Google rings in the new year without its promised anti-piracy protection scheme

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 reporting system."

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."

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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