New COPPA legislation, impact on diecast YouTube channels

RobertBcfc Tuesday, 11/26/2019

I awoke this morning to find one of my favourite racing channels on YouTube - Races and Fun - potentially closing down due to new regulation on how videos are presented.  

Reading up on the rules (aimed at protecting viewers under 13 from inappropriate content) there will be an ongoing requirement to classify videos as being suitable for adults (over 13) or for children - with potentially large fines for misclassification. 

A danger is that a video classed as "adult" can seemingly fall foul of the rules if it isn't deemed mature enough.

Where does that leave us being that, as my wife is often quick to remind me, we are essentially playing with kids toys!

The last thing I'd want is any content creators to be stung.  Thankfully Races and Fun are going to continue under the "adult" bracket, but maybe a consistent approach is needed, and guidance to those who, like me, are building towards a channel in the future?

Keen to see what you think 


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WorpeX 11/26/19

Unless you're going to start cussing in your videos, tagging them suitable for children would be fine. I think the most PG-13 diecast racing gets is the skull on the bone shaker!

  • Definitely on the face of it, the videos are all child friendly and lets face it, running a few cars down a track is hardly an issue. What could be an issue though is that it could be felt to be an indirect form of advertising to children, which is prohibited. I really hope common sense would prevail... — RobertBcfc
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LeagueofSpeed 11/26/19

To much gray area right now not to tag them for kid's.

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redlinederby 11/26/19
Site manager

Just about anything with toys will get tagged as "Kids" when this thing starts. It will evolve over time as the Googles of the world get better/smarter and determining content...BUT...we are playing with toy cars so I wouldn't bet on our videos ever being flagged as not for kids. Maybe for some of the bigger channels that have some sway and can prove they are adult/collector stuff, but even then, it'll probably required begging and pleading.

Here's the thing...none of the new rules will necessarily shut channels down. It's still their choice. Now, I understand if they've been lucky enough to turn some big revenue from their channel and now they're being told they can't, that's a big hit. I get that. But for those of us that just like to share videos, there's no reason to stop. Keep making content. 

The weak and meager Redline Derby YT channel will still get used to host racing videos. YouTube is still the easiest and cheapest solution. I was never able to monetize the channel anyway. If you had plans of turning a YT into a cash cow, that just gets more complicated now. It's still very possible.

There's always a way to make money. With anything. It's not always easy (as it was) and this complicates things for sure, but there's always a way to game the system. And if not "game" the system, Googles will figure out how to make it easy again...lets not forget it's in their interest to make money too. It's way too early to know how now, but it'll present itself at some point. Things will evolve.

  • And lets not forget all this isn't limited to YouTube channels. Web sites like this one will have to change too so we comply with data collection rules. — redlinederby
  • COPPA only applies to commercial websites and online services. If redline derby is non-commercial/non-profit, it would be exempt from COPPA. — 3DBotMaker
  • Well there certainly isn’t any profit. — redlinederby
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RobertBcfc 11/26/19

Hopefully - it would be a shame if the only way round it was the brutalist approach of branding the videos as suitable for adults only and putting out otherwise child friendly content with a few bits of crass language thrown in to ensure it's deemed mature enough.  

As you say it shouldn't come to that - the principle of the regulation is absolutely admirable but the methodology doesn't feel as though it's been sufficiently explored.

My ultimate aim is to create a channel that's suitable for us guys and other racers/collectors but with enough crossover appeal to encourage kids to get involved. 

Honestly, it would be great to monetise it to the point it provides a bit of side income when I retire, but the real aim is to get kids interested as I think racing, collecting, swapping and modifying real toy cars with friends and family is much better than racing digital ones round an Xbox track.

Lets just hope the powers that be see ours as a niche hobby that transcends age boundaries and is good wholesome fun anyone can enjoy.

  • Agreed, if it’s all about the money just make it adults only. My concern would be about how arbitrary the system the application of fines is. Fines for not declaring something to be just for adults, in combination with fines for declaring something just for adults then not making the content mature enough - that just sounds terribly harsh if applied in a draconian way — RobertBcfc
  • The question is what age kids are you looking to appeal to. I would guess if you’re talking about modifications, you’d be targeting teens 13+. If that is the case, COPPA would not apply. If you are trying to appeal to kids 12 and under, COPPA does apply. — 3DBotMaker
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redlinederby 11/26/19
Site manager

Given these new rules are there to protect children, which we can all get behind, the question we need to ask ourselves is, "what do the rules make me unable to do?"

Is the biggest worry not being able to make money off a YouTube channel?

