A coalition of Japanese television, music and film companies slammed YouTube Thursday, saying the online video sharing service was not doing enough to rid the site of cartoons and other clips that infringe on copyrights.
The group also expressed skepticism over an automatic video recognition and purging system being developed by YouTube parent Google Inc., questioning the reliability of the technology and saying it was taking too long.
"YouTube has to stop how it runs its site and get rid of the illegal clips. We want them to reset the service," composer Hideki Matsutake told a joint press conference in Tokyo Thursday.
The coalition met with YouTube and Google executives earlier in the week, the second such meeting this year.
"There is no middle ground," Matsutake said. "We demand that all copyrighted material be removed immediately."
Talks with YouTube and Google will continue, said Matsutake, who was acting as a spokesman for the group.
YouTube has been immensely popular in Japan, trumping rival Japanese video sharing sites. It launched a Japanese language version of the site in June to gain even more viewers — and to post warnings against uploading copyrighted materials in Japanese.
Still, clips from Japanese TV and the music industry are rampant on YouTube. A spoof of an English language lesson taken from a popular comedy show aired by Nippon Television Network has been viewed more than a million times.
YouTube has said it cooperates with holders of copyrights and immediately complies with requests to have unauthorized material removed from the site. In October, the site deleted nearly 30,000 files after the Japanese group complained of copyright infringement.
Programmers at Google say they are rushing to develop a video recognition system that will allow copyright holders to provide digital fingerprints of video, enabling the site to prevent anyone trying to share copyrighted content. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has promised to launch the technology by the end of the year.
That's too long to wait, coalition officials said Thursday.
"What's important to us is what YouTube can do immediately," said Mizuo Sugawara of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. "We have no guarantee whether the new technology will even work," he said.
YouTube has faced similar complaints elsewhere. Some U.S. media companies, such as CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, have made deals to allow YouTube to use video clips from their programming.
(MSNBC.com is a Microsoft - NBC Universal joint venture.)