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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
YouTube makes international move
By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

Browser showing YouTube
YouTube has announced nine new versions of its service
YouTube has announced international versions of its web video service.

The video site, owned by Google, has launched nine versions across Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Each site is translated into local languages and has country-specific video rankings and comments.

"Video is universal and allows people around the world to communicate and exchange ideas," said Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder.

We want to create a YouTube experience that is a local experience
Steve Chen, YouTube co-founder

"Our mission is to entertain, inform and empower the world through video."

More localised versions of YouTube will be rolled out this year.

More than half of all viewers on YouTube were now from outside the US, Mr Hurley added.

YouTube has also unveiled content partners around the world, including deals with France 24, Antena 3 in Spain, European football clubs such as AC Milan, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as organisations such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

"We want to create a YouTube experience that is a local experience," said Steve Chen, the service's other co-founder.

"It's not just about translating, it also about creating content unique to certain countries."

Legal threats

YouTube is now stressing its credentials as a platform not just for user-generated content but also for professional broadcaster and advertisers.

The company says it has more than 1,000 global partners, with more than 150 deals signed in Europe since March.

Mr Hurley said: "We respect copyright and we want to create new revenue streams to create opportunities.

"We have been working with rights holders to help them leverage new audiences."

Despite the assurances, YouTube is facing widespread legal action from copyright holders over the use of material that is being uploaded by the site's users without permission.

Mr Hurley said only a small amount of material on YouTube was being shared without approval.

He added: "The majority is original created work. We are also working on tools to help stop this happen."

He declined to say, when asked, how much money Google had set aside to fight or settle pending and future legal battles.

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