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Why YouTube snubbed MSFT's copyright pact

Video sharing website YouTube has dismissed copyright enforcement proposals being outlined by Microsoft, Viacom, CBS and others. That's perhaps not surprising given that all of those company's have attacked YouTube in some way over the last few months

Serial copyright infringer YouTube has dissed guidelines issued yesterday that aim to cut copyright infringement on the web.

YouTube said industry-wide guidelines - such as those drawn up by Microsoft, MySpace, Viacom, CBS and Disney - were 'generally a bad idea'. This, YouTube says, is because it wants to "lead by example, and not detail practices for the entire industry." This echoes private comments previously made by Google, YouTube's parent company.

The User Generated Content Principles proposed by Microsoft and others have been drawn up to stop copyrighted content being illegally uploaded to websites for other to watch, listen to or download.

The five founding members of the pact say that video sharing and other websites should stop copyrighted material being uploaded in the first place, that they should warn uploaders if they infringe, and that they should also prominently display messages on their sites than warn users of their copyright terms.

Microsoft vs Google = FUD

This could be construed as a deliberate attack on YouTube, which has been variously attacked or sued by many of the members of the Microsoft-backed copyright pact.

Microsoft's presence is also unlikely to instill warm feelings towards the pact from Google, which was also conspicuous by its absence at yesterday's announcement.

That perhaps isn't surprising given a series of astonishing attacks on Google and YouTube by Microsoft in recent months. These have not only questioned Google's strength as a viable business, but also on its intellectual property strategy.

For evidence just look at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's comments on Google's decision to buy YouTube last October, where he said:

"The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google. So media companies around the world are all threatened by Google."

Ballmer this week also reiterated claims he made back in May that Google was a ' one-trick pony' which would perish within five years.