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9/18/2006
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Deal Puts Videos And Music Legally On YouTube

The deal allows millions of people who upload their homemade videos to YouTube to license an array of Warner Music's songs.

Music from Paul Simon, Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers will become legally available on the YouTube Inc. Web site. Warner Music Group Corp. said Monday it stuck a deal with the video-hosting Web site to distribute its music video library from a roaster of artists.

The deal allows millions of people who upload their homemade videos to the San Mateo, Calif.-based Web site to license Warner Music's songs. The pact helps the music label distribute videos, behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews and original programming.

The two companies plan to begin sharing ad revenue derived from site ads placed next to Warner Music's content by the end of this year.

YouTube said it's been building an IT infrastructure to support the service. The new architecture has reporting and tracking tools to monitor music and video royalties. It also automatically identifies copyrighted music and video content uploaded to the site.

The agreement represents a move by YouTube to address copyright issues that have plagued user-generated video-sharing sites as consumers continue to post content without proper approval of copyright owners.

Music industry executives often complain that social networking sites infringe on materials with copyrights. Many of these companies admit to spending million in time and money policing the sites. Although it's YouTube's policy to remove copyrighted materials, it takes an official request by the owner to take down the content. Mark D. Litvack, partner at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, said selling music videos on the Internet requires an IT infrastructure that can monitor content for copyright violators.

"The content industry wants to distribute the material over the Internet and I think you'll see many take advantage of sites like YouTube, but it's impossible for them to compete with free," Litvack said. "Eliminating the illegal free content makes it easier for them to market through the social networking space."

Warner Music's music video library and artist content will become available with the launch of YouTube's content identification and royalty reporting system.

Searching for content in videos to monitor copyright infringement "is a very difficult problem to solve," said Tim Tuttle, vice president of AOL Video, AOL LLC. "Providing a good video search engine is significantly more challenging technically than building a good Web search engine."

AOL Video, powered by technology from Truveo acquired earlier this year, and Singingfish in 2003, enables AOL's visual crawling technology to search servers looking for videos and related metadata that describes the content.

From that information, AOL can determine the video's content. In many cases, "we can use it to identify copyright-infringed material we may want to remove from our index," Tuttle said.

Meanwhile, AOL on Monday opened its video search engine to developers in an effort to entice more people to integrate its search service into blogs and Web sites.

The Time Warner subsidiary released a set of application program interfaces to build video search applications. The APIs offer advanced keyword search, tagging, rating, RSS and support for sharing videos on blogs and social networks.

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