This article was first published in our online discussion forum. Come on over to https://vandervault.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=787 to join the conversation about this article.
The documentary, as it stood “Grace VanderWaal: I Now Know My Name” was nearing the end of its production phase and was diving headlong into the black hole of despair known as post-production when YouTube threw a monkey-wrench into our works.

Many of you may have heard of COPPA (The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), and how YouTube will begin enforcing a number of draconian restrictions on YouTube creators who post content that YouTube’s bots and administrators deem to be “made for kids”, or that “features kids”.

YouTube’s official video on COPPA:

 

Informative video on COPPA from a family-friendly YouTube Channel:

 

If YouTube creators, such as the VanderVault, do not “self-identify” videos that feature “kids” (defined by them as children under the age of 13) and the bots tag your video as falling under the guidelines, said creators can be fined up to $42,530.00US by the FTC, face criminal charges, and have their channels deleted.

If a creator self-identifies the channel as a whole as being one that primarily contains content YouTube would deem as “made for kids” then the following restrictions will be placed on its videos;

– impacted videos WILL NOT BE SEARCHABLE
– will not be suggested or recommended by YouTube’s algorithms
– no comments feature on videos
– no channel community tabs
– no end cards on videos
– exclusion from playlists
– no watch later capability for videos
– no notifications to subscribers
– restrictions placed on ads*

*The VanderVault isn’t a monetized channel, so we wouldn’t particularly care about that last restriction if not for the following reason…

Because we heavily feature Grace’s music (especially the studio recorded variety) Sony Music Group (owner of Columbia, the exclusive distributor of Syco Records) automatically claims copyright ownership of our videos (which is fine by us because that means our videos (in a VERY small way) put money into Grace’s coffers to financially support the creation of her art.

The problem is that the rules on exactly how ads will be impacted by the COPPA restrictions is still very vague, meaning it could potentially limit our use of Grace’s copyrighted material. A documentary about a musical artist without any of her original music wouldn’t make for a very interesting documentary.

Again these rules will be implemented as of January 1st, 2020.

Theoretically, we could solely distribute (through public domain streaming) the documentary on Vimeo, where we already have a channel set up, but its visibility would be about 0.1% (not an exaggeration) of what it would have on a pre-2020-YouTube.

What does all of this mean for the VanderVault YouTube channel?

It means that effective January 1st we will have to self-identify all of our videos that feature Grace under the age of 13 (meaning anything AGT era or before). That includes our trailer for the documentary and our Op-Ed Videos that also feature brief glimpses of Grace’s AGT journey, which will put an end to the comments section on said videos.

We can, moving forward, create a new op-ed video that only features Grace from only this year.

What it means for the documentary is far more devastating. If we self-identify the video as “made for kids”, considering it features at least 20 minutes of AGT and pre-AGT Grace, all of the above video-specific restrictions will be applied to it, which will make it almost impossible to spread to those who need to see it most; those discovering Grace for the first time.

Because of the COPPA enforced restrictions we have grudgingly decided to cut the documentary into two volumes, the first of which will contain those scenes that feature Grace’s journey previous to the release of “Clearly”. Volume 2 will focus on Grace from the spring of 2018 forward.

Frighteningly, even applying those measures may not protect us from these COPPA enforcements.

As such the artistry of the film has been terribly compromised, but at least this way we can promote the more contemporary history of Grace and focus on her future with a documentary that will not fall under the COPPA enforced restrictions.

It’s too early to try and nail down a release date for “Grace VanderWaal: I Now Know My Name (Volume 1)”, but it will be released as soon as it is ready (we will not wait for “Stargirl” to premiere). Volume 2 will be released at a later date, but because we at the VanderVault, when given lemons, like making lemonade with a twist of lime, a sprinkle of rock sugar and a decorative umbrella, we’re going to invest more time and effort into making Volume 2 even more special and in-depth than it would have been if simply occupying the tail end of a unified picture.

We hope you understand and are not too disappointed.