Gootube Terrorizes Copyright Owners by Withholding Filters

Gootube gets take down notices for 100k videos from Viacom. Unfair ? Nope. Gootube gets off easy. Google only responds to takedown notices they receive. Thats nothing.

Simply put, EVERY content owner that is concerned about their videos appearing on Google Video OR Youtube has to evaluate EVERY SINGLE VIDEO on both services to check to see if their copyrights are being violated.

As a copyright owner, to say its time consuming and expensive is an understatement.

Gootube fanboys would argue that copyright owners shouldn’t complain. Thats its free pub for the content. Except that on Google Video, you can post any length video and people are putting up full length movies all the time. Thats not promotion, thats Google profiteering.

Google in one breath says they can’t monitor the uploading of the 60k or however many videos are uploaded per day. Yet according to the WSJ:” Viacom spokesman Carl Folta also took issue with the idea that YouTube would only make filtering available to companies who make deals a la Warner Music.”

In other words, Google can filter everything and anything, but “chooses not to” unless you do a deal with them.

Rather than “doing no harm” and implementing a technology they say they have in place and saving the MILLIONS of small copyright owners time and money, they choose to save that technology and use it only for those big content owners they can swing deals with. Nice.

We all know that Google and Youtube have always been able to filter to some degree and have used human intervention to scan for hate videos and porn. Is there anyone out there who really believes that the Google and Youtube “communities” scans all 60k daily uploads to protect those that might be offended by a nipple flash or two ? Get real. I have yet to see a “I’m the leading Youtube Video Porn Monitor” response video. Have any users claimed this distinction ? Take my word, if they could, they would.

You can find full length feature films on Google Video and full length TV shows on Youtube but you can’t find porn on Youtube. That in and of itself is anti Internet.

Gootube has taken the arrogant position with big media that “You can’t stop us. You can’t stop people from uploading your copyrighted materials and if you want us to, you have to do a deal with us”. With the little copyright owner who feels their work has been illegally hosted on Google Video they simply try to intimidate them.

This is from the Google Website:
“To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail — not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights.

Indeed, in a recent case (please see for more information), a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.”

Think that might intimidate someone who spent every last penny on their work and then found it hosted on Google Video ?

Lets change that.

Here is the ultimate challenge. Everyone should upload their personal porn collection to Youtube and see what happens. I don’t have a personal porn collection any longer. I’m married.

So all you voyeurs, show off what you got. Go for it and report /link the results here.

What better way to call bullshit on Google.

Remember, its not about how they treat Viacom. VIacom is big enough to take care of itself. It is about hiding behind a law, the DMCA, at the expense of copyright owners, to dominate the online video space.

Update: Well I stand corrected. There is plenty of porn on Google Video. There is even a category for it. You just have to know how to find it. Still no porn found on Youtube yet. We will see how the uploads go.

Update #2: Someone brought to my attention from the Youtube Community Guidelines:
Okay, this one is more about us than you. When a video gets flagged as inappropriate, we review the video to determine whether it violates our Terms of Use-flagged videos are not automatically taken down by the system.”

Will the lawyers correct me on this . Wouldn’t it seem logical that various videos that are obvious copyright violations have been flagged as objectionable ? By their own admission Youtube employees review them. I would guess (and I will only guess since i was previously wrong in part of this post) they have seen content that any rational person would understand to be copyrighted (particularly in this era of all the RIAA and MPAA training we all unfortunately receive). Bottom line is this. If you can train someone to ID porn, you can give them some basic training in identifying materials from someone who just sent you 100k takedown notices.

In which case, they have prior knowledge of infringement, which would place them out of the safe harbor of the DMCA ? A pure hosting service would have no reason to ever review for objectionable material. Its merely a hosting service. RIght ?

Remember, the fact that they review flagged videos doesnt prevent them from filtering. It may be the stopgap post filtering, or they may review user as well as automated filter flagged videos. Personally, i dont believe the “community” can catch all the instances of porn being uploaded to Youtube. But I am curious to figure out what they do and how.

