You Tube Grudgingly Adapts To The Political Age

31 07 2007

Google has announced that, beginning in September, they will be able to stop the posting of videos that companies don’t want up there. As far as I can tell from this New York Times article, it appears that the workflow for this will be:

  1. Copyright owner notices that something is on YouTube.
  2. Copyright owner sends something to Google with that “something”‘s digital fingerprint. I’m not sure whether they’ll send Google the film and let them build the fingerprint, or if Google will supply the technology so it can be done from within the safety of the owner’s world (I’d bet on the latter, if I were a betting man)
  3. Google uses the fingerprint to automatically scrape every single video on YouTube and find copies of the offending video.
  4. Google pulls the infringing video off YouTube, “within a minute or so.”

That’s it. No word on just what the fingerprint algorithm (dontcha just hate that word, now that has taken it over in a senseless ad campaign) is looking for, so there’s no word on whether someone could get around it simply or with effort.

And that, my friends, is really the issue here — you know that this pathetic attempt to reign in copyright infringement is doomed to fail. Google, of course, could care less, so long as they can prove to the courts that they tried. Meaning that they get a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

At Sundance this year, I heard filmmakers talking about making sure that their short films got downloaded for free, so that they could do more with their concepts. Record companies should give away the music, and make their money off of promotion. Filmmakers should be looking at vastly different modes to make money. The day of the theatrical distribution owning their lives is fast coming to an end.

Welcome to the future.

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