I can't imagine that's the only reason people are worried. I haven't read into the deep details of COPPA, so I'm sure there are more things that it stifles, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing stopping people from creating the content they love and having people watch it.

  • What worries me is "other people". If I tag my content as Adult and I put on a segment of the games and "someone from the government" decides it's for kids and not adults I can be fined $42,000 from what I saw reported. Because someone else thinks it should be under kid safe. — Big_Poppy
  • Then just tag it as kid. If you’re not worried about ads then it doesn’t matter what it’s tagged as. — redlinederby
  • If you mark your videos as "made for kids" that video will not have comments, notifications, and other features. The big one for most people is losing the comments. — 3DBotMaker
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Rusty 11/26/19

I'm,not taking a chance.Deleted my very few videos.They were from toy trains to slot cars. Not worth the risk for me.

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3DBotMaker 11/28/19

I've been following this since September. The FTC recently updated their website to clarify a few things. First of all, the $42,000 fine that everyone is freaking out about is "UP TO" $42,000 but the actual fine would be based on a multiplier of the revenue generated by that video. So if your video is not monetized, your revenue would be 0, and since it's not monetized, you wouldn't be serving targeted ads, which is what this whole thing is about. You still have to choose if it's made for kids or not, but a multiple of zero is zero.

After reading through the document and the report they filed against youtube, they aren't just looking for a toy in a video so they can start slapping fines on a technicality. Many of the cases they used against google were channels that in some way claimed to be targeting kids. And if you go look at those channels, you can clearly see that they are made for young kids.

The FTC also said "your content isn’t considered “directed to children” just because some children may see it. However, if your intended audience is kids under 13, you’re covered by COPPA and have to honor the Rule’s requirements"

My opinion after reading the FTC's update, is they are actually very reasonable in their approach, and they really are looking for videos that target young kids. Also, they are most likely to go after big violators who are generating significant ad revenue. YouTube's algorithms on the other hand may be a different story. They're using machine learning to try and detect content made for kids, and we all know how that goes. As of right now, if you have a video that they've marked, you can override it and set it back to "not made for kids". I myself have only had 4 videos marked by YouTube. (1 had animated characters, 1 had some lego minifigure guys, 1 had my son using one of my products, and another one had some kid sounding music on a “commercial” in the video. I’ve surveyed other Diecast channel owners and some had 15 to 50 videos marked by YouTube. YouTube has recognized that the machine learning isn’t perfect and that they will ultimately rely on the creators to properly identify their content.

The 2 options YouTube lists make things kind of confusing. When we think of “not for kids” we automatically think of inappropriate language, alcohol and sex. But in this case, it simply means you’re not directing your videos towards children 12 and under. It does not mean your videos have to be inappropriate for children, just that you’re not targeting that group. If you’re putting a bunch of cartoon figures, fun kids toys and balloons around your track, playing xylophone kiddie music, and starting off your videos with “how are my little racing fans doing” or “lets count the blue cars,” you need to mark it as made for kids.

I’ve gone ahead and set my channel to “not for kids” with the exception of a couple videos. I’m also making it clear in the about section and with a small disclaimer at the beginning of my videos who my channel is intended for, which is adults and teens. With all of that said, you should read it for yourself and decide for your own channel. ( 3DBotMaker is not qualified to give legal advice.

  • Thanks for all the info. We all just need to remember that YT and places are losing money too with some of this, so they’ll want it to be as easy as possible for people while still protecting those that need it. — redlinederby
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3DBotMaker 11/28/19

I've also started this project/challenge for adult diecast racing fans to make a short 10-15 second video saying that you're an adult diecast racing fan. In about a week I'm going to put all the videos into one big project. The idea is to give the adult diecast racing community a face and something to point to, to say see, diecast racing isn't just for kids. I have no idea if this would help anyone if they had an issue with COPPA, but I thought, If I told someone lot of adults were into diecast racing, how could I demonstrate that fact. Sure I could send them to a bunch of different channels but what if we had one video that told the story from the racers themself. I already have about 30 clips from fellow diecast racing lovers but I could use some more. If you make a video hashtag it with #AdultDiecastRacing in the title. If you send me the link or post the link here, that would also help me find it.

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WorpeX 12/11/19

Sorry for digging this old-ish thread up. I've been reading into this a bit more and it seems my original post was pretty off-base. I had no idea the amount of content creators would lose by simply marking their videos as for kids.

Thanks for your really insightful posts Adriel! Glad to hear that I wont be subject to a crazy fine for my crappy racing videos being tagged for adults. I would gladly tag them for kids if comments would be allowed. I don't neccessarily have a lot of people commenting on my videos, but I absolutely want the option to be there and I don't want to lose the comments already made.

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