Thursday, November 22, 2018

YouTube wants to ‘#saveyourinternet’ from the EU’s proposed Article 13 legislation 

This week, in a closed-off hall inside London’s Tate Modern, YouTube stepped off the screen and onto the stage. Specifically, creators that have used the video-sharing service to extraordinary effect were invited to appear in person and share their stories. The event, called YouTube on Stage, has been gaining ground in recent years as the platform it celebrates continues to grow at a ludicrous rate. South African comedian Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show was followed by Jacob Collier, a 24-year-old Grammy-winning musician who in turn gave way to a former English teacher called Andrew Bruff. All had stories to tell about how sharing videos on YouTube led to them gaining worldwide audiences. Vanessa Kingori, publishing director of Vogue here in the UK also spoke about how YouTube is helping the famed fashion brand. South African comedian Trevor Noah at the YouTube on Stage event Image: Jeff Parsons The event was undeniably self-congratulatory as the several hundred audience members were taken through a tightly-rehearsed script of how YouTube can help people educate, entertain or enlighten. It did touch on a few serious notes. One of which was the proposed EU reform of copyright law that would require creators to get paid for uploading content. Another was the enforcement of its community guidelines to prevent harassment and abuse. And there was an eyebrow-raising moment of heckling from the audience about Alphabet’s owner of Google and YouTube tax arrangements. But all told, it was a testament to YouTube’s increasing growth. ‘There are well over 400 creators in the UK with over one million subscribers,’ YouTube’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, Ronan Harris, told Metro. ‘There’s a 40% year-on-year growth of channels making more than £100k and, on average 18-34-year-olds in the UK are watching 61 minutes of YouTube a day.’ YouTube’s UK chief, Ronan Harris Image: Google ‘The fastest growing segment is content about learning. We see, globally, about a billion hours of learning content watched every day. We’re even seeing teachers in the UK use YouTube to show educational content that backs up what they do in class.’ YouTube isn’t just trying to foster new creators, it also wants to give existing media companies an extra avenue to explore. Harris cites the likes of James Corden’s Late Late Show and the BBC – not to mention Vogue – who are creating unique content for YouTube that props up their mainstream broadcasts with teasers or behind-the-scenes information. The service is not without its controversies, not least the impending effects of Article 13, proposed European copyright legislation that will face a final vote in early 2019. If passed, it will give new rules to content creators to make money in the digital age. While that will mean lots of views on YouTube could lead to a bigger payday, it’ll also give musicians, artists or other creatives greater powers to stop their IP intellectual property being used without paying for it. That could potentially mean a lot of blocked videos for Europe’s 500 million citizens. YouTube is campaigning hard to make sure its users are aware of the incoming legislation. ‘Imagine an internet where your videos can no longer be seen,’ the service wrote in an email to creators this week. ‘Imagine an internet without your favourite creators. Imagine and internet where new artists are never discovered. The EU is considering legislation that could have a big impact on YouTube Image: ‘’The current European proposal of Article 13 will create large unintended consequences. It threatens to shut down millions of people in Europe to upload content to platforms like YouTube. European viewers would lose access to billions of videos from all over the world,’ the email reads. Even the dedicated YouTube campaign around the legislation runs with the hashtag #Saveyourinternet. ‘There are multiple stages to the discussion and we are at a point of refining the text that will affect news and music,’ Harris told Metro. ‘We actively endorse the effort to reform copyright for a digital age. You want to make sure anyone who has IP is protected and can, if they choose, generate revenue from a platform like YouTube. Or, if they don’t want to, they can remove it.’ Harris went on to explain that tagging content that violates copyright is simple – YouTube uses an automated system called ContentID that helps crawl through the wealth of content. But intellectual property can be a lot trickier. And YouTube says it’s desperate to make sure the legislation strikes the right balance between protecting the individual creators while not restricting its business model. ‘In short, the Parliament’s version of Article 13 will harm the very creative industry it seeks to protect. I’m deeply concerned that people don’t understand these consequences so I want to set the record straight,’ Lyor Cohen, the Global Head of Music at YouTube, recently wrote. YouTube Music is a paid-for service that launched this year to compete with Spotify Image: ImagesYouTube A YouTube spokesperson added that the platform does try to do right by those that produce for it. ‘We do a level of research and do a lot of nurturing and make sure they get support and access to support,’ Metro was told. ‘Not just how to make content, either. We work with creators in the US and the UK to help them get the most out of the community.’ What’s clear is that YouTube’s acceleration isn’t going to slow down. This year, it launched two new paid-for models, YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium. The latter includes original content developed by the likes of Hollywood superstar Will Smith. And the boom in educational content means pretty soon we might be telling people to ‘YouTube it’ just as much as we tell them to ‘Google it’.

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