Or maybe Im wrong about Youtube and they have porn and objectionable video segregated and i dont know how to find it.

Thanks to all of you who have shared information. Just when i thought it was getting boring, It gets more interesting.

FYI: THe last update to this post was Feb 05, 07 at 10:30am. Sorry about the stream of consciousness posting, but readers have shared good stuff and I like to keep all posts self contained.

62 thoughts on “Gootube Terrorizes Copyright Owners by Withholding Filters

  1. HERE

    Comment by LEO -

  2. \”There is plenty of porn on Google Video. There is even a category for it. You just have to know how to find it. Still no porn found on Youtube yet\” never knew this, ill definately go away and have a look for some porn movies!

    Adult XXX Porn DVD Reviews

    Comment by Jay Dee -

  3. Good post. YouTube does have that content warning that requires age verification.

    Comment by Portland Web Design -

  4. Marc or someone answer this… Would you ever write a book on all the NBA dirty tricks and all the behind the scenes stuff???

    Comment by Hermes Jimenez -

  5. One strong point of YouTube it helps people share the pathetic state of the NBA… Some things they just miss on ESPN.

    You can see former Clipper Center 7\’3\” Keith Closs getting beat down by a mob, or getting dunked on by Antonio Daniels.

    You get to see Kobe elbowing everybody… \’Jaric, Ginobili, Miller, etc….. even his own teammate(Sasha)

    Maybe the NBA should adopt the \’Don\’t be Evil\’ philosophy. (What kind of coincedent is it that the NBA & Spalding come out with a new ball after Adidas makes a killing releasing their new ball for the World Cup?\’ David Stern is not only evil, but unoriginal…. But thats another story….)

    Comment by Karl K -

    you were right all along and ahead of the curve as usual. It would be great to hear you on this more … March 14th 10pm
    We will be on Satellite radio tonight see
    Its with the ceo of godaddy, call in and join the chat, its a live show.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson -

  7. I\’m glad to see Viacom standing up to Google. The power that Google has is amazing and it makes it more difficult for us \”little guys\”. These ebooks help you start your own internet business.

    Comment by caweir -

  8. Mark – why are you being such a hater? Google is only innovating here, and is technically operating legally. This reminds me of when you complained about Shaq and the Lakers all the time back in the day.

    Comment by Gaan Loda -

  9. Mark, I wrote you about this years ago and will say it again. Webcasters are fighting the wrong fight and being laughed at everyday because they don\’t have street sense. The goal has always been as much domination in what and what is online because like the mob, the labels live off of the distribution of their products and other people\’s \”products\”. They don\’t put records out to not be sold, to not be exposed. This argument that the artist should be paid is BULL SHIT. As an \”artist\”, there\’s two types. One who\’s an \”artist\” in their own mind and one who is a success. It has been and forever will be a roll of the dice. There is no guarantee they will ever see a dime for their \”art\” just as there is no guarantee a painter\’s work in a gallery will every be sold. The choice they made to be an artist doesn\’t mean they\’ll ever get paid. It\’s a tremendous risk to think that because you\’re an artist you\’ll make a living at it. To want to balance that risk now and say \”we want to paid all the time\” is ludicrous. If that\’s the case then the radio stations should be able to charge the labels to play the music. That\’s called payola though isn\’t it? This is ridiculous. If an injunction isn\’t slapped on this latest raping and pillaging and a DOJ investigation isn\’t demanded on the mischaracterization of internet broadcasters within the DMCA then it\’s over. I\’m so glad you were able to profit from this industry in a manner we may never get to. In the end, it\’ll be the FIVE FAMILIES controlling all the broadcasting online. AOL, REAL, MSN, CCU and YAHOO. But then those were my exact words on the Hill back in 02. No one wanted to fight this the right way. And the way they\’ve fought, the cutting the deals and lending credence to the BS that is the DMCA by allowing the CARP royalties to be written into law was the first beating this industry took. I said it then and say it now, you don\’t negotiate under duress. You either get in the shit and brawl with those who smile at you while they plan your death or go home and find another field to work in or be an entrepeneur in. The fight to this point has been pathetic and those leading the fight have LOST EVERY SINGLE FIGHT TO THIS DATE. EVERY ONE. Time for a new way before it\’s too late. Kind of like Lovey leaving Rex in during the Super Bowl. Shoulda pulled him for Griese. Rex was evidently not going to get anything done by that 8 minute point in the 4th, it\’s not like there was another game the following week so there\’s nothing to lose and yet… they lost.

