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October 16, 2007

Google Unveils Copyright Protection Tool for YouTube

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

It has been in the works for some time now, given how publishing houses and the other production facilities have been demanding stricter enforcement and more positive action from Google to prevent copyrighted video clips from being uploaded on its popular video sharing site, YouTube (News - Alert). Google has been promising swift action for years and finally, is giving content creators what they’ve been asking for: technology designed to prevent illicit access to copyrighted material on its YouTube video sharing service.

The unveiling of copyright protection technology for YouTube comes shortly after Google’s (News - Alert) announcement last week that the company would begin tying the video service into its popular AdSense online advertising distribution tool.
To some degree, and irrespective of whether this tool is effective in preventing the illegal uploads or not, Google needs it even more than content providers. The company has been in the eye of the storm since many major content providers, like Viacom, stopped dealing with Google and then promptly sued it for billions. Although Google maintained that it could not check all the videos uploaded on its Web property, there were few takers for the theory.
The new technology introduced by the company preempts the posting of potentially infringing content. But that’s all it can do. It cannot identify the illegal uploads; that work still lies with the concerned content owners. But, according to a Dow Jones report, Michael Kelber, a partner with the intellectual property group at the law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, called the technology “a first step toward a potential resolution” of the YouTube infringement issue. Even the Motion Picture Association of America has reacted positively to the new technology.
MPAA spokeswoman Kori Bernards said, “While we’ve not yet had a chance to evaluate this specific technology, we support any and all efforts to provide consumers with legitimate content and protect copyright.”
Although Google has taken the first important step towards blocking illegal content on YouTube, media companies who are worried about their content being used illegally will still have to do a lot of work. Both Google and the content owners agree on that point.
Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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