YouTube CEO: EU ‘upload filter’ leads to content block and excludes Europeans

Susan Wojcicki, the director of YouTube, warns of significant negative consequences of the new EU copyright directive. According to her, impossible financial risks arise, as a result of which content will be blocked. She also states that Europeans are excluded.

Wojcicki specifically targets Article 13 of the text for a new copyright directive adopted by the European Parliament in September. This article is also referred to by the term ‘upload filter’. The director of YouTube says that the creation of content by creatives is threatened by this filter, because internet companies become directly responsible for copyright infringement.

She explains this with an example in the form of the worldwide music hit ‘Despacito’. This video contains many copyrights, from sound recordings to publishing rights. Wojcicki says YouTube has agreements with multiple parties, but some rights holders are unknown. That uncertainty, she says, means that these types of videos may need to be blocked, otherwise there could be liability under Article 13. Wojcicki says that her platform uploads 400 hours of videos every minute, which can exacerbate the potential financial risks. , which no company wants to take. In her opinion, other systems such as YouTube’s own Content ID are much better suited to address the issue of copyright holders.

In addition, Wojcicki states that Article 13 goes further than just financial risks. She argues that residents of EU member states are at risk of being cut off from these types of videos, as platforms don’t want to risk having to deal with the new EU rules. In October, Wojcicki predicted that the new directive threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, as platforms will be hesitant to publish content from millions of content creators any longer.

Article 13 concerns an obligation for internet platforms to prevent copyright-protected material from being uploaded just like that. The obligation to establish an upload filter is not stated as such in the legal text, but critics such as Wojcicki believe that internet platforms cannot comply with the new rules in any other way. The YouTube director says she agrees with the EU’s rationale for getting artists paid more for their work, but she’s wary of the ‘unintended consequences’, which she says will have a significant impact on the income of hundreds of thousands of people.

On September 12, the EU Parliament approved a text for the new copyright directive. The final text is still being negotiated within the EU by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The final text is expected to be finalized sometime next year, after which Member States are likely to have to introduce the rules within two years. That means the rules could come into effect from early 2021.