The letter, sent on Monday by Jasrac, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers and 22 others, called on the operator of the popular website to do more to prevent users uploading copyrighted content. In part it called on YouTube to take a proactive approach to preventing such uploads rather than waiting for copyright holders to send in complaints.
"We have received the letter and are reviewing it," the company said in a statement sent by email. "Meanwhile we will continue to provide content companies in Japan and elsewhere with tools to easily notify us of unauthorised uses of their content so we can promptly remove it, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
The company also said it would continue current efforts, which include the deletion of accounts of repeat infringers and the limiting of uploaded videos to 10 minutes to avoid entire TV shows and movies being posted to the site.
YouTube currently deals with copyright infringement issues by asking rights holders to send complaints in written form by post, email or fax with details of the clips claimed to infringed copyright and other documents. The Japanese rights holders are calling for YouTube to create an alternative to this procedure that would in-part use technology to identify infringing clips as they are uploaded or published.
In late October YouTube deleted almost 30,000 video clips on receipt of a complaint from Jasrac, which was acting on behalf of 23 Japanese content companies. However deficiencies in YouTube's screening process were clear. The same day that Jasrac announced the clips had been removed, the site was already hosting new clips from TV networks that were party to the original complaint.
Complaints inside Japan about YouTube have grown in recent months as the site has increased in popularity here despite not being available with a Japanese-language interface.