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YouTube Filtering Is On-Line 187

Posted by Zonk
from the harder-to-find-the-fun-stuff dept.
ghostcorps writes "After months of promises to IP-holders, the long-awaited filters system for YouTube has gone online. The new system will make it easier, the company claims, for copyrighted clips to be removed. 'YouTube now needs the cooperation of copyright owners for its filtering system to work, because the technology requires copyright holders to provide copies of the video they want to protect so YouTube can compare those digital files to material being uploaded to its website. This means that movie and TV studios will have to provide decades of copyright material if they don't want it to appear on YouTube, or spend even more time scanning the site for violations.'"
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YouTube Filtering Is On-Line

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  • perks of the job (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    a few weeks ago the poll was what perks do google get, well now we know:

    unlimited copyright tape library.

    Sergey and Larry must have a lot of popcorn.
    • beyond that, I wonder what the long term plans of a company whose mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" [google.com] when it comes to this data... Perhaps initially some mining applications?
      • by madsenj37 (612413) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:30PM (#21000375)
        You got me thinking about that. If Google were to mark the videos they use with copyright dates, the videos given to them by copyright holders, they could effectively know when the copyright ends on a particular work. This would allow them to then upload a video the day the copyright ends, thus having easy access to once copyrighted stuff. Google could future proof itself and have free information to make available to the public first.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:48AM (#20995593) Journal
    What I found most interesting comes from the beta announcment [youtube.com]:

    Copyright holders can choose what they want done with their videos: whether to block, promote, or even--if a copyright holder chooses to partner with us--create revenue from them, with minimal friction. YouTube Video ID will help carry out that choice.
    Because I'm certain Google realizes that a lot of these copyright holders are sittin' on a freaking gold mine here.

    I guess that's the sad thing though, it's no longer the people that made this stuff that own the copyrights. It's huge corporations. This goes for sound and video. Do you think any of the big studios care about artist exposure? They don't care about building a fan base, they care about profit margins.

    I personally would like to see Google help users approach and push the limits of fair use of sound and video. I think that a lot of artists would be open to their work being displayed in a tasteful manner without the full work being put online. I also think that the usually low quality of YouTube is a good reason to allow this and that if copyright material is found, they should investigate either shortening it or degrading the quality so that viewers get a taste. What's more, putting a link to sales of the item would be basically free advertising.

    I feel especially sorry for the people who build movie montages with unpopular songs [youtube.com] for I have watched many of them and purchased a DVD & CD from seeing the two. After watching that particular video, I rediscovered the genius of Sergio Leone after a fan posted that video with one of my favorite bands, The Arcade Fire. Sure, it's just anecdotal evidence but I still view that as original art & innovative.

    It's truly a shame that copyright holders are throwing away what could be a beautiful & profitable relationship with fans.
    • by blueZhift (652272)
      I agree and suspect that many copyright owners will just blindly demand that everything be blocked that uses any of their content because that's the easiest thing to do. As someone who enjoys making anime music videos, I can only wonder how things are going to shake out. If the things I make are just summarily blocked, I'll probably stop using YouTube altogether. I should note that I've bought more than a few songs after watching user created music videos that featured them. In each case, I would never have
    • I guess that's the sad thing though, it's no longer the people that made this stuff that own the copyrights.

      And, you're talking right out your butt. Whoever owns the copyright, owns the copyright. If someone sells it or leases it, that's their choice. If a company pays someone to produce something, that 'artist' does not own the copyright, the company does.

      This goes for sound and video.

      Not, however, in the absolute sense you portray. Burton Cummings, for instance, holds his own copyrights. Hmm
    • Maybe with the possible Writers Guild strike, there will be a new movie and TV industry that emerges that will be more digital friendly.
    • Copyright holders can choose what they want done with their videos: whether to block, promote, or even--if a copyright holder chooses to partner with us--create revenue from them, with minimal friction. YouTube Video ID will help carry out that choice.

      Because I'm certain Google realizes that a lot of these copyright holders are sittin' on a freaking gold mine here.

      YouTube is a genie out of the bottle, and the corporations hoarding copyrighted material are... Daffy Duck:

      "Oh, I know what you want! You're after my treasure! Well it's mine, ya understand?! Mine! All mine! Get back in there! Down, down, down! Go, go, go! Mine, mine, mine!"

