Google, You Tube & Dark Side Of Online Video

Online video is hot, and you can judge that from the break neck growth of You Tube. The San Mateo, California company was founded in February 2005, and a year later it is serving more than 3 million video views a day, receiving about 8,000 video uploads a day from users and transferring 16 terabytes of data a day. Add to the mix Google video and half-a-dozen others, and you get the idea that video-sharing is the hottest thing on the Internet. But many of these videos that are being shared are infringing on copyrights of some content creators.

Google Video, thanks to its massive infrastructure has become a repository for all sort of foreign films. I have personally watched dozens of Bollywood movies, many of them released recently. Here is a little sampling. Since the time I got in touch with Google last week, a lot of material has been taken off their site, but some Bollywood songs etc still remain. I guess, this is going to be a policing issue going forward for Google and everyone else. You Tube still features a lot of Bollywood content like this and this. Its not just fare from overseas markets, but I found a lot of music videos and television show clips, which make me wonder about how these video sharing services are going to protect against copy right infringements. I pinged Google and asked them about the said copyright infringements. A spokesperson emailed me this response.

As for infringement, Google respects the rights of copyright holders … For all of the content we host – whether from premium content providers or creative end users – we require the content provider to hold all necessary rights to the material. We work to identify and remove any infringing content that may appear on Google Video using the process set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If we receive a notice or otherwise have reason to believe that content submitted by a particular user infringes another person’s copyright, their account may be terminated.

You Tube in an email statement pretty much said the same thing.

“All of the content on YouTube — including videos, comments, and ratings — is posted at the direction of users. We take copyright issues very seriously. Our terms of use make it clear that
users should own or have permission from copyright holders to post any videos. We encourage copyright holders to contact us appropriately if they have any objections about specific postings.”

The news of Bollywood movies being shared on Google video hit the news wires this morning in India. Sunil Thakur, founder of WahIndia!, a website that syndicates its entertainment segments online to sites like Sify and Planetguru told IANS news service, that “he received a response in which Google suggest(s) he “contact the user directly”, to remove content, or “file a complaint” using standard form to contact Google Video. These users (that Google asks us to contact) are usually untraceable and could be from anywhere in the world. While one waits for the issue to resolve, the filmmaker could be losing real money as new releases are downloaded and passed around on PC, iPOD, Sony PSP.”

I am not sure if this is a problem that is going to go away. Online video companies will have to figure out a policing mechanism… after all if CSI shows start showing up on Google video (not the store), Google’s partners at Viacom are not going to be too thrilled. Similarly SNL videos now for sale on iTunes store, available for free are going to become a headache of sorts for folks at You Tube.

Archives: Did MySpace Censor You Tube?
Hat Tip, Manthan