Viacom wants $1 billion for illegal YouTube uploads

Illegal YouTube uploads
Image: Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND

Multinational media giant Viacom are taking YouTube (or rather, their owners, Google) to court once again. Viacom believes YouTube does not do enough to prevent copyrighted material being illegally uploaded by its users, and claims Google knows of “tens of thousands” of such videos but does nothing to remove them. The implication is that Google benefits from such material through increased site traffic and therefore advertising revenue. Viacom owns the rights to programmes including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, SpongeBob SquarePants, and South Park.

Viacom are claming $1 billion in damages. Previous legal action by the company was dismissed by a court in 2010, but today a Court of Appeals ruled that dismissal was inappropriate.

With over 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, Google faces a gargantuan task in identifying and removing copyrighted material. Currently some measures are taken to identify and disable copyrighted soundtracks in videos.

Source: BBC News article

Questions

  1. What technical measures can Google/YouTube use to identify illegally uploaded videos?
  2. What aspects of the Internet make this problem particularly challenging?

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