An anonymous reader writes "A year before the major movie companies were offered the chance by YouTube to 'block, monetize or track' uploaded copyrighted material, studios such as Disney were already commissioning PR companies to create bogus YouTube users — complete with authentically 'trendy' semi-literate user-profiles, on accounts that appeared to be set up by young and 'edgy' teenagers. These faux 'users' were able to post high-definition videos from copyrighted movies without being penalised or impeded by YouTube's Content ID algorithms, and their posts, deliberately crammed with piracy-related search terms and timed (even to the day, in one case) to coincide with related DVD and Blu-ray releases, sometimes accrue a million and a half hits or more, whilst those of genuine YouTube uploaders fall at the site's Content ID firewall. This article looks at how the major studios have reacted to YouTube in the last four years, and also examines in-depth three such examples of apparent 'astroturfing' involving the theatrical or disc releases of Toy Story 2, Speed Racer and Spider-Man 3."
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