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Video-sharing pact leaves Google out in the cold

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Some of the world's biggest media companies have announced a copyright protection pact with a group of video-happy net businesses that doesn't include Google and YouTube.

Earlier today, we dutifully reported that this announcement was on the way, and now it's here. Video-sharers Dailymotion, Microsoft, MySpace, and Veoh have joined up with media giants CBS, Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, and Viacom in a promise to "foster online innovation while protecting copyrights."

“We are delighted that so many leading companies have come together behind a set of principles that provide a framework for intellectual property to live in harmony with technical advances," read a canned statement from Viacom president and CEO Philip Dauman. "These principles will enable innovative technology and great content to come together to spur greater innovation and, most importantly, much richer entertainment experiences for consumers."

But this copyright lovefest leaves out the world's largest video sharer, YouTube, and its parent company, Google. Which is hardly surprising. The two companies are still facing a $1bn lawsuit from Viacom over copyright infringement.

Reuters reports that Google is in talks to join the pact, but when we asked the Mountain View outfit if this was indeed the case, it...ignored us.

Clearly, Dailymotion, Microsoft, and Veoh have joined this copyright protection agreement in part to avoid similar suits. And MySpace has joined because it's owned by News Corp, Fox's parent company.

All four net-tastic businesses offer services that facilitate YouTube-like video sharing, and they've all agreed that these "user-generated content (UGC) services" will adhere to a long list of rather wordy principles.

The list trumpets things like "UGC Services should include in relevant and conspicuous places on their services information that promotes respect for intellectual property rights and discourages users from uploading infringing content" and "During the upload process, UGC Services should prominently inform users that they may not upload infringing content and that, by uploading content, they affirm that such uploading complies with the UGC Service’s terms of use."

But at the center of this pact is the promise that all these sites will include video fingerprinting technology that rejects copyright infringing content before it's uploaded. That sounds a lot like the tool Google and YouTube introduced earlier this week.

You'd have to say that Google wants to play along. But Viacom would rather have that $1bn ®

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