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YouTube Set to Turn On Rights Filter

An automated system for monitoring YouTube for copyright abuse, promised for 2006 but since delayed, is “very close” according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a discussion with John Seigenthaler at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) meeting in Las Vegas on Monday. Called “Claim Your Content,” he said that it will be live in a few weeks and will proactively filter out content that has been claimed.

Eric SchmidtWhat’s not clear is how much of the technology will be provide by Audible Magic, who also work with MySpace, and how much was developed in-house. Also, Google had previously asserted that the filters would only be available to large rightsholders who sign licensing deals with YouTube. Showing a sense of humor that perhaps only a billionaire can muster, Schmidt even tried to make light of Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube: “With Viacom you’re either doing a business deal with them or you’re being sued by them,” Schmidt said, according to the Variety report.

Legally, what’s not clear is how this will affect edited clips that use portions of copyrighted content, but are protected by fair use provisions. And by actively filtering, there’s some question if the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions will still apply.