YouTube deletes 30,000 files after copyright complaints

YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, has cut nearly 30,000 user files after a complaint of copyright infringement.

The complaint came from the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, a Japanese entertainment group that said it found 29,549 video clips of TV shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube without permission.

The complaint was made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies. Fumiyuki Asakura, an official of the group, told the Associated Press that his organization might ask YouTube to introduce a preliminary screening process to prevent the future posting of clips protected by copyright.

YouTube’s policy is to remove user-provided clips after it receives complaints, though the company has now become a magnet for lawsuits with Google set to buy it for $1.65 billion in stock.

YouTube has been negotiating with leading copyright holders and has reached agreements with several allowing the Web site to post copyright music videos and other content in exchange for sharing ad revenue.

YouTube agreed to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed clip. It also has licensing agreements with CBS and three major recording companies — the Warner Music Group, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Although several major entertainment companies have been openly critical of the use of illegal clips run on YouTube, they have been hesitant to sue the fledgling enterprise because of its exploding popularity. Since it began in February 2005, YouTube has grown to a site that shows more than 100 million video clips each day.