Contract Law as an Answer to Wokeness

Russell Brand has been demonetized from YouTube, potentially costing him a lot of money.

The channel is a potentially significant source of income for Mr. Brand, who was earning money through advertisements and paid promotions.
A spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email that Mr. Brand, whose channel on the platform has 6.6 million subscribers, was suspended for violating YouTube’s “creator responsibility policy.”

“If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” the spokeswoman said.

Richard Hanania has written about how wokeness is downstream of Civil Rights law. Given the irrevocability of civil rights, it would seem like fighting this is daunting or impossible, but a weapon already exists. It’s called contract law. There is no reason popular entertainers who are major attractions on platforms such as YouTube should not have a say in how things are done. Contracts are written to ensure both parties are sufficiently compensated for unforeseen circumstances. It’s like , sure you can cancel me, but you will have to pay up.

The default contract between YouTube and the end-user/creator is the TOS, which every user must agree to and 100% favors YouTube and 0% on the side of the creator, who is at the total mercy of YouTube. It’s like this for all tech companies. There does exist arbitration, but this can be expensive and is a kangaroo court in which the arbiter almost always sides with the tech company. Also the lawyers write the TOS with such meticulous care as to ensure their clients cannot ever lose in arbitration except in very rare and notable circumstances. I am sure someone like Mr. Beast could negotiate a contract with YouTube where if someone was to make some allegation against him, YouTube would have to pay up a lot to remove or demonetize him.

However, tech monopolies and network effects limit the ability of creators to negotiate. This is where Musk comes in, by creating a paid platform for popular but cancelled creators, such as Tucker Carlson, which can directly compete with YouTube. [Elon should buy Substack for this reason and fully integrate it with the Twitter/X platform instead of trying to block it.] The evidence suggests that cancellation only increases the popularity of the cancelled, so this works in the favor of whoever chooses to host said cancelled content. It’s not like being cancelled means losing your fan base; all it means is that the content becomes harder to access or needs to be hosted elsewhere.

1 comment

  1. Yes, but Elon Musk should make a show of at least pretending to support network neutrality on Twitter to encourage more widespread use. Including some symbolic efforts to support access for public benefit agencies.

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