YouTube to share revenue--original videos need only apply

The video-sharing giant hopes to spur creativity by paying posters for their original works.

Tech Culture

YouTube is about to show us the real meaning of "sharing." Not only will amateur videographers get to dull the world with clips of kittens playing with a string, they'll get paid for it, too.

YouTube has confirmed to the BBC that it will share the revenue it makes for videos--but only with those videos' true copyright owners. Company co-founder Chad Hurley said at the Davos Economic Forum that the revenue-sharing decision is an attempt to reward creativity.

To make this work, of course, the video-sharing giant must now prescreen the 100 million videos it presents daily. ThatÂ’s an interesting move given that part of YouTube's success is attributed to its original stance not to prescreen videos, thus allowing people to post clips from TV shows, music videos and movies. That was the same stance, of course, that got YouTube in hot water with copyright holders.

But how will YouTube distinguish friend from foe among its 70 million users? Hurley wouldn't tell the BBC much, but you can bet that the brainiacs at YouTube's new daddy Google are plugging away at the image-recognition technology in the works.

The prognosis for the plan is tough to call. Competitor Revver was among the first to share advertising revenue with videographers, but then the number of people it shares with pales compared to YouTube's audience. And Guba, which has image-recognition screening technology endorsed by the Motion Picture Association of America, has not been able to grow into the juggernaut that YouTube did with its hand-off style.

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