YouTube has rolled out long-awaited technology to detect copyrighted videos with the hope of avoiding more lawsuits from angry film and television studios.

Copyright owners must now upload their content to a Google database. The video content is then broken down into data points and analysed, so that any matching versions can be automatically identified.

YouTube product manager David King said that the technology cannot yet prevent copyrighted content from being uploaded, but it can pull flagged content off the site "in a matter of a few minutes".

The new filter tool works by not only letting the owners of copyrighted video block their material from appearing on YouTube, as well as options to sell ads around their material if they want the clips to stay on the site.

But a lawyer representing parties in a copyright infringement case against YouTube criticised the new filtering system as "wholly inadequate" and said: "It does nothing about the past and won't be enough to protect the future".