Fox Goes Beyond YouTube Takedowns; Subpoenas YouTube For Info On Uploaders

from the taking-it-up-a-notch dept

While TV networks like CBS have realized that people watching clips of their shows on YouTube actually is a good thing that helps increase the regular viewers of the show, apparently that lesson hasn’t rubbed off on Fox. Rather than learning to embrace a new distribution tool, and going beyond the traditional “takedown notices” that other networks have sent, Fox’s “piracy czar” has subpoenaed YouTube to find out more info about whoever is uploading episodes of “24” and “The Simpsons.” The subpoena, of course, carries the typical legal blurbage about how these uploads have caused “irreparable harm.” Of course, it’s tough to believe that’s actually true. Beyond the evidence of CBS’s experience, it seems pretty unlikely that anyone would watch a show like 24 entirely on YouTube, avoiding it on a TV — and, if they were, it’s unlikely that they’re the sort of audience advertisers care very much about. If anything, it seems like the clips are much more likely to encourage non-watchers to get into either show and get them thinking about watching it on TV or recording it on a DVR. But, no matter, apparently Fox wants to sue those responsible for helping them promote their shows.

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Comments on “Fox Goes Beyond YouTube Takedowns; Subpoenas YouTube For Info On Uploaders”

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Paul says:

I'd like to see the demographics

YouTube is an internaitonal service, meaning that people like who live outside of the US can get to see these shows before they reach foreign networks. However, Fox doesn’t get advertising revenue from these networks, so assuming that overall viewing figures overseas justify the distribution rights, Fox probably lose nothing from a large number of YouTube viewers anyway. Not to mention that if I like a season of a show, I’ll buy it on DVD, ultimately giving Fox more money in the long run….

Sanguine Dream says:

The first thing I would do

if I were the judge presiding one of these suits in which some corporate entity is going to court for “irreparable harm” is demand that they prove this harm. I mean if my company is suffering losses to the point where I think I should go to court for them the least I can do is prove such losses and harm are real.

I am so sick of cases from these companies that start off whining about “significant loses, irreparable harm, lost revenue…” Even if they prove the sales or the number of viewers has dropped, couldn’t that just mean that your product/show sucks?

Meatshield says:

New business

I got into Heroes recently, and I ONLY got into it in the first place because I could watch the old episodes online. I didn’t have to wait for a marathon to tape or anything like that. All I had to do was watch a 2 minute commercial at the beginning of each episode and a 30 second clip in between sections.

That shows you that there is a legal means to stop piracy. I don’t have any need to try to find a hosted torrent and thus pirate the first season to find out what happened. And for the record I’m too cheap to buy the DVDs.

CBS gets major points for embracing a new way to show content that can be just as effective at hooking in new audience members as playing re-run marathons.

Fox should wake up and smell the digital coffee.

Carlo says:

Fox is dumb

Fox why wouldn’t you take CBS is view on this and encourage people to watch stuff on Youtube. You are taking away a great advirtiseing tool for you thats free to you. Ask your selfs why? Just because people post episodes before they even air doesn’t make it a bad thing. Just think you just lost a ton of money on this !!!!! Now people will pirate your stuff

Los says:

Wake up Fox

Yea im withe the guy that is watching heroes. One of my coworkers at work watches heroes while at work to pass the time but he watches the episodes at home on his 61″ screen. I walked past his cubicle and saw what he was watching and got hooked on Heroes I went home and put it on my TiVo. If I would not of seen it on his pc I would not watch it something named heroes just didnt make me wanna watch it. But now that I saw it on a pc through a site like YOU TUBE!!! Im hooked. WAKE UP FOX!!!!

