Advanced Television

Nielsen will be piracy police

December 6, 2007

Ratings giant Nielsen wants to be the policeman in the battle over rights to video posted online. It is rolling out a new service that aims to ensure that video is distributed and viewed on the Web only in ways sanctioned by its owners. It is hoping to offer the service called Digital Media Manager to media companies as well as social networks.

Some media companies argue that big tech companies that are hugely dependent on video content don’t do enough to scour their sites for unauthorized content. These tensions came to a head in March when Viacom filed a $1 billion suit against Google for copyright infringement.

Although a number of companies claim to fill the same policing role, Nielsen says it has already done the legwork of encoding more than 95% of national US TV programming for its TV-ratings service, which it revamped about four years ago. Others have to persuade media companies to add their content to their database.

Nielsen says it has approached Google and media companies, including News Corp.’s Fox, about the new service. The service will be available starting in the spring. Nielsen’s partner in the venture is Digimarc, a digital-watermarking company that helps to produce authentic driver’s licenses.

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