YouTube is Turning Japanese. I Really Think So.

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-12-05 Print this article Print

Browse through the most popular videos on YouTube and, between anime segments and wacky variety shows, you're sure to find quite a few clips of Japanese origin. But Japanese media groups aren't too happy about that.

Two months ago YouTube removed 30,000 videos in its first mass removal in the site's history. The removals came after the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) complained. At that time a spokesperson for JASRAC said the group was considering petitioning for a better screening process.

Now a group of Japanese companies, including JASRAC, have sent a letter to YouTube executives requesting that the site take proactively find and remove copyrighted material, rather than just respond to complaints. From the Japanese perspective, YouTube is completely illegal. The country has no fair use provisions in its copyright laws. And of course, the DMCA doesn't apply in Japan.

"We are seriously concerned about the current situation where the Notice and Takedown scheme, aimed [at preventing] copyright infringements, is not functioning well due to the large amount of illegal uploads," the letter states.

The letter requests that YouTube respond by December 15.

Google is already reportedly waving large sums of money in front of media companies to forestall any litigation. And Google has faced several lawsuits in European countries from companies who object to their linking of copyrighted work. In the U.S. the outlook for video-sharing sites seems much brighter -- CBS, for one, has benefitted greatly from its partnership with YouTube -- although two video sites have been sued for copyright infringement.

As part of YouTube's content deals in October, the company promised to install a copyright detection system.


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