Viacom Warns Bloggers: Post Clips Of The Daily Show And We'll Sue [Update: Or Not!]

from the fair-use? dept

Update: A comment from someone at Viacom says that The Hollywood Reporter got this story wrong. He correctly noted that we accidentally called their PR guy a lawyer (fixed), but now says that the quote is not about suing, even though that certainly seems to be the implication from the quote. Perhaps I'm missing something. However, Viacom now says:
We have always tried to be as permissive as possible when looking at what might be fair use, and we haven't changed our approach at all. Frankly, fair use works for us. I can't recall a time we've ever sued a blogger for the use of a Comedy Central clip, and there's no reason to believe that would be more likely to today.
That's an interesting quote from a company suing YouTube for a billion dollars for a lot of fair use clips (including some that Viacom itself uploaded), but ok. We'll take it at face value. Now, here's the original post:
Viacom owns Comedy Central and its hit program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The show makes frequent use of fair use exceptions in copyright to show TV clips from other TV stations as part of the show. But apparently, Viacom and its lawyers think that fair use is only okay for big studios. With the news that Viacom is pulling The Daily Show and The Colbert Report off of Hulu in favor of its own sites, a Viacom lawyer PR guy threatened to sue any bloggers that posted unauthorized clips of the show. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter if it would go after bloggers posting clips, Viacom responded:
"Yes, we intend to do so," says PR rep Tony Fox. "My feeling is if (websites) are making money on our copyrighted content, then that is a problem."
Now, it's true that the video players that each of these shows use on their own official sites do allow for embedding -- but they also have limits (and the player is definitely clunky). But, in response to Mr. Fox, isn't The Daily Show making money off of other's copyrighted content? Why isn't that a problem?

It's really rather disgusting to see big studios like Viacom pretend that fair use only exists when it's in their favor.

Filed Under: bloggers, colbert report, copyright, fair use, the daily show
Companies: viacom

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  1. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 4 Mar 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Woohoo!

    I am already short on a lot of media companies. I am going long when ACTA and the UKs digital economy bill get signed for the small rise, and then short again as it does nothing to stop the problem of copyright infringement. Whats neat is we have a couple years to make money on the short side as the individual sectors music, news papers, books, video all cave in and implode. Since this is a staggered collapse, each sector will fail at a different time.

    You should also look at the secondary industries that will be affected by the signings of ACTA and the UK's DEB.

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