In recent months, both MySpace and Google (the parent company of YouTube) have had to deal with stressing lawsuits and legal actions regarding the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials on their websites. With the threat of further legal pursuits, both companies have sought new ways to control content on their sites and prevent the distribution of copyrighted material. MySpace has drafted a new tactic called "Take Down Stay Down," which basically summarizes their new content management initiative: copyrighted material which is taken down from their site will be forever filtered and prevented from ever reappearing on different MySpace profiles. Likewise, Google is implementing a service titled "Claim Your Content," on YouTube to enable copyright owners to identify unauthorized use of their material to have it taken off the site permanently. Both systems look to be extremely promising, but how efficient will they actually be in reducing the unauthorized hosting of copyrighted material?
Both content management systems are utilizing software similar to Audible Magic, a content protection program that forms digital fingerprints of videos and songs. This new technology will not only allow copyright owners to notify MySpace and YouTube that their material is being redistributed without authorization, but will also permit the respective websites to add the material to a content filter which will prevent the same video or song from ever being uploaded to a web page again. With the pressures of more lawsuits lurking around the corner, the solutions implemented by MySpace and Google are seeming to please copyright publishers and major media companies such as Fox and NBC. While their content filtering software is obviously very confidential, evidence shows that the digital fingerprints the filters will use are capable of identifying and blocking video and audio clips of differing quality, resolution, and length.
Is this the solution to the copyright scrambles online entertainment and social networking sites have been facing? Will this system prove to be as effective as MySpace and Google hype it up to be? These questions, which are flooding the minds of many, cannot truly be answered until after each respective filtering software solution is fully implemented.
Despite the promises of "Take Down Stay Down" and "Claim Your Content" to prevent the redistribution and unauthorized use of copyright material, many doubt that MySpace and YouTube will effectively be able to purge their sites of illegally uploaded content. Many fear that the filter system will be much too strict, eventually blocking videos and songs which are neither copyrighted material, nor previously identified in the filter system. Others have observed the history of digital rights management and copyright protection and assume that MySpace and YouTube’s new systems will be just as susceptible to hackers. Critics of "Take Down Stay Down" and "Claim Your Content" state that it is only a matter of time before hackers circumvent the filters and upload copyrighted material to their sites. Only time will tell if the new systems are capable of staying on top of the unauthorized use of copyright material.
MySpace, however, has already come forward and addressed those who doubt their content filter’s integrity. MySpace claims that their digital fingerprinting technology will only block previously identified copyrighted material and will be complex enough to present even the most dedicated hackers with difficulties. Although MySpace and Google are both confident about their new filter software, each company has noted that they will have to continue fighting the illegal use of copyrighted material on their sites in new and dynamic ways to alleviate the threat of potential lawsuits; keeping the support of the media companies will be vital in avoiding multi-million dollar legal battles.
In My Opinion
In all honesty, it is about time that MySpace and YouTube implemented an automated "take down" system. Copyright infringement is a major crime and massive media corporations aren’t going to sit by quietly while MySpace and YouTube profit off the unauthorized use of copyright material. I actually have quite a bit of faith in "Take Down Stay Down" and "Claim Your Content." Each respective filtering system looks promising enough to proficiently reduce the amount of unauthorized copyrighted materials on both MySpace and YouTube. While I do feel as if hackers will eventually penetrate the system, as they have done with all previous methods of content protection, MySpace and YouTube are motived (they don’t want to lose millions of dollars in lawsuits) to permanently purge copyrighted materials from their sites.
Hopefully, the implementation of new filter software will not upset dedicated site visitors; it is hard to tell whether the potential loss of MySpace and YouTube visitors will disrupt each site’s success in their respective Internet niches. Nonetheless, something had to be done to combat the excessive unauthorized use copyrighted materials on the massive social networking and online entertainment sites of MySpace and YouTube.
This is certainly a step forward in the fight to prevent the unauthorized use of copyrighted material on the Internet.
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