YouTube response to Japan complaints 'not satisfactory'

YouTube appears sympathetic, but has not changed operations, Japanese copyright say

A group of Japanese content producers that asked YouTube to act on the large amount of copyrighted material on the popular site say a response received from the company was unsatisfactory.

The group, which includes all of Japan's major TV broadcasters and several associations that represent copyright holders, complained to YouTube in early December and made several requests regarding the way complaints from rights holders are handled and the way users are warned and penalized for uploading copyrighted material.

At a meeting in Tokyo last Friday the group discussed YouTube's response, the details of which have not been made public.

"We appreciate that they responded by the deadline but consider the response not satisfactory," said Satoshi Watanabe, manager of the transmission rights department at the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. JASRAC sent the letter on behalf of the other companies and associations.

He said that while YouTube appears sympathetic to their complaints no changes have been made to the way the site operates.

"As a preventative measure we asked them to display a notice in Japanese warning about uploading copyrighted material," said Watanabe. "They said it's possible but gave no specific date as to when they will do this and as of today there is no information."

The group also requested YouTube strengthen its signup procedures to record the name and address of users and terminate accounts that have been used to upload copyrighted material but received no specific response to those requests, he said.

In their reply, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Chad Hurley and Chief Technology Officer Steven Chen indicated that they are willing to come to Japan to discuss the issue, Watanabe said. The executives said they are very interested in starting a business in Japan so are looking to work out these problems.

The group sent a response to YouTube on Wednesday in which they said they are open to discussions should the YouTube executives arrive, he said.

Despite the lack of concrete proposals from YouTube the group remains hopeful that their complaints will be addressed.

"They replied by themselves, not through a lawyer," Watanabe said. "For the moment it appears possible to find a solution."

The entire group of 23 companies and organizations also includes the Motion Picture Producers' Association of Japan, the Japan Video Software Association, the Association of Japanese Animations, all of the major commercial TV broadcasters, the Japan Satellite Broadcasting Association, the Recording Industry Association of Japan and Yahoo Japan.

The original complaint made in early December came about two months after YouTube deleted almost 30,000 Japanese video clips on receipt of a complaint from rights holders in Japan. However almost immediately after the deletion new clips of TV shows, music videos and movies began appearing again on the site.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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