Google: We could do more on piracy

Matt Brittin, President of EMEA Business & Operations, Google, has admitted that the web giant could do more in its efforts to combat breaches of copyright on its YouTube platform.

Speaking at a Royal Television Society Event in London, Brittin noted that there had never been a better time to build an audience. “There’s three and a half billion people online; five billion online in 2020, and you can reach all of those people frictionlessly. That’s an enormous opportunity.”

He suggested that Google was regulated, but not in the same way as newspapers or TV. “I think that’s appropriate … we do have laws and responsibilities that we comply with. When we have interaction with government, I think they are really constructive when they say: ‘Hey, we read in the Daily Mail that … What actually is going on here?’. You get the chance to take them through ‘This is how it actually works’. That’s really helpful.”

As an example of how Google worked with government, Brittin said that copyright on YouTube was something that everyone worried about. “We listened hard to the industry and government and we built Content ID, which is extremely popular. I’m sure we could always improve it, but it’s a good example of how working with industry, how we can protect rights under existing regulations, but with new technology, allow content creators to do new things; allow fans to have new experiences, and create something that is taking us forwards. There’s a model for doing that well. I’m sure that we’ll continue to have to answer questions. All I ask is that we get chance to answer the questions. If we’re wrong, and we can improve, we want to engage in the debate.”

Discussing Google’s efforts to move people away from pirated content, Brittin said “Combatting bad acts and piracy is obviously very important to us. What we do with Content ID to stop people pirating content against the wishes of the content creator. On search, we do a similar thing, which is when we have something notified to us as pirated content, we demote or remove the source from the search in music and video. These are the key ways we try to combat people finding pirated content.”

He admitted that across the entire Internet, which Google tried to index, it was difficult to know that something has arisen that someone owns the rights to, but that when notified that this was the case, it would take action. “The music industry has been quite tough with us on this. They’d like us proactively to know this stuff. It’s just not possible in this industry. What we’ve tried to do is build tools that allow them to do that at scale easily and that work all together … I’m sure there are places where we could do better. There are teams and millions of dollars invested in this.”

 

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