The relationship between the creator and their YouTube Multi Channel Network (MCN) can be extremely rewarding, particularly if they are a big enough concern and they bring their army of subscribers and loyal fans with them. However, like any legal contract, relations can sour and we've seen a few very public examples of this over the past few years, such as the Ray William Johnson fallout with Maker Studios. YouTube have kept a quiet distance from the networks and their content partnership deals but they are now prepared to take a much more active role if a dispute becomes unresolvable. From this week, creators who are unhappy with their contract will be able to start the process of release from within their own accounts.
If a creator is signed up with an MCN, a new link has been added to their YouTube account that they can activate to let YouTube know that they wish to be released from their contract with their network. Clicking on this link will start the process of documented communication between the creator and their MCN. It isn't a one-click get out for either party, but it will set the wheels in motion.
YouTube are also asking MCN's to be more honest and transparent about what they can offer the content partner in terms of benefits, support and added value. At the very least they must offer the following to any content partners that sign up to them:
YouTube also confirm that they are prepared to take action against MCNs that do not meet these standards and will consider terminating any partnership bewteen themselves and an MCN if the network consistently fails to comply.
One of YouTube's biggest stars, and Revision 3 exec and partner, Phil deFranco, took to YouTube yesterday to give his opinion on the new guidelines, particularly in relation towards those MCNs who sign up creators to make up the numbers. He singled out AwesomenessTV as an example of a network that offer online partnership deals that commit a creator to a binding contract without ever speaking to them in person. He makes some very valid points, especially the fact that it's easy for a content partner to get lost in the MCN system if that network has 60,000+ partners and your not in the top 100 of those. Also, the fact that some MCNs over promise and under deliver means a creator is sharing a percentage of the Adsense percentage that they are already sharing with YouTube just to get locked down in a contract that doesn't benefit them in any way. Warning, this is Phil so there is some swearing:
Adweek are also reporting that YouTube MCNs can designate content partners as either 'affiliated' or 'managed' partners. MCNs will take responsibility for copyright violations for managed partners but affiliated partners will need to deal with the legal implications of copyright infringement themselves.