The copyrighted content identification and screening system YouTube promised last year has finally gone online, according to an Associated Press report quoted by Yahoo! News. The AP quotes YouTube product manager David King as saying, "It has taken until now to get it right."
YouTube's filtering system can automatically identify whether videos posted by users are copyrighted, and it has already been tested with nine content providers including Walt Disney and Time Warner. However, for the system to work, copyright holders must cooperate by providing YouTube with copies of videos they want protected. King tells the AP that without help from copyright holders, YouTube "has no way of knowing whether material has been legally or illegally posted to the site."
That caveat has led to criticism of the filtering system. Louis Solomon, a lawyer currently engaged in a copyright infringement case against YouTube, calls the system "wholly inadequate." He adds, "It does nothing about the past and won't be enough to protect the future." Rob Gould, VP of Marketing for rival video site Broadacaster.com, also points out, "If there has been a clip from 'American Idol' posted to the site by Joe Schmoe in Oklahoma instead of Fox, you can be pretty sure it's not supposed to be there."