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Viacom Wants Industry Wide Copyright Filter 248

Posted by Zonk
from the putting-a-lid-on-free-speech dept.
slashqwerty writes "Unsatisfied with the proprietary copyright filter Google recently unveiled, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has called for an industry standard to filter copyrighted material. Mr. Dauman has the backing of Microsoft, Disney, and Universal. 'They reflect the fact that there ought to be a filtering system in place on the part of technology companies,' he noted. 'Most responsible companies have followed that path. What no one wants is a proprietary system that benefits one company. It is a big drain to a company like ours to have to deal with incompatible systems.' How would an industry standard impact freedom of speech and in particular censorship on the internet? How would it affect small, independent web sites?"
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Viacom Wants Industry Wide Copyright Filter

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  • Youtube (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @07:20AM (#21061945) Homepage Journal
    Has anybody been to youtube lately?
    Almost every link to a video worth watching(with the rare educational exception) leads to "This video has been removed due to...."
    Control is controlled by the need to control. The content providers will shoot themselves in the feet so many times that they won't have a leg to stand on.
    • I just did a search for Daily Show clips and they were all there. Could you provide an example please?
    • Re:Youtube (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @07:43AM (#21062063) Homepage Journal
      You are right, but I think we should help them.
      Lets remove all pirated content everywhere.
      No more illicit MS Windows, no more photoshop, no more movies, no more music.

      Let them go out of business when they realise word of mouth is 99% of the battle.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        No more pirated Windows? That would give Linux the numbers it needs to be successful in the desktop market! ;)
    • by Joebert (946227)
      On the contrary, content providers existed before the internet & were doing well before the rise of the internet.
      Content providers do not need the likes of YouTube etc to survive, however the adverse is not true, YouTube does not exist without content providers.
      • by grahammm (9083) *
        Why does youtube need the 'conventional' content providers? Isn't it the 'purpose' of youtube (and similar) to allow members to upload and share their own content?
        • by Joebert (946227)
          Have you looked at the most viewed videos at YouTube lately ?
          • by grahammm (9083) *

            Have you looked at the most viewed videos at YouTube lately ?
            No, but the vast majority of videos I watch on youtube are uploaded by the person making the video. As I understand it, this is youtube's raison d'être. That many of the uploads are 'rips' of commercial material does not detract from youtube being a 'storefront' where Joe Public can publish videos for the world to see.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)
      > Control is controlled by the need to control. The content providers will shoot themselves in the feet so many times that they won't have a leg to
      > stand on.

      Control is controlled by the copyright owners. They own the copyright, so they have the moral and often the legal right to control access to the material. If Google wants to pay billions for a method of distributing copyrighted material then it has to enter into a contract with the copyright owners, otherwise it might prove to be something of a
      • Control is controlled by the copyright owners. They own the copyright, so they have the moral and often the legal right to control access to the material.

        I own this world. I put a flag in my backyard. Now I have the moral right to control access to it. I don't like what you're saying to people. Get off my planet.

        What makes your statement more true than mine?
        • Ultimately? Social compacts backed up by force. Nobody will notice if they disregard your "ownership" of the world. But they will get their asses sued if they ignore copyright. If you want your ownership of the world to be taken seriously, start investing in a big army.
      • Copyright is a legal right certainly. Let's not pretend it's a moral right. Copyright as it was put together was intended to prevent commercial exploitation of another's work (http://www.advogato.org/article/323.html). It was not really intended to prevent you and I from swapping CD's. That's a recent idea pushed by the record companies not to protect a moral interest, rather it was intended to maximize revenue.

        As to the idea that professionals make stuff that is good, my counterexamples are "American I
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fgaliegue (1137441)
    I really don't get it. So, they want to filter out content so that no one sees any copyrighted material anywhere on the net. What next? Sue movie theaters for displaying trailers of films you didn't pay to see in the first place?

    Heck, if you don't even get a preview/prelisten of the movies/songs you are interested in in the first place, how do you know whether you'll want to buy them later? And they still wonder why their revenue is on the decline?

    These guys should get a clue from RadioHead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What next? Sue movie theaters for displaying trailers of films you didn't pay to see in the first place?

      Wha? I don't get this "next step" of yours. If a theater was showing trailers without permission you can bet your ass there'd be trouble. However movie theaters don['t do that. Instead they get paid to show the ads. This makes no sense.

