A proposed law will put the YouTube that you know and love at risk in Australia.
So, what’s next? How can creators get involved?
More questions? Check out the FAQs and follow @YouTubeCreators on Twitter for the latest information.
What is the News Media Bargaining Code?
The News Media Bargaining Code is a new draft law released in Australia that governs how digital platforms (specifically Google and Facebook) interact with news businesses. The provisions in this Code could negatively impact all Australians who rely on YouTube and Google's services, and provide significant advantages to big news businesses over everyone else online, including YouTube Creators and artists.
What are the biggest concerns with the current version of the regulation?
There are several areas that deeply concern us about this proposed law. It would prioritise the large news businesses over other creators of content and the platforms where they find an audience. We are particularly concerned that it provides unfair advantages to large news businesses over anyone else online, including the very creators and artists that make YouTube, YouTube.
- It will create an uneven playing field when it comes to who makes money on YouTube. Through the YouTube Partner Programme, we already share revenues with partners who monetise on YouTube, including news publishers—and we are proud to support quality journalism. But through this law, big news businesses can demand large amounts of money above and beyond what they earn on the platform, potentially leaving fewer funds to invest in you, our creators, and the programmes to help you develop your audience in Australia and around the globe.
- YouTube may be obligated to give large news businesses confidential information about our systems that they could use to try to appear higher in rankings on YouTube, disadvantaging other creators. This would mean you could receive fewer views and earn less.
- Under this law, big news businesses can seek access to data about viewers’ use of our products. YouTube believes user data protection is paramount and we should not be required to hand this data over.
What happens next after 28 August? Would taking action after have any impact?
The ACCC will evaluate the public comments and decide if and to what extent to make revisions to the draft code. After that, the Government has signaled it will act on the code and that it intends to do so by introducing a Bill to Parliament as soon as possible. Timing is at the Government’s discretion, but it has to be in a week when Parliament is sitting (see 2020 sitting calendar on the Parliament of Australia website). There is still time to make your voice heard after 28 August by sharing your thoughts on the proposed law via video or on social media using the hashtag #AFairCode.
What is YouTube doing about this?
We are engaging directly with your elected representatives in the Federal Parliament to let them know we oppose the proposed law in its current format. We’ve also shared an open letter with the Australian public and we are letting Australians know about the potential impact of these changes through our platforms, like on the YouTube and Google homepages.
What happens if the law is passed? What will YouTube do?
We are proposing changes to the Code that would enable Google and YouTube to comply with the Code and continue to invest and innovate in the products we deliver to Australian creators, users and small businesses, as well as news media businesses.
How is YouTube going to live up to the obligations of this law?
We are still assessing this—we are taking a close look at our business and operations to determine what changes we’d have to make if the law is passed in its current form.
What is the scope of what content will be considered “news”?
The Code doesn’t define “news” and related definitions are broad and vague. It’s hard for us to speculate. What is clear is that the proposed law would provide an unfair advantage to big news businesses over all other channels and publishers.
But, if I don’t make news content, should I still be concerned?
As it’s currently written, this law would give Australian news organisations and particularly the big Australian news businesses preferential treatment over everyone else online, including Creators and artists like you. This could result not only in less Creator and artist resources, but less of a chance of being discovered for everyone else. This imbalance created by this proposed law could potentially affect all types of Creators, far beyond those who focus on news: from vloggers, to educational creators, to music artists and beyond.
What does this mean for my YouTube Channel and for my audience?
Ultimately, it depends on what form the draft legislation ends up taking. As it stands, big Australian news businesses will get preferential treatment over smaller and independent creators like you. YouTube may be obligated to give large news publishers confidential information about our systems that they could use to try to appear higher in rankings on YouTube, disadvantaging all other creators. That said, the draft law is broad and complex, the consequences could be broader and wider than just this.
I don’t live in Australia. What does this mean for me?
The law is broad and unclear. We are asking for clarifications that it be limited to services supplied and targeted to Australians. In any case, however, Australian creators are loved by audiences around the world. We should all be concerned by the possibility that their ability to grow an audience and a business will be harmed.
My content doesn’t really compete with news providers. As long as you don’t change my revenue split it seems like this has minimal impact on me directly… What am I missing?
A level playing field for all creators on the platform is in jeopardy as a direct result of this draft legislation.
I’m an Australian Creator. Is there anything I can do about this law?
Yes. If you live in Australia, the ACCC has invited all interested parties to provide their views on the draft code. Find more information here. We’ll also be sharing more in the coming days about how you can get involved.
Are we engaging & supporting creators in speaking out against the proposed legislation?
Yes, absolutely. We are informing and educating as many people as we can about this through promotions on our Google and YouTube homepages, an open letter to the Australian public, an open letter to Australian creators and individual conversations with as many creators as possible. We are working around the clock to advocate for your interests and we'll be in touch in the coming days with more information on how to get involved.
Has similar legislation been proposed in other markets, and has it passed?
As the role of technology becomes more important in countries around the world, governments naturally have become more interested in how platforms work to support local economies and communities. Google and YouTube are proud to work closely with governments around the world, and we have been working closely and constructively with news media businesses and the ACCC for several years on how we move Australia forward on smart, sustainable technology policy. Whilst there have been some instances in which national governments have looked at similar issues, such processes have not gone to the extremes of this proposed law. Quality journalism should be supported, and it has been a mission we actively embrace across our platforms. But as it’s currently written, this current form of this law would give Australian news organisations and particularly the big Australian news businesses preferential treatment over everyone else online, including creators like you.
The ACCC accused you of spreading misinformation, that Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so. Is that true?
We did not say that the proposed law would require us to charge Australians for Search and YouTube – we do not intend to charge users for our free services. Search and YouTube, both of which are free services, however are at risk in Australia because the Code as it is drafted is unworkable. If we were to comply with this provision it would seriously have large negative consequences on not only Google, but its users and YouTube creators.
Couldn’t YouTube just pay to stop this from happening?
YouTube is proud to support quality journalism. And through the YouTube Partner Programme, YouTube already shares the majority of its revenue with partners, including big news companies. We have also been supporting journalism, through licence fees, emergency funding and innovation grants. Our main concern with this proposed law would mean YouTube may be obligated to give news businesses’ confidential information about our systems that they could use to try to appear higher in rankings on YouTube, disadvantaging you, our creators who make YouTube, YouTube.
Will this new law apply to YouTube?
The proposed new law doesn’t specify by name which services and platforms are included or excluded - it covers any Google platforms that ‘make available’ news content. Because news content is available on YouTube, YouTube will be affected, which means YouTube creators could be disadvantaged in favour of news companies.