YouTube is finding out first hand how difficult content identification and filtering technology can be. The company fell short of its promise to implement the technology by the end of 2006.

According to a Financial Times article (subscription required), media companies who have licensing deals with YouTube -- such as Warner Music Group and CBS -- are still relying on "low-tech systems" to identify when their content is being used by YouTube members. The ability to recognize when users are posting or incorporated copyrighted work is considered a central component to the deals YouTube has struck with these media companies.

A subsequent Red Herring article suggests that the late implementation could affect both existing and potential media deals. However the late implementation of new technology -- particularly content identification technologies -- is nothing new.

Just ask any peer-to-peer file trading service that has attempted to go "legitimate" through the use of such technology. Mashboxx, which uses content filtering technology from SnoCap, has yet to go live and in fact is two years behind its scheduled launch date. iMesh, which uses a solution from Audible Magic, had some high-profile "leaks" of copyrighted content slip through its system. Others like eDonkey and Kazaa are still working out technology issues of their own.

YouTube's media partners to date have largely shrugged off the late implementation. WMG went ahead with a major New Years Eve promotional campaign that featured "almost live" performances of various artists such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance, among several others.

Fans were invited to capture and post the concert footage using video-enabled mobile phones. YouTube dedicated its home page on New Years Eve to the promotion, with a new concert posted every hour as a different region of the world turned the corner on the new year.

The promotion was sponsored by Chevrolet, marking how important advertising revenue will become as record labels and other media companies pursue similar licensing deals.