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Video fingerprinting coming to YouTube soon


GoogleGoogle has revealed that it will be introducing "FBI-quality" video fingerprinting technology in YouTube come September. Or rather, as The Register puts it, that is what Google hopes people will think anyway.

Google is right now facing a three-pronged copyright trial at a federal court in New York City. Philip Beck, a lawyer with Google, has told the judge that YouTube will "unveil a long-delayed video recognition system this fall, hopefully in September."

The Associated Press reports Philip as claiming that the system will be as sophisticated as the fingerprinting technology used by the FBI. Presumably, he was trying to convey the robustness of the fingerprinting technology that Google has developed and not suggesting that ink-pads of the damp variety will be of any help.

Currently, Google has two different systems for policing infringing content. But as you will see, none of them are ideal. The first system places the onus on the copyright owners to notify Google when they spot their video. Once notified, Google will remove it in accordance to the DMCA.

The second system serves as an extension of the first system and creates a hash of the video to block uploads. Unfortunately, it isn't very hard to make the minor changes necessary to defeat this system.

According to Philip Beck, this new fingerprinting system will be much more advanced, but it will require the assistance of the copyright holders. Basically, the copyright holder will have to submit the video first. Upon submission, the system will generate a digital fingerprint capable of identifying it.

Should anyone try to upload the content to YouTube, the site will quickly shut down on the user's machine. It will presumably not automatically e-mail MPAA as well though. Gulp. Do you see any potential problems with this pro-active approach?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

3 comments
DenisDiderot
DenisDiderot

Since this system automatically rewards the first submitter of a piece of video, it will certainly create a "rush to publish." I predict numerous invasion of privacy lawsuits and potentially serious legal problems for YouTube participants.

paulmah
paulmah

However, I realized that when they meant "submit" videos to be fingerprinted, they meant only the movie studios etc. So it really depends on just how good the technology is.

paulmah
paulmah

Do you see any potential problems with this pro-active approach?