      Heck, if you don't even get a preview/prelisten of the movies/songs you are interested in in the first place, how do you know whether you'll want to buy them later? And they still wonder why their revenue is on the decline?

      These guys should get a clue from RadioHead.

      Exactly. The free market decides who wins and loses. If society rules this filter too draconian they'll move to content that isn't protected by the filter.

      • It's like with Radiohead. Although people could've downloaded their music for free from webpage they chose bittorent.
        Why? Simple - inertia. Same as with Windows, people hate it but they just got used to it. It's too hard to change the habits.
        • You make it sound like a bad thing and really it isn't.

          If you grab the album of bit torrent you can do as you please, listen to it decide what you feel its worth with no obligation to buy. Having got it from bit torrent you haven't cost RadioHead anything.
          In fact you might even be helping to raise interest in this album and you may decide it's worth paying for and do so.

          Well why bother doing that? Pure self interest if people don't buy it, then there is little incentive for them to do the same with their ne
      • by dcollins (135727)
        "Exactly. The free market decides who wins and loses."

        Man, I'm going to have to start calling you free-market-sees-all-knows-all guys a bunch of religious nuts from now on.

        If they had a working filter and people were circumventing it, the RIAA/MPAA would definitely try to make it a legal requirement to be used everywhere. You must fight politically for your freedoms or lose them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        Trailers and advertisements are the reason I don't spend money on DVDs and cancelled my cable. I got one as a present recently. I was going to just rip it and so I could watch it commercial free, but my old ripping software doesn't work anymore, so I just downloaded it off a torrent and gave the disc away without even watching it. I don't like having broken garbage cluttering up the house.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxwell demon (590494)

      So, they want to filter out content so that no one sees any copyrighted material anywhere on the net.

      Given that everything you create is copyrighted (including things explicitly written for display on the web), not displaying anything copyrighted would basically mean completely emptying the web. Yes, this post is copyrighted (through the simple fact that I wrote it just now), and therefore disallowing any copyrighted stuff on the net would mean it couldn't be displayed.

  • An industry wide copyright filter shouldn't affect small and independent websites unless its embedded into the OS or browser. If it is then companies selling such crippled products should be forced to disclose it first. As for it being built into websites, I see no problem with that provided they have fair use exceptions. After all, people SHOULDN'T be providing copyrighted content except under fair use laws. Although companies should only institute systems that take into account their local laws, so these [slashdot.org]
    • by smallfeet (609452)
      Well you know they could try and build it into the routers. I am not sure how they plan to determine if content is copyrighted or not, but it would seem to me to always be easy to circumvent. If they go too far with the filtering, then freedom of speech would kick in and the system would get downgraded to uselessness.

      They could also get the providers to force web sites to run the filtering software or not allow them access the the internet. This would have major freedom of speech implications and would mo

    • by garcia (6573)
      An industry wide copyright filter shouldn't affect small and independent websites unless its embedded into the OS or browser.

      Oh no, it won't be in either. It'll be in the computer's hardware (BIOS?) and will be required to be active for the programs that the OS is able to run to function. I have mentioned before that we will come to a time where the Internet as we know it will no longer exist in the way we see it now. There will be the "Trusted Computing" Internet where these low-jacked computers will co
      • Re:It shouldn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jc42 (318812) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @09:59AM (#21062649) Homepage Journal
        I have mentioned before that we will come to a time where the Internet as we know it will no longer exist in the way we see it now. There will be the "Trusted Computing" Internet where these low-jacked computers will communicate and there will be the "Hacker/Hobbyist" Internet where custom built machines, not running the majority OS, will connect to. Guess which one your banking, newspapers, search engines, most of your friends, jobs, etc will operate on?

        Actually, this sort of thing happened back in the 1980s, when we had a lot of commercial networks, controlled by the corporations, each one in use by only a small set of corporate customers. Then news got out about this other network called the "Internet", built on government projects by a flock of "hackers", and not controlled by anyone.

        It's pretty clear which one people decided to use.

        So now the corporate world is hard at work bringing the Internet to heel, with strict corporate controls on what you and I can see or do. If they succeed, your scenario will happen once again. And as the Internet becomes as unusable as all those other networks back in the 1980s, people will slowly move to the network that actually works.
      • Oh of course, how silly of me. We also heard how this was coming once Windows Vista [wikipedia.org] was launched. How's that going again? Because I haven't heard of any computers refusing to run Linux yet.
    • by Speare (84249)

      After all, people SHOULDN'T be providing copyrighted content except under fair use laws.

