Media Companies Draw Line In The Sand On Copyright Infringement

Oct 18th, 2007 | By | Category: Podcasting Law, Streaming Video, Video

Several of the world’s leading Internet and media companies today announced their joint support for a set of copyright guidelines for user-generated content designed to protect the intellectual property of content owners.

According to the companies, the principles offer a comprehensive set of guidelines to help user-generated content (UGC) services and content creators work together to bring more content to more consumers through legitimate channels. The companies supporting these principles include CBS Corp., Dailymotion, Fox Entertainment Group, Microsoft Corp., MySpace, NBC Universal, Veoh Networks Inc., Viacom Inc. and The Walt Disney Company.

Notably absent is Google, whose YouTube video sharing site led to these media companies coming together.

The principles call for copyright owners and UGC services to work together to protect intellectual property. They include:

  • Implementation of state of the art filtering technology with the goal to eliminate infringing content on UGC services, including blocking infringing uploads before they are made available to the public;
  • Upgrading technology when commercially reasonable;
  • Cooperating to ensure that the technology is implemented in a manner that effectively balances legitimate interests, including fair use;
  • Cooperation in developing procedures for promptly addressing claims that content was blocked in error;
  • Regularly using the technology to remove infringing content that was uploaded before the technology could block it;
  • Identification and removal of links to sites that are clearly dedicated to, and predominantly used for, the dissemination of infringing content; and,
  • Promotion of content-rich, infringement-free services by continuing to cooperatively test new technologies and by collaboratively updating these principles as appropriate to keep current with evolving developments.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For YouTube?

While these principles seem quite reasonable on the surface, they pose multiple challenges to file sharing services. The principles place the responsibility on video sharing sites to keep copyrighted material from being shared.

The unusual show of cooperation between these media companies doesn’t bode well for YouTube. Viacom is already suing YouTube for $1 billion for copyright infringement. Earlier today, Viacom’s Comedy Central demonstrated that it could beat YouTube at its own game by introducing a legitimate video sharing site for The Daily Show that’s actually pretty cool.

The Daily Show site demonstrates that mainstream media content is coming to the Web in a legitimate, comprehensive and fairly user-friendly way. If other media companies follow suit, it’s likely to lead to an explosion of video content on the Web and a decline in the importance of sites like YouTube.

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