Youtube's CEO Susan Wojcicki has urged content creators to campaign against the controversial Copyright Directive proposed by the European Parliament.
The legislation, which still requires the approval of the European Council, has been hotly debated as it has progressed through the European Parliament.
The controversial provisions are Article 11 and Article 13. Article 11 provides for a "link tax" intended to ensure that news outlets are paid when other websites link to their content. Article 13 requires websites which store and publish "large amounts" of user generated content to only accept and publish copyright content under licence and to implement sophisticated content filtering software to prevent unauthorised uploading and publication of copyright works.
Proponents (e.g. copyright collection societies, music industry representatives) believe the reforms are necessary to reduce unauthorised copying and sharing of copyright content and to maximise revenue for copyright owners.
Opponents (e.g. large internet service providers such as Facebook and Google and various internet luminaries such as Tim Berners-Lee) believe the reforms threaten the basic functioning of the internet and will in fact stifle competition and creativity.
Wojcicki's recent remarks suggest that Youtube may in the future feel unable to host content from smaller providers. But of course, another side effect of the proposals would be to reduce competition between platforms themselves. The technological requirements of highly sophisticated content filtering software will likely keep any would-be rivals for Youtube's crown out of the market for years to come.
There are no easy answers to many of the issues raised. All eyes now turn to the European Council.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki used the company’s quarterly letter to creators to express ardent disapproval of the proposed reform, which is up for final vote in January. “This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world,” Wojcicki said in the blog post, asking the site’s creators to take to social media and protest Article 13, lest it curtail content policies and put Youtube’s “ecosystem at risk.”