Top China Video Site Steps Up Its Piracy Fight

Author: Loretta Chao
Beijing, China

China's most popular online video site, Inc., is trying to shed its reputation for abetting piracy by taking a page from YouTube's playbook: using technology to "fingerprint" videos, making it easier to find unlicensed copies.

The Beijing-based company, which has been sued over pirated videos, has developed a content-filtering system that generates identifying codes based on characteristics like color combinations and brightness. The company is using the system to help step up its removal of unlicensed content and says the technology will allow copyright owners to search Youku's database for unlicensed copies. Youku has already started using the fingerprinting technology to find and remove content prohibited by Chinese government censors, a process that was previously done mainly by workers scanning video clips. Chinese authorities require Web sites operating in the country to remove certain content, including pornography and politically sensitive topics such as the spiritual group Falun Gong, and authorities can shutter any sites that don't comply.

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