In response to increased pressure and lawsuits filed against them for copyright infringement, Google had announced that they were developing video recognition technology to help content publishers clamp down on illegal upload and use of copyrighted material.
This week, Google have officially released the Video Identification tool for YouTube. In their words, “Video Identification is the next step in a long list of content policies and tools that we have provided copyright owners so that they can more easily identify their content and manage how it is made available on YouTube.”
Video Identification allows publishers to identify their content on YouTube. The tool is currently in beta. While improvements are promised to allow better identification of infringing materials, the task of recognising legal versus infringing material has been assigned to publishers, allowing Google to claim absolution from any liability in the future.
YouTube Video ID will give copyright owners the choice to block, promote or monetise their content. Copyright owners can monetise their content by partnering with Google to show ads alongside their videos. By providing this choice to content owners, Google is once again cleverly side-stepping any responsibility on their own part to identify and block videos that violate copyrights.
According to the company, “YouTube’s mission is to help the widest variety of people express themselves online.” If they can do that by providing the best user experience and keep the content producers happy at the same time, it can turn into a win-win situation for all concerned. “We’re carefully designing our new identification technologies so they do not impede the free and fast communication YouTube has enabled.” They add, “We think YouTube Video Identification will be a particularly useful and timely tool as we begin extending revenue-sharing and other opportunities to a wider audience.”