    • I personally would like to see Google help users approach and push the limits of fair use of sound and video. I think that a lot of artists would be open to their work being displayed in a tasteful manner without the full work being put online. I also think that the usually low quality of YouTube is a good reason to allow this and that if copyright material is found, they should investigate either shortening it or degrading the quality so that viewers get a taste. What's more, putting a link to sales of the item would be basically free advertising.

      Your idea/sentiment is a good one. The problem I see is that many users are already pushing the "fair use" doctrine, when their first post, that MAY fit under fair use - has that fair use claim invalidated by the second and third and tenth video segment that they upload (which in total complete the movie or tv show). It would also make it very difficult for Google to determine fair use without a lot more additional work - "yeah, THIS video clip may fit fair use, but now I have to make sure the person didn

    • by Stray7Xi (698337)
      Yes it may be a goldmine for copyright holders but what about individual copyright holders. If I upload a legitimate video and it gets a million hits, do I have the option to flag it as my video and get a cut of profits?

      Do they even notify the poster that someone has claimed copyright? Whats stopping me from claiming copyrights on some other individuals video and asking for a piece of profits. I'm curious what kind of hoops someone has to go through to verify they are the copyright owner? If its to hard
    • Huge spoiler, don't click unless you want to have the ending to one of the greatest movies of all time ruined forever.
    • And YouTube's eclecticism, the thing that made it so great, is already gone. Last week, a search for "Beatles Ed Sullivan" yielded a dozen clips of their first US appearances. Now there's nothing, just junk. Thanks, corporate America, for locking up our culture again.
  • Yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:49AM (#20995601) Homepage Journal
    One step down the path for Google to catalog every movie ever made, and provide live streaming of any movie you want direct to your home!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      One step down the path for Google to catalog every movie ever made, and provide live streaming of any movie you want direct to your home!
      And just imagine if the individual videos were searchable.

      SELECT boobies FROM "80's teen movies"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Socguy (933973)
      Absolutely, This is a brilliant scheme by Google. All it takes is one change of copyright law and Google is sitting on a library of all the content that copyright holders have uploaded to it! Heck, they don't even have to digitize it, the copyright holder does it for them!
  • by AmIAnAi (975049) * on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:49AM (#20995605)
    Presumably they are creating fingerprints from the original material and comparing those against uploads. It would be interesting to know how well this copes with different codecs and frame rate changes.

    Or do they wait for the uploads to be flagged as infringing and then do a dumb binary compare to prevent deleted files being uploaded again.
    • Circumvention Ideas (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CheeseburgerBrown (553703) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:54AM (#20995695) Homepage Journal
      1. A filter that shifts 70% of pixels one pixel to the left.

      2. A filter that munges the rows of pixels around the frame area, distorting the video fingerprint without affecting viewing quality.

      3. A filter that randomly inserts the Goatse man for a Fight Club-like single frame.

      4. A utility that uploads the clip backwards, and then a browser-player that automatically time-remaps it forward for playback.

      5. A watermarking process designed to distort the video fingerprint while remaining invisible to non-AI viewers.

      Okay now -- code it.

      • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:05AM (#20995899) Homepage
        I've actually written a video comparison utility, and it would have neatly ignored every single one of these (with the exception of "backwards", which would have taken about five more minutes of work - it wasn't really important in my case.) Video is an interesting case because it's already so damaged by the very nature of compression, your tester has to be very lax to catch anything - but on the other hand, there's so much data that it's easier than you'd think to match up. Especially if you're willing to toss borderline cases at human checkers - you honestly end up with surprisingly few of those.

        I don't know what Google is doing along these lines, though.
        • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:22AM (#20996235)
          Yes, but given the quality of the previous fingerprinting, all those tricks are likely to work.

          One video my, er, friend was uploading (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) was removed from youtube. He tried uploading it again and it didn't even go up, it was just immediately rejected. Out comes the hex editor and he changed the last byte to something else and reuploaded. It worked like a peach, like they were just doing checksums on the upload. *rollseyes*

          For how long their fingerprinting has been in the making, one can only hope it's as functional as your comparison utility.

