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:

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:

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.

The Verge reported:

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.

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