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators” because platforms would become directly liable for that content.

“If implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ,” wrote Wojcicki who invited YouTube users to “tell the world through social media (#SaveYourInternet) and your channel why the creator economy is important and how this legislation will impact you.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also attacked the Copyright Directive, with EFF Special Consultant Cory Doctorow stating that Articles 11 and 13 “are bad ideas that have no place in the Directive,” and invited European policy-makers to “cut them from the Directive altogether.”

Wojcicki’s post was strongly criticised by creative industries’ representatives. Michael Dugher, CEO of cross-industry trade organisation UK Music, took it toTwitter: “The sheer cheek of this. YouTube are undermining the livelihoods of artists, musicians & writers today by refusing to pay fair rewards to those who create the very content that makes YouTube billions of $. Google’s YouTube are ripping off artists & music creators as we speak.”

American singer/songwriter and activist David Loweryestimated in his blog that YouTube was “shorting musicians at least $13 billion a year.” He added, “You see, the EU just proposed guidelines (article 13) requiring platforms like YouTube to stop hiding behind its users and pay musicians fairly. She thinks that is an outrage and is spreading wild disinformation. Seems batshit crazy to enlist children in a multinational corporate lobbying effort. (…) This is Google: Second largest corporation on earth, manipulating children to protect one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. Disgusting.”

Meanwhile, as the Copyright Directive is entering the “trilogue” phase between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Europe, Pirate Party MEP Julia Redaexplained that to respond to the closed-door meetings that will be held between now and February 2019, she decided “to provide some transparency to this normally opaque process” by “publishing the negotiating documents on my website.” She added: “These so-called ‘four column documents’ lay out the positions of the Commission, Council and Parliament, as well as the possible compromises being debated.”

The Authors’ Group, which represents more than 500 000 authors, including writers, literary translators, composers, songwriters, journalists, photographers, film/TV directors and screenwriters in Europe, said it “strongly supports the successful adoption of the Copyright Directive.” The Group — which consists of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), European Writers’ Council (EWC), Federation of European Film and TV Directors (FERA) and Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) — said the Directive “represents a once in a decade opportunity to improve the situation of authors, thereby strengthening the European creative community and cultural wealth in the digital era.”

The EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, was handed over a petition signed by more than 21,000 supporters of Europe’s screenwriters and directors about their right to fair and proportionate remuneration. The petition supports the new Article 14 proposed by the European Parliament that establishes a principle of fair and proportionate remuneration for authors derived from the revenues generated by the exploitation of their works, including online.



Photo: TechCrunch, Susan Wojcicki at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013, crop and composition by Martín Ochoa, CC BY 2.0

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