          Add my vote for:
          a1) chroma-shifting during encode
          a2) video rotated 180 degrees, to be corrected with nvidia's nview "rotate monitor"
          a3) odd, non-standard framerates (27 fps, etc)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Animaether (411575)
            a1) ignore chroma data (gets compressed more anyway), or compare relative (rather than absolute) values - done
            a2) to fall in line with 'use custom player to ungarble garbled content'; users don't want to have to jump through hoops to play back videos. Btw, are you going to rotate the audio, too? - done
            a3) base your fingerprint on the realtime performance, not on exact frames. Use a margin of, say, +-5%. Anything over that will result in a 'garbled' up video again anyway.

            In essence it comes down to this..
            • It's funny that anytime this sort of thing pops up, most people are heavily debating how to defeat the system, rather than worrying about their own original content (or parody content/etc.) getting falsely flagged.

              I'm worried. Any system that is tolerant enough to be immune to the king of circumvention techniques mentioned would also create a huge number of false positives, especially if the analysis length was short. I'd hate for Star Wars Kid [youtube.com] to get taken down because it was flagged as a clip from The

        • by 12357bd (686909)
          Yes, I am also working on big scale image comparison (video is a perfect case) and your points are valid (even backward/rotated images are easily detected), the only question is how fast do you detect a video (or part of) duplicate?
          • by ZorbaTHut (126196)
            Honestly, I never got to the point of optimization. And it obviously would depend heavily on the number of computers dedicated to it - I was making sure it was easily parallelizable.

            I don't really know how slow it would have been, it would have been fast enough for the project specs but I wasn't designing it specifically for something like this :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Those wouldn't even fool image fingerprinting technology from the 80's.
        If the people that made this had their hearts in it, and if they were willing to allow some small amount of false positives, I'd assume that there's no way to trick it without also significally inconviencing human viewers.
        • How about subtly shifting each pixel one pixel in a random direction (ensuring that they all end up heading in the same direction for any particular frame) and then making each pixel a slightly different color shade, you'd have to accept a good number of false positives to be able to catch videos in a different location with different colors than the original.
          • by PeterBrett (780946) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:30AM (#20996349) Homepage

            How about subtly shifting each pixel one pixel in a random direction (ensuring that they all end up heading in the same direction for any particular frame) and then making each pixel a slightly different color shade, you'd have to accept a good number of false positives to be able to catch videos in a different location with different colors than the original.

            Dead easy to spot. Ever heard of sift descriptors? They're fast to compute, and you only need one or two per frame to be able to uniquely fingerprint a video in a way that's totally resistant to rotation, recolouring, frame rate changes, and most of the other (lame) circumvention techniques suggested in this discussion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Or just use another online video service - far easier than circumventing this stuff.
        • by LingNoi (1066278)
          Yes, wasn't the pirate bay suppose to be opening a video sharing website? What happened to that idea?
      • It won't take long for content providers to work around your workarounds. Furthermore, youtube might ban such kind of workarounds. Worse: They might sue those who implement those ideas under DMCA, because your *explicit* intent is to circumvent copy protection measures. You don't want to appear in Fark news as "dumbass", do you?

        You guys need to realize that if your intent is to preserve works of art from censorship, you would use either a darknet, or an Anonymous P2P system. I'm not saying the model works,
      • by SnprBoB86 (576143)
        If I were writing a system to detect copyrighted movies being uploaded, one approach I would use would be the following:

        1) Scan IMDB for a list of actors
        2) Spider the web for photos of those actors and learn their faces
        3) Match the titles of the uploaded video to movies in IMDB
        4) Scan the movie for faces and match them to actors
        5) If the actor set mostly matches the credits on IMDB, chances are that it's that movie or show
        6) Determine some formula to interpret the previous data to make a call:
      • Having worked on video in the past, all of these are easily caught. In fact, the most economical way of catching infringers is to simply pass both videos through low pass filters, and compare the videos over a distance of several frames. If you can find a series of frames in which the majority of the pixels are close, chances are good that it's a copy.

        And the clip-backwards technique could likewise be defeated by mimicking your player.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by imgod2u (812837)
      Wavelet approximation does a pretty good job of being independent of framerate. Codecs just need to be decoded into raw information, and then analyzed. Hell, a simple FFT of the video, normalized to a certain framerate, would also do a bang-up job of filtering out 99% of the videos that don't match. The staggering amount of processing power required for this though, is surprising. Either Google has some monstrous server farm somewhere, or they're counting on content "owners" not using this utility too m
      • by Tim C (15259)
        The staggering amount of processing power required for this though, is surprising. Either Google has some monstrous server farm somewhere

        Surely that's a given though - this is Google we're talking about. How many web pages does their search engine index, and how quickly are the results of a search returned?

