Copyright protction on social Web: Update

If your child loves creating his or her own music, ski, or skateboard videos or mixing others' footage and music into new mashups, that is really cool. But now would be a good time to talk with him or her about how Web sites are getting more strict about protecting copyrights. A handful of very large media and social-Web companies have created a coalition designed to protect copyrights on sites such as MySpace, the Associated Press reports. YouTube would logically be one of them but didn't join the coalition, possibly because of Viacom's lawsuit against it; it did, however just announce its own copyright protection plan (more on that in a moment). The coalition announced some copyright-protection guidelines for the industry to follow, including 1) having in place by the end of the year "filtering software that blocks all content media companies flag as being unauthorized," 2) keeping the filters up to date, and 3) "cooperation between media and Web companies to allow 'wholly original' user-generated videos to be posted and to accommodate 'fair use' of copyrighted material as allowed under law. Coalition members include Disney, Viacom, CBS, NBC, and News Corp. on the media side and Microsoft, MySpace (whose parent is News Corp.), Veoh Networks and Dailymotion on the Web side. YouTube's new copyright-protection system employs "software to find unique characteristics in the clips so it can detect copies posted by YouTube users without permission," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Media companies can ask Google to automatically delete every unauthorized copy – or to slap ads on the clips and promote them." Both the AP and the L.A. Times said neither the new coalition nor YouTube have as yet defined "fair use," though both said fair use of copyrighted material would be allowed. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, interest in watching TV shows on the Web is growing. "This week, two research organizations, TNS and the Conference Board, issued a report indicating that the number of people who watch TV shows online has doubled in the last year," the New York Times reports.

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