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YouTube France Coming June 19th?

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Google will hold a Press Day in Paris on June 19th. Marissa Mayer and CEO Eric Schmidt will be there, among others, and we can expect they’ll bring some product or feature announcements with them (Tony Ruscoe will go to Paris to cover this for us, and I’ll be blogging from Germany). One of those new services, as rumor has it, will be the launch of European versions of YouTube, like YouTube France*.

YouTube

This rumor comes via the newspaper Les Echos as well as Agence France-Press (AFP), who says France Televisions told them they’re in talks with Google about sharing their TV programs on YouTube.

Of course it might make sense for YouTube to have local sites in other European countries too. YouTube.de for instance is already owned by YouTube Inc., and the last administrative change to the domain was at the beginning of this month. At the moment, one of the most well-known German video sites (next to YouTube.com, which is already popular in Germany) is ClipFish.de. With an actual German version of YouTube, market share might shift as more people visit YouTube.de. However, according to AFP, “France would be a test market,” indicating that the localization launches might not start off with several countries at once. German Focus magazine on the other hand reports that a German version of YouTube is launching “within the next weeks” according to unnamed “high-level television sources.” Focus speculates that perhaps the YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen will be surprise guests in Paris on June 19th. (Another source confirmed this to me.)

At this time, YouTube.fr, YouTube.de, YouTube.co.uk, YouTube.pl and others return blank pages, error messages or place-holders… I guess we’ll know more on Tuesday. Google is keeping their lips sealed and handed out the usual “we do not comment on market rumor or speculation” to AFP (this comment is handed out whether or not the rumor is true – the last time I received it was when I questioned Google on their alleged Feedburner acquisition, which days later turned out to be true).

In other related news recently, YouTube announced they’re getting closer to a copyright-infringement detection system for videos. Named “video fingerprinting tools” (or formerly, the “claim your content” initiative), these are supposed to “identify unique attributes in the video clips” to find copyright material. If they do return findings “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,” according to Reuters.

*Google bought YouTube in October 2006. Maybe they’ve been working on localizing the product for the past several months – it’s certainly possible.

[Thanks TomHTML, Max and Colin Colehour!]

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