YouTube to make stronger international presence

Posted by Mark Raby

San Bruno (CA) - YouTube has announced plans to create localized versions of the site for eight different countries, increasing its global standing but also opening itself to more controversy.

YouTube made the announcement today in Europe, where it said it will create specialized versions of the video sharing site for the UK, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Japan, and Brazil.

The new international sites will feature text in the respective country's national language and will highlight videos submitted by native users.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen said that most of the hits received on YouTube.com are from people outside the United States.  The site is already filled with clips from around the world with numerous languages represented.

This has caused a seemingly endless barrage of legal questions from different countries, as the US-based website tries to adhere to different laws in foreign nations.  Beefing up its international presence will mean stronger attention to local laws.

YouTube's parent company Google is still facing a $1 billion lawsuit from Viacom over copyright infringement.  The suit, filed early this year, blasts YouTube for allowing users to post its copyrighted content.  Viacom-owned programs like The Daily Show can still be found on the site, including clips that are still around from before the lawsuit was filed.

YouTube has also gotten involved in foreign diplomatic affairs, as clips from users insulting roalty, a federal offense in some nations, posed a difficult legal issue.