    Comment by Sal Amato -

  10. Youtube is one of the most popular video sharing sites on the net. A year ago, co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen were in between jobs, a pair of twentysomething geeks running up big credit card debts as they tooled around a garage trying to develop an easy way for people to share homemade videos on the Web.

    Hurley says, I do not want to work hard. I want to live a soft life. I want to sleep for three hours every afternoon and nine hours at night. I do not want to stay awake the whole day so that I can get a few 350 grand at the end of each month. I do not want my talents to be exploited by a ruthless employer. I am a lazy man. That is why I choose to live off the net. I am too lethargic to try and survive in the real world. That is why I did not bother to hold down a job though my credit card debt soared.

    On the net things are handed to me by Google. The idea of youtube came to me from a dinner party with a half-dozen friends in the greatest city in the world San Francisco. It was January, 2005, and we couldnt figure out a good solution. Sending the clips around by e-mail was a bust: The e-mails kept getting rejected because they were so big. Posting the videos online was a headache, too. So we created a site and put in basic software.

    What I and Steve came up with is a Web site, now called YouTube, that has become an Internet phenomenon. Show the honey and the bees will flock to it. We worked for about six hours each week for two months designing youtube. We had the idea to create a community around the video.

    Once that was done we knew that tons of millions of dollars would just flow into our laps after the Google buyour. We will not have to work hard. In the old economy you have to work really hard for a lousy promotion which might give you a few more grand if your employer is very generous. You have to get up 3early in the morning and run for a few grand. On the net you can become rich without working hard.

    On the net once you have the idea you just sit at home and then magic will happen. That is exactly what happened at Paypal, Skype, MySpace, Facebook. The basic, simple to design software that I and Chen designed allows people to post almost anything they like on YouTube in minutes. People can jack off on porn. Now we are sitting at home retired early after the Google buyout. Content has been handed to us on a silver platter. We do not have to slog hard to create content like a poorly paid online journalist who makes a lousy 450k each year. We do not have to experience daily financial pressure because our site does not get enough readers. We are not under pressure to meet deadlines. We get up at ten in the morning and consider that to be hard work. We do not have to work for ten llllong years. That is the privilege of those in the old economy. they take the tube to go to work for a bum 350,000 dollar paycheck at the end of the month.

    We have it easy. The reason why we never held a job for more than a year was because we felt that a rope was attached to out necks. We would have had to stay chained in an office with four walls. It is such a pain to get up in the morning and run for the sake of a few 350 milli grand at the end of the month. The content that we offer is free. That is easy for us to that as we do not have to work to create it. Copyrighted work is there for our users to copy and paste as that is work which we have the right to copy. Other content
    comes from common folk wanting to share stuff.

    Revenues will come from advertising. The net is a click and eyeballs business. Google understands this. The clicks come from youtubes milllions of eyeballs that we have not worked for. It is unearned traffic. We do not have to sweat and bleed for it. That is the privilege of poorly paid online journalists. I do not have to worry about losing my job as my content does not get get enough page views. I do not have to take the initiative about my own life. I do not have to discipline myself. I do not have to worry about having a career. The millions of visitors will ensure that this will never happen. I can simply focus on trying to build relationships with my tall, tough women friends in San Francisco. We hang out together. We work out together. We sleep in the afternoon together.

    Comment by Chad Hurley -

  11. QUESTION: How are the Youtube editors protected by DMCA when they select videos to feature that often times contain copyrighted material? They’ve obviously previewed the video…

    Comment by Rocky Thomas -

  12. Completely agree with most everything you’ve said on you tube but i couldnt help but notice you still have a you tube video ON THE SAME PAGE as your complaint blog. come on now, you cant have your cake and eat it too.

