Japanese rights holders are demanding that YouTube take steps to prevent their copyrighted content from being uploaded to the popular video-sharing Web site without their permission.

In a letter sent to YouTube on Dec. 4 and released on Dec. 5, a group comprising 22 Japanese broadcasters and other rights holders, represented by local authors' society JASRAC, says the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's Notice and Takedown scheme is not functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads on YouTube.

The rights holders ask that YouTube "implement an infringement-preventive system" comprising a series of measures.

YouTube has been urged to publish a notice in Japanese on its Web site warning that it is illegal to post or upload audio-visual works whose copyrights are neither owned by the service nor licensed by rights owners.

The Web site has also been asked to register the names and addresses of those users making uploads and to keep such records.

In addition, the rights holders have called on YouTube to terminate the user accounts of those who illegally uploaded audio-visual works deleted on or after June 2006 upon their request and not to allow them to make further uploads.

The group asks that YouTube respond to its letter no later than Dec. 15, without specifying what its members will do if YouTube does not comply with the request.

"We have received the letter and are reviewing it," comments Jenny Nielsen, marketing manager for YouTube. "Meanwhile we will continue to provide content companies in Japan and elsewhere with tools to easily notify us of unauthorized uses of their content so we can promptly remove it, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." Nielsen continues, "YouTube respects copyright and has always worked in close cooperation with rights holders."

The letter follows YouTube's compliance with the group's request in October that it remove some 30,000 files comprising their copyrighted material.