After dealing with numerous copyright issues, Google is taking a step to filter movies uploaded to YouTube. According to Mercury News, Google has taken on technology from Audible Magic that will be used to deal with unauthorized videos that appear all over YouTube. While this move protects Google from further copyright issues, it could very easily draw some of their massive crowd away.
Audible Magic may sound familiar because just recently, MySpace announced that they were taking measures to protect copyrighted videos. They began a program, licensing technology from AudibleMagic which can scan videos and look for signature vectors like a fingerprint to compare with vectors stored in a database. When matches are found, it means that the movie has a copyright, and the video would be blocked.
People like YouTube because it’s easily accessible to anyone who wants to contribute, and it’s free. Google has been feeling the pressure to do something for months now, but they’ve been slow to make a move. According to Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chief Executive, filtering technology is one of the highest priorities and they plan on rolling it out soon.
Viacom is doubtful of Google’s willingness to get the move on with this filtering technology. A spokesman from Viacom when speaking to The Mercury News says, “YouTube and Google have been promising filtering tools for many, many months, while the damage to copyright owners continues.”
How would this effect YouTube and their audience? Jesse Drew who is the director of the technocultural studies at University of California-Davis says, ‘YouTube is definitely going to lose popularity. These things become popular because they are underground and free and accessible.”
Whatever Google decides to do, someone is going to be unhappy. On one hand they have companies like NBC Universal and News Corp who are giving Google pressure to take care of the problem. On the other hand they have users who have gotten used to being able to post what they want, which leaves Google in an uncomfortable place to be.