YouTube will be ‘fingerprinting’ video as well as audio now.
But, as it deploys what has been called “content filtering” or “content fingerprinting” technology, the leading videosharing site will be buffeted between two forces. One is lawsuits from rights holders like Viacom and Prince, who last month threatened to sue YouTube for allegedly encouraging copyright violation. The other is YouTube users, who get steamed when the site takes down videos that make incidental use of copyright material, especially parodies or commentaries that are likely covered by the “fair use” provision in U.S. copyright law.
“I have not seen a filtering technology that could understand the nuances of fair use,” said Corynne McSherry, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. EFF is handling several cases in which content was allegedly removed from YouTube for spurious reasons.
Likely it will make sense for the big studios to just take the 80% profit share on the fair use content. But even if this happens it doesn’t seem quite fair. The parodist should profit from the parody, not the parodied.
Also, what’s to stop someone with a big torrent collection from uploading tons of content they don’t actually own and profiting from the sloth or unwillingness of the media’s rightful owner to do so?