    Comment by David Stoneking -

  13. Wasting time on the internet and what do I find, but Sergey Brin’s old webpage. Check out COPS, which is short for COpyright Protection System. Funny that he thought copyrights could be automatically filtered ten years ago.

    Comment by Casey -

  14. Jeff: What are you smoking?

    Remember Mark is worth billions …he doesn’t have to notice space, he could fly to space if he wanted.

    Comment by Alex -

  15. Very interesing analysis, and I wholeheartedly agree that Google runs a very deliberate strategy here. I think we will see futher attempts from Google to strenghten their posision by dubious enforcement of copyright protection. It’s not pretty for the small guy, but it might just work for Gootube.

    Comment by Jesper K -

  16. Your infatuation with google is telling. Let it go. Its ok that you didn’t think of youtube. In fact, stop thinking so much and enjoy your moments. Take a deep breath, life is not all about money, ideas, and trying to be smarter then the next scmuck. Your borderline a robot, a computer, be a real person not a chip. Its ok Mark, get theropy if needed, meditate. Have you ever listened to silence or noticed space?

    Comment by jeff -

  17. the reason adult links are taken care of is because people report them- nobody reports a 30 sec clip of the daily show- and they shouldnt. lets face it, in a perfect world, 30 seconds would count as fair use.

    Comment by G -

  18. Also, if we all uploaded our personal porn collections to YouTube, they wouldn’t be personal anymore.

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  19. Hmm…

    On one hand, I agree with the idea that it’s not fair to content owners to check for every piece of content they own on YouTube. On the other, I’m worried that the content owners may be too broad in their interperetation.

    My biggest concern, of course, is when YouTube takedowns are used legitimately but unscrupulously, for example, if CNN were to run a hit piece on a religious group and someone uploaded the clip to YouTube. That’s public information that people need to know, but unfortunately, CNN owns the copyright on it and can theoretically DMCA all signs of the slip-up.

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  20. I love the Gootube. I may be a struggling enterprenuer but laugh at the stupidity of what is being valued.

    Google’s search is so full of crap when returning search results. It’s like the old saying “throwing crap up against a wall and seeing what sticks”.

    Mr. Cuban I am here in Chicago and all I would like to do is call you and talk about Googlecam…”Seeing is believing live online”.

    I love the talk but common let’s bust their chops and have some fun.

    Re-index webcam addresses and use a numerical system. Just like a phone number.

    For example want to see live online a Mavericks workout, enter the web address and call 1-800?????? to order your season tickets could be overlayed on the image.

    Okay enough said for now let’s get in contact. I just a guy from the Southside of Chicago looking to get to and be what I am…I won’t be buried in a tie kind of a person.


    Peter Latsoudis

    Googlecam, 1-800-AUTOCAM, Carmaxcam, Autonationcam, Ebaycam

    Comment by Peter -

  21. CEO Schmidt has broken that “do no evil” mission statement several times.

    Comment by T-Shirts -

  22. Mark,

    I’m not gonna try to upload content that Gootube doesn’t like… as a viewer I’m content with getting to watch copyrighted material for free. A study saying 75% of music that’s pirated benefits from a financial standpoint. Who gives a shit if they don’t want their content on YouTube, it’s generally helping them so they should shut the hell up about it. Frankly, if these businesses that are taking their content off of YouTube/P2P sites don’t adapt to what’s happening and get a new business model for today’s Internet, they’re gonna fall behind in their industries and some may go out of business.

    Comment by James Stevens -

  23. Defending Viacom? They’re not much in the way of fact-checking:

    Comment by Atwater Village Newbie -

  24. Mark,

    I am a copyright owner. I love the potential of online video and what it can do for businesses and individuals. But using other people’s intellectual property for anything other than what the original license allows is infringement whether you are me or you are Viacom. Gootube is all about profit potential from millions of eyeballs showing up. Using video content that is stolen to get those eyeballs is illegal. The size of the copyright owner does not make excuseable or legal.