        I appreciate that they're not the same problem, but YouTube must involve a large number of servers which are relatively doing very little beyond grabbing content and streaming it out. They currently need
      • by u38cg (607297)
        If it were me, I would issue the copyright owners a tool to generate a signature and get them to upload that. As for uploaders, they already convert the video clip anyway, so checking a few random frames against a bloom filter or something shouln't be too onerous.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Why should it work well at all? This is the wolf guarding the henhouse. If google truly removed all copyrighted items from youtube then youtube would collapse. It would be only home videos, cat montages, and vlogs. The only reason I have ever visited youtube is to watch copyrighted stuff I couldnt find anywhere else.
    • by 12357bd (686909)

      Presumably they are creating fingerprints from the original material and comparing those against uploads.

      No need of fingerprints it's better to compare full video image directly. We are comparing a 25 fps video stream against a 40h video pool at real time speed on a comodity pc.

      Don't know how Google is doing the detection, but the technology to make it possible has already been here for some time, see the iMMem [immem.com] site for information about the still image comparison technology being used in our video search

  • Remember folks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Fair use is only a defense to the use of copyrighted material. It is not a right you can assert.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imgod2u (812837)
      It's actually the other way around. Copyright law and copyright enforcement have to be justified. The inherent right of "fair use" falls under the 1st amendment that protects free speech (and subsequent expression in any form, including giving a disc you burned to your buddy). Any restriction on said ability must be justified through a court case and is granted Constitutional validity by Article I, section 8:

      "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and
    • by Hatta (162192)
      As if there's a difference.
  • Rubbish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:54AM (#20995709)
    Copyright owners don't need to provide "decades of copyrighted material".

    The system will help with reuploads. This means, when a video is marked as pirated, the system will be able to recognize the duplicates and mark them for removal.

    This means companies don't need to track the duplicates manually any more but just point to a single sample.
  • Given varying levels of capture quality and compression, I think this is always going to be a sticky situation. I wonder if the filtering technology can identify partial clips of a copyrighted work and flag those as well.

    My real curiosity though, is if Google/YouTube might be trying to build a huge searchable library of video media, as they already did with the books project, and this is a way to sort of lure the content providers in. I'd love to see what kind of license the content providers are extend

    • I wonder if the filtering technology can identify partial clips of a copyrighted work and flag those as well.
      This is a good point, and another can of worms. What if I make something that includes a short, fair-use-protected clip of someone else's content? Will those perfectly legal frames get me automatically zapped as an infringer?
  • Google finds a way that is only minimally less painful for the **AA to protect their copywrited works, and in turn gets original copies of all of them. I just know this made the **AA truly happy.

    Cuban said anyone that bought youtube was a fool, wonder what he thinks about this move?

    It sounds to me like the **AA will be hiring in their IT departments soon.. anyone need a job?
    • by Bucc5062 (856482)
      You mean work for Lord Sauron in Mordor as a minion? No thanks! I have a video clip I'd love to show you of what happens to those who work for the dark Lord. Alas, it got blocked so all I can tell you is...it aint pretty.
  • It's a great service and all but I'd like to see these videos at a higher encode rate. (yes, I'm spoilt).
  • On a side note, they could work out those small bugs first, now couldn't they? Like, clicking on a thumbnai and then finding out it's been removed? Well then why include that result in the search anyway?
    Doesn't bother first, but gets really annoying afterwards.
    Also, isn't youtube so popular just because of all thr material they're going to remove? Who wants to watch some emos bitching about their day? (Those who want are probably on Myspace anyway).
  • This means that movie and TV studios will have to provide decades of copyright material if they don't want it to appear on YouTube, or spend even more time scanning the site for violations

    But at least they can!
  • All material (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nosklo (815041)

    because the technology requires copyright holders to provide copies of the video they want to protect
    Wait. That means google will pretty soon have almost ALL COPYRIGHTED MEDIA in its servers?
    I, for one, welcome our new media-holding overlords.
    There's a lot of money to be made with this material, besides searching youtube. Even without releasing it.
  • Obviously no company is going to actually go through and send google videos of all the stuff they want to protect, but what they CAN do is identify the videos already on gootube that need to be removed as copyrighted, so they can just use the offending videos as the sample to scan for. Prevent the same video clips from ending up online over and over again.
  • Pretty funny that google is trying to con people into building a digital library for them.

