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Saturday, July 28, 2007

By September, YouTube Says It'll Start Blocking Copyrighted Uploads

From CNET's

    YouTube will launch a system in September designed to prevent pirated material from going up on the site, a Google lawyer said in court on Friday.

    Google, which acquired YouTube in October, plans to generate a library of digital video fingerprints that would be used by a computer system to screen clips being uploaded to YouTube, said Philip Beck, one of the attorneys representing Google and YouTube. Beck added that the screening process would take only a few minutes to determine whether a clip is copyright material.

That's the first time Google/YouTube have mentioned a firm date. But later, Google hedged in a statement, saying that the technology was complex, and "it's difficult to forecast specific launch dates."

Even more complex is the fact that it's legal to use portions of a copyrighted work -- say, a song or movie. That concept is called "fair use." But when even the US Copyright office concedes that the distinction between copyright infringement and fair use "may be unclear and not easily defined," how will Google figure it out? I'm expecting a lot of videos will be blocked if they contain a few seconds of a song or a snippet of a TV show, once this new software swings into action.

(Here's the AP/NYTimes coverage.)

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