Google, YouTube Developing Video Filter

    June 12, 2007

Google may have found a way to duck the umpteen lawsuits YouTube is facing – the company is developing its very own video identification technology to flag copyrighted content.  What’s more, the system will be tested in cooperation with Time Warner and Disney.

A Reuters article indicates that trials should begin in about a month, and that other companies may join the fun as things progress.  Then, “[t]hese tools will be made available to all content owners later this year depending on the results of the tests, YouTube executives said . . . ”

Interestingly, a widespread introduction of the “video fingerprinting tools” may not mean the end of copyrighted content on YouTube.  The technology will merely be used “to identify copyrighted material, after which media companies can decide if they would like to remove the material or keep it up, as part of a revenue-sharing deal with YouTube, which can sell advertising alongside it.”

This provision could keep YouTube from damaging its popularity among users – there are, after all, plenty of video-sharing alternatives from which they can choose – even as the company improves its reputation among content owners.  Erring too much in either direction would be a costly mistake (especially if Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit is left standing).

We look forward to hearing about how the testing progresses, then, and we’ll be sure to report any word on the matter back to you.  For better or for worse, the development of Google’s video fingerprinting tools could mark the end of YouTube as we know it.