      This view is all well and good, but (1) fair use is not a right backed by a law, it's a doctrine (it's essentially a recognized loophole or accepted defense), and (2) the four factors governing what is fair use and what is not fair use are purposely vague, so as to require a reasonable legal debate (read: lawsuit) of each and every instance of purported fair/unfair usage of copyrighted content. Fair Use cannot be encoded into a machine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jbengt (874751)
        ". . . fair use is not a right backed by a law, it's a doctrine . . ."
        See http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html/ [copyright.gov] :
        "This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law."
      • (1) fair use is not a right backed by a law, it's a doctrine (it's essentially a recognized loophole or accepted defense),

        The right is the right of free speech/press, and there is a statute regarding fair use at 17 USC 107 (though it remains a judicial doctrine, which does have the force of law in our common law system).

        Fair Use cannot be encoded into a machine.

        Quite true. Even the courts often have difficulty with it.
  • These people (Viacom and their ilk) are the worst of the worst as far as I can see. They want to control everything. They want to control how they think, what we say, what we can do. If they don't control it, they want it banned. These people are horrible.

    What I must ask, where are efforts to fight these people? Do you realize these people hate the Internet? They will stop at nothing to dismantle the Internet.
    • Nobody is forcing you to watch their stuff, to read their stuff, to listen to their stuff.

      You are paying them. You are supporting them. You are encouraging them. You are to blame.

      You want to stop them?

      Stop watching their films. Stop reading their newspapers and magazines. Stop watching their TV shows. Stop listening to their music. Boycott them.

      If you're not willing to do that, well you can go fuck off, I'm not interested in what you have to say.
      • You are paying them. You are supporting them. You are encouraging them. You are to blame.
        Many posts here at slashdot would indicate that the first point isn't always true.
  • by nagora (177841) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @07:34AM (#21062017)
    As this year's television pilots are automatically blocked because they're blatent rehashes of old ideas. Not to mention the Flintstones being blocked for being a violation of The Honeymooners' IP.

    TWW

  • It's grossly irresponsible for the modern internet to circulate e-mail without deploying an industry-wide standard spam filtering system. If everybody uses the same spam filtering system, and it was a global standard, then we wouldn't have to worry about unpredictable mail delivery problems. It's just common sense.

    While we are at it, it's high time that flying ponies were standardized across all little girl's bedrooms. There is absolutely no reason why some of them should be pink, while others are purple an
  • ...demonstrate to me how desperate the content industry is to get the toothpaste back in the tube or Pandora's box to shut. Sorry, guys, but your content is out there on digital media, and given the nature of humans, there's no way you're going to keep it from being spread around. Digital piracy is too easy to accomplish, and rather than adapt to a business model that might incorporate easy distribution and sharing of digital content, they get all offended and feel it's necessary to sue their customers and
    • by Swampash (1131503)
      Or, to (probably mis-) quote Bruce Schneier, "trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet".
  • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @07:56AM (#21062129)
    One day, maybe in the not too distant future, there will be an article on /.

    It will read like this:


    Your Rights Online: [slashdot.org] MPAA admit that everything they have said for the last 5 years has been a practical joke
    Posted by kdawson on Tuesday Cantrembember 75th @ 27:00
    from the i-knew-it department
    Anonymous Coward writes:
    The MPAA [mpaa.org] has finally admitted [news.com] what a lot of people on Slashdot have suspected for a while. Everything they've done for the last 5 years was all part of a practical joke [mpaa.org].

    "The lawsuits, the absurd DRM, the crazy "the entire industry is going to collapse" rhetoric - we never believed any of this crap", said a spokesman. "What actually happened was someone suggested that perhaps we could somehow start announcing these ridiculous ideas, record the reaction then release it as a movie. Kind of like The Truman Show [imdb.com], only much much bigger."
    Has the MPAA finally gone too far? Will this lead to their ultimate collapse? Quiver with excitement. Tremble with fear. Eat peanuts with raisins.
  • I know we've been down this path before, but seeing Microsoft get behind open standards when it suits them, and then getting behind closed proprietary stuff when that suits them, still makes me sick. Such a complete absence of any virtue whatsovever.
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @08:00AM (#21062151)
    The media companies love standards when it suits them, such as when it limits the technology companies power (as in music DRM or content filtering). However, when the standards become, well, too standard, they want their own proprietary formats. NBC pulls out of ITunes [nytimes.com] because they didn't like the standard pricing. Sony tweaks its DVD's [about.com] because it doesn't like the standard DRM (and I rented a coaster from Blockbuster recently, thanks Sony).

