Some Internet and media companies push for principles on user content

By EDRi · October 24, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A set of principles desired to create an online environment for the
development of User Generated Content (UGC) services and the protection of
copyright owner rights has recently been set out by several media and
Internet companies such as CBS, Dailymotion, Fox Entertainment Group,
MySpace, NBC, Veoh Networks, Viacom, at the initiative of Walt Disney and
Microsoft. Other major companies such as Google or other rights owner (Sony,
TimeWarner, Paramount) did not sign the document.

UGC Services refer to services such as MySpace, Soapbox on MSN Video,
Dailymotion and, but exclude technologies such as browsers, email,
or search services.

The principles are a set of guidelines which has objectives such as the
“elimination of infringing content on UGC Services, the encouragement of
original and authorized user-generated audio and video content uploads, the
protection of the user privacy and the encouragement of a fair use of the
copyrighted content on UGC Services”, but also seen by outsiders as an
attempt to bring DRM into the online video-sharing space.

Although the principles are meant to “foster innovation and encourage
creativity” they have in view the use of a state of the art filtering and
blocking technology that may eliminate infringing content from UGC services.
The regular removal of the unblocked infringing content and the links to
sites that are clearly or predominantly used for the dissemination of
infringing content are targeted as well. The companies should also
collaborate in creating procedures to deal with claims of blocking out of
error. The principles mention “fair use” four times in the document, but do
not refer to what the signatory organisations understand by this term.

One of the obligations set out by the principles is that of preserving for a
60-day period the connection information related to an Internet user having
posted infringing content online, information that the site is suppose to
provide to the rights owner, at request.

Another interesting commitment of all the members of the UGC agreement is
that, while observing the rules, they should not attack each other in case
some of the content is not properly filtered; this, in the context that two
of the members, NBC Universal and Veoh, have applying complaints one against
the other. Having signed the agreement might bring a leverage of the

The big absent from the signatories of this agreement was Google, which, on
15 October, unveiled its filtering technology for YouTube video-sharing site
that it owns now. Google representatives were part of the negations but have
decided not to sign the agreement for the time being. YouTube Engineering
Director Jeremy Doig stated: “(..) industry-wide technology mandates are
generally a bad idea. This industry is still young and we believe that
marketplace innovation can lead to creative solutions we can’t even begin to
imagine today.”

A reason for this reserve could be the law suit between Google and Viacom
over copyrighted content on YouTube. One other reason may be the fact that
Google’s new filtering technology removes the infringing content immediately
from the site while the guidelines suggest “blocking infringing uploads
before they are made available to the public.”

Internet and Media Industry Leaders Unveil Principles to Foster Online
Innovation While Protecting Copyrights – Press Release (18.10.2007)

Principles for User Generated Content Services

Disney, Microsoft Lead Copyright Pact (19.10.2007)

Studios unveil their copyright protection guidelines (18.10.2007)

Sharing videos: towards the end of the process? (only in French, 19.10.2007),2377.html

Microsoft, Viacom Posture On Content Sharing (19.10.2007)