Google Video blasted over piracy claims

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Google Video blasted over piracy claims

A US-based copyright watchdog has sunk its teeth into Google by sending a report alleging copyright violations on Google Video to members of Congress.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) researched the extent of copyrighted material being hosted on Google Video earlier this summer and released a Top 50 list of apparently copyrighted movies.

But, in the latest spot-check of Google Video conducted from 10 to 18 September, the NLPC claims to have discovered 300 additional instances of apparently copyrighted films, including over 60 movies released this year.

Several popular summer releases including Shrek the Third, Oceans Thirteen, The Bourne Ultimatum and Knocked Up were easily found on the video sharing site.

The 300 apparently pirated films, along with many other copyrighted works, received more than 22 million views in the past year on Google Video, according to the NLPC.

This is despite Google's claim that it respects the rights of copyright holders, and provides tools to help identify and remove copyrighted intellectual property from the site.

"While Google faces numerous legal challenges related to the posting of copyrighted content on its video sharing websites, there is a growing chorus who believe that evidence of Google's seemingly indifferent attitude towards internet video piracy has resulted in a legitimisation or 'mainstreaming' of video piracy which will have broad and damaging implications for all intellectual property owners," said the letter to Congress signed by NLPC chairman Ken Boehm.

"Since [we originally identified evidence of copyright infringement] the number of apparently copyrighted movies being hosted by Google Video appears to have grown substantially.

"During the past two weeks, the NLPC again conducted random spot-checks of Google Video in an attempt to identify clearly copyrighted works that continue to be hosted on the site.

"What we found raises serious questions about Google's oft-stated commitment to prevent apparently copyrighted content from being hosted on its video sharing site."

The NLPC added that Google has been promising video filtering technology to screen for copyrighted content since at least the Autumn of 2006.

However, it appears that Google still had not implemented the promised technology either for its YouTube or Google Video sites.

The NLPC said that internet piracy theft cost nearly $2.3bn in lost revenue to the US film industry.
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