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YouTube to tackle copyright concerns in Japan

Founders to visit Japan to discuss concerns

YouTube said it’s ready to discuss copyright issues with some of Japan's largest producers of video content after they complained earlier this month about the amount of their material on the popular video website.

A group of 23 Japanese entertainment industry associations and broadcasters sent a letter to YouTube management at the beginning of December demanding the site do more to stop users uploading copyrighted material. In the letter the group requested a reply by December 15, and that arrived over the weekend.

"They said they are considering visiting Japan to discuss the issue," 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.

The reply, which was signed by YouTube chief executive officer Chad Hurley and chief technology officer Steven Chen, also said YouTube is prepared to post a notice in Japanese to Japanese users of the site warning them against uploading copyrighted content, said Watanabe. At present YouTube presents a message in English only but the Japanese rights holders asked in their letter than a Japanese-language notice be posted on the site.

YouTube also said it will improve its user authentication procedures, Watanabe said. He declined to provide a copy of the reply.

JASRAC has sent the reply to the other 22 signatories of the original complaint. These include 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 group will likely hold a meeting later this week to discuss the reply and what to do next.

The complaint was sent 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 on YouTube.

YouTube currently deals with copyright infringement issues by asking rights holders to send complaints in written form by postal mail, email or fax with details of the clips said to infringe copyright, and other documents. The Japanese rights holders are calling for YouTube to create an alternative to this procedure that will use technology to identify infringing clips as they are uploaded or published.

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