by CIO Staff

Japanese Copyright Group Gets Concession from YouTube

Feb 06, 20074 mins
Consumer Electronics

YouTube will start displaying a notice in Japanese on its website warning users against uploading copyright content, its two founders told representatives of a broad group of Japanese copyright holders on Tuesday in their first face-to-face meeting.

The Japanese-language message was the only concession YouTube offered in the meeting, according to those present. No time frame was given for when the message will appear.

The meeting, which ran for about two hours, was held in response to a complaint made in December last year by a group of 23 Japanese TV broadcasters and associations representing copyright holders. The group had also asked YouTube to register the names and addresses of users making uploads and terminate the accounts of those who illegally upload copyrighted content.

“The meeting went quite well and it was a very friendly manner,” said Satoshi Watanabe, manager of the transmission rights department at the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. JASRAC sent the original complaint on behalf of the other companies and associations, and Tuesday’s meeting was held at its Tokyo headquarters.

“We are very satisfied with the direct negotiation realized, and this should be a first step to carrying on…but their reply itself is not satisfactory today, so we’d like to solve the issues,” he said.

YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, Chief Technology Officer Steven Chen and Google Vice President of Contents Partnership David Eun attended the meeting, but didn’t offer any comments afterward and sped away from JASRAQ in waiting taxis. Later, YouTube issued a brief statement that confirmed its commitment to respect copyright and thanked the organizations for the meeting.

At the meeting, the YouTube founders outlined their plans to develop a system that will be able to automatically scan uploaded video files and identify some that infringe on copyright, but no time frame was given for the launch of the system, representatives of the Japanese group said at a news conference. They also confirmed plans to begin paying uploaders for popular content, provided the uploader owns the copyright.

If such a service were to begin, it would require uploaders to register their real names and addresses with YouTube in order to receive payment, and that step would likely mean such users are unlikely to infringe on copyrighted material.

The Japanese copyright holders are spooked by YouTube’s site because of the large number of Japanese clips and users.

The complaint was prompted after YouTube deleted 30,000 files judged to infringe on copyright of Japanese organizations and new files quickly found their way onto the site. YouTube is easily the most popular English-language website in Japan and one of the most popular overall. According to some estimates, a third of all its traffic comes from Japan.

The meeting comes days after YouTube found itself in hot water with Viacom International, which owns cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Viacom demanded more than 100,000 clips be removed from YouTube because they contained its copyrighted content. Viacom had been talking to YouTube for several months trying to work out a revenue-sharing scheme under which it could share profit from the clips, but lost patience with YouTube when the talks made little progress.

Copyright issues have been buzzing around YouTube ever since it became a household name and kick-started the online video-sharing market.

Google acquired YouTube in a US$1.65 billion all-stock deal in November last year. With such a high value attached to the site, some suggested it became a bigger target for content providers unhappy at their material being uploaded to YouTube. Google appears to have shared the concern and put aside 12.5 percent of the acquisition amount in an escrow account for one year to “secure certain indemnification obligations.”

Since the acquisition, YouTube and Google have been negotiating with copyright holders.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

Related Links:

  • YouTube Receives Protest Letter from Japanese Rights Holders

  • YouTube Hasn’t Addressed Japan Issues as Deadline Looms

  • YouTube Deletes 30K Files on Request by Japan

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