John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Well, Here Come YouTube's Video ID Tools. Guess That Means Godot Will Be Here Any Minute Now

We do a good job of educating users about copyright law.”

–-YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, D5 Conference, 2007

I was very interested to hear Chad and Steve talking about educating consumers about copyright earlier today. Perhaps I’ve given them a graduate degree in copyright law.”

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, D5 Conference, 2007

Google’s apparently finished “educating users about copyright law” and has moved on to the far more important business of making sure not to run afoul of it. After a year of delays and excuses, the company this morning uncrated an antipiracy system for its YouTube video-sharing site.

YouTube Video Identification, as Google colorfully identifies it, matches videos uploaded to YouTube against a repository of legitimate master videos provided by their owners. In the event of a violation, the system notifies the copyright holder, who can then request the video’s removal, its promotion or its ad-supported syndication. Yes, ad-supported syndication. “Like many of these other policies and tools, Video Identification goes above and beyond our legal responsibilities,” YouTube Project Manager David King explained. “It will help copyright holders identify their works on YouTube and choose what they want done with their videos: whether to block, promote, or even—if a copyright holder chooses to license their content to appear on the site—monetize their videos. In implementing this technology, we are committed to supporting new forms of original creativity, protecting fair use and providing a seamless user experience—all while we help rights owners easily manage their content.”

Ah. A “Don’t vaporize, monetize!” program (see “New From Google Labs: Google Big Friggin’ Video Ad”). Surely, just the sort of thing Viacom was hoping for when it filed that $1 billion copyright infringement suit/“mistake” against YouTube earlier this year. Well, it’s a step in the right direction, anyway. Said Viacom general counsel Mike Fricklas, “We’re delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and ending the practice of profiting from infringement.”

Time Warner spokesman Ed Adler offered similar sentiments. “We’re encouraged that they recognize the need to recognize copyright,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m told by our general counsel that there’s still some work to be done before we would say it’s totally sufficient to protect copyright, but we’re encouraged so far.”

But not for long. Because Google’s system doesn’t prevent copyrighted content from being posted to YouTube, does it? But it may well prevent media companies from suing over it.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik