Japanese companies await YouTube response


TOKYO -- YouTube Inc. had failed to respond by the end of the working day Friday in Tokyo to a copyright infringement complaint filed by a group of 23 entertainment industry organizations and broadcasters.

The Japanese organizations, including the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, the Association of Japanese Animations, TV Asahi Corp. and Yahoo! Japan Corp., wrote to YouTube CEO Chad Hurley and chief technology officer Steve Chen on Dec. 4, setting Friday as the deadline for a reply.

The group is demanding that YouTube be more proactive in ensuring copyrighted programming is not uploaded onto the site.

"I believe they will give us a response, but it may have been delayed by the time difference between Japan and the U.S.," said Satoshi Watanabe, manager of the transmissions rights department of the Japanese Society of Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. "If we do not receive a reply, we will hold discussions among the parties involved to consider what steps we might be able to take.

"Similar services are available in Japan and other countries, and there are methods to screen or filter out clips that infringe upon copyright," he added. "We believe that YouTube also has access to that kind of advanced technology."

At present, YouTube deals with copyright infringement by requiring rights holders to submit written complaints, complete with details of the clips' content and other documents. It then deletes any that it decides are in breach of the rules. The Japanese broadcasters, however, insist that YouTube should be able to stop the clips from being uploaded in the first place.

YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 video clips in October after a group of companies filed a complaint, although new versions were uploaded almost instantly.

"There is a huge amount of Japanese content on the site and this is a very serious issue for us," Watanabe said. "The Japanese media is also paying a lot of attention to this issue and we expect a sincere response from YouTube."