Enrico Suarve says:

uTube helps Fox keep viewers

I love Fox – they are one of the quintesential bad guys and its so much easier having figureheads to focus hatred of corporate America on

I just hope they end up sueing some little old lady from Utah – it’d just make the whole thing so much more perfect somehoe

As for the damage, loss of monies etc there another thing they haven’t factored in. Usually with shows like 24 etc if I miss a few episodes I stop watching promising myself i’ll just watch the rerun or but the DVD or similar. I never do and I know plenty like me

Fact is when I can watch the missing episodes on uTube (which lets face it is less than ideal quality wise) I end up with a much greater chance of watching a series all the way through and being advertised to…

OK I am in the UK and don’t have Fox itself but I bet the same principle holds

Anonymous Coward says:

The same here. The Office, 24 and Heroes are some of the series I first noticed on the net, then on my TV. The reason is simple. I work until very late and when I go home I have no time for TV, so I have no means besides the Net to get to know what’s happening on the TV.

Oh and yeah, I skip the commercials on my DVR, so the commercials complaint is over the top.

Fox and it’s geriatric way of thinking is going to cost them later.
BTW people, please check this out:

Pay attention says:

Do you even read the articles?

Come on, do some reading here everyone. Someone, somehow, put up the entire episodes of the shows before they actually aired. Does anyone actually take the time to read what the article is discussing anymore? Or do you just take at face value what the blogger has to say?

These weren’t clips…they were entire episodes made available before they were aired…big difference.

DAm says:

Re: Do you even read the articles?

Apparently few people do.

This is not a minor issue, there appears to be someone on the inside releasing episodes before they should. If you have to ask what’s the damage – it’s decreased ad revenue.

Simple as that.

If thousands of viewers aren’t watching the program on TV, the ratings fall and advertisers pay less.

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: Do you even read the articles?

From what I can tell the link given does not mention that the episodes were leaked before their primetime premire. The links given comment #12 talk about how they were released early.

And while I do agree that ad revenue could be lost why not just say that ad revenue was lost instead of the standard corporate lingo of “irreparable damage”?

And speaking of that article in the link:

Although I haven’t been in touch with News Corp yet, I assume YouTube didn’t remove the videos promptly enough, hence the official subpoena.

So they found the infringing content, ask to have it taken down and then they ASSUME it wasn’t taken down properly so they subpeonaed them for the info?

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: OK I found it

Thanks for the extra info – it does make more sense now

I think they may have something there then but I don’t see the need for all the extra language, they basically been the victims of clear cut theft in that case i’d have thought.

In such a case the authorities should assist them in finding the culprits and part of this would be ‘chasing down leads’? (sorry too much CSI)

I still get to hate Fox though don’t I? Please say I do

Geoff says:


Indeed it is about the airing of programming PRIOR to it’s being aired, which would or at least could cause serious damage to a program and programmer. Having said that, are these broadcasters and media companies so stupid that they don’t think people will do everything in their power to get this material first? Maybe Fox needs to look at their internal security systems a little more in depth? Fox is being pro-active in the war on piracy, but seemingly is doing nothing to prevent it from happening again. They made the show, they obviously made a copy of the available to someone minimally 6 days prior to it airing, did they figure that nothing bad would come of that? There are thousands of methods available to these companies that would allow them to prescreen their property to reviewers and such that would not put them in this predicament, why isn’t Fox looking at these alternatives?

I’ve said it in here in virtually every response I’ve ever posted on piracy, it’s not about the now, it’s about creativity and ensuring better standards in the future – that prevent the possibility of this occuring.

Jacco says:

Sue Caltrans for Traffic Offenders, just as dumb.

People break the law on the freeways by speeding, illegal lane changes and so on and so forth. Sueing YouTube for the names of the users is like sueing CalTrans for the names of the traffic offenders.
Why don’t we sue Fox for broadcasting offending material over the air. I want it blocked from penetrating my home.

AMP says:

Re: Sue Caltrans for Traffic Offenders, just as du

You don’t have to sue for the names of traffic offenders.
Their names (and all pertinant information) is printed right there on the ticket.
If You Tube posted the names of the uploaders on the clip, there would be no need for legal action.

“Why don’t we sue Fox for broadcasting offending material over the air. I want it blocked from penetrating my home.”
1. Who defines offending material? That is a slippery slope. VERY dangerous idea.
2. You already have the ability to block and material that you consider offending, V-chip, cabel companies parental controls etc.

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