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Google Will Develop Content Filtering Software This Year

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

02 August 2007


Faced with a number of lawsuits attacking subsidiary YouTube for copyright infringement, Google announced this week that it has developed content filtering software which will prevent the unauthorised posting of copyright videos and should be in place by September.

Philip Beck, a lawyer working for Google on a case brought by English football’s Premier League said: "Google . . . plans to generate a library of digital video fingerprints that would be used by a computer system to screen clips being uploaded to YouTube'.

Google says that the project is one of the most technologically complicated tasks the company has ever undertaken, and it is difficult to forecast a specific launch date. At present YouTube does not try to check whether material is copyrighted before it is uploaded, although it does take down copyright-infringing clips when they are discovered.

A case brought against Google by Viacom is ongoing, but the company has reached agreements with a number of other major media companies. In June EMI Music, Google and YouTube announced an agreement which gives YouTube users unprecedented access to authorized videos and recordings from EMI Music artists, including those featured in user generated content.

“With this deal, all four of the world’s major music companies are now official YouTube partners,” announced Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-founder of YouTube at the time.

Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, added: “Working with YouTube under this agreement meets EMI’s objectives to offer consumers the best possible entertainment experiences, to create new ways to connect our artists to fans and to enter into innovative business models that will generate revenues for our business and our creators. Through this agreement EMI Music and its artists will be fairly compensated for their work.”

At a recent hearing of a copyright case brought against YouTube by video journalist Robert Tur, a judge said that in her opinion Tur had failed to show that YouTube had the right and ability to control the allegedly infringing activity. This ruling will be helpful to YouTube in its other pending cases. However the judge also ruled that YouTube had failed to present enough evidence to allow the court to make a determination that YouTube did not have the right and ability to control the allegedly infringing activity. Thus, the judge could not definitely declare that YouTube qualified for the Digital Millenium Copyright Act safe harbour.


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