YouTube to Roll Out Copyright Tools for Content Owners

Apr 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Google is currently testing a new set of copyright protection tools for YouTube that could assuage the concerns of rights holders. In addition, the Internet giant also plans to introduce a series of advertising formats on its popular video-sharing site in the coming months.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt shared a glimpse into the latest developments in these two hot-button topics during a keynote discussion at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas on Monday.

Google has been a magnet for lawsuits recently, including Viacom’s current $1 billion lawsuit against Google-owned YouTube claiming copyright infringement. Also, in recent weeks content owners have struck above-board deals with online distribution venues such as AOL, MSN, Joost and others, suggesting they are shirking away from Google and YouTube until they clean up their act.

In response, Mr. Schmidt said Google is currently developing tools that content owners can use to “claim their content,” he explained. “If people tell us this is a licensed copy, our computers will automatically detect that it’s a legal copy or not,” he said. Google is currently testing this capability for use on YouTube with a few content partners. Within a few months, Google will introduce the new tools to “everyone,” he said.

As Google rolls out the additional copyright protection tools, the process will be automated and preemptive, letting Google and YouTube detect in advance when users upload unauthorized content.

“It looks like the process once automated will work pretty well, and we use a combination of audio and video fingerprinting and once inputted into the computer it’s easy to detect,” Mr. Schmidt said. “The most important thing is getting the process of content uploaded where [users] are uploading it incorrectly or illegally to do that in an automated way. Now we need to get the content that is illegal off the site.”


Another overhang for the future success of YouTube hinges on whether Google can generate meaningful ad dollars from its $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube. Google is currently building an online advertising solution that will allow it to monetize the videos on YouTube with pre-roll and post-roll ads, he said. That’s a new development for YouTube, which has relied on sponsorships and online video channels from marketers as ad vehicles.

Though it’s been dubbed a “YouTube killer,” Mr. Schmidt doesn’t view the NBC Universal-News Corp. alliance to distribute their programming online starting this summer as a competitor.

“It’s been labeled as a competitor, but it’s a different animal. It’s primarily targeted at long-form content. YouTube is not television. It’s a different phenomenon,” he said.

Mr. Schmidt also discussed Google’s trial with Echostar to test an auction-based system for targeted TV ads. Rather than siphon ad dollars away from TV, Mr. Schmidt said he believes the new system will expand the advertising pie for TV. “The money is there. We all benefit from better ads,” he said. “It’s more important to have an ad more relevant to you and our technology will produce more targeted, more relevant, more measurable ads and we think this will grow revenue. We are primarily focused on bringing new advertisers in.”

(Editor: Romanelli)