updated 02:10 am EST, Sat January 28, 2012
YouTube filter makes false positives
YouTube's anti-piracy screening has both come under fire and gotten some relief on Friday. The system is now known from an anecdote at Vice to generate false positives if enough of a song is improperly attributed to the wrong group. When Universal-backed group Yelawolf took a sample from an After the Smoke track and had its adaptation leaked, the Universal takedown claim not only brought down the Yelawolf leak but the original track the sample came from.
Universal did eventually back off of the claim, but the story highlighted a problem where neither the automated system nor humans check for fair use or investigate the history of a sample. Stephanie Lenz, who recorded her child dancing to a Prince song, is suing Universal for a takedown of a clip that wasn't intended as copying. Universal has also claimed to have special access that doesn't even require a formal takedown request.
How much special access Universal has to YouTube won't be revealed anytime soon, however. Megaupload's attempt to require discovery of Universal's deals with YouTube was denied by California judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. She saw the discovery as convenient for the cloud storage service, but the company hadn't convinced her that such a search was needed. Megaupload's claims were considered overly broad.
It's not known if Megaupload will go ahead with the case, which dropped Universal from the case in favor of targeting those individually responsible for taking down its celebrity video promoting Megaupload. It may have a tough case without the discovery, and CEO Kim Dotcom is about to be extradited to the US for a trial that could shutter the company.
Universal, among others, have accused Megaupload of being a criminal conspiracy that was fully aware it was trading a lot of pirated material but was doing little to stop this in practice. YouTube was accused of the same in its early years, but it tightened up its copy protection checks to placate music and movie studios. [via Hollywood Reporter]