Fri, Aug 03, 2007 - Page 11 News List

YouTube inks partnerships with six Japanese firms


YouTube entered a series of commercial partnerships in Japan yesterday, where the video-sharing Web site is trying to overcome fierce criticism over copyright protection.

US Internet giant Google, which owns YouTube, said it was tying up with six Japanese firms including satellite broadcaster Sky PerfecTV and quickly growing social networking service Mixi, which will both link content to YouTube.

Casio Computer Co also formed a partnership with the rising but controversial Internet site, offering digital cameras designed to upload videos specifically on YouTube.

"After the United States, Japan is the most popular country for YouTube," Google vice president David Eun told a news conference in Tokyo. "We really believe that if we can stay true to what users want and we can be good partners, then the business will come."

But YouTube has been in a long feud with Japanese content providers over the downloading of copyrighted materials through the Web site.

Earlier this year the company agreed to post a warning on its Web site in Japanese against copyright infringements.

Google, which bought YouTube last year in a US$1.65 billion deal, is planning new "fingerprinting" tools later this year to identify copyright-protected contents on YouTube.

But Japan's copyright holders, who held the second round of negotiations with Google on Tuesday, urged YouTube to take more thorough and immediate measures.

Twenty-four content owners, mainly traditional broadcasters, "strongly urged the company to swiftly take measures to prevent rights violations out of its own responsibility until the new prevention system is introduced," a statement said after the talks.

An official of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers said copyright holders were also not content with the new system.

"We believe the technology Google plans to introduce will not be good enough," he said.

Eun admitted there will be no "perfect, 100 percent solution" to weed out illegally copied and uploaded clips from all the videos inundating YouTube.

"As you all know, anytime a technology comes along it hits a sort of arms race because you have people who want to try to crack the technologies," he said. "What we have to do is build scalable, efficient, automated solutions that don't depend on individual humans looking at video."

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