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YouTube, Disney to trial copyright takedown software next month

Mickey Mouse rollout?

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YouTube says it's now really close to trialling the video fingerprinting technology it has reckons will put an end to its status as a copyright renegade, which won it a $1bn lawsuit from Viacom.

The long-delayed system, built by Google engineers, was plugged again on Monday by YouTube marketing wonks, who told reporters it'll be tested on content owned by Disney and Time Warner in about a month. Other video producers will regain control of their work later this year, partner development director Chris Maxcy told Reuters.

At the D5 conference at the end of last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Viacom "should have waited for the tools before laying its suit". The system had been slated to go live by the end of last year, and Schmidt said Youtube was "very close" to activating the software in the middle of April.

Despite the repeated announcements, Maxcy said yesterday: "It's typically not something we talk about."

YouTube's also implementing Audible Magic's audio fingerprinting for soundtracks, in response to threats from major record labels. The big four have all promised not to sue YouTube as quid pro quo.

In other news, French financial title Les Echoes reported that YouTube will launch regional versions, and has been seeking deals with national broadcasters to carry their shows. The BBC already uses YouTube for promotion.

The move completes the castration of Google Video as a community site. It'll scale back to a less ambitious video search engine, leaving YouTube to make content deals to attract traffic and advertising cash. ®

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