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YouTube Purges 30,000 Copyright Files

AP | October 20 2006

The popular video-sharing site YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment group complained of copyright infringement.

The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, found 29,549 video clips such as television shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube's site without permission, an official from the group, Fumiyuki Asakura, said Friday.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company quickly complied with the request to remove the copyright materials, made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies, Asakura said.

Most videos posted on YouTube are homemade, but the site also features scores of copyright material posted by individual users. YouTube's policy is to remove such clips after it receives complaints, though some have suggested the startup eventually could be sued, especially with deep-pocketed Google Inc. about to buy it for $1.65 billion in stock.

Asakura said the entertainment industry group may ask YouTube to introduce a preliminary screening process to prevent copyright clips from being posted.

YouTube has been negotiating with leading copyright holders and reached agreement with several letting the Web site post copyright music videos and other content in exchange for sharing ad revenue.

The company agreed to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed clip. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version or remove the material automatically.

YouTube has licensing deals with CBS Corp. and three major recording companies — Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which is a joint venture between Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG.

Since YouTube started in February 2005, the company has blossomed, now showing more than 100 million video clips per day.

YouTube's worldwide audience was 72.1 million by August, up 2.8 million from a year earlier, according to comScore Media Metrix.

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