Villanova YouTube conference

February 24, 2007

I’m at Villanova University, where I will be speaking on Saturday, 9 a.m., on a panel discussion about “Copyright Robin Hood’s or Ransackers: Will Future Legislation Find Media Distributors to be Merry Men or Merely Theives?”

That’s a pretty long title, but I’m basically talking about YouTube. Representatives from both RIAA and MPAA are speaking, too, so I’m really looking forward to the conference. You can watch the conference live on the Web on the Journal’s site.

YouTube, via Google, finds copyright religion

February 24, 2007

News: After partnership deals with Viacom and then CBS broke down in the past week (with Viacom actually going to startup Joost to make a deal), CEO of Google Eric Schmidt announced yesterday that fighting copyright infringement is one of the company’s highest priorities.”We are definitely committed to (offering copyright protection technologies). It is one of the company’s highest priorities. We just reviewed that (issue) about an hour ago. [Anti-piracy filtering] is going to roll out very soon … It is not far away,” Schmidt said. Correcting earlier reports (or changing them) that YouTube would only offer filtering to partners, Schmidt said the filtering would be available to all. “We have to do that. But it takes a while to roll this stuff out.” (More here)

In a separate report, it was also announced that Google-YouTube will be adopting Audible Magic’s filtering, a popular digital fingerprint recognition system. According to the report, “[t]he system works by comparing the audio fingerprint of a video to a large database of copyrighted material. ” (More here)

Analysis: It looks like adult supervision is stepping in. Google CEO Eric Schmidt probably felt compelled to speak out publicly against copyright infringement because all of the bad press YouTube received in the past week, not to mention the two deals with Viacom and CBS that reportedly broke down. But no one should expect that Audible Magic will make unauthorized clips all miraculously disappear. Its filtering, first of all, is limited to audio fingerprinting (as I understand it), and, in any event, no system of filtering will come close to being 100% effective. But that’s not a bad thing. Copyright has always been “leaky,” going back to the founding of the U.S. in 1789. Copyright holders deserve a “fair return,” said the Supreme Court, but no more than that: “The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an ‘author’s’ creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.” Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U.S. 151, 156 (1975).