    Viacom says "we believe in following the consumers". The real quote was "We believe in following the consumers as long as it pleases us. Otherwise fuck the consumers."
  • Economics 101 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DCFC (933633) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @08:20AM (#21062245)
    First up we have a new variant on googlebombing. The filter will be gamed by content owners to pick up on anything they possibly can.
    This is because of the asymmetric costs. A false positive will cost them nothing, but the poster will get zapped. Indeed blockingd free content will serve the industry quite nicely.

    There are >50 content formats, and new ones keep appearing. If the "standard" filter cannot read them, then the obvious thing to do is ban them.
    You've now established a monopoly where only "approved" formats are allowed.
    Even if it is an open standard, who writes the filter for new formats ? More importantly, who pays ?

    It is also an arms race, and I think we can be clear that the "standard" filter will not be open source.
    DRM attracts crackers in direct proportion to it's success. Many crackers may not be fans of economics, but their goals are easily modelled in economic terms.
    They want to take out the "big beast" current filters are small, unsucessful critters.
    Cracking the industry standard media filter will be more of a coup than breaking WEP, and thus inevitably be swamped.

    Also, an entertaining technical/legal point is so many site use Linux so the GPL may get involved.

  • Its about time the internet was shut down. There is too much copyright infringement going on and it is the only solution. Hackers invariably get past the filters, so filters only work out to be a temporary solution. Maybe we should consider turning off TV transmission too, since those stealing pirates keeping on seeing our copyrighted work without paying us. If we can't have 100% control then we would rather have no one be able to see our work. The Spanish inquisition were taking the right approach.

    Okay, so
  • There is a common standard: you upload your videos, and these sites filter them for you. For Google (or anybody else) to disclose their algorithms would be stupid, simply because that would make circumventing the copyright filters much easier.

    I think what's really going on here is that Microsoft is egging on Viacom to gain an advantage for themselves.
  • Give them the filter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by femto (459605) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @08:44AM (#21062345) Homepage
    I say give them the filter. It should be built into every node of the network, so the network flat refuses to transmit Viacom's material, or that of any other copyright holder who wants out of the Internet. Surely a network that will only transmit stuff under a free license would have to be every free software author's dream?
  • London Printers, Music Moguls, Hollywood Twits; all these content providers want to own the content. They start as a service to deliver content from producer (author, musician, director & actors,..) to consumer (you & I), BUT greed makes them stupid. Unfortunately the best friends of 'Greed & Stupidity' are lawyers. They can and will support either side of an argument for money. Right, morals, ethics are not part of the equation. And we, the consuming public, allowed the legislatures of nation a
  • (oh wait this is the internet)
  • Copyright application is really quite simple.

    The moment anything is published it is copyrighted. Its about prior art, establishing it.

    The only way to fulfill what he wants is to take down the whole world wide internet.
    Considering everything is copyrighted. The real question is: when are such people going to
    get a clue that what they want is simple not going to happen. Not everyone wants to constrain
    their works

    A clue that its getting time for fundamental changes in the way we live and exchange value?

    If the wo
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773)
      Copyright application is really quite simple.

      The moment anything is published it is copyrighted. Its about prior art, establishing it.


      No, the moment any copyrightable work is created, it is copyrighted. Publication is no longer a factor, though it really ought to be as it is extremely wasteful to have unpublished copyrighted works. (A modicum of protection for a work which is created, unpublished, but which is soon going to be published is tolerable, as we don't really want to encourage piracy of manuscript
  • Skip TFA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jay L (74152) <jay+slash.jay@fm> on Sunday October 21, 2007 @09:09AM (#21062449) Homepage
    TFA is a summary of comments made at the Web 2.0 Summit which reference another announcement which summarizes these principles [ugcprinciples.com].

