Google Finally Capitulates: Introduces New Copyright Rules For Youtube

written by: Richard Kastelein

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For far too long, Google has drawn a controversial stance in terms of where they set the limits in terms of copyright protection on Youtube - choosing on one hand, to strike off pornography as quick as possible, yet on the other, ONLY take down material under copyright, IF someone issued a takedown request which could take weeks - and this left a healthy window for content pirates to make money via Adsense (as well as Google) with advertising in the short term.

But that appears to be about to change. And it looks like the heat from content rights holders who have blocked Google TV from playing their inventory has resulted in some action by Google's Youtube, and led to a new acquisition of Widevine which Paul Johnson covered at

The promises have been long time in coming as we noted earlier:

At NAB IN 2007, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told broadcasters that piracy would become a 'non-issue' yet Google is still not proactive when it comes to intellectually protected content being uploaded on their network and will only pull down video when a complaint is launched. Their policy for porn is to pull down immediately. And this is what likely irks the broadcaster's most - and pushing them to push back in order to force Google to combat illegal video more effectively. They are playing their hand.

Yes in 2007 Google did launch YouTube Video Identification. But it had hardly any teeth and was not nearly strong enough according to content rights holders and broadcasters.

Google's general counsel, Kent Walker, recently revealed plans via Google's Public Policy Blog -  to cement four policy changes content copyright holders have been pushing for for years... including moving faster to take down allegedly infringing material and doing a better job deterring pirate sites from selling ads through Google.

  1. We’ll act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours. We will build tools to improve the submission process to make it easier for rightsholders to submit DMCA takedown requests for Google products (starting with Blogger and web Search). And for copyright owners who use the tools responsibly, we’ll reduce our average response time to 24 hours or less. At the same time, we’ll improve our “counter-notice” tools for those who believe their content was wrongly removed and enable public searching of takedown requests.
  2. We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.
  3. We will improve our AdSense anti-piracy review. We have always prohibited the use of our AdSense program on web pages that provide infringing materials. Building on our existing DMCA takedown procedures, we will be working with rightsholders to identify, and, when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program.
  4. We will experiment to make authorised preview content more readily accessible in search results. Not surprisingly, we’re big fans of making authorised content more accessible on the Internet. Most users want to access legitimate content and are interested in sites that make that content available to them (even if only on a preview basis). We’ll be looking at ways to make this content easier to index and find.

The deal with Widevine and policy changes have also come around since Viacom, the owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV Networks and Comedy Central, recently revived a $1bn lawsuit against YouTube launching an appeal against a June verdict that the Google video site had not infringed Viacom’s copyright.

More from New Teevee:

Widevine has one thing that Google doesn’t: the trust of Hollywood. After providing the DRM technology used by a number of movie studios as well as online distributors like Netflix, Sonic Solutions and Lovefilm to deliver videos online and on connected devices, Widevine is in a unique position to make introductions to some key players in Hollywood.

The question comes to mind - will this duo move by Google - the hardening up on copyright violators on Youtube and snuggling up to Hollywood with the acquisition of Widevine be enough to get broadcasters to lift the gates on blocked content on Google TV? Only time will tell.

Right now, there are a lot of consumers who have bought Google TV only to find out that NBC, CBS, Fox, Lifetime, TBS, TNT, USA, Food Network, Discovery Channel, HGTV, MTV, Current TV, Spike TV, Nickeloden, and Syfy were not available and blocked. However, as quickly as Google TV was shut out, solutions to work around the problem appeared online to get at the walled content.





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