- 29 Jun 09, 15:57 GMT
If you thought the people behind the Pirate Bay were going to keep a low profile after losing that epic court battle over copyright, think again.
Their latest venture is called Video Bay, and after a period of reasonably private testing, they're now giving the wider world a glimpse of its workings.
And what they appear to be planning is a rival to YouTube, and one which will cause even more outrage to the film and music industries than did the original file-sharing site.
You can't get much of an idea about the plans for Video Bay yet - a message on the home page says:
"This site will be an experimental playground and as such subjected to both live and drunk (en)coding, so please don't bug us too much if the site ain't working properly."
But you can see that some video has already been uploaded, and much of it seems to be the kind of copyright material - music videos, TV episodes - which would instantly attract a warning notice and probably instant deletion if uploaded to YouTube.
Still, wasn't that exactly what YouTube looked like in its early days, before the takeover by Google and the multi-billion dollar lawsuits from media firms unhappy about the use of their content?
I put that point to a spokesman for Google, who insisted that the comparison did not hold water. He said that, right from the start, YouTube was run in accordance with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the EU's e-commerce directive. So that meant that if content owners spotted their material on the site, they could contact YouTube and get it taken down sharpish.
But once Google took over, that was not enough to satisfy Viacom, which felt that a giant corporation ought to be able to police the site and deal with abuse of copyright.
And that forced Google to introduce what it calls its "Content ID" system, which automates the process of spotting copyright content the moment it is uploaded.
Media firms then have a choice - they can either have it deleted (like my classy video of Brentford v Exeter City), or choose to "monetise" it (as Cat Stevens record label did when I inadvertently used his music as a backing track).
Google says that media firms are mostly choosing the latter option: "they've gone from wanting to block it to seeing YouTube as a platform where they can make money," as the spokesman put it.
We can only speculate what Video Bay will look like when - and if - it is finally launched, but it seems possible that, unlike YouTube, it will allow users to upload more than 10 minutes of material at a time. That will allow the provision of episodes of TV series, or extended highlights of sports events - just the kind of material that content owners are most keen to protect.
But content owners claim they are now looking to work with new platforms rather than instantly reach for their lawyers - so will their attitude to Video Bay be more lenient than it was to YouTube in the early days?
Unlikely - unless the Pirate Bay folks are suddenly going to come over all law-abiding, agree to take down any copyright material, and police their site for anything that may contravene the rules.
Or perhaps the world's media industries will decide that Video Bay can be an exciting new advertising platform and work with the Swedes to develop it.
Anyone betting on either of those outcomes?
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