Making YouTube Safe For Stephen Colbert Again

from the what-will-happen? dept

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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Comments on “Making YouTube Safe For Stephen Colbert Again”

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18 Comments
misanthropic humanist says:

a very mild position

Insomuch as it’s reasonable to believe that information may be property, and it’s reasonable to expect to be able control and make demands about how people dispose of information you’ve already irrevocably released into the universe, then Mr Colbert is a reasonable man. Reasonable in straight comparison to the other barking, foamy mouthed proponents of “intellectual property”. I mean, 5 minutes is
plenty long enough for a “clip”.

Jo Mamma says:

You down wit IP... yeah you know me

I’m afraid I agree with the humanist dude, assuming I understand what the hell he said.

5 mins is plenty to get a laugh at a good skit… they shouldn’t really be putting entire shows up there in the current framework. However, I happen to believe the framework is changing and we’ll be seeing these sorts of shows on youtube in their full glory sooner, rather than later.

A chicken passeth by says:

Actually, with Youtube’s forced compression ratio – it’s not about “how many 5 minutes. Before the Japanese animation houses demand their stuff was taken down, people were loading up entire episodes – with each FULL episode taking 3 submissions.

(Some are still there – and there ARE western cartoons as well. Try searching for Sam and Max).

Each episode of a cartoon is approximately 20-30 minutes in length.

TW Burger says:

Vex, sighs and video rape

If the owner of a intellectual property wishes that item not to be considered, by law, in the public domain then a unlicensed posting of even a small clip (on the Internet or other media) must be protested by the owner. Knowing of a breach of copyright and not protesting is considered silent approval in law. Therefore, intellectual property must be guarded by the owners and the owner’s agents.

Steven Cobert is smart, talented and uber cool and does embrace the Internet and the popularity it can summon. However the Colbert Report producers and lwawyers are expected to be the total dicks that they are and protect his hard earned interests.

Look at it this way: Say that you worked very hard to earn money and save up for a new car. You buy the car and everyone admires how nice it is and wants one too. Then someone decides that because the car is on the public roads its public property and they should be able to break into it a drive it too. Wouldn’t you want someone to kick that butthole’s ass and get your car back? This is why we pay taxes that hire police and this is why you can not allow anyone to post your stuff on the Web without your say so.

Personally, I think allowing small clips on YouTube is a great promotional vehicle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Vex, sighs and video rape

“If the owner of a intellectual property wishes that item not to be considered, by law, in the public domain then a unlicensed posting of even a small clip (on the Internet or other media) must be protested by the owner. Knowing of a breach of copyright and not protesting is considered silent approval in law. Therefore, intellectual property must be guarded by the owners and the owner’s agents.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. That only applies to trademarks. A company that doesn’t protect its trademark loses it (e.g., 386 and aspirin). A company can ignore as many or as few copyright or patent violations as it wishes without legally losing either.

Anonymous Bosch says:

Re: Re: Vex, sighs and video rape

“A company that doesn’t protect its trademark loses it (e.g., 386 and aspirin).”

You chose bad examples.

386 was lost because the courts ruled that you couldn’t trademark a number. Otherwise Intel would still be marketing under the x86 trademarks.

Aspirin lost its tradmark when America took it from Bayer after WW2 after kicking Nazi Germany’s butt all over Europe.

A chicken passeth by says:

“Then someone decides that because the car is on the public roads its public property and they should be able to break into it a drive it too. Wouldn’t you want someone to kick that butthole’s ass and get your car back? This is why we pay taxes that hire police and this is why you can not allow anyone to post your stuff on the Web without your say so.”

Why does everyone use this analogy?

I think the correct analogy to use here is:
“The person wants your car. He has the materials AND know-how to make an exact copy of the car. You get to keep car, he gets the car he wants. Except that you’re no longer happy because your car’s no longer exclusive.”

This is DATA, EASILY COPIED/RIPPED/SAVED we’re talking about anyway – not a physical product.

MOJO says:

Advertising model instead

The companies that buy advertising (product placement etc) in the shows that are being put on YouTube are probably getting “free advertising” every time the show is viewed online. Therefore, the owners of the shows could instead charge additional advertising costs based on number of downloads etc analogous to the way Google and other online services charge for their advertising space. That way the networks could remain “free” (except that advertising costs to add to the cost of products in the long run). It should be recognised that if YouTube becomes over-regulated, there will be a YouTube2…. etc.

Tack (user link) says:

Actually...

Somebody mentioned the compression ratio used on Youtube, and I think that’s an important point to make here. One of the very few reasons left to buy music CDs is because the quality is superior to, for example, what you could get with a radio tuner card and a good antenna. (Yes, just going straight to MP3s is better, but often songs get released first over radio and aren’t out on CD until several days or weeks later, and it’s nice to be able to record an advance copy yourself). In this case, what you’re paying for with the CD option isn’t the content itself so much as it is the quality at which you get that content, as well as the ability to play it “at will” rather than waiting on a DJ to get around to it. You’re basically paying for convenience.

I think this same concept could apply to Google Video. Google (if nobody has noticed) sells full, higher quality versions of both full movies and TV shows. Often times those same movies have a free one on GV. The difference is that one just looks a lot better. Sure, the jokes are just as funny either way, but there are times when you’d like to be sure they blurred Stephen Colbert’s finger out, and it’s not just a quality issue. I think that if GV was to both sell full, high quality versions of the shows, and also allow full length, low quality versions to be uploaded by users (though as I’ve said earlier, not with the commercials edited out) then probably 20% or more of people would buy the higher quality version (perhaps out of guilt, or perhaps just because they like higher quality stuff and are an AV Equipment Guru) – and that’s 20% more than they’d sell otherwise.

n00b says:

Jon Stewart disagrees with you

Sorry, but Jon Stewart doesn’t embrace everyone throwing the content from his show onto YouTube.

In an interview with Wired magazine in September 2005, Mr. Stewart explained his view: “We get an opportunity to produce this stuff because they make enough money selling beer that it’s worth their while to do it. I mean, we know that’s the game. I’m not suggesting we’re going to beam it out to the heavens, man, and whoever gets it, great. If they’re not making their money, we ain’t doing our show.”

Whitey says:

deleting clips

All I can say is this, if I go to YouTube and can only find tiny clips (often under 1 minute) then I’ll be looking for another community site. I went looking for a band’s video the other day and there were 5 clips that were 30 secs or less and 1 4:30 minute clip. And guess what, when I went to view it said it was removed. If They can’t delete the cips and update the search index at the same time..that’s just plain sloppy… and they’ll just have fewer patrons as a result.

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