YouTube puts finger on copyright video

12 Jun 2007

A copyright-protection tool that fingerprints user-uploaded videos will soon be tested by YouTube in collaboration with media companies Time Warner and Disney.

Following in the footsteps of social networking site MySpace, the Google-owned company will use this software to recognise when users illegally upload copyright material by giving each video a unique fingerprint or identity.

YouTube has been using technology developed by Audible Magic, the same company that designed MySpace’s ‘Take Down Stay Down’ feature for protecting the intellectual property of audio clips.

The fingerprinting tool, which YouTube has been testing for several months now, differs in that it goes beyond audio content to include video.

Philips has already developed a similar digital fingerprinting tool that only needs five seconds of a video clip to tell if the material infringes on copyright.

Every time a YouTube user uploads a video clip to the site it will be compared against a vast database of material provided by the copyright holder.

If copyright material is identified, the media company has a choice: it must request to have it removed from YouTube’s vast database or alternatively leave it up, and include embedded advertising.

YouTube business development director Chris Maxcy said this system will be in operation by next month and that other media organisations will come on board later this year.

By Marie Boran