Everyone benefits from access to information and creativity online.
Let’s find a better way to update copyright rules in Europe.
Every day, billions of people go online to enjoy a rich variety of news, entertainment, tutorials and more.
For the journalists, artists and creators behind this content, the internet has become a vital platform that enables them to share information and ideas, find an audience and make a living.
European copyright law aims to support creators and publishers by letting them decide how their work can be seen and shared. It also protects the public’s right to find, enjoy and share this work.
We understand that laws need to be updated and adapted for the internet age. However, the proposed EU Copyright Directive may have unintended consequences that could limit the variety of information available online.
Together, we can find a solution that protects the diverse range of content on the web, as well as the creators producing it.
What's at risk?
The version being proposed by the European Parliament may cause services like YouTube and Google Search to limit the variety of content they feature.
Imagine if you couldn’t watch the videos you love.
Any service that hosts uploads, including YouTube, would be held liable at the moment of upload for any copyright infringement.
Services could have no choice but to block existing and newly uploaded videos in the European Union with unknown or disputed copyright information, in order to avoid legal liability.
Copyright is a complex area and rightsholders often disagree over ownership. In these instances it becomes impossible for open hosting platforms to make sound decisions on rights during the uploading process.
Take the global music hit “Despacito”. It’s the product of several separate pieces of copyright - from the sound recording to publishing rights. Although YouTube has licensing agreements with multiple entities, many content rightsholders remain unknown. That uncertainty means we might have to block videos like this to avoid liability under Article 13.
As such, the European Parliament’s proposed version of the legislation could threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ.
Imagine if you couldn’t find your favourite local news or special interest content.
Right now, Google is open to all content from publishers big and small. This helps you to uncover diverse perspectives and topics of interest from more than 80,000 publishers.
The European Parliament’s proposed version of the legislation would require search services to put licenses in place that may force them to start choosing which content to include and which to exclude.
This would likely benefit larger publishers and restrict the flow of traffic to smaller ones, making it harder for small, niche or new publications to find an audience and generate an income.
As a result of this, the range of publishers available online could become much more limited.
A better path forward
What is Google doing about this?
We're working with policymakers, publishers and creators to provide recommendations to the Copyright Directive that will help it fulfil its true intention - protecting creativity and journalism. These include, among others:
Services that act diligently to protect rightsholders shouldn’t be liable for copyright infringement without notice.
Rightsholders and platforms should work together to identify copyright ownership.
Allow publishers the freedom to choose how they would like their content to be available online.
Article 11 aims to support quality journalism. To achieve this goal, without impacting other publishers, it should provide a clear definition that specifies news content by news publishers.
Why we’ve chosen to reach out to you
By the time most people hear about the impact of a piece of legislation, it's often already in effect. Our hope is that by opening a dialogue ahead of time, we can find a better path forward for everyone.
We'll be sharing all the latest updates and developments as we go, and you can also learn more about the possible unintended consequences for YouTube here.