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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
YouTube to Warn Japanese Users on Piracy

Google's agreed to display warnings on its Web site in Japanese not to upload copyright materials to the popular file-sharing service, a group of Japanese media firms said on Tuesday.

The decision comes as a part of ongoing talks between YouTube and Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), which last year pushed the American firm to erase 30,000 clips from its Web page because of copyright infringement.

YouTube's popularity in Japan has surged in the past year partly because it lets users watch their favorite clips any time and repeatedly for free. In addition, local broadcasters had only offered a limited number of their shows on the Web.

YouTube, which Google bought for $1.65 billion last year, is facing backlashes from some television networks and movie studios that it is helping spread pirated files.

"YouTube isn't illegal, but what's problematic is that pirated contents are being uploaded," Ryohei Ishii, a manager from public broadcaster NHK, told reporters in Tokyo.

Last week in the United States, Viacom Inc., which owns MTV Network, demanded YouTube to erase more than 100,000 video clips that had been posted without their permission, and said the two firms failed to reach a distribution deal.

On the other hand, media giants such as Warner Music Group and General Electric's NBC Universal, have forged alliances with YouTube to offer their contents on the site.

"We didn't reach that level of discussion today, but it'd be ideal if we could eventually shake hands and form a deal" with YouTube, said Hideki Matsutake, representing Japan's Council of Performers' Organizations, at the press briefing.

Tokyo-based JASRAC said it held a meeting on Thursday with YouTube and Google executives, including YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, who was visiting Tokyo for the first time.

"YouTube respects copyright and have cooperated with a number of copyright owners in the past," YouTube said in an e-mail.

"It's important to us that we had the chance to speak to Japanese organisations, and aim to continue exchanging ideas with them constructively."

Representatives from YouTube didn't attend the press conference hosted by JASRAC.

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