YouTube Anti-Piracy Software Still Vaporware

    January 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A promise to deliver software that will detect infringing content uploaded by YouTube’s enthusiastic video sharing users has not been fulfilled.

The situation could anger the major media companies who have been relatively placated by some of the $224 million Google set aside for them as part of its $1.65 billion deal for YouTube. Part of the reason for their patience has been a promise of an automated solution to find videos using copyrighted works.

There has been a lot of speculation that YouTube earned its founders a rich payout based on the content added by its userbase that should not have been uploaded in the first place. Without a countermeasure in place to perform ongoing detection of content belonging to Hollywood studios and other owners, YouTube would have to add a lot of human editors to view and flag infringing videos.

An account of YouTube’s deadline miss noted how the company promised in September 2006 the automated solution would be in place by the end of the year. It’s easy to see how they would have missed the deadline, and harder to understand why the media companies in play would have bought into it.

Even Google has not mastered video search, a necessary component of any automated solution that could look at each uploaded video, compare it in turn to what would have to be a monstrously huge digital archive of TV shows and movies, and determine if the upload should be accepted or not.

Such an archive would grow continually, with every show and sporting event owned by a rightsholder added day after day. This is probably why Google and YouTube want copyright owners to do the policing themselves, and submit a request each time they find an offending video on the site.

The Rupert Murdochs and Sumner Redstones of the world likely want that responsibility as much as YouTube does, which is to say they would rather have the other person do the digging and pay for it. Perhaps that hints at a solution.

In the way that former Netscape head Jason Calacanis made overtures to top submitters on Digg and other social media sites to do their submitting at Netscape in exchange for pay, maybe YouTube bolstered by Google’s billions could do the same thing, and pay users to turn in content.

The obvious problem with that approach would be the industrious response some would take in uploading content and then reporting it for the payout. Until the technology solution has been developed, YouTube may just have to bring on the temps.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.