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YouTube copyright deadline nears

Video site yet to answer Japan concerns

YouTube could miss the Japanese entertainment industry’s deadline for a response to its concerns about copyright infringement on the popular online video site.

A group of 23 Japanese entertainment industry associations and broadcasters raised concerns with the video-sharing service earlier this month and asked for a reply no later than December 15.

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) sent a letter with the signature of the 23 organisations to YouTube urging the company to take a more proactive approach in identifying and removing copyrighted material from the site.

"We haven't received a reply yet but December 15 has only just begun in the US," said Kosuke Hayashi, a spokesman for JASRAC in Tokyo. "I don't think they'll ignore the letter and we might get something later in the day."

Shortly after the letter was sent YouTube confirmed in a brief statement that it had been received and was being reviewed. "Meanwhile we will continue to provide content companies in Japan and elsewhere with tools to easily notify us of unauthorised uses of their content so we can promptly remove it, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," it said.

At present YouTube deals with copyright infringement by asking rights holders to send it details of copyright-infringing clips by post, email or fax. The clips are then deleted if the documents sent satisfy YouTube as to the infringement claims. In their letter the Japanese rights holders called on YouTube to create an alternative to this procedure that would use technology to identify infringing clips as they are uploaded or published.

It followed the deletion by YouTube of almost 30,000 video clips in October after a group of content companies complained to the site. However, no sooner had the clips been deleted than new ones began appearing on the site to take their place.

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