Late last week, the news broke that someone (most likely at Comedy Central or Viacom) had begun asking YouTube to take down video clips from its shows, such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and South Park. This was a bit surprising due to previous comments from the producers of those shows, as well as the way they seemed to embrace the internet (and YouTube specifically). Mark Glaser, over at PBS's MediaShift has written an open letter to Stephen Colbert, pointing out the many times he seems to have embraced the internet, and asking him to do what he can to get these shows back on YouTube. However, he has a few updates to the letter that bring up some interesting points. The first explains (perhaps) why many of the videos are still online, noting that it appears only videos over 5 minutes long have been removed, while shorter clips have remained. The second point is that this is almost definitely a negotiating tactic by Viacom. Similar to the companies that hinted at future lawsuits just as they were negotiating with YouTube, Viacom is likely using this to put pressure on Google/YouTube to cough up a better deal for them. It's something of a warning shot, to say: "Look, we can take down all these videos, and you wouldn't want that at all, would you? So why not cough up a little more cash in this deal and we'll all be happy?" Update: It looks like Viacom has agreed to let some videos back on the site as they finalize some sort of deal.
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