YouTube has updated its Terms and Conditions for YouTubers yet again. The last time they did this the changes were quite drastic. The latest changes are not as drastic but they are still far-reaching. Just like with Facebook and WhatsApp, YouTube says these are not really changes but clarifications. To prove this they have included the withholding tax changes in the latest update.
The biggest change involves facial recognition restrictions. No, they don’t mean you cannot use facial recognition nor do the restrictions have anything to do with facial recognition in the traditional sense. This relates to you not being allowed to photograph people without their permission:
Facial recognition restrictions: The Terms of Service already state that you cannot collect any information that might identify a person without their permission. While this has always included facial recognition information, the new Terms make that explicitly clear.The YouTube new Terms and Conditions
While this has always been implied Google feels this was not explicit enough. What it means is if you are shooting videos you have to make sure to blur all people in the background unless you have their explicit permission to photograph them. Generally, YouTubers have always been pretty lax when it comes to this restriction. You have YouTubers posting videos of themselves in airports, planes and public places etc with people clearly visible in the background. That will no longer be allowed.
I don’t know how this will affect news facing YouTubers. It’s customary not to blur the people’s faces when one is presenting a news report. If you have a channel that is not about news it would be wise for you to make sure you obtain people’s permission when you are in a public space. Otherwise, you have to blur faces in addition to you not being allowed to use their real names in your videos.
The other changes in terms
YouTube makes its money primarily through advertisements. Most people know this but some people didn’t always know this but wondered how YouTube makes money even though it allows you to upload and host videos for free. Even those who know about the ads don’t know something else: Google will put ads on/along your video even if you choose not to monetise it.
The new terms make it clear so that there are no surprises. In the past there has been cases where people who didn’t know waking up to find that their competition was advertising along their videos resulting in anger and recriminations.
The other change is pretty familiar:
Royalty payments and tax withholding: For creators entitled to revenue payments, such payments will be treated as royalties from a U.S. tax perspective and Google will withhold taxes where required by law.The clause on tax treatment of YouTube earnings has been refined
Some people including Zimbabweans thought Google was now taking more money from them. This is not true. The money is not going to Google. Rather the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now treats revenue generated by YouTubers as royalties. This means the income is now subject to US tax laws. You have to fill a form in Adsense or risk loosing 24% of your entire income to the American tax man.
YouTube’s new terms and conditions were already in force in America but you have to agree to them if you want to continue to be a content creator on the platform.