YouTube anti-piracy add-on coming soon

October 14, 2006

Part of the recent deals YouTube signed with content creators was a requirement for YouTube to implement an anti-piracy feature to prevent pirated content getting uploaded. It’s supposed to be an audio-signature based piece of technology that will identify a copyrighted music video or clip and either automatically substitute with the copyrighted version or remove the offending content completely.

This sounds like a high-risk approach for YouTube and could mean they have to change their model from the place where you can find everything video to the place where you can find everything that passes copyright. This could mean the user base go elsewhere, especially if alternatives pop-up. YouTube’s user base is one of the most fickle online, short attention spacs, active surfers and in the main fairly savvy, it won’t take them long to realise they can’t get what they want on YouTube anymore and head off elsewhere.

YouTube have stressed that they won’t be filtering the content themselves. The copyright owners will be able to identify their content, find pirated versions and take a decision on whether to remove or replace it. The development is said to be going live by year end.

It’s all good and well doing this with audio signatures but quality and other issues could make this fail in a lot of cases. What would be particularly interesting would be if Google’s acquisition of Neven Vision is used and added into the copyright fight. A database of copyright images could be scanned against uploaded videos using Neven Visions image recognition technology or something like that.

As usual, I’m sure Google will have a trick up their sleeve and have anticipated this!

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