The Motivation Behind the Anti-Google Copyright Protection Coalition

It didn’t take long for all the media companies to respond to Google’s launch earlier this week of its copyright fingerprinting system on YouTube. Today, they announced a set of limp-wristed “guidelines” that both technology and media companies should abide by in order to protect copyrighted content going forward. Companies who signed on to the guidelines include Viacom, News Corp., Disney, CBS, NBC, and Microsoft. Notably absent was Google itself. Just now at the Web 2.0 conference, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was asked what he finds insufficient about Google’s system. It seems that the biggest problem the media companies have with the Google system is that it is not theirs. Here is Dauman’s combative response:

I don’t think we are quite there. Google can do things very quickly when they want to. I guess they haven’t wanted to up to this point., Maybe they will join the consensus that they need to be a part of, either voluntarily or involuntarily.What no one wants is a proprietary system that benefits one company. What we need is to work together to benefit the consumer.

If the media companies (and Microsoft) actually have a competing copyright protection system to offer up rather than some vague guidelines, they should do so. An industry standard that works across all media and technology companies is preferable in theory to one imposed on everyone else by a single company. But someone needs to create that system. (A startup called Attributor thinks it has the answer. Maybe the media companies should take a look at it).