MySpace fingerprints content to protect copyright

14 May 2007

News Corporation-owned social networking site MySpace has launched new software to prevent users from reposting copyrighted content to their homepages.

This move comes after MySpace was sued in November of last year by Universal for copyright violation, in light of users unlawfully uploading video and audio clips belonging to the media company.

Universal alleged that MySpace had aided the violation of copyright by making it easier for its users to reformat and share clips.

MySpace is now tackling the issue of reposting. Having removed content at the request of copyright owners, the site is looking to prevent users from simply putting up the same material again.

Michael Angus, executive vice-president and general counsel for Fox Interactive Media, said: “We have created this new feature to solve a problem that has long frustrated copyright holders and presented technical challenges to service providers.”

Using technology from Audible Magic, a company that specialises in protecting intellectual property, MySpace’s ‘Take Down Stay Down’ feature marks it as the first site to implement content filtering on such a large scale.

Audible Magic’s system works by giving each clips a “digital fingerprint” based on the audio content. These fingerprints are added to a database held by MySpace.

However, the content owner must first find the clip on MySpace and alert the site of the copyright infringement before it is tagged for fingerprinting.

When someone attempts to repost a copyrighted clip, based on its unique ID, uploading is prevented.

Audible Magic is currently working on a version for fingerprinting video clips, which is being tested on various websites in the next few months.

By Marie Boran