youtube logo Google has been working on a copyright filter (originally called “Claim Your Content”) for YouTube videos for quite some time now, and it has finally launched. YouTube Video Identification (in beta, of course!) is what it’s being called, and it is their way to ensure that copyrighted content will not appear on the site. At least that’s what it’s supposed to do. On the official announcement they describe it as a “highly complicated technology platform” which is the “next step in a long list of content policies and tools that we have provided copyright owners so that they can more easily identify their content and manage how it is made available on YouTube.

While it’s great that they finally launched Video Identification, it isn’t exactly a simple process for content owners.  If a content owner wants protection, they must provide Google with a “master” copy of the video.  This master copy is then used to see if other videos match it. If they do, then the video is removed. If you’re a content owner and you have hundreds of potential videos that could make their way to YouTube, that’s a lot of work involved!

Andy Beal over at Marketing Pilgrim makes another great point when he says “Once any content hits the web, it’s there, forever!” If a copyrighted video is uploaded, it’ll still take a some time before it’s removed. During that time, it will be easy for anybody to take the movie and distribute it elsewhere.  Another thing to keep in mind is that under this system, Google will end up with a rather large library of copyrighted content. You know how they say that their goal is to index everything? Well, this new system will bring them one step closer to meeting that goal.

All this aside, I’m sure Google worked rather quickly to get something out that shows that they’re really dedicated to protecting content owners.  After all, they’ve got that Viacom lawsuit lingering over their heads, and Video Identification could help them win that lawsuit.