Stupid Copyright Licensing Tricks Strike Again: NBC Can't Show Viral SNL Pandora Intern Clip

from the but-the-rest-of-the-internet-can dept

Ah, stupid copyright licensing rules block perfectly normal activities yet again. This past weekend, Saturday Night Live ran a mildly amusing skit involving a power outage at internet streaming radio company, Pandora, in which an intern -- played by Bruno Mars -- has to step in and sing a variety of songs to keep the streams running. It's a slightly hacky trick to show off Mars' singing mimicry, but done pretty well. While NBC has had a somewhat ridiculous love/hate affair with putting SNL clips online. Over the past few years, it's finally realized that viral clips are an important promotional vehicle for the show. Yet... this clip is not online on NBC.com or Hulu, where SNL normally puts its clips... because (of course) music licensing online makes it an impossibility. The TV shows have licenses for TV broadcast, but they don't apply to internet streams (which is why you see some shows change out their music on Hulu). Yet, here, the clip doesn't work at all without the actual music.

Of course, this is the internet, so the clip was quickly uploaded all over the place, and while some of those sources have already seen it pulled down, others still seem to have it up. At the time of this posting, eBaum's World appears to have a working copy.
Of course, having now seen it, it would seem like there's a pretty strong parody defense claim if anyone argued they were infringing. Mars parodies many of the songs, changing or garbling the lyrics, which is a big part of the joke. But, of course, that would require NBC Universal to actually have the guts to fight in court for fair use -- and even just thinking that I think I heard some laughter coming from Rick Cotton's offices.

The end result, though, is nothing but stupidity. NBC doesn't get to show the clip more widely and get the promotional benefits. It also doesn't get the ad revenue that would have gone alongside its own hosted clips. Instead, other sites get the attention and the traffic.

Filed Under: bruno mars, copyright, internet streaming, licensing, snl
Companies: nbc universal


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 24 Oct 2012 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The rights holders do not acknowledge fair use unless it is proven in court.
    Another way of repeating what I said - as part of their brainwashing strategy they take hopeless cases to court.
    If they took other cases to court then other criteria would be used as defenses and would acquire the same status.


    Fair use is an "affirmative defense," something you assert when you answer copyright claims _after_ a suit has been filed.

    No - fair use is a reason why you are not breaking the law.

    ie the law says that fair use is legal.

    You are confusing the concept of a defence with the concept of a mitigating circumstance.

    Just because fair use can be used as a defence does not mean that it is "merely" a defence.

    Self defence is a defence to murder - but that does NOT mean that every case goes to court.

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
Shop Now: I Invented Email
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.