Furry Youtubers fear penalties under new COPPA law, but it’s not as bad as you think
by Patch O'Furr
Posted by a friend: “Marked all my videos as unlisted — Will delete them later — I’m sorry to disappoint everyone but the voice acting video is canceled due to the new law.”
Yikes! That’s not a nice thing to post, and plenty of others are feeling afraid of being fined under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA.) The law is around 2 decades old but was recently used for major action about violation by Youtube. It seems to threaten a growing scene for furry Youtube creators:
- Furries are winning Emmys and Youtube Creator Awards.
- More Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen
- Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen
Sadly I might have to say goodbye to youtube. The new COPPA laws may put a lot of furry youtubers under fire and possibly a $45,000 fine for each video from what I understand. :*(
— Ino89777🌻 (@TheInodog) November 19, 2019
About the law and changes to Youtube, PCGamer reports:
YouTube is changing significantly in January, and video creators are afraid they may lose income and even be fined by the US government for making videos about, among other things, videogames.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is a federal law in the US which forbids the collection of data about children under 13 without parental consent. Generally, that’s simply meant that social media sites like Twitter ask for your date of birth when you sign up, and boot anyone who says they’re under 13. A kid can lie, of course, but the Federal Trade Commission allows for that reality.
Starting in January, however, it won’t allow “content made for kids” on YouTube to include targeted advertising or employ YouTube’s social features.
There’s several problem here. First there’s the idea of the government coming after any average creator. But not so fast: that probably isn’t going to be a worry for anyone on the small and personal level, or furry fandom level. If you aren’t running a huge network that does shady things for money, you’re probably OK:
Heard about new COPPA rules for Youtube? Don't panic! Many Youtube furries are upset, but may not understand the situation. Don't delete your channel — the COPPA panic may be Youtube's own creation. This video explains. (Tip: @sturmovikdragon) 1/https://t.co/HSalqdYrDZ
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 22, 2019
Next, is the issue of how to comply with this law, with creators being held responsible for notification about if their content is for kids. That can be a VERY murky condition to meet. Furries know that animation is often treated as kid stuff by default, even when loved by grown-ups.
Some of YouTube’s most popular categories falls into a gray area for the policy, including gaming videos, family vlogging, and toy reviews.
Lastly, apart from what the government expects, Youtube is putting in more automated flagging of videos that will surely create a lot of false positives. This isn’t what the government asked for; it’s something Youtube is doing to benefit itself more than its creators.
For those final two problems, and the fallout on creators with Youtube making it hard to monetize and support themselves, we can only wait and see how things go. But the idea that the government could fine you may not be a reason to stop creating on the fandom level.
UPDATE: this lawyer’s video confirms it. The problem isn’t the FTC — the FTC recognizes “general audience” content that appeals to either kids or adults. The problem is Youtube is not giving an option for creators to put their content in this category, to protect themselves.
Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.
“For those final two problems, and the fallout on creators with Youtube making it hard to monetize and support themselves, we can only wait and see how things go.”
So we don’t know if it’s as bad as we think???
Honestly, I was told that there’s not really furry youtubers who are monetized. I think that’s a level above fandom. There ARE ones who do a lot with Patreon and of course having traffic cut off is a big deal besides monetized channels. So it will likely upset some things but not with government fines.
I just found this article, and I don’t think it’s as bad as people think.
COPPA’s made mainly for content targeting “children/kids” – COPPA law talks specifically about children under the age of 13.
That kinda material will no doubt have a specific look and feel to it. I’ve poked around YouTube kids myself and even searched “Furry” under the highest age setting and all I got were cute animal videos and a how to on drawing a chubby furry bunny.
True we still gotta see HOW it’ll be implemented.
That and the FTC also put out an “Update post” where they clarified a few things, such as them realizing there’s things like animations for adults, and they don’t necessarily view something family friendly as targeting kids, nor will your content be seen as “for kids” because kids watch it.
That’s one of the factors yes, but not the only one.
I think YT skipped out on a “general Audience” setting because of redundancy. Anyone under 13 will pretty much be treated the same in terms of tracking and ads and what not, so why bother making a setting that’s kinda just there for show?
Granted YT could’ve worded it WAY better, like
“Yes this video’s for kids under 13” and “No, this video’s for kids and viewers 13 and up” bam problem solved.
But we’ll just have to see. I don’t think it’s as bad as people claim though.
I think Youtube is refusing to add a middle option because:
1) Cost. If “edge cases” are a thing, this makes it extreme black and white. They’d likely have to hire thousands of moderators if they left a middle ground as the FTC does.
2) Control. They can now sort of move the goalposts or arbitrarily rule against stuff that might arguably infringe, even if nobody complained, and that way not have to be accountable to creators about why they demonetize or privilege certain stuff. Again it’s a money thing so they can keep people in line and keep them creating and pushing to meet standards, without having to fully pay them for extra effort. It’s like a hellish gig economy thing.