Can Google Avoid Litigation with YouTube?

Google has been in the limelight over copyright infringement lawsuits ever since last November’s acquisition of YouTube, the popular video uploading portal. As such, it comes as no surprise that Google has finally launched a video recognition technology to address these copyright infringement concerns among copyright holders. Regardless, the fact that it took a $1 billion lawsuit from viacom and a similar lawsuit from NBC Universal to really speed things up should be some indication.

Notably, NBC Universal and GE stated in the past, “Many of NBC Universal’s most valuable copyrighted works have been copied, performed, and disseminated without authorization by YouTube and other similarly operated Websites. NBCU has a strong interest in preserving the strength and viability of all of its legal rights and remedies in response to such conduct”. This statement is definitely a testament to the uproar arising among copyright holders, but for what reason. Is it merely because they wish to profit from lawsuit claims or could it be that they want a piece of the potential earnings from their content? The latter reason to commercialize content seems to be a better indication of their motive and lawsuits are merely a means to go that route. Hmm. A good thing couldn’t have lasted so long!

Google, in an attempt to protect its domain from increasing lawsuits had brought into play a video recognition technology that works to serve two purposes for copyright holders. Before going into the details, we must note that copyright holders and production studios have the responsibility to upload all their content on YouTube, before the technology is put forth. It’s a time-consuming process, but seems to be the only option as the technology is not automated. Anyhow, here are the two purposes or options provided to copyright holders upon uploading their original content. One option is to use the original uploaded video as a means of blocking duplicated content from being uploaded by users. Therefore, holding a strict monopoly over the content. This can have an adverse effect on the whole YouTube experience for users translating into a possible limited experience. Anyhow, thats a whole new story. The other option, more likely to be utilized, allows original copyright holders to permit duplicated content from other users to be uploaded with a fixed condition. Users will have to display advertisements along with the duplicated content and the revenue derived would be given to copyright holders. This, my friends, is an illustration of commercialization in all its glory.

However, as an after thought, if copyrighted video unlawfully manages to reach viewers then Google might find itself with yet another lawsuit. Unfortunately, the recognition technology is only effective when copyright holders submit content before the user. In additon, users could outsmart the system by altering video content beyond system recognition and other foul play. Anything is possible in this day and age. Hence, Google’s best bet is to keep on top of these possibilities with realisic expectations. Furthermore, as Google cleans up its YouTube and shares profits with corporations; others might enter the domain more easily with less restriction. Nevertheless, litigation and issues are bound to be part of web life and can’t be made altogether obsolete or else it wouldn’t be just as interesting! Politics is here to stay.

Click here for the annoucement in the Wall Street Journal

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