Video-sharing site YouTube Inc. may start paying users for their content, the company's cofounder said in a video displayed on the site.
"In terms of paying users revenue against content they're uploading, we're definitely going to move in that direction," said Chad Hurley, YouTube's cofounder and chief executive, in a video that appears to be shot during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
He did not offer details about how much users might be able to earn or on what basis they might be paid.
YouTube wanted to build a large enough community before beginning to pay users for their content, he said. "We didn't want to build a system that was motivated by monetary reward. When you start giving money to people from day one... the people you do attract will just switch to the next provider that's paying more," he said. "We feel we're at the scale now that we'll be able to do that and still have a true community around video."
The system might work such that a video creator who sets a video against music could share revenue with the record label that owns the copyright on the music.
YouTube has said that it is developing an audio fingerprinting technology that will allow it to identify songs used in videos displayed on the site and enable labels to claim the music and earn revenue from it, he said.
Once that technology is in place, labels will be able to earn revenue on videos that people make of their travels, for example, that are set to music and shared on the site. "With our platform, they'll have the market opportunity to generate revenue against that material," he said. "It's opening up a new market that didn't exist before."
Hurley doesn't describe how the video creator might earn money off that video, but potentially, the record labels could share that revenue with the video creators.
YouTube announced last year, the day before Google Inc. acquired the company, that it was working on a system with several record labels that would allow users to license content from the labels for use in their videos. The record companies and YouTube also agreed to share advertising revenue from music videos displayed on YouTube.
YouTube has run into trouble with other content owners who are unhappy that they aren't being compensated for their copyright material that is displayed on YouTube. Last week, YouTube received a subpoena from News Corp.'s Fox television unit seeking information regarding videos of television programs that appear on YouTube.