“Sicko” Shows Up On YouTube, Google Video

    June 18, 2007

Since misunderstandings occur so frequently between just two or three people, it’s possible to appreciate how a much larger group could get mixed up.  Still, when that larger group is Google, and the mix-up involves Google Video, YouTube, and a copyrighted film that has yet to be released, somebody’s bound to get angry.

Michael Moore’s newest movie, “Sicko,” is set to be shown in theaters on June 29, but YouTube users got an early viewing over the weekend; the entire 124-minute film showed up on the site, with that running time split between 14 clips, according to the Associated Press.  The distributor of “Sicko” complained to YouTube, the clips were pulled, and this all might have blown over.

Yet, strangely, the same movie was discovered on Google Video, and that version wasn’t so quick to disappear.  “YouTube may have removed pirated copies of the unreleased film, Sicko, but apparently those operating [its] sister site, Google Video, didn’t get the memo,” writes Greg Sandoval.
“As of 10:15 a.m. Monday morning, Michael Moore’s soon-to-be released documentary was available on Google’s video sharing site in its entirety and was also available for download,” he continues.  “This contrasts with YouTube, which restricts most videos on the site to be under 10 minutes in length.”

Now companies attached to “Sicko” seem even less happy, and the National Legal and Policy Center is starting to take note.  This “independent watchdog organization . . . has begun to probe copyright violations on Google’s video sites and workers there have found more than 125 full-length movies and TV shows at Google Video,” reports Sandoval.

“Sicko” seems to be off Google Video at this point, but the damage could be done (think another lawsuit or two).  Google might want to put a few more people on the team developing its video fingerprinting tools, and, as long as changes are being made, open the lines of communication between YouTube and Google Video.