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Complying with EU’s new copyright directive is a huge “financial risk”

youtube fights eu copyright directive

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki continues her series of posts about the impossibility of complying with the European Union’s proposed copyright directive. In a new blog post, Wojcicki stated that YouTube does not have the technical or financial capabilities to enforce the kind of copyright restriction that EU seeks.

Under Article 13 of the Copyright Directive online platforms, like YouTube, will have to prevent the display of any copyrighted material that has not been explicitly licensed for distribution. Article 13 calls for stricter copyright infringement enforcement and puts the responsibility on the platform instead of the user.

She illustrated the complexity of the process with the help of an example; she used Despacito, the most watched video on YouTube. She wrote –

“This video contains multiple copyrights, ranging from sound recording to publishing rights. Although YouTube has agreements with multiple entities to license and pay for the video, some of the rights holders remain unknown. That uncertainty means we might have to block videos like this to avoid liability under Article 13. Multiply that risk with the scale of YouTube, where more than 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and the potential liabilities could be so large that no company could take on such a financial risk.”

Once again, Wojcicki stresses on YouTube’s Content ID system to be the best way of tracking copyright infringement. The system, in which YouTube has invested more than $100 million since its launch, pays copyright holders for their original work if used in another creator’s video. “To date, we have used the system to pay rights holders more than €2.5B for third-party use of their content,” Wojcicki wrote. “We believe Content ID provides the best 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 added.

She also expressed her concern for the European YouTubers and notes – “EU residents are at risk of being cut off from videos that, in just the last month, they viewed more than 90 billion times… Those videos come from around the world, including more than 35 million EU channels, and they include language classes and science tutorials as well as music videos.”

Even under the Fair Use Act, with EU’s copyright directive deployed, it is going to be hard for the creators to use copyrighted content. However, YouTube’s primary concern seems to be the financial burden associated with complying. And luckily, the copyright directive still remains dormant, and will until its final vote.

MAGAZINES