    I look forward to the day that my videos that I created solely on my own are not lost in the clutter of theft by those too lazy to learn to create their own original content.

    Comment by Mike Stewart -

  25. There’s no porn on it cause it’s all on

    somebody was one step ahead of me (LOL)…

    Comment by baby names -

  26. ok, here you go. I d/l some of those “ad clips” for porn sites. I created a new GooTube user and then uploaded the 5 of them. They all went up between 11:20 and 11:30pm Pacific time on Monday Feb 5th.
    here’s the link:

    lets see how long they last

    Comment by Joe -

  27. Obviously the copyright holders are getting screwed. Why don’t the companies just hire 13 year old geek hitmen and destroy the sites. I’m sure their tune would change real quick. More efficient than going through the courts or getting laws passed.

    Comment by George -

  28. cry me a freaken river. it is the duty of the copy right holder to defend the copy right. youtube does its job by posting the disclaimer. Viacom must defend their use of content. Viacom needs youtube more than youtube needs viacom. (have u see Viacom stock… it sucks, it doesn’t move… it sucks because they do not know how to leverage their content via the web. Yeah they have websites that compliment their content, but by not going to where the audiance is, viacom is shooting themselves in the foot… with a shotgun.

    Comment by echotoall -

  29. A possible reason they can only filter content from people they have deals with is that the content owner has to give YouTube the content they want filtered — they are probably doing some sort of video fingerprinting to filter copyrighted content automatically. I doubt there exists any universal test/filter for copyrighted material.

    Comment by Luke -

  30. Well, since Youtube does allow content for those over 18 as long as it is appropriately labeled, what constitutes porn can be a bit of a grey area…

    Comment by Rich Boy -

  31. Tim #17: No, it’s not just big corporations that are affected. The indie movie sector already lives off credit cards and is hoping against hope that the web will give them a break at distribution that is impossible offline. Why squash it flat before it has even started?

    Comment by Michael -

  32. Here’s a big problem: Viacom just did a keyword search for their properties and ANYTHING that matched, they sent out a take-down notice for. And Google took them down. Granted, many of these will be legitimate take-down notices. But what if you wanted “House” episodes taken off? (I don’t know who owns this, don’t care, it’s just an example) Viacom (or whoever) gets back a gazillion matches, sends out take-downs for all of them. Now my perfectly legal video entitled “Safety in your House” is taken down by Google.

    Wrong and wrong.

    Gootube is a safe haven. Sorry if you don’t like that, but it is. Personally, I don’t like the DMCA at all, but we have to work with what we have right now. So if you want your content taken off Gootube, you need to make sure that it’s YOUR content you are getting taken down. If that means you hire teenagers at minimum wage to go through EVERY LINK and find the ones that are yours, then that’s what you do. Otherwise, let it go and stop abusing lawful content with bogus DMCA claims.

    Comment by John -

  33. Another day, another Mark Cuban Youtube rant…

    Honestly, someone who ‘spent every last penny on their work’ would probably be more likely to overlook the copyright infringement for the publicity. Back in the Napster days, most of the ‘little guys’ were (and still are, via Myspace) offering their music for free just to try to get noticed, while the big boys, e.g. Metallica, made lots of noise.

    Sure seems like the same thing to me. Is it any surprise that you’re constantly raving against Youtube, when it threatens your bottom line?

    I gotta give you credit for at least trying a different angle to your “Death to Youtube!” argument this time, though. I don’t particularly support their stance, I just find your outspoken Youtube jealousy/hatred funny. You can still call me a Gootube fanboy if you like, though.

    Comment by Jeremy -

  34. are you watching the viacom dmca notice backlash?

    Comment by tpiddy -

  35. I thought I would chip in some experiences from building Webshots which pioneered turning all this user generated media public beginning with photos.

