Viacom demanded that YouTube take down more than100,000 video clips. Viacom owns Paramount Studios, MTV Network, BET, and other media properties. CNet ran the following quote from Viacom. This is looking a lot like my days at Napster.
"After months of ongoing discussions with YouTube and Google, it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users," Viacom said in a statement. "Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video.
"YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it," the statement continued. "The recent addition of YouTube-served content to Google Video Search simply compounds this issue."
Here is the problem.
This is very difficult for YouTube to do in a comprehensive way. I was VP of product development at Napster when the RIAA and Federal judge asked us to filter out all copyrighted music. It was difficult with music...it will be nearly impossible for video.
The problem is completeness. You can put together hashing algorithms and "finger printing" techniques to find the obvious stuff...maybe 80% of the copyrighted content. The remaining 20% is nearly impossible to identify with precision and completeness.
The judge in the Napster case demanded 100% compliance, not 90% or 95%...100%. There was no way to effectively do it so the judge just shut Napster down.
The truth is that Viacom probably couldn't provide a 100% accurate list of their clips either. And, as time goes on it will get worse. Users will get very clever in disguising the clips they upload with different names, tags, sample rates, lengths, fake lead ins, etc.
This could get ugly...and expensive.