    Think about how much google has spend just trying to build a library of books, and now they're getting people to build them a media library for free!
  • There are a lot of Anime Music Videos in there. I fear the artists (either greedy japanese companies or greedy RIAA members) will want to take them off.

    But then again, I haven't RTFA so I don't know WTF is Youtube Filtering :P
  • by szyzyg (7313) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:17AM (#20996121)
    You might have missed out on imeem.com [imeem.com] or at least ignored them ever since they changed from being a client/IM based p2p network to being a social media site about 2 years ago. But for the last 6 months they've been using automated content filtering for the music that people are posting to the site. Some of the people who register their content are have deals with imeem which allows the free sharing of their music - labels like Warners, Sony, BMG, Nettwerk, Beggars etc etc, and of course there are a few labels who have their tracks reduced to 30 second samples.

    It should be noted that imeem announced all its big deals after turning its system on so presumably the content identification system helped make those media deals possible.
  • How are they going to handle fair use? MY guess: they won't. Your Steamboat Willie parody is not going to be allowed on Youtube.

    I wonder how long it will take for the first software to come out that alters vidoes just enough to evade detection...
  • this is going to be a field day for lawyers
  • A number of pundits out there said that GoogleTV would never fly, but now we know how they're going to get all of those video clips online. Man, Google is pretty smart!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=J9SK_M_nVWA [youtube.com]
  • ...just aid and abet Highly Concentrated Forms of Evil, instead.

    (Disclaimer: this post is a wake-up call to all who labor underneath naive good/evil views of corporate entities. I do not subscribe to such infantile views myself.)
  • Do the copyright owners have to provide the entire damn clip to Google? Or just buy the hash/indexer too from Google, run it through their materials in their secure facility and give Google just the hash data base?
  • by NoseyNick (19946) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:32AM (#20996411) Homepage
    Hey, RIAA, please send me all your original media and I'll make sure there are no shared copies of any of it in my collection ;-)
  • This means that movie and TV studios will have to provide decades of copyright material if they don't want it to appear on YouTube, or spend even more time scanning the site for violations.

    Given the amount of work that would entail, I doubt they will provide "decades" worth of comparison files -- they will likely concentrate on recent and/or popular (i.e., majorly profitable) material. NBC may well want to prevent "Heroes" from turning up on YouTube, but something tells me they aren't going into the arc

  • I wonder if I inverted the image (rotated it 180 degrees), if the copyright filter would catch me. Turn your monitor 180 degrees to watch, or have a small app to flip the viewer's screen.
  • and the material would be available at the stroke of a keyboard. It would be inevitable if Youtube has the material that it will end up available online. YouTube (Google) is positioning itself as the "channel" of the Internet. Part of what they will eventually offer, IMHO, is micro-payments based on viewership. To them, it doesn't matter if it's Gone With the Wind or home-cam video, it's just content. That sort of situation is win-win for the studios. Their next trick will be offering the studios some kind
  • What I like most about this scheme is that in order for it to work, it puts a huge onus on the copyright owners to proactively register their works with Google now, to an extent they probably didn't even have to with the US Copyright office. They can no longer complain to Google for lack of protection if they are too lazy to upload everything they own (and for most of the big majors, that's a lot of stuff). This lets Google off the hook and simplifies the takedown process for them, while giving the big me
  • Youtube may have been first but their video is crap. It's very pixelated.

    Censorship on youtube is growing. You can't comment anymore on controversial subjects: No more immediate posting of comments. It's crap. Don't even get me started on 'no commentable' videos.

    Also what about the phony fake actors thinking it's their ticket to fame.

    And the crappy videos everywhere that have no purpose but SPAM.

    Youtube sucks. Please use an Alternative like Blip.tv or Stage6. Both are better quality also.
  • Naruto (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Inquisitor911 (935895)
    Hopefully this will mean the 8 million Narutp videos will vanish from YT.
  • by Lehk228 (705449)
    i am going to start an audio posting site, in order to ensure my users do not violate copyright law i am requesting all music labels to submit to me their entire catalog in electronic form for the purpose of building an automated filter.

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