Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 04/14/2011

YouTube tackles copyright infringement with ‘Copyright School’

(By Richard Vogel/Associated Press)
Strikes on your record for violating the law. Mandatory education for breaking the law. YouTube is starting to look a lot like the DMV. In its continued quest to clamp down on copyright violaters, YouTube has introduced “Copyright School,” to educate users found to be uploading copyrighted material.

Google, the parent company of YouTube, has faced increasing criticism for not doing enough to fight violaters. It’s already faced one lengthy lawsuit filed by Viacom, and regulators at the House Intellectual Property subcommittee questioned the company on its practices to remove unauthorized content from the site.

For YouTube accounts that are found to violate a copyright law, YouTube issues one strike against the account. After three strikes, the account is blocked. Violators can now attend the online school to wipe the strike off its account.

The school consists of watching a 4:39-minute film that appeals presumably to its younger audience. The video shows the trials and tribulations of Russel the pirate as he attempts to upload videos to the site, risks a “banning for life” by putting a band’s content online and learns the best solution is to create his own content.

When the video gets to the sticky legalese at the heart of the matter — copyright law — the narrator speed reads through it to get back to the jokey material of Russell shooting himself out of a cannon. Then, violators must take a four-question quiz on copyright law.

Whether it will help teach users to stop uploading unauthorized content remains to be seen, but it is a clear indication that copyright infringement is becoming an increasing focus of the video-sharing site.

See Russell in action below:

By  |  11:47 AM ET, 04/14/2011

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