October 18 – October 25, 2007 Edition

Google Moves
To Protect Online
Video Copyrights

SAN BRUNO, CA/10/15/07—Google is seeking to put an end to the copyright wars over online video, according to a report in the New York Times October 16. On Monday Google introduced a system that allows media companies to block their clips from being uploaded to YouTube without permission.

“Whether the system will work well enough to satisfy media companies who have been irked by the proliferation of unauthorized copyrighted clips on YouTube is not yet clear, ” said The Times. “But if successful, the system, which Google is offering to all media companies, could usher in a détente between them and Google.”

Google has been testing the system with several media companies, including Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, and Disney, calling the results “promising.” But according to the Times report it’s not 100% accurate at identifying video clips that should be blocked from being copied. Google has developed its own internal fingerprinting system to identify and protect copyrighted clips. Content owners could instruct Google to block clips whose fingerprints matched their copyrighted clips. Viacom had filed a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and Google in March. The media company’s attorney, Michael Fricklas, told The Times that “We are delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and ending the practice of profiting from infringement. We’ll be watching to ensure that the system is reasonably effective and sufficiently robust to address the issue.”

Some media companies say Google hasn’t gone far enough to protect copyrighted material, and a few consumer groups worry that Google’s new system could prevent uploads of video clips that were authorized under “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

Read the full story in The Times