Although YouTube rang in 2007 with a virtual New Year's Eve
festival complete with a performance from Warner Music, live performances and
participation from hordes of online members, the company failed to meet its
self-imposed deadline to implement
anti-piracy protection on its site. In an agreement with Warner Music
Group, YouTube promised in September to have an anti-piracy system in place
that would feature an "advanced content identification and royalty
The anti-piracy system to be in place by the end of 2006
was a part of a deal which allowed
Google to distribute Warner music videos, artist interviews and other
music-related content. When Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion USD in
October, it was widely expected that Google's deeper pockets would give YouTube
the financial backing to implement such anti-piracy measures.
Missing the year-end deadline could be seen as a virtual
pothole on the road to a more controlled distribution channel, but YouTube still
can save face by getting the system live within the opening weeks of 2007.
"It is hugely important, especially from the rights holders' perspective,
that the best efforts are being made to corral the stuff flowing through
YouTube," said Michael McGuire of Gartner Research. "Rights holders
are making specific bets on paths of distribution and are expecting serious
effort to make uncontrolled distribution difficult for most folks to do."
For now, YouTube is leaving the ball in the user's court
when it comes to copyrighted music by telling users that uploading content
"shall be at your sole risk."