    1) You can and should police porn. We made a decision early on not to be overrun by porn photos and it dampens future attempts when people know you do. Screening uploads costs several times more than storing the actual bits but millions of incoming photos can be processed by individuals and with smart systems designed to whitelist and flag based on uploading behavior. For video, you start spitting out frames at some interval and use that as a review queue instead of watching an entire video. Right now 60k incoming videos is actually pretty small.

    2) Copyright infringement claims are few and far between when compared to the massive volume of incoming media. The DMCA is fairly clear and provides a system for addressing them. Obviously if you plan to partner, you’ll implement some more stringent attempts to help your partner. We once made the mistake of trying to partner with the NBA without first checking to see how many NBA photos were already on the site. Whooops. They weren’t too pleased.

    3) You have strong customer support channels and this is where google probably needs the most work. On the incredibly rare instances where you have a concerned copyright holder that isn’t a big company, you need to communicate clearly and in a timely fashion.

    Comment by Narendra -

  36. And ironic that Google has strict rules concerning publishers who show their ads on sites that contain copyright infringing material ..

    Comment by Find Names -

  37. Napster was shut down…only a matter of time and money(google) before YouTube and the likes face the music!

    On and ON…

    Comment by J Sandifer -

  38. Mark, you’ve made the point before that because GooTube has an active staff policing up TOS violations but it only enforces against porn and not copyright infringement, it does not qualify under the DMCA as a hosting service.

    I still think you’re wrong on that one. The courts have ruled before that service providers are not liable for the actions of their users, even in a moderated forum. It definitely applies to defamation, and I believe it even applies to harassment and threats.

    Now, if these 100k videos were targeted specifically by keywords and tags, that can be a huge problem – the example of home videos of Stephen Colbert giving a public speech, etc. Viacom may own the rights to the Colbert Report, but they do not own the rights to videos of his public speeches. What about Jon Stewart appearing on Crossfire? Viacom doesn’t own that copyright; Time Warner does. While looking for “The Simpsons” you may accidentally flag a wedding video for some random family named Simpson. Perhaps it is a user-recorded video of OJ Simpson. So how many of the 100k are non-infringing? How many are perfectly legal parodies tagged with the name of whatever it is a parody of? Also, as Dodge pointed out, any crude search-based filtering system will miss a few videos as well. Nobody seriously believes that Viacom was successful in targeting every single video that infringes on their copyrights.

    If Youtube goes the way of Napster, that will be a bad day for the content providers. Since Napster went under, illegal mp3s are more common than ever.

    Comment by Shane -

  39. Mark,

    I think you have identify the wrong “experiment”. Rather than uploading tons of porn, you should ask people to comb through the site and flag copyrighted material. That would mean that it needs to be reviewed (by a person). Then that would expose them to knowingly witness and act upon content that they do not own.

    I would seem that to have DCMA protection, part of the stipulation is that they must not have active knowledge regarding hosting copyrighted material. Since they have this flagging feature, it would bring this content to their attention and make them loose their stance of being an unknowing party.

    What do you think?

    Comment by Chris Dodge -

  40. I’m on Google’s side on this one. Filtering porn is easy. Someone sees some naked flesh, flags a video. Repeat 1000 times. An employee looks at 1000 flagged videos and deletes the ones which meet their definition of porn.

    Filtering copyright violations is much harder. The employee sees 1000 flagged videos, but how do they know that the poster does not have the right to post it? If it’s South Park or the Colbert Report, they can delete them, but what if it’s someone’s home-made movie? What’s to stop a malicious user from trying to get someone’s legitimately posted videos taken down by flagging them (especially if it’s on a controversial subject)? What about claims from secondary rights-holders (people claiming rights not to the video itself but to something shown in the video, for example someone’s home video of a Mavericks’ game)?

    So you can’t automate it for the little guys. What do you do? You come up with a procedure whereby the little guys can make a claim if they can back it up. It’s a bit onerous, but what human endeavor that involves lawyers isn’t? And it’s intimidating to face the prospect of expensive counterclaims, but can you really blame Google for stating the law as it stands and warning people of the serious implications of the procedure before they embark upon it?

