First of all, I have to commend Google for finally trying to get in the game and protect content. At least its nice to know that they have an interest in trying rather than just talking.
Unfortunately for them, their approach puts them in a catch 22 situatiojn and a position that hasn’t worked all that well for them in the book publishing business.
Based on what I have been able to read, it appears that the system is built upon content owners giving Google a copy of their content , which is then “registered” in their copy protection system. When a file is uploaded by a Youtube and hopefully a Google Video user (since Google Video is a far more egregious violator of long form copyrights), Google will then compare the file and its contents to a database of content previously made available to Google. If it finds a match, Im guessing that it will reject the upload, or at least, first attempt to get a confirmation from the copyright owner involved.
This all sounds wonderful in theory, but as Google found out from book publishers, not everyone likes the idea of Google having a digital copy of 100pct of their content, including me.
I recognize that it puts Google in a tough position. In fact, it could also be considered hypocritical on my part because I feel more comfortable with a user off the street buying and owning a DRM free copy of any or all of our movies or shows than I feel with Google holding DRM free copies of my content in order to protect it from pirated uploads. I dont have a good reason, but I don’t trust Google with a copy of the worlds content any more than I would trust MicroSoft , IBM of the 1980s or any corporate SuperPower.
What is worse, once they announce their “solution”, which is not really a solution, its going to give end users who steal content a sense of protection if the pirated content they upload is accepted. If it gets past their Content protection scheme, it must be legal, right ? Call it one of the many laws of unintended consequences. The amount of pirated content could actually increase. For small content owners who want to protect their content, this could increase their cost of policing sites for their content and filing takedown requests.
Plus, uploaders will quickly and easily beat the content owners to the punch by uploading files before it is entered into the copy protection system. Its going to be tough for some content owners to upload episodes of a show that hasnt been aired yet. Many shows, particularly news, gossip and obviously and others are in production right up till they are broadcast.
So despite a nice step in the right direction, Google is not absolved of its obligation to respect copyright.
What should Google do ?
They should take the easy way out.
They have announced that they more than a THOUSAND of content partnerships. Thats a big # and Im sure growing number. Which leads to the real solution for Gootubes content problems. Those owners who want their content posted on Google Video or Youtube can participate in their content protection programs. You want your cat fighting your dog tape, join the program. Which is exactly what all the music sites that offer content from independent artists do.
Of course none of those indie music sites has the user numbers that Youtube has and Google knows it. There is no way they want to be a fully protected site. So I dont expect this to happen any time soon. THere is too much value from illegal uploads. And as I mentioned above, GoogleVideo is more efficient an outlet than Pirate Bay, particularly for private groups. Why use torrents when Google has it all right there for you, delivered from some of the best datacenters in the world ?
Which leads us to the truth of the matter.If their copyright protection software works, they no longer need the DMCA to hide behind.
I dont think we see that happen until the Viacom Suit shuts either Google Video or Youtube down.