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Fox Presses YouTube To Reveal Pirate

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What’s scarier than a Rosie O’Donnell pole dance? How about Rupert Murdoch with a subpoena? Twentieth Century Fox will test Google’s privacy resolve in much the same way the federal government did this time last year by demanding a YouTube user who uploaded entire Fox TV shows be identified.

Said user goes by the handle ECOTotal, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and was so jazzed about the Fox series “24″ and “The Simpsons,” that he or she posted episodes on YouTube – you know, the same episodes you can watch for free on TV, and record for personal use.

But uploading that content to YouTube was over the line, and a San Francisco judge agrees that YouTube needs to turn the user in if possible. The judge granted Fox’ demand for YouTube to tell what it knows.

It is still unclear whether Google will comply with the order, putting the company into a predicament it has faced several times before. Usually it goes like this:

Step One: Make public spectacle about protecting user privacy by denying all requests for user information.

Step Two: Continue grandstanding until public is positive you’re on their side.

Step Three: Once public is convinced, cave. You can’t fight Big Brother.

Step Four: Shout loudly about the injustice of it all.

Situations like these have been a real hindrance to investors and privacy advocates alike. Though Google and other web companies have vowed to protect user privacy, the government has proven certain paranoias reasonable.

If you combine the government, copyright holder demands, malicious hackers, and sheer ineptitude, it’s clear that privacy on the Web leaves much to be desired.

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Fox Presses YouTube To Reveal Pirate
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