Reports over the weekend had YouTube starting to pull Comedy Central clips from its video-sharing site, citing copyright infringement concerns. Add to that news of an announcement later today where MySpace will announce a partnership with Gracenote to block copyrighted music from being posted on member's pages.
The NewsCloud site reported that YouTube users were receiving e-mails from someone representing Comedy Central, and the service began removing clips from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," "The Colbert Report" and "South Park." The New York Times wrote about it today.
It isn't clear how far along this process has gone. Last night I found hundreds of clips with Stewart and Colbert on the service. I'm awaiting a reply from the YouTube legal trust. Meanwhile, here's one theory of what's happening - a video theory for those tired of reading, by a YouTuber who received the legal letter on Friday.
This blocking of videos follows the removal a week before of almost 30,000 Japanese clips at the request of copyright holders.
In a post entitled, "Shooting Your Fans In The Foot," the Windy Pundit questioned the wisdom of pulling the Stewart and Colbert clips:
I can understand the case for South Park. They sell the South Park seasons on DVD. As I write, the 8th season is in the top 200 of all DVDs sold on Amazon. If all the best parts of South Park are available free on YouTube, who will buy the DVDs?
But when it comes to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, are they insane? What else are they going to do with the old episodes? It's current events television. Nobody wants to even watch last year's episodes on TV, let alone buy DVDs full of the stuff. Amazon has only one listing for Daily Show DVDs, and that's for the Indecision 2004 Special
This move, wrote Lost Remote, will be seen by many as the first shoe to drop in YouTubes's new Google existence. Google acquired the video-sharing site for $1.65 billion earlier this month.
Lost Remote observed:
Both shows havent had an issue with YouTube, well, at least before the Google acquisition. In fact, the Colbert Report has used YouTube in its green screen challenge. And Stephen Colbert has mentioned the site so many times on the air, he recently joked that he was owed $700 million in licensing fees. YouTube has been thriving with Comedy Central content probably the most widespread TV brand on the site so this will be the most noticeable content removal to date. And its interesting to point out that Comedy Central a Viacom unit appears not to be going along with CBS strategy of forming a strategic partnership with YouTube.
Techcrunch asks if this development will stop network marketers from stealthily planting videos on YouTube to spread buzz:
Rumor has it that in the past, marketing departments for TV shows would anonymously upload content to YouTube to get exposure, even while their legal departments were issuing take-down notices for the very same content. Now that everyone understands the value of being the online network for TV clips ($1.65 billion), copyright holders are taking a step back and thinking about how they can get a piece of that money, too.
While it would be way premature to start preparing obits for YouTube, it isn't too soon to watch the Idolator blog's Video Eulogy to the good old days of Chinese boy-bands, fighting kitties and synchronized treadmill dancers.