SANTA MONICA, California: Social networking website is to introduce a video-filtering program to automatically remove copyright material. The trial system will begin by weeding out unauthorized content belonging to Universal Music Group and NBC Universal.

Until now News Corporation-owned MySpace, and rivals such as video sharing website, maintained they could legally allow content to stay unless they received a formal notice to remove the material.

This latest step is significant because it illustrates that media companies — including music labels and TV program schedulers — have started to flex their muscles in demanding compensation for use of their material.

Last week Viacom ordered YouTube to remove 100,000 clips from its site that it said were unauthorized [WARC News: 06-Feb-07].

MySpace is currently in a legal wrangle with Universal Music over allegations that it encouraged its users to share music and music videos on the site without permission. The music company is seeking unspecified damages, including up to $150,000 (€115k; £77k) for each unauthorized music video or song posted.

Comments MySpace co-founder and ceo Chris DeWolfe: "MySpace is dedicated to ensuring that content owners, whether large or small, can both promote and protect their content in our community. For MySpace, video filtering is about protecting artists and the work they create."

Data sourced from (USA); additional content by WARC staff