Media companies unveil copyright guidelines for 'Net content

Industry heavyweights pool forces to fight copyright

Some of the world's biggest Internet and media companies have joined together to offer a set of guidelines aimed at protecting copyrights online.

The idea is to enable the growth and development of user-generated content online without violating the copyrights of the content owners, according to a statement released by CBS, Dailymotion, Fox Entertainment Group, Microsoft, MySpace, NBC Universal, Veoh Networks, Viacom and The Walt Disney Company.

"The principles acknowledge a collective respect for protecting copyrights and recognize that filtering technologies must be effective and are only a part of what is necessary to achieve this goal," according to the statement.

The User Generated Content Principles advocate using technology to eliminate content uploaded by users that infringes on a copyright as well as blocking copyright-infringing material that was uploaded before it was made publicly available.

"These principles offer a road map for unlocking the enormous potential of online video and user-generated content," said Bob Iger, president and CEO of Disney, in the statement. "Cooperation among us, aided by emerging technologies, can clear the way for further growth in the availability of online video in ways that will be good for consumers, good for copyright owners and good for uploading services."

On Monday, Google Inc. said it has a video-blocking tool in beta testing that will allow content owners to intercept copyrighted clips as they're uploaded to YouTube, its video-sharing site.

In March, Viacom sued YouTube and its parent company, Google Inc., for more than US$1 billion, saying the companies are infringing on Viacom's copyrights because almost 160,000 unauthorized video clips are available for viewing on YouTube.

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