YouTube has removed some 30,000 files from its Web site following complaints of copyright infringement by 23 Japanese broadcasters and other rights holders, local authors society JASRAC said Oct. 20.

YouTube has removed some 30,000 files from its Web site following complaints of copyright infringement by 23 Japanese broadcasters and other rights holders, local authors society JASRAC said Oct. 20.

"We have known for quite some time that a large number of copyrighted works, such as TV programs, have been uploaded on to 'YouTube' without the permission of the rights holders," the group of rights holders said in a statement released by the JASRAC.

The files comprised material from movie, anime and other DVDs, TV programs and music-promotion videos.

"Rights holders in Japan had requested the deletion of such files before on an individual basis, based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but since numerous files continued to be uploaded without permission, various rights-related bodies decided to sit down together to discuss the situation on Sept. 8," the groups added.

YouTube senior director of marketing Julie Supan commented, "We take copyright issues very seriously. We prohibit users from uploading infringing material and we cooperate with copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content."

After designating five days from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6 as "Crack Down on YouTube Week," the groups, represented by JASRAC, asked YouTube to delete the videos from its Web site.

"YouTube complied with our request by immediately deleting the 29,549 files in question," the statement said.

"We believe that it is actually up to YouTube, which is in a position to foresee such infringements, to put measures in place that would prevent these incidents," the groups said, adding that they will continue to send deletion requests to YouTube as long as the problem persists.

A follow-up quick check on Oct. 23 revealed that many Japanese TV programs and promo videos are still available on YouTube's Web site.

"This is a big problem for the media business in Japan," says Masa Matsuzaki, chief creative officer at Tokyo-based label WHD Entertainment. WHD is partly owned by Tokyo-based Japan Satellite Broadcasting, which operates the WOWOW TV channel.

"WOWOW is pay TV, but on YouTube you can see WOWOW programs for free," says Matsuzaki.

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