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YouTube speaks out against EU’s Article 13 copyright changes

The European Union’s (EU) controversial Copyright Directive reared its head once again last month, after a period of amendment befell Articles 11 and 13. While the changes seem to have satisfied the approval process ahead of January’s Parliament vote, YouTube’s CEO has taken the time to warn content creators of the Directive’s implications, condemning the effort.

Since its 2005 conception, YouTube has built a community based on fair use policies, enabling creators to craft content by remixing copyrighted material to produce something new. Platform head Susan Wojcicki has now penned an open letter informing YouTubers that this right is threatened by the EU’s Article 13.

This portion of the Copyright Directive aims to implement stricter protection for copyrighted material, resulting in content being heavily filtered as it’s uploaded to the web. This would inevitably place liability on the platform itself to ensure creators fall in line, as bigger companies dominate the scene.

“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,” explains Wojcicki.

“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 will force platforms, like YouTube, to prioritize content from a small number of large companies. The burden of copyright proof will be too high for most independent creators to instantly demonstrate. There is a better way forward for copyright online but it’s critical you speak up now as this decision may be finalized by the end of the year.”

Wojcicki isn’t alone in her worries, as World Wide Web creator Tim Burners-Lee and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales have both challenged the vague movement to be intrusive and overbearing, although the two haven’t said much since the publication of the amendments. Still, the #SaveYourInternet hashtag is still going strong since before the retraction, with Wojcicki pleading with people to learn more before January’s vote.

KitGuru Says: The amendments definitely show progress, but it still seems that the EU is still taking a very ham-handed approach towards copyright protection with outright censorship. Hopefully more changes can be made before the vote goes ahead early next year. How do you feel about Article 13?

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