The very first hurdles you have to jump over to make money on YouTube are pretty darn high. Or arbitrary and nebulous. According to YouTube’s tutorial on monetization, the first criteria is that you have to “Be in good standing with YouTube.”
Once you’ve made sure your “standing” is “good,” whatever that means, you have to get “4,000 watch hours in previous 12 months.” Oh, and 1,000 subscribers. What a "watch hour" earns for YouTube in ad revenue varies according to the topic and other criteria, but it is safe to say that YouTube earns some good money from your work -- or the videos placed around it -- before you see a penny.
If you look at the way YouTube describes Content ID on its Website for creators, you would think it is the perfect system for managing copyright issues. However, the more you dig into the rules, the more you realize that YouTube is totally in charge and if things go wrong for you or seem unfair, you basically have no recourse. Article 13 would change that.
Currently, if Content ID, YouTube’s copyright robot, determines that you have uploaded copyright-protected material, you could get what’s called a claim from the rights holder. The owner of the copyright can set up Content ID to either block your video or let it remain live, with advertising. Except you don’t get the ad money, the copyright owner gets it – oh, and of course YouTube gets its cut.
Strikes are bad. Three strikes basically result in YouTube death:
Currently if you are a copyright owner and want to be protected, you have to apply for Content ID. Here’s what YouTube says on its support site for creators:
To be approved, they must own exclusive rights to a substantial body of original material that is frequently uploaded by the YouTube user community.
So, what do “substantial” and “frequently” mean? This is basically YouTube confirming that Content ID, its own censorship machine, is only there to protect the big folks.
If you are a small-scale creator, beware.
Especially if you are a reviewer, a creator of mashups or satire, you have to be worried that your legitimate uses of copyrighted material will land you in trouble.
It’s worth going elsewhere to find out what is legal and what is illegal according to YouTube, and find out that the platform devotes a section of its support site to fair uses of copyrighted material, a very fuzzy concept that does not even exist in Europe and that is controversial in the US, where thousands of state court decisions have differed on what is covered by fair use and what is not.
YouTube is not an innocent kid, it knows perfectly well that it causes confusion among its users by promoting nonexistent exceptions.
That’s why Article 13 calls for a third-party arbiter to be put in place so that disputes between platforms like YouTube and its users will be handled fairly.