What’s Good for the Goose: Europe for Creators Asks for Equal Time on YouTube for Their Pro-Article 13 Messages

In case you had any doubts, YouTube’s antics in pushing its messaging on copyright reform in Europe should dispel the idea that it is a neutral platform.

When safe harbors for companies like YouTube were created in the US and in Europe 20 years ago, it was with the idea of providing a little latitude to reasonable people acting reasonably on the condition of being a neutral platform–for not creating an app for Room 101 where 2+2=5.

Not only is YouTube not a neutral platform, but YouTube and its parent Google are using YouTube to do the very thing with public discourse that Google is being prosecuted for with commercial transactions–using its monopoly position to crowd out competition.

This press release from Europe for Creators sums it up with this statement to YouTube: “You advocate freedom of expression but what we have seen is a media service dedicated to the promotion of its own views, based on false information and scare tactics.”

A cautionary tale for artist advocates around the world.

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 15 March 2019

Europe For Creators is asking YouTube for access to the same tools YT has used to promote its own messages on the EU’s copyright directive and article 13. The request is to allow Europe For Creators to message YouTubers and place banner ads on YouTube’s network, in the same way YT has done. An open letter has been sent by Europe For Creators, a coalition of professional organisations of writers, musicians, producers, comedians, films makers coming from all over Europe and representing 12 million jobs across the European cultural and creative sectors. YouTube’s behaviour in using its own network and advertising has been the subject of much debate about the platform’s dominance. Read the full letter below and on Article13.org.
An Open Letter to Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Dear Ms Wojcicki,

After almost three years’ worth of in-depth examinations and negotiations involving the three EU Institutions, 28 Member States, 751 MEPs, and thousands of experts and stakeholders, the European Parliament is about to take a formal decision on the directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

The aim of one of the main provisions of this directive – Article 13 – is to ensure that platforms such as YouTube fairly compensate the creators whose works are made available through their services. In other words, to play fair and respect the creators who made YouTube what it is today.

We believe that the Copyright Directive will create a level playing field for the European Digital Single Market, with fair and equal rules for all.

There is ample public debate around this directive and your right to defend your position, as a concerned party, is not in question. Indeed, the positions you have taken in the media or through your own videos against Article 13 are well known and nourish the public debate.

However, since the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Sept. 12 to approve its version of the Copyright Directive, YouTube has been actively using its own services to influence public opinion, often with misleading or false information.

You have taken advantage of your considerable influence over 1.8 billion monthly users as the biggest media entity in the world to:

  • Circulate your own message to video makers and YouTubers
  • Create a uniquely formatted page, similar to SaveYourInternet, on Youtube.com
  • Create a portal comprising all videos defending your position on Article 13
  • Run banners, pop-ups and push notifications on YouTube defending your point of view and directing traffic to your unique YouTube.com webpage

This is unprecedented and raises ethical questions.

Moreover, YouTube enabled the propagation of misinformation – such as the claims that Article 13 would lead to the shutting down of YouTube channels, kill European startups, put an end to memes and gifs and harm freedom of speech. In other words: change the Internet as we know it. Such scaremongering deliberately ignores the special protections provided in the text and misleads public opinion.

It interferes with the democratic and balanced debate that all European citizens are entitled to. We believe it is totally unfair and unacceptable that your service, which dominates the online market, is exclusively used as a media service to promote your own commercial interests in a debate over European legislation.

You advocate freedom of expression but what we have seen is a media service dedicated to the promotion of its own views, based on false information and scare tactics.

We believe in pluralism and open, democratic debate. We believe our views also need to be voiced to your audience. That is what freedom of speech is all about.

This is why we are asking you to let us, over the week of March 18-24:

  • send a message to the same YouTubers so we can share with them our vision of article 13 – the one we promote on our website, www.article13.org.
  • publish banner ads on YouTube as you did for the “saveyourinternet” campaign

Acting as a media service requires responsibility and accountability to ensure democratic debate.

Best regards,

EUROPE FOR CREATORS

About Europe For Creators:
A gathering of professional organisations of writers, musicians, producers, comedians, films makers coming from all over Europe…. We represent some 12 million jobs across the European cultural and creative sectors. We are people, not bots. And we are protesting against the false divide that has been put between citizens and us.

About IMPALA:
IMPALA – IMPALA is the European association of independent music companies. Its mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector.