    Comment by 123fun -

  41. Mark,

    While pornography is a poor and completely inappropriate “tool” to suggest that people use to ruffle media-darling Google’s feathers; their actions–and lack thereof–concerning YouTube only serves as another fine example that they really do mean it when they say…Don’t be evil!*

    *Er…um…unless it makes us more money, that is.

    Comment by Steve Morsa -

  42. Mark, you obviously don’t understand a thing about the new media. The old broadcast business model is bankrupt, and so are HDTV cable networks. What’s important that ALL programming be made available to us when and where we want, on an affordable basis. Screw broadcasting entirely. It is ironic that the cable operators thought they were so hip, collecting subscription on their programming and making the old broadcast stations look obsolete. Now cable is obsolete. Why should I pay the slightest attention to what Mark Cuban wants me to see? Because he’s got billions of dollars? That just makes you a spoiled fool.

    Comment by Jim from Glendale -

  43. really great post, you prove your point here that you made a few weeks ago about how gootube makes money from advertisers off of copyrighted material. If the content moves off youtube people will go where ever the content goes.

    Comment by superdave -

  44. Google has amazing filtering and scanning systems. They’re visible in AdSense, SafeSearch and pretty much in everything they offer: so saying they can’t is a load of cock and bull!

    Comment by Paddy -

  45. Click on the link for uploaded porn…let’s see how long it stays up.

    Comment by Jon -

  46. Reminds me of a post from a few years ago that “do no evil” is easy – it’s doing good that takes time and effort, and is more important.

    Comment by Jeremy Pepper -

  47. Hey Mark. I’m sitting here reading see? I think to myself. Whats with all the attention to filtering porn when THE NEWS IN ITSELF MAKES ME FUCKING SICK TO MY STOMACH!!!! Er Umm. Im better now. Excuse me. But seriously, I mean whats harder or more repulsive? A nip slip or even porn Jerry Falwell would see it or Watching a 19 year old getting blown away in Iraq while we rape their land for oil? Can somebody give me an honest answer? I got the deffinition too just for the heck of it. Bare with my rant here. It says: Main Entry: obscene
    Function: adjective
    Pronunciation: b-‘sen, &b-
    Etymology: Middle French, from Latin obscenus, obscaenus
    1 : disgusting to the senses : REPULSIVE
    2 a : abhorrent to morality or virtue ; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity b : containing or being language regarded as taboo in polite usage c : repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles d : so excessive as to be offensive
    synonym see COARSE
    – obscenely adverb. I mean you go to any video site around and you can see young people getting blown to bits . I mean literally. But thats ok. I think Im getting sick to my stomach again. So the next time someone says that they think this or that is obcene, watch a war video on any given channel. they re easy to find too and are free, thanks for your thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  48. Oh, you wanna hear something fun? Viacom is yanking down Colbert videos that people recorded from personal events, like the Knox College commencement and the FSU appearance Colbert made earlier this year.

    The issues here are beyond huge.

    Comment by DB Ferguson -

  49. You’re missing the point. If Google has full-length movies up, that’s not small copyright owners, that’s huge corporations and billionaires. We’re not going to be outraged about whining billionaires having their movie on Google(temporarily).

    Another commenter had it right, porn and hate videos are flagged by other users, that’s why you don’t see them up there.

    The “little guys” aren’t being fleeced. This is a problem for Warner Bros, Disney, and You. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

    Comment by Tim -

  50. You damn well know you are making simplistic arguments.

    You don’t seem like much of a geek anymore. You don’t understand fanboys, and you don’t understand Google. I’m glad you made your billions. Gratz. You get an Internets. You won. Deal with it.

    Now go research barratry. Thanks/k/bye

    Comment by mcsey -

  51. Oh please Mark – everyone knows a man’s personal porn collection doesn’t really get good until AFTER he’s been married a few years.

    Comment by Jeff -

  52. Smart as usual. Excellent observations Mark. The rewards for taking content from “little guys” and repurposing it to meet the needs of the big guys may be coming to a close. I hope so.

