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YouTube to get new content filters

Google testing new system for video site

Google is testing a content filtering system to keep copyrighted videos off of YouTube with several partners and will launch it publicly within weeks, CEO Eric Schmidt said at the National Assn. of Broadcasters confab on Monday.

Speaking to a packed room where he was interviewed by former NBC anchor John Seigenthaler, Schmidt also laid into Viacom, which is suing the search giant for more than $1 billion over alleged copyright infringement on YouTube, which it owns.

“With Viacom you’re either doing a business deal with them or you’re being sued by them,” he said, producing a slow wave of nervous laughter in the audience.

Exec spent much more time discussing how Google will work to stop piracy on YouTube, rather than rely on its current policy of responding to takedown notices, which resulted in Viacom’s legal ire.

The new technology, which Schmidt called “claim your content,” will allow any legitimate copyright holder to register videos they made.

Google’s technology will then identify copies uploaded onto YouTube and immediately filter them out.

“We are very close to turning it on,” Schmidt said. “We are testing it with two or three partners now … In a few weeks it will be available for all.”

YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley previously said a content filtering system would be available by the end of 2006. Many big media companies have complained about the delays.

Some other video Web sites, such as MySpace, already have similar technology licensed from a company called Audible Magic.

Schmidt also fielded questions about Google’s new deal to sell advertising inventory on Clear Channel radio stations. He said his company will sell about 5% of the radio conglom’s inventory, with the potential to add more if it outperforms results for the remaining 95%.

He urged broadcasters in attendance not to see Google as a threat, but a potential partner that can help grow revenue.

“Google can add to the success of radio and TV, which have been relatively flat in terms of revenue growth, by bringing in new advertisers,” he said, citing the search giant’s tools allowing online marketers to easily buy radio inventory.

In addition to selling ads for partners, Schmidt briefly talked about plans to integrate video ads on YouTube. He said his company is experimenting with running ads before and after videos, but he seemed specifically excited about the possibility of targeting those who watch numerous videos on a specific topic.

“We can separate the fans from the casual viewers and take them to a much deeper site,” he said, citing a partnership with the National Basketball Assn. on YouTube that drives frequent basketball watchers to NBA.com.

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