YouTube’s Evolution from “Jack the Ripper” to “Content ID Soup Nazi”

It wasn’t long ago that YouTube was known as the video version of early Napster. If you needed a free television show, music video, or even a featured-length movie, YouTube was your source.

Now the company, under Google, has developed perhaps the most robust content ID library in the world (see YouTube business blog). It’s no wonder that 1,000 content providers have worked with YouTube to prevent copyright infringement… they’re worried it’s cannibalizing, not marketing, their content.

In the process, YouTube is amassing a database that can serve as a new revenue stream for parent Google… the ability to scan for digital “thumbprints” of video and audio. This is something Google can monetize beyond YouTube.

Want to prevent ripped video or music online? You’ll need help from Google (the leading search engine) and YouTube (the largest video site and second largest search engine).

In the future, Google could reduce result-rankings from websites that post copyright infringements using this Content ID. It could even use the technology to create a bit torrent that’s clean.

Of course the more Google works with publishers, the less it will satisfy people searching for free content. How far will Google go to forge trusted relationships with media distributors, and will this open the door to a more agnostic search engine and video site?

8 Replies to “YouTube’s Evolution from “Jack the Ripper” to “Content ID Soup Nazi””

  1. Currently, Google doesn’t appear to be monetizing their Content ID tools. “Use of YouTube’s copyright tools is free, and does not require any commercial partnership with YouTube.”

    I think they’re probably doing this as a defensive move against lawsuits rather than an attempt to extract money from content owners.

    This way Google is returning the burden of policing content to the content owners. I doubt Google would devalue site rankings due to copyright infringement, but what do I know?

  2. Yes, and I hope so soon.

    Google has quite a balancing act to perform, but I suspect Google’s approach will be to conveniently drag its feet when it serves them best.

  3. From a technology standpoint it’s impressive, and I gee that it could serve Google well to license the technology.

    @1 You’re right, the main reason the technology even exists is the Viacom lawsuit. There’s no way a company could staff for checking, there’s just too much video being uploaded. It’s near impossible, so they made a software solution. Look at it as YouTube’s “good faith” move to the courts & the content creators.

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