Ben Sizer (@kylotan): Must read myths & facts on Article 13

We’re told that Article 13 will ‘break the internet’, and one of the ways it would cause that is by forcing YouTube and similar sites to shut down, or block EU users from uploading or accessing the site, or impose some other draconian resolution. This would supposedly happen because there is far too much content being uploaded – e.g. 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute, according to Google’s own data – and Article 13 makes the content-sharing sites liable for all of it. Opponents claim this is insurmountable because:

  1. It’s too much content for a human moderating team to manually check every upload.
  2. It’s too complex a task for a computer to automatically check without causing many false positives (i.e. videos judged to infringe when a human assessment would rule otherwise).

These two points are true, at least for a massive general purpose site such as YouTube, maybe even smaller ones such as Tumblr. However, what Article 13 opponents are missing is that not only is it not a choice between one or the other, but there are other tools, processes, and policies available to augment content checking by humans and computers. For example, why is Wikipedia (another top-10 website, like YouTube) not rife with copyright infringement, even though you don’t need an account to edit it? Why do we not keep hearing tales of Bandcamp being full of other people’s music, even though it’s obviously designed to allow users to distribute music to the public? It turns out that ensuring your platform is mostly free of infringement is not as impossible as some people would have you believe.

Read the post by Ben Sizer on Ebony Fortress

Press Release: BOLD EUROPEAN VOTE ENDORSING FAIR PAYMENT FOR THE ON-LINE USE OF MUSIC CELEBRATED BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSIC CREATORS (MCNA)

[Editor Charlie sez:  This is a press release from Music Creators North America about yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament that was a total win for creators and a total loss for the Digital Music Association and its scammy members who backed an astroturf campaign that backfired.]

Music Creators North America, Inc. (MCNA), a US-Canadian music creator alliance representing a global coalition of over half a million songwriters and composers from around the world through its affiliates in the International Council for Music Creators (CIAM), expressed enormous satisfaction over the European Parliament’s visionary vote today in support of the rights of music creators, musical culture, and fair trade economic community.

“This is a crucial step forward for the protection in Europe of therights and interests of North American music creators,” stated MCNA’s cochairs, songwriter Rick Carnes and composer Marvin Dolgay. “It represents a landmark development in one of the world’s most important and influential music markets, and one that we hope will spur rapid implementation in the EU and the adoption of similar legislative action around the world.”

The European Parliament’s members were thanked by the MCNA member groups for their bold vote (438 to 226), unequivocally endorsing the principle of fair online remuneration for creative works. The EU has paved the way for the creative sector finally to be properly rewarded when their works are exploited online. A clear signal has been sent to those powerful digital interests that have, for too long, built enormous wealth upon the unremunerated use of the creative work of others.

In addition, the vote is a resounding commitment to principles of transparency, fairness, equity and affordable access to justice that can improve the professional standing of those whose creative works are entrusted to others for management.

Audiences in Europe may join in celebrating the fact that new mechanisms are now to be put in place that will promote the principle of fair and just reward to creators, and that it will no longer simply be corporations and distributors who are the greatest beneficiaries of the works the citizens enjoy.

MCNA President, Eddie Schwartz, who also serves as CIAM President, said today of the EU Parliament’s vote: “This is a seminal moment in the future of music creators, and indeed all creative people in the EU and around the world. The EU Parliament has clearly shown the way towards not only a new dawn for reinvigorated cultural industries and individual creators, but also the equitable distribution of earnings in the flourishing digital economy. We trust this watershed vote will be endorsed in January 2019. And we hope that future generations will see this as an historic moment, resulting from a newfound solidarity throughout the music creator community and the larger artistic communities as a whole that we shall build upon it in the months and years to come!”

Music Creators North America (MCNA) is an alliance of music creator organizations that represent the rights and interests of composers and songwriters in the United States and Canada. Each of MCNA’s member organizations is run exclusively by and for music creators. As such, MCNA is the pure voice of North American music creators and, through our global alliances, a half-million songwriters and composers across the United States and around the world. Its members include The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC), The Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), The Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL), The Council of Music Creators (CMC), and The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC).

Europe Leads With A Solution to the “Safe Harbor”Problem — Music Tech Solutions

The European Commission demonstrates once again its leadership in opposing legal handouts to multinational media companies by asking them to bear their fair share of responsibility for protecting artists from massive infringement instead of commoditizing the value of artists’ works.

via Europe Leads With A Solution to the “Safe Harbor”Problem — Music Tech Solutions