Media alliance seeks online copyright pact

Media alliance seeks online copyright pact

Google noticeable by its absence

A group of media and internet heavyweights have teamed up to establish guidelines to protect copyrighted material online.

The alliance of Viacom, Walt Disney, Microsoft, Fox, CBS and MySpace hopes to use technology to halt the growth of pirated material and prevent the uploading of content that infringes copyright rules.

"These principles offer a road map for unlocking the enormous potential of online video and user-generated content," Disney chief executive Bob Iger said in a jointly-issued statement.

The growing popularity of online video is pitting media content owners against video-hosting websites that feature copyrighted material uploaded by users without permission.

Viacom, for example, has filed a $1bn copyright infringement case against Google-owned YouTube, explaining Google's absence from the alliance.

However, industry analysts have pointed out that Google will have little choice but to toe the line if the guidelines become established industry procedure.

"Once an industry initiative is formed, Google will be forced to accept the common model rather than use its own solution as a competitive differentiator," said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey.

"The pressure on Google to go along with this initiative will be intense, as the fate of existing lawsuits are likely to hinge on Google's acceptance of the common solution."