    Comment by Joe Duck -

  53. In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart said of porn, “I know it when I see it.”

    I don’t know anyone who can identify copyrighted material when they see it. Hell, I would have figured that there was no copyright infringement in dancing at a wedding reception….

    If you can come up with an algorithm for identifying copyrighted material, I’d sure like to have a copy. Heck, I’d even subscribe to HDnet in exchange for it, and I don’t even have an HDTV….

    Comment by Paul Ding -

  54. What a great new mission: flood youtube with all your readers’ porn collections. And, by the way, I’m impressed you deleted all that porn off your hard/flash drive. Take it easy, J.

    Comment by Jason -

  55. It will be interesting to see if Google takes similar approach towards content “compensation”, meaning introducing tools, processes, and mechanisms that are skewed towards big media. Certainly their right to do so (as is playing within the flawed DMCA rules), and I think they will (blog link below), but I think it will open up opportunities for others to better serve specific market segments.

    Comment by gz -

  56. ..and you were talking shit about fanboys? Hello anti-gootube fanboi! What are you gonna do next? You should hold a sign in front of their HQ.

    Comment by Tech -

  57. That’s a good challenge, but unnecessary.

    Google can easily filter out 90% (or more) of copyrighted content mechanically, using simple keyword filtering.

    What we have to remember is that the people who upload content want that content to be found, so the descriptions and tags they use will be highly indicative of the uploaded content.

    Google has among the best text filtering technology on the planet. For them to say “we can’t do it” is such a bald faced lie that it’s mind shattering.

    I don’t agree with you on everything, Mark, but this one you nailed on the head.

    Comment by John B -

  58. I don’t know Mark, filtering for keywords in file name and video descriptions is no problem, but I’m not aware of any technology that can scan video and recognize boobs, etc. If anyone out there wants to test the porn filters, I’d say name it something that doesn’t give any indication that it’s porn.

    Porn does go through on Youtube sometimes. I don’t know if its because of false negatives or what, but it usually gets taken down rather quickly. I would assume that they use a combination of their own moderators and concerned users who flag videos for moderators to then take a look at.

    Of course, I agree that it would be little trouble for them to put simply file name and description filters for copyright content – I mean we’re talking about Google here, they kind of specialize in filtering content – but I’m torn over whether they have an obligation to do so or not.

    Comment by Matthew -

  59. Isn’t part of the reason porn tends not to survive on these services while movies do is that more people tend to be offended by pornography, and flag such videos as offensive, than they are by free movie content?

    BTW, it’s the smaller video sharing sites like and Dailymotion where full-length movies and TV shows really thrive.

    Comment by Seth Carlson -

  60. Mark, You are right, the burden of proof, and the burden of finding all instances of infringement, are on the copyright owner. Google/YouTube is protected by a safe harbor provision of the DMCA. All they need to do is remove content when a copyright owner provides proof of ownership.

    It is amazingly easy to get content back up on YuTube, even after a “take down” notice. The original poster just needs to send a “counter-notice” to YouTube saying they believe their content does not infringe. Then the burden is back on Viacom, in this case, to either file suit or drop it.

    The most likely scenario in the Viacom/YouTube case is that most of the 100,000 videos will be taken down without protest from the person who uploaded it, because it probably is infringing content. However, some, perhaps 1% or 1,000, will respond with a counter-notice to put the content back up. Then Viacom will need to decide which of these 1,000 responders they will choose to sue. They will pick a few high profile videos from a “prolific and frequent” posters of videos and sue them. This is the IRS approach; sue a few high profile individuals to scare the rest of the population into compliance.

    I wrote a blog on this, and my experiences at Napster, today. See

    BTW, Mark are you coming to Boston on March 23rd when the Mavs play the Celtics? I will be at the game and would love to meet you.

    Don Dodge

    Comment by Don Dodge -

  61. Mark, some married people have porn collections, so maybe you could cut the bull about single people and porn.

    Comment by Mehdi Bazargan -

  62. Mark,
    You are a wise man. Yeah let’s see what google does next!

    Comment by Travis -

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