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Viacom-Google Copyright Case Underway; YouTube To Add Video Fingerprinting This Fall

YouTube will add software to automatically detect copyrighted videos this fall, possibly September, according to a lawyer defending the video sharing site and parent Google against Viacom’s claims of copyright theft. Viacom filed suit last March seeking $1 billion in damages and an injunction; that has been combined with another brought by England’s Football Association and music publisher Bourne. The hearing began in Manhattan on Friday, with the plaintiffs looking for an injunction against YouTube and damages.

Echoing promises from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, AP reports that Google lawyer Philip S. Beck told Judge Louis L. Stanton the site was working “very intensely and cooperating” with major content companies on sophisticated video indexing that will “hopefully eliminate such disputes in the future.” The software would allow copyright holders to add a digital fingerprint to material — if YouTube finds the fingerprint upon upload, the video would be removed “within a minute or two.” YouTube has previously claimed defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, protesting it removes illegal clips as soon as it is notified by copyright owners and claiming users otherwise “have every right” to share content. YouTube already uses fingerprinting technology licensed from Audible Magic to identify copyright audio used in video.

MediaPost: The plaintiffs said YouTUbe should have agreed to implement such technology before the case got to court. Viacom attorney Donald Verrilli: “We’d have been a lot happier if they’d put this in place when they launched.”