Forget The Pirate Bay. There’s a hot new pirating site taking Asia by storm. It’s called YouTube.
Piracy on the Google-owned video-sharing site has cost Hong Kong filmmakers hundreds of millions of dollars, and YouTube isn’t doing enough to stop the problem, studio executives claim.
According to the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association, more than 200 clips from Hong Kong movies have been uploaded to YouTube, with many films appearing in their entirety.
One of the more recent and egregious examples surrounded the recent hit Love in the Buff, which a YouTube user uploaded in its entirety while the film was in the middle of its theatrical run. That had a direct effect on the film’s gross, a situation the association called “extremely severe” in a statement.
“The pirated videos on YouTube greatly hurt the theatrical performance of the film,” the association’s CEO Brian Chung told The Hollywood Reporter.
Making matters worse, YouTube took days to respond to copyright complaints, prompting Love in the Buff’s producer to accuse the site of “an extreme lack of efficiency in the removal of the pirated videos.”
The videos accumulated more than 40 million views, which the association estimates cost the industry about $308 million.
It’s yet another case that demonstrates flaws in YouTube’s automated copyright enforcement systems.
In February, the company pulled a video that included ambient audio of natural birdsong. YouTube’s automated copyright system misidentified that sound as copyrighted material. It was eventually restored, but only after considerable outrage from places like Reddit and Slashdot.
Why did it take weeks for the company to respond to the direct requests of a movie studio?
A Google spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the company takes copyright violations “very seriously,” adding that YouTube has “strong measures to deter infringement and a fast and efficient notice-and-takedown process.”
The company may soon have to act much faster. A German court ruled last week that YouTube is liable for copyright-infringing material uploaded by its users, leaving the door open to multi-million dollar lawsuits if the company fails to quickly remove offending material.
Image via YouTube