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Monitoring software getting too smart?

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SCOTT JAGOW: There are ways to find pirated videos on YouTube — software programs that search for names in titles. But people can get around that. For example, a David Letterman clip they might call Letterman “the gap-toothed one” instead of using his name. But now there’s something new. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: The latest program is from Autonomy Corporation.

Instead of depending on a name tag to ferret out infringing material, the software actually watches the video. Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch:

MIKE LYNCH: And if it sees something which sort of vaguely matches, then it will actually go back and start to think about it a lot more deeply and do much more close matching.

Lynch says a large monitoring program costs about a half million dollars.

That could be cheaper than hiring employees, but James McQuivey with Forrester Research says cost isn’t the point.

He says YouTube and other companies believe the law doesn’t require them to search for infringing material, only take it down when notified.

And a thorough search might open up another can of worms:

JAMES MCQUIVEY: If they’re willing to admit that they have to look at their videos more closely, maybe we could look at the other things that they search and sell advertisements against.

Like that picture of your backyard on Google Earth that the company places next to its online ads. Should they pay you for that?

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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