YouTube creativity and the regulator’s dilemma: an assessment of factors shaping creative production on video-sharing platforms

Wang, X. (2022) YouTube creativity and the regulator’s dilemma: an assessment of factors shaping creative production on video-sharing platforms. Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, 32(3), pp. 197-278.

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“Broadcast Yourself”, “Real People, Real Videos” — these slogans of YouTube and TikTok advertise a space for every grassroots creator. Influenced by this ideal picture, there may be social and economic concern that imposing strong regulations or legal liabilities on video-sharing platforms might suppress user creativity. It has been argued that these platforms offer creative opportunities: first, by sidestepping traditional gatekeepers (experts such as commissioning editors) and lowering the entry barriers for creators; secondly, platforms may provide creators with toolkits, knowledge, and connections with immediate audience feedback, thus empowering and democratizing the production of culture. This paper argues that regulation also needs to take account of anti-creative factors operating on content sharing platforms, countering their idealized image. Sharing platforms may not change the underlying dynamics of cultural and creative industries, such as creator poverty, inequality, or risk (uncertainty). The features of sharing platform may even enlarge the gap between the most popular creators and everyone else. The paper will first review psychological studies on creativity and economic theories of cultural goods. It will then propose how to apply these in a platform context, taking YouTube as an example. In particular the role of user interaction and YouTube’s recommender algorithm is explored. The paper concludes that the recent global wave of platform regulation (relying on copyright law, content regulation, algorithm regulation and competition/antitrust law) is insufficiently sighted of the factors discouraging creativity on platforms such as YouTube.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research is funded by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) under Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant AH/S001298/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wang, Dr Xiaoren
Authors: Wang, X.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology
Publisher:Albany Law School
Published Online:28 July 2022

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303123Centre of Excellence for Policy and Evidence in the Creative Industries (PEC)Martin KretschmerArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/S001298/1CREATe