    Considering who's on the press release - NBC Universal, Disney, Viacom, Fox, Microsoft, MySpace, Dailymotion (who?), veoh (who??) - the proposed principles are actually fairly balanced. They mention fair use four times, including a statement that "When sending notices and making claims of infringement, Copyright Owners should accommodate fair use" and "If the UGC Service is able to identify specific links that solely direct users to particular non-infringing content on such [piracy-oriented] sites, the UGC Service may allow those links while blocking all other links" and even "If a UGC Service adheres to all of these Principles in good faith, the Copyright Owner should not assert a claim of copyright infringement against such UGC Service with respect to infringing user-uploaded content that might remain on the UGC Service despite such adherence to these Principles."

    It's worth reading the whole principles statement. I'm sure there are things that could be tweaked, but there are no major outrages that jump out at me; I'm actually kinda impressed.
  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @09:26AM (#21062527)

    Most responsible companies have followed that path.


    He seems to be confusing "responsible" with "threatened."
  • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @09:39AM (#21062583) Homepage Journal
    industry standard to filter copyrighted material

    How about we suggest the following standard:

    1. the © character (Unicode 00A9, or decimal 251), followed by
    2. the date of the copyright, followed by
    3. the name of the copyright holder, optionally followed by
    4. an email or web address to contact the copyright holder

    I've heard that a system similar to this (but lacking part 4.) is already in use in some publications.

    Such a copyright standard would make it easy to use hundreds (or thousands) of programs that already exist to filter copyrighted material and determine what to do with it.

    Think anyone would go for it?

    Maybe we should write up an RFC ...

    • by mikelieman (35628) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @11:01AM (#21063031) Homepage
      And furthermore, that protection shall apply ONLY to that material worthy of protection under Article I, Section VIII, specifically, that such material promotes the progress of Science of the USEFUL Arts.

      Architecture is a Useful Art.

      Brittney Spears is Not.

      • And furthermore, that protection shall apply ONLY to that material worthy of protection under Article I, Section VIII, specifically, that such material promotes the progress of Science of the USEFUL Arts.

        Architecture is a Useful Art.

        Brittney Spears is Not.


        You've got that backwards, actually. Patents deal with the useful arts, while copyrights deal with science. Remember, the Constitution was written in the late 18th century, and the English language is one which changes quite a lot. In the English of the da
  • You know what? I'm tired. I'm just damn tired of all of this content maneuvering.

    I think I'm just going to swear off of music and video all together and find other uses for my time. I'm serious. I've already canceled the cable TV.

  • Is about 3 days away from a 20 year old kid who creates a filter to get around the identification system.

    It's only about 10 times easier if the system is well understood and published.

    I have a very hard time believing that an uncrackable system like this is even theoretically possible. Anything even remotely good would have to be some kind of sophisticated computer vision system, that could automatically identify the face of say Steven Colbert. Even the good face identifications have large amounts of fals
  • "It is a big drain to a company like ours to have to deal with incompatible systems."

    Incompatible systems. Hmm...I wonder if the fine gentleman from Viacom also understands how big of a drain all these incompatible DRM systems, some with rootkits, are to their consumers. Probably not.
  • by illectro (697914) on Sunday October 21, 2007 @10:49AM (#21062957)
    imeem [imeem.com] is a great example of how media filtering can work to everyone's advantage, after you upload your mp3's their media filtering figures out what the track is you've just uploaded and depending on the results the music will be shared in youtube style either as a full length track with the copyright holder getting a cut of the advertising, or if the copyright holder has said no it'll just be a 30 second sample with links to iTunes/amazon to buy. imeem is using snocap [snocap.com] for their song fingerprinting - if you rememebr snocap was originally seen as a plugin to a p2p sharing network, but the folks at imeem seem to have done away with the p2p part and just let users upload the music straight to their website. So it's like napster, except that it provides instant gratification, no waiting to listen to the track, or find out that the link is merely a 'broken' sample.
  • ... mean for the system requirements of Windows 7?
  • Since all you have to do to evade a filter is encrypt the content, there can never be an effective, industry-wide filtering system. Encrypt the content with even a poor algorithm, put the key as part of the title name, and the filter will never be able to keep up with the new methods of key distribution.

    If anything, this would make encryption much more wide-spread among savvy users.

  • One DRM system to own them.
    One DRM system to protect them all.

    And only one DRM system afterwards to break-through.

    This might not be as bad as it sounds. They're outnumbered a million crackers to one DRM system.

  • I think the most telling quote is "No one wants a proprietary system that benefits one company." Never would I expect a Movie Industry exec to sound like a proponent for open-source... well, as long as it is not actually for his company's original works of authorship.

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