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Japanese group urges crackdown by YouTube

TOKYO -- A Japanese entertainment group has asked the popular video-sharing site YouTube Inc. to implement a system to prevent users from uploading videos that would infringe copyrights, a group spokesman said yesterday.

The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers sent a letter making the request addressed to YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies, according to Takashi Fujii, a spokesman for the group.

Most videos posted on YouTube are homemade, but the site also features copyrighted material posted by individual users.

YouTube's policy has been to remove clips that infringe copyright after it receives complaints, but questions have continued to linger about the site's vulnerability to legal claims for distributing content owned by other media.

Last month, YouTube -- recently acquired by Google Inc. -- deleted nearly 30,000 files after the Japanese group complained of copyright infringement.

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