YouTube's 'Right of Monetization' is illegal and violative of human rights and human dignity

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Starting from 1st June, 2021 in non U.S territories, YouTube will be expanding the domain of its monetization right because YouTube has asserted that it has a 'right to monetize' content of even those creators who are not part of YouTube's partner program (non-partner creators). YouTube also claims they are under no obligation to pay any revenue share to such non-partner creators. (P.S. For US Territories, this was implemented from 1st November, 2020).


Before this, YouTube monetized content only for those who were part of YouTube's partner program.


Frankly, this is a new low for YouTube. Asserting this new right is unfair for non-partner creators and possibly illegal too because:


(i) YouTube has a conflict of interest, in the sense, that it will have an incentive to make fewer creators part of its partner program to minimize revenue share.


(ii) YouTube is infringing the economic rights of non-partner creators. Any person enjoying a copyright, also has the right to enjoy economic benefits derived from exploitation of that copyright. By denying any revenue share to non-partner creators, YouTube is thus infringing creators' economic rights.


This is a violation of human rights and human dignity. Copyright law entails that copyright holders are able to derive economic benefits out of copyright exploitation. In this case instead of the copyright holder, it's YouTube that's asserting the right to exploit.


YouTube's assurance of brand safe content being chosen for monetization should be of no comfort to any brand.


If human rights are still a thing in the matrix of calculation for brands, then they should explicitly include a clause in their advertising contracts that their ads should not be shown on non-partner creator content. In any case such non-partner creators are not going to get paid by YouTube.


Important Disclaimer: The information provided herein this article is our interpretation and understanding of the law. The legal analysis presented hereinabove is not given for application to any specific set of facts or circumstances peculiar to you or your organization. You may rely on the write-up for your peculiar facts or circumstances at your sole risk only. We will not be liable, answerable or responsible to you under any client-attorney relationship.


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