June 11, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Watchdog group eyes YouTube

For weeks, Ken Boehm blanketed the Internet as he hunted for video clips.

But the former prosecutor is no YouTube fan. Boehm is chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an independent watchdog group known for digging up corruption in the nation's capital.

The NLPC is perhaps best known for uncovering wrongdoing in a $21 billion deal between the Air Force and Boeing in 2003 that resulted in jail time for two Boeing executives. The group is looking beyond the Beltway and has begun examining copyright violations at Google, which owns the YouTube video-sharing site.

Related story
Hollywood's YouTube frustration grows
Media execs are increasingly peeved about delays in Google's promised copyright filtering tech.

Media companies are pressing Google to do more to stop users from uploading snippets of movies and TV shows. Many of YouTube's competitors have already adopted filtering technologies that screen pirated material. Content creators (see main story) have begun to demand that Google do the same.

"Many millions of dollars in intellectual property is being taken without the knowledge or approval of the property owners," said Boehm, 58. "Google has forced these property owners into a position of chasing their own content on YouTube, a sort of Whac-A-Mole effect. Ultimately there has to be a fairer way to do this."

Most of the criticism of Google and YouTube on this issue has come from big media conglomerates. It is believed that the NLPC is one of the first independent organizations to weigh in on the side on the copyright holders.

The donor-funded Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which advocates for the public on digital rights issues, has argued for a long time that YouTube executives follow the letter of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by removing violations as soon as they are informed of them by copyright holders.

"The law recognizes that copyright owners are in a much better position to police their own content than are Web hosting sites like YouTube," Google said in a statement.

Boehm said at this point he only wants to "stir up whatever trouble I can to get the attention of folks."

In his first move, he has compiled a list of more than 125 full-length feature films and TV shows that, according to his estimates, cost copyright owners about $150 million. His list includes Warner Bros' Blood Diamond, Paramount Pictures' Juice and NBC's The Office.

The film studios and TV network confirmed that the links provided by Boehm were to pirated content.

See more CNET content tagged:
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4 comments

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Waste of time and energy.
Youtube only allows 10 minute video clips.

Putting a full length film on youtube is insane for only those who have nothing better to do than messing with copyright law.
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
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Abolish Copyright Laws
Copyright laws should be abolished in favor of a flat fee compensation system. The market determines a fixed price for your intellectual property, and after you're paid anybody can do what they want with it. New technologies demand new markets and new ways of doing business. You snooze, you lose.
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
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A Turn in the Tide
One of the problems facing all of industry today, not just our own is a question of ethics. The dawn of competition in on-line video production has become an issue as well.
Bearing this in mind, one of YouTube?s top competitors is quickly rising to the occasion.
vidShadow.com was launched on December
The vision and planning for this company went quite differently. Ethics were developed, with the production and development of the corporation built on that foundation. The ratings and quality are excellent and growth is happening much more quickly than anyone anticipated.
The site is still small comparatively, but actively growing at a rapid rate without skipping a beat or compromising the foundation.
Founder and creator Jordan Hudgens had the dream of creating a site that would remain family friendly and safe. This site offers more than the goofy every day video, and more than the violence. It offers a variety of inspirational messages catering to all sects, and cultural diversity which promote tolerance.
A responsibility to the internet community, and a sense that personal responsibility is of the utmost importance make this site different. There will be no unsolicited blanketing. vidShadow?s growth has been through word of mouth. There will be no pirating, and our staff will be selected carefully. What is more, we are currently developing a system that will allow review of all videos prior to posting. We also offer an inappropriate content feature. With the click of a button, any inappropriate content is immediately reported to vidShadow.com. The questionable video is then removed from the site to protect our younger viewers.
This may be a cue for future development, not only in our industry, but a general return to ethical business practice.
Posted by Claire Gaeta (22 comments )
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Additional Info
The launch date for this site was December 22, 2006.
Posted by Claire Gaeta (22 comments )
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