Eric Goldman, assistant professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, doesn't believe the DMCA requires a site such as YouTube to have a video ID system like this one.
Nevertheless, from a legal perspective, having this system could have both positive and negative consequences for Google if the case goes to trial, he said.
For example, the plaintiffs could try to use the system's existence against Google by arguing that it proves Google could have done more in the past to prevent and combat infringement.
Along those lines, the plaintiffs could also identify cases of infringement the system fails to identify -- once it is fully implemented -- and then argue that Google built it poorly and thus should take responsibility for the copyright violations.
On the other hand, Google could present the system as an example that it is going beyond what the law requires in order to do the right thing and try to get the judge to find its efforts laudable, Goldman said.
In practice, the system's efficacy depends on the willingness of video content owners to cooperate with the effort and submit their TV shows, movies and other material to Google for inclusion in the repository.
On a broader scale, Goldman believes the case is ripe for a settlement. "It makes no sense for these parties to be litigating in court," he said. "There are many ways they could work together that would be mutually beneficial."