Google hits back at YouTube video pirates

Google has introduced a long-promised video filtering system for its YouTube website. The system is designed to help owners of copyrighted videos crack down on pirated versions distributed over the video-sharing site.

The tracking and identification system was developed in response to complaints by large media companies at the prevalence of pirated content on YouTube. Last March, Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, sued Google, which owns YouTube, for massive copyright infringement and demanded $1-billion in damages.

The company had complained that Google was dragging its feet in developing the new system, but welcomed its introduction on Tuesday.

“We’re delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and ending the practice of profiting from infringement,” said Michael Fricklas, general counsel of Viacom, in a statement.

Dubbed “YouTube Video ID”, the system creates an abstract image of copyrighted videos and compares that with similar images that are extracted from videos uploaded to YouTube.

The system, which is still officially in test mode, will take time to become fully operational as it needs copyright owners to submit copies of their material to the Google database for comparison.

“We really need the content community to work with us,” YouTube content manager David King said.
“We need them to help us help them.”

Google said nine media companies, including Disney and Time Warner, participated in an initial 10-day test.

Copyright owners who give Google copies of their content will have the choice of blocking content if it is uploaded without their consent, or choosing to leave it on YouTube for promotional purposes. In that case, they will have the opportunity to make money from advertising provided by Google.—Sapa-dpa

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