New Video-Saving Feature Raises New Rights Issues

YouTube allows anyone to watch a video online by streaming it. New RealPlayer technology will let users keep a copy of the video on their hard drives. The big media companies are already sensitive about what shows up on YouTube, and this latest development could make them more nervous.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with new technology for downloading video.

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INSKEEP: The success of YouTube continues to attract new partnerships, and that's where we begin on this Monday as we focus on technology. Later this month, Apple TV users will be able to access YouTube through a streaming set top box. And Real Networks has also announced the next version of its media player. There's a feature that could bring legal issues for YouTube and its parent company, Google. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL: YouTube allows anyone to watch a video online by streaming it. The new Real Player technology will let users keep a copy of the video on their hard drives. The big media companies are already pretty sensitive about what shows up on YouTube. The site is already being sued by Viacom, which claims that YouTube isn't doing enough to keep its copyrighted material off the site, and this latest development could make other media companies nervous.

Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the other issue is that YouTube's service agreement prohibits users from downloading video.

Mr. JASON SCHULTZ (Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation): So this does raise a question of whether YouTube will claim that Real is helping people violate its terms of service.

SYDELL: Officials at YouTube and Google claim they are working hard to develop technology that will filter out copyrighted material from the site. Analysts say this latest technological development with Real Player may put more pressure on the company to get that technology out there soon. Real Networks says it's honoring copyright concerns. Users won't be able to record shows from sites that use copyright protection technologies. Both Apple and Real Player's new services are coming later this month.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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