Anticipating Google’s ‘Claim Your Content’

Claim Your Content” is “not a filtering system” that will block uploads, said Google CEO Eric Schmidt, responding to a question from RBC Investments Jordan Rohan during the press conference call announcing the results of Google’s earnings for the first quarter. “Google is building a tool which is called Claim Your Content, and it allows publishers to somewhat automate the takedown process.”

Google CEO Eric SchmidtDMCA compliance is the focus of the project, and “will address many of the operational complaints people are making about the workload that the DMCA has put on them,” Schmidt explained.

Companies like Revver employ a staff to police content on the site, and it’s clear that YouTube has the ability to quickly take down pornography. But Google is notoriously loathe to employ meatware solutions, and in this case may neatly avoided the issue by shifting the unprofitable policework onto the backs of rights holders.

Given this information, it sounds like rights holders will flag a clip and then somehow prove that they’re the owner; once verified, Google may use technology like Audible Magic to help identify clips with similar content as they’re uploaded; owners can then review a selection of potentially unauthorized clips and flag infringers; YouTube could then automatically pull the clip and send the necessary form letters via email to the parties involved.

The domains are bought and ready, but big questions remain. How will rights holders prove their ownership? How will contested takedowns on fair use and other grounds be rectified? And, of course, how will this effect Google’s prospects in the Viacom case? For instance, Schmidt’s remarks indicated that the system won’t be perfect, only that “it addresses vast majority of complaints.”

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