YouTube Joins Opposition, Speaks Out Against EU’s Article 13

The head of YouTube is joining the massive opposition and condemning article 13 as a threat to free speech.

There is a growing wave of opposition towards article 11 and article 13. Article 11 (dubbed the link tax), and article 13 (dubbed the censorship machine), have been the subject of huge controversy all year.

Just two days ago, we reported on Italy joining a block of countries voicing their opposition towards the proposed laws. The addition to the movement to save the Internet in Europe means that it is mathematically possible to stop the laws. Unfortunately, some suggest that the opposition to the laws are not exactly unified. Still, it shows a growing consensus that the laws, as they stand now, are unacceptable.

That growing consensus is growing even further with another heavy hitter. This time, the opposition comes from head of YouTube Susan Wojcicki. She went on record to say that the laws, as they stand now, would shut down millions of content creators. From KitGuru:

“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.”

It is worth pointing out that this isn’t the first time these laws were condemned by YouTube. Back in September, we reported on not only YouTube’s opposition, but also the opposition from the Wikimedia Foundation as well.

The list of those opposed to the proposed copyright laws are long, but a few examples include Creative Commons, multiple editions of Wikipedia including the Italian edition, former Universal Music executive Pascal Nègre, the nearly 1 million European’s who signed a petition opposing these laws, the United Nations, and the many Internet innovators who signed an open letter condemning the laws.

So, YouTube is basically re-iterating their opposition. Why that is key is because there have been so-called “compromises” made to the laws. Those “compromises” have been widely blasted as trivial and fails to address the major concerns raised with these proposed laws. So, what is happening is that the head of YouTube is basically saying that these “compromises” are simply not good enough.

YouTube’s opposition is understandable because they support countless content creators all over the world who may not have a major record deal or is a part of a major movie studio or television station. Losing a huge chunk of the potential audience for these creators means that YouTube would be forced to be more dependent on major corporate content instead. This, of course, runs contrary to the idea that YouTube is an open platform. It doesn’t matter who you are, but if you can produce content people enjoy, you can gain a major following. Losing that potential access to innovation would be a huge blow to YouTube and the creator community as a whole.

It would be no surprise if more people either join the fight to save the Internet in Europe or if people would re-iterate their opposition in the days or weeks ahead. The legislation is secretively moving through the so-called “trialogue” meetings now and there doesn’t seem to be much stopping it at this stage. Still, what many people are looking at are the subsequent votes that will follow. Many people feel that once it gets to the various stages of voting, it’ll be their next chance to stop it – and potentially last chances to stop it even. So, if there is ever a time to build up opposition momentum, now is the time.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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