Coalition to Counter Google on Video Copyright

Update: The group has put together a web site of 15 “User-Generated Content Principles” with the tagline “Encourage creativity. Respect intellectual property.” There’s an official announcement out, which includes Veoh Networks as a participant, joining Dailymotion as the only two private companies in the coalition (see the full list below).

We had written earlier this week that Google faces a significant challenge in getting copyright holders to add their content to its new YouTube video identification index, and suggested that the company’s technology solution might be better applied as an industry resource. The semantics of screening content before or after it’s uploaded — and especially the implications for the DMCA safe harbors, which shield service providers from liability for content they haven’t approved themselves — are not negligible. However, it’s quite possible that Google’s technology is exactly what this coalition needs.

CBS (CBS), Dailymotion, Microsoft (MSFT), NBC Universal (GE), News Corp (NWS)’s FOX and MySpace, Viacom (VIA.B), and Walt Disney (DIS) will today announce a set of guidelines they have agreed upon in order to protect copyrights online, reports Kevin Delaney at the Wall Street Journal.

The coalition comes off as the anti-Google, considering YouTube’s announcement a few days ago it would implement a differing copyright protection scheme. But the group had been in talks to include Google (GOOG) that broke off, according to an unnamed source cited in the WSJ piece. A sticking point was likely that the group has reportedly agreed to block infringing material before it’s publicly accessible.

That’s not how Google’s new video identification technology works; as it’s currently deployed, checking a new upload against an index is simultaneous with adding that video to the site. The video does not enter public search until it has been approved, but it is available online in the interim, YouTube officials said at a briefing on Monday.

A Viacom spokesperson told MediaPost yesterday that the media giant’s ongoing billion-dollar lawsuit against Google for copyright infringement on YouTube is still on.

Now that Google has unveiled technology to prevent the illicit access of copyrighted video on YouTube, what impact will it have on the Viacom copyright infringement lawsuit? “None at all,” Viacom said this week.

“It doesn’t have any impact,” said Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig. “Or at least it’s very premature to try and figure out the impact it could have on the litigation.”

…”The new technology obviously has no bearing on the past,” Zweig said, adding: “And we don’t even know if the technology works yet.”

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