Online video emporium YouTube is to test a new video identification technology in cahoots with TimeWarner and Disney. It hopes the new technology will absolve it of future lawsuits, since it is designed to recognise copyrighted content that has been uploaded without permission.

The clever technology recognises so-called 'video fingerprints' - unique attributes in each clip. The offending material could then be studied and removed completely, or left on the site. The move was revealed in an interview between YouTube strategy executives and news agency Reuters .

If studios decide to leave their material on the site it could benefit them through advertising revenue-share deals.

Chris Maxcy, YouTube's partner development director, also added that Google has been trialling an audio version of the technology alongside record labels.