Music Licensing Rights Hindering Hulu As Well

from the live-by-copyright,-die-by-copyright dept

The main backers of the online video site Hulu, NBC Universal and News Corp., are two of the stronger supporters of our copyright system, and have, at times, been known to push to make it even more stringent in order to "protect" their works. So, it's interesting to see them discovering that draconian copyright rules can come back and bite them as well. We were just covering some of the problems various TV shows have had being put on DVD due to licensing problems, and now it appears those same problems are making it difficult to get some shows up on Hulu -- despite the fact producers would like those shows online.

One of our readers, named Mark, wrote in to let us know that he and his wife had been watching the old TV show The Pretender on Hulu, when they realized that some of the episodes were simply missing (including the entire final season). He wrote to Hulu to ask why, and was told:
"Thank for letting us know that some episodes from The Pretender appear to be missing from our lineup. Individual episodes are sometimes held up due to rights issues, quite often related to music used in the show - and that's the case this time - some of the music in episodes 17 and 18 couldn't be cleared for online streaming. We'll continue to request them from our content partner, but at this time we can't offer them though we'd love to."
It's still difficult to understand why we would ever design copyright law and licensing policy in this manner. After all, having certain songs included in a TV show is never going to hurt the commercial viability of a song.

Filed Under: hulu, licensing
Companies: hulu


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Peter Kafka, 28 Jan 2009 @ 9:57am

    Yup. This doesn't just apply to Hulu, of course - any site that puts up TV content has this problem. More often a problem with older series. But it's not always music rights - sometimes it's an issue with clearance from the talent - a guest star on an episode of a sitcom, etc.
    Has nothing to do with why you can't see Hulu in the UK. That has to do with the fact that TV and Web rights are assigned on a country by country basis. So Hulu can't show you its stuff in the UK until its worked out issues with BBC and other networks there.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.