Media & internet firms come together to offer rules for UGC content

MUMBAI: Several Internet and media companies have announced their joint support for a set of collaborative principles that enable the continued growth and development of user-generated content (UGC) online and respect the intellectual property of content owners.

The principles serve as a set of guidelines to help UGC services and content creators work together towards their collective goal of bringing more content to more consumers through legitimate channels. The principles acknowledge a collective respect for protecting copyrights and recognize that filtering technologies must be effective and are only a part of what is necessary to achieve this goal.

The companies supporting these principles include CBS, Dailymotion, Fox, Microsoft, MySpace, NBC Universal, Veoh Networks, Viacom and Disney.


The principles call for a broad range of constructive and cooperative efforts by copyright owners and UGC services.

They include:

Implementation of state of the art filtering technology with the goal to eliminate infringing content on UGC services, including blocking infringing uploads before they are made available to the public;
- Upgrading technology when commercially reasonable;
- Cooperating to ensure that the technology is implemented in a manner that effectively balances legitimate interests, including fair use;
- Cooperation in developing procedures for promptly addressing claims that content was blocked in error;
- Regularly using the technology to remove infringing content that was uploaded before the technology could block it;
- Identification and removal of links to sites that are clearly dedicated to, and predominantly used for, the dissemination of infringing content; and,
- Promotion of content-rich, infringement-free services by continuing to cooperatively test new technologies and by collaboratively updating these principles as appropriate to keep current with evolving developments.

The parties note that the ease of uploading video content on the Internet has led to the creation of millions of original works by new creators – works that range from scripted programmes, to virtuoso musical performances and to humorous skits and social parody. It also has resulted in the proliferation of uploaded content that infringes copyrighted works.

The companies backing these principles state that they believe that they can collectively find a path that fosters creativity while respecting the rights of copyright owners. Distributors of copyright-infringing content stifle both technological innovation and artistic creation in ways that ultimately will hurt the consumer and hinder the digital economy.

These principles also reflect a strongly-held commitment to work cooperatively and constructively across industries to address the challenge of developing new modes of distribution while protecting intellectual property and, with a shared goal of promoting a rich, legitimate, and compelling environment for consumers of online content. While the supporters’ current practices may not strictly adhere to each and every principle, they are all committed to fully implementing these principles by year’s end.

The companies believe that adopting such principles is essential to achieving the enormous potential opened up by the Internet through UGC services. Widespread adoption of these principles will encourage innovation, enable new creative expression and further the goal of eliminating infringing content from UGC services.

It will allow innovative business models to develop. Most importantly, it will benefit consumers by encouraging further cooperation between the creators of content -- from the largest entertainment company to the individual artist -- and the companies that distribute their works.

The supporters urge others to embrace these principles. While recognising that adhering to these principles may require each company to yield some from positions it has held, at the end of the day the supporters believe all will benefit from such compromise. The supporters look forward to further discussions with other parties to attain their support.

Disney president and CEO Bob Iger says, "These principles offer a road map for unlocking the enormous potential of online video and user-generated content. Cooperation among us, aided by emerging technologies, can clear the way for further growth in the availability of online video in ways that will be good for consumers, good for copyright owners and good for uploading services.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says, "The cross-industry dialogue that resulted in these principles is an important step forward in establishing the Internet as a great platform for video content – a platform that allows services to innovate and preserves incentives for all creators, big and small, by respecting copyright. With this new, consensus-based foundation, the technology and entertainment industries are demonstrating how we can work collaboratively to build great new video experiences for our mutual customers."

Fox president and COO Peter Chernin says, “In the end, technical innovation has always proved to be a positive driver in shaping our businesses and spurring greater and more robust distribution models. The principles unveiled today underscore that conviction by enabling a path that will reward content owners, distributors, and most importantly, consumers.”

Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman says, “We are delighted that so many leading companies have come together behind a set of principles that provide a framework for intellectual property to live in harmony with technical advances. These principles will enable innovative technology and great content to come together to spur greater innovation and, most importantly, much richer entertainment experiences for consumers.”

MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe says, “As part of one of the world’s largest media companies and with original content of our own, we’re vigilant about respecting and protecting copyrights. Internally, we’ve developed an industry-leading suite of copyright protections for content owners and we’re thrilled to align forces with the world’s top media and Internet companies to develop best practices.”

Veoh Networks CEO Steve Mitgang says, “Dailymotion strongly believes in the respecting the rights of all copyright owners. As such, our company has been involved in the drafting of these Principles since it began. We are confident that this cooperation with content owners, further aided by audio and video filtering technology that we are currently implementing, is a win-win for all involved. We are proud to continue to be at the edge of innovation in both our product and in copyright protection.”

NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker says, “This announcement marks a significant step in transforming the Internet to a popular medium that respects the rule of law. By recognizing the mutual benefits of a technology-based framework to control piracy, technology and content companies have laid the foundation for the lawful growth of video on the Internet.”


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