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MySpace to Test Video-Filtering Technology

The popular online hangout MySpace said Monday it will experiment with a video-filtering system designed to block clips containing copyright materials.

MySpace is licensing technology from Audible Magic, which late last year obtained rights to a system for scanning video clips and looking for signature vectors -- such as a unique digital fingerprint -- to compare with vectors stored in a database. Video can be blocked from appearing on MySpace when there is a match.

The video system supplements audio filtering MySpace already has in place to block unauthorized music uploads.

In the video-filtering pilot, MySpace said it would block unauthorized music videos and other clips containing Universal Music Group's music, while still allowing the Vivendi unit and its artists to circulate promotional audio and video they authorize. MySpace, a unit of News Corp. , said the tools would be available for free to other content owners as well.

"MySpace is dedicated to ensuring that content owners, whether large or small, can both promote and protect their content in our community," Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement. "For MySpace, video filtering is about protecting artists and the work they create."

The ability to post video on the site is among the features MySpace offers to encourage visitors to expand their circle of friends and share hobbies and other interests.

MySpace and other video-sharing sites such as Google Inc.'s YouTube long have had policies to remove copyright materials, but generally do so only after receiving a complaint from the copyright holder. Users can easily repost the same clip to the sites under a different, free account. If Audible Magic's technology works as promised, MySpace would be able to block any such attempts to repost material already identified as unauthorized.

MySpace officials say the latest offering was unrelated to Universal Music's federal lawsuit in November, accusing MySpace of illegally encouraging its users to share music and music videos on the site without permission. That lawsuit remains pending and seeks unspecified damages, including up to $150,000 for each unauthorized music video or song posted on the site.

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