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Update: Google launches video-blocking tool for YouTube

The tool, in beta, allows content owners to block copyrighted material

By Linda Rosencrance
October 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Google Inc. has launched a video-blocking tool that will allow content owners to intercept copyrighted clips as they're uploaded to YouTube, its video-sharing site.

The tool, called YouTube Video Identification, is in beta testing.

"Video Identification 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," said David King, YouTube product manager, in the blog post.

The Video Identification tool will help copyright holders identify their works that have been uploaded to YouTube, the company said. YouTube said it worked with Google to develop technology that can recognize videos based on a number of factors. The tool, which has shown promising results during testing, will eventually be available to copyright holders around the world.

A YouTube spokesman said that nine companies, including Time Warner Inc. and The Walt Disney Co., were testing the system, but he didn't know when other copyright holders would be able to use the tool.

"This is brand-new, cutting-edge stuff, so we need to keep testing this technology and improve it to fit YouTube's scale," he said.

In order for the technology to work, copyright holders will have to provide YouTube with the information necessary to allow the system to recognize their material.

"No matter how accurate the tools get, it is important to remember that no technology can tell legal from infringing material without the cooperation of the content owners themselves," YouTube said.

YouTube said copyright holders can decide whether they want to block, promote or partner with YouTube to earn revenue from their material. After the copyright holders determine what they want done with their material, YouTube will do its "best to automate that choice while balancing the rights of users, other copyright holders, and our community as a whole," it said.

"A participant can send us original video content or a reference file that they prepare themselves," a YouTube spokesman said. "The partner also chooses one of three policies to associate with any video that matches that reference material: block, track or monetize. When a subsequently uploaded video is matched, the policy associated with the reference material is applied to the matched content, and the video is either blocked, tracked or monetized."

In July, after being hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by Viacom Inc., Google said that it would unveil an antipiracy tool for YouTube in September.

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