October 16, 2006
"Anti-piracy system could hurt YouTube"
Nowadays, online file-sharing seems to be a constant compromise between giving users optimum content, and meeting the legal standards for publishing copywritten material online. The latest episode of this internet struggle comes about as Google finalizes its plans to acquire online video-sharing site, YouTube. YouTube, widely known as a grassroots net hub for finding virtually any video related content online, has recently begun using " audio-signature technology" to verify the quality of posted video. This measure targets " low-quality copy", material often synonymous with pirated video, or other illegal abuses of copyright. While regulators and organized entertainment producers are applauding this move, some critics are forecasting a decline in YouTube's public appeal as a result of this action.
YouTube has garnered a reputation for delivering perhaps the greatest wealth of user-generated video on the net. Users previously enjoyed largely unrestricted freedom in publishing online video. Now, concern over tighter regulation could send YouTube faithful elsewhere. The likelihood of such an exodus in heightened by the fact that YouTube's filtering systems seemingly air on the side of caution, latching onto even amateur home video with licensed songs as background noise. And while YouTube claims that its filters will allow users to alter the content of objectionable videos before removing them, the monitoring alone may be sufficient to send a good number of users running.
One cannot help but ask where the equilibrium lies in the scrum surrounding online media. While it is obviously illegal for users to misuse copywritten material, how great is the obligation of online loci such as YouTube to monitor this activity? Are they compelled to do so even if it conflicts with their own interests? It seems taht in the not too distant future we may find where the balance between freedom and legality lies once the scales are tipped too far in either direction.
Posted by danepr at October 16, 2006 02:17 PM