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Japan Bashing YouTube Over Copyright

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-12-05

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Passively waiting for someone to point out that a hosted piece of content violates copyright is not the approach Japanese copyright holders want YouTube to take with uploaded videos.

Forget that legendary Japanese politeness. The big companies that hold rights to creative works, much like their American brethren, want YouTube to take a more proactive stance in assessing uploads for copyright violations.

Although the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (Jasrac) pushed YouTube to delete nearly 30,000 videos, the International Herald Tribune reported that the infringement by YouTube users has been continuing.

Maybe the missive from Jasrac caused YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley to be less than talkative with a TechCrunch blogger at Google's holiday soirée for the press.

Jasrac wants YouTube to screen content as it arrives. In the US and the European Union, safe harbor provisions of laws pertaining to hosting content generally protect the host provided that offending content gets removed upon notification, such as with a DMCA letter.

Performing such proactive screening, barring an automated solution that could scan audio and video for matches to copyrighted works, would have to be accomplished manually. YouTube would need to hire people to wade through thousands of videos each day.

Even outsourcing the work could be an expensive prospect. For now YouTube hopes that an "audio-signature technology" that can identify borrowed songs will satisfy complaints, but that doesn't fix the video uploading issue.

A series of licensing deals YouTube signed ahead of its announced acquisition by Google helped fend off some likely legal assaults in the US. They may need to pay off those Japanese equivalents to stay out of court there as well.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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