Every time YouTube updates its terms of service, you have to start worrying. Over the past few years, the video giant hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory with its creators with terrible decision after terrible decision. The recent, incredibly daft decision to remove verification for select channels was eventually pulled back following outcry, but the platform is now making one of its most dystopian decisions to date.
In the new TOS (first noticed by VG247), which is due to go into effect on December 10th, YouTube will be able to deactivate any channels that it deems as “no longer commercially viable”.
From the TOS outline:
“YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
Being the good guys that they are, YouTube will let you know about their decision well in advance, as well as giving you the opportunity to export all of your content. How gracious.
“We will notify you with the reason for termination or suspension by YouTube unless we reasonably believe that to do so: (a) would violate the law or the direction of a legal enforcement authority, or would otherwise risk legal liability for YouTube or our Affiliates; (b) would compromise an investigation or the integrity or operation of the Service; or (c) would cause harm to any user, other third party, YouTube or our Affiliates.
“Where YouTube is terminating your access for Service changes, where reasonably possible, you will be provided with sufficient time to export your Content from the Service.”
This is a major worry for a lot of content creators out there, including us. We upload sporadically and get mixed views, so does that mean we will no longer be commercially viable? After working so long to get monetisation, could we be getting deactivated because we don’t make them enough money? YouTube famously doesn’t turn a profit — perhaps this is a cost-cutting measure to get them in the green with less server costs.
The only reason we had to scrape and claw to get monetised was because we were demonetised following the Logan Paul fallout, which saw smaller channels losing their monetisation as a pearl-clutching measure. Paul is doing alright for himself these days, by the way.
There’s also reason to worry for content creators who don’t fall under the commercially viable banner because of the kind of content they produce. Those who deal with politics or anything on the controversial spectrum could be deemed “no longer commercially viable” as a catch-all, due to the fact that this content usually gets limited or no ads based on YouTube’s guidelines.
Even those who have ads are vulnerable to utterly spurious copyright claims from big companies, opportunists from a dying media who will try to claim all of the revenue for something that falls within fair use. YouTube have added tools to counteract some of these claims, yet the likes of UMG still keep leeching.
This significant change may also be a result of YouTube’s recent falling out with the FTC, in which they had to hand over $170 million settlement after the video platform violated the data protection of minors. A direct consequence of that lawsuit is that creators may now have to go through each one of their videos to declare if there’s a chance a minor may view it, with a significant fine if an AI believes you are incorrect.
This is, for the millionth time, indication that YouTube really isn’t about you anymore. The big guys just keep getting bigger, and the smaller guys just keep getting pushed aside. It’s time we had a real rival for YouTube.
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