With a view to halting the plethora of copyright cases and complaints brought against YouTube, Google will soon offer anti-piracy technology for copyright holders to prevent their content being shown on the site.

Google has been heavily criticised for seeming to be willing to take action over copyright infringement only when they have an existing content agreement with the content owners.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said that this was a priority for Google:

“We are definitely committed to (copyright protection technologies), it is one of the company’s highest priorities. It is going to roll out very soon… It is not far away”

When Viacom backed out of talks with Google and demanded the removal of 100,000 of its clips, it cited Google’s reluctance to deal with the copyright issue as the reason for their actions. Meanwhile, Viacom has just jumped into bed with Joost, providing Google – and other media owners – with food for thought.

Today’s news comes soon after Microsoft announced that it would be testing a content filtering system to prevent unauthorised content being uploaded onto MySpace.

In fairness to Google, such content filtering technology does require the co-operation of the copyright owner, as they would need to provide a ‘signature’ so that MySpace/YouTube can build up a database of material to filter out.

Meanwhile, the BBC, having previously asked for its material to be removed from YouTube, is reported to be close to a deal with the video sharing site.