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NBC Erases SNL Sketch From Digital Archive For Fear of Copyright Lawsuit

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the nbc-plans-to-sue-nbc dept.

Music 128

M.Nunez writes with a tale of copyright woes. From the article: "The digital 'Saturday Night Live' archive does not feature a recent Bruno Mars sketch because it includes impersonations of pop singers and their chart-topping hits. Bruno Mars sings several songs that are not owned by NBC, so it can be presumed that the company refrained from uploading the sketch into its digital archive to avoid any legal issues. Convoluted music licensing laws have essentially erased the Bruno Mars sketch from the digital archives of SNL. In the short comedy sketch, Bruno Mars impersonates vocal performances by Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Louis Armstrong, and Michael Jackson. The sketch cannot be found on NBC.com or Hulu, as a short clip or in either full editions of the episode."

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128 comments

SAMURAI !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753823)

Cheeseburger !! Cheeseburger !! No Coke !! Pepsi !!

This is not new (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753833)

SNL regularly doesn't post sketches that involve music in some way. Even if they can defend themselves with fair use, a lawyer probably decided it's simply not worth the hassle for the ad revenue it generates.

Re:This is not new (1, Troll)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year and a half ago | (#41754003)

Is it a parody or a cover? Parodies are covered by fair use, covers are not.

Re:This is not new (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754183)

Parody. In the sketch, a bunch of songs are sung with the wrong words, but the station manager says it's ok because nobody knows those words anyway.

Re:This is not new (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#41754489)

How would this be applied to Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat Sings The Hits sketch? I mean, he kinda gets the words right, except in a heavily exaggerated accent.

So now copyright is the enemy of humor as well. There's not a lot to recommend IP protection any more.

Re:This is not new (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#41754935)

How would this be applied to Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat Sings The Hits sketch? I mean, he kinda gets the words right, except in a heavily exaggerated accent.

It is perfectly Otay!!

Re:This is not new (3, Informative)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#41755783)

No Lawyers are the enemy of humor. Corporations out to dominate the world and the people in it are the enemy of comedy. Fact is, these people are a threat to human expression, thought, and artistic self expression everywhere. We need to yank these clowns up short so hard their grandkids will feel the choke. Its time to dispense with these structures because their misuse and abuse by greedy scum sucking pigs has become a detriment to society at large. Or at least a MAJOR overhaul is called for. For certain we need to make nuisance suits expensive to those suing so they think twice.

Re:This is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41756139)

No, lawyers *are* the enemy of humor...

Re:This is not new (2)

AdamWill (604569) | about a year ago | (#41758101)

I don't know why anyone thinks this is news. Music rights have affected TV archive releases for years, because the industry agreements let TV shows do more on initial transmission than on re-broadcast (same way it's fine to cover someone else's songs live, but you'd have to pay to release a recording of the live show with the covers included). Everyone involved knows the rules and had a stake in negotiating them. I don't think anyone in TV is really pushing for any changes.

Re:This is not new (1)

kenj0418 (230916) | about a year ago | (#41758211)

I'd like to see that in court. "Your honor, 'Unce, tice, fee tynes a maybe' is clearly a derivitive work and violates my clients copyright"

Re:This is not new (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754199)

How can you parody something as trivial as pop music. It's already a caricature.

I guess Bruno Mars' 15 minutes of fame will have come from a compilation of someone else's work from some other genre. That or royalties will have be paid.

Boo fucking Hoo.

Re:This is not new (1)

sapgau (413511) | about a year ago | (#41758195)

It was definitely a parody as he was exaggerating his voice and jaw movements when reaching high notes.
It did prove what a great voice he has... other than that is your typical long repetitive SNL sketch.

Done in two. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754079)

SNL regularly doesn't post sketches that involve music in some way. Even if they can defend themselves with fair use, a lawyer probably decided it's simply not worth the hassle for the ad revenue it generates.

When making business decisions - and ALL media is a business - taking the advice of the JDs is factored in.

Another example is the folks who cave to patent Trolls. Spend $2million plus to defend their legal rights or cave for much less - it's good for them but bad for the population in general - yeah, argue "the pulbic good" to their investors. Good luck with that.

What JD also stands for (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#41755245)

taking the advice of the JDs is factored in.

Isn't it telling that Juris Doctor has the same initials as juvenile delinquent?

Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (1)

xjerky (128399) | about a year ago | (#41754241)

So THAT's the reason! I've been looking at SNL's archive on Netflix and sat there perplexed about certain classic sketches not being included - one of my favorite Christopher Walken sketches is "Stalk Talk" - but for some reason it wasn't on the Best of Walken DVD and stricken from Netflix. It starts off with a portion of The Police's "Every Move You Make". Thank God I still have a crappy rip of it from one of my old VHS tapes from when it first aired. Otherwise I'd have to question whether or not it ever truly existed!

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (1)

xjerky (128399) | about a year ago | (#41754329)

Replying to myself, but speaking of Walken, everyone knows the "cowbell" sketch, which heavily features Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper". I guess NBC felt that that skit was classic enough to keep paying the royalties on that song.

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#41754513)

Well that and the fact that the band found the sketch very funny and have on a number of occasions stated their approval of it.

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41755097)

At this point, you should ask who owns those rights... I'm betting it isn't BoC.

Regardless if the band wants X (rights specific), they typically aren't in the position to do it.

Reasons for label to acquiesce (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#41755341)

At this point, you should ask who owns those rights... I'm betting it isn't BoC.

There are good reasons for a record label or a music publisher to acquiesce. One is that with Internet alternatives to the major labels gaining momentum, major labels will soon have to compete with other infrastructure for bands' loyalty. So it would be unwise for the labels to do anything that makes labels in general look abrasive and inconsiderate.

Re:Reasons for label to acquiesce (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#41755827)

Oh yeah, if labels were for instance to condone the abomination of legal ass rape of people who shared music files, just as an example, it would show them in a very poor light indeed.

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#41754995)

Same reason that we'll likely NEVER see the original, uncut, unedited versions of the classic TV show WKRP in Cincinnati [wikipedia.org] ...

:(

"When everyone is out to get you....

...paranoid, is just.......good thinking!!"

-Dr. Johnny Fever

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#41755075)

They can air the original versions in TV syndication, just not in any home distributions or Internet uses. I'm hoping for it to get picked up by a no-name cable channel, and I'll capture them all myself.

I own and have ripped the DVD set with the overdubbed music, and I'd love to replace them one-by-one with better versions.

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#41755185)

They can air the original versions in TV syndication, just not in any home distributions or Internet uses. I'm hoping for it to get picked up by a no-name cable channel, and I'll capture them all myself.

If I recall, that isn't actually true, sadly.

I think maybe WGN, a long time ago...still had rights to show the mostly original episodes with original music (although I think they had been cut in content for time for more commercials, but not for copyright)..but I believe that too expired quite awhile back.

I've seen in recent years (within the past 7 years or so, I think Nick and night had them) along with other channels...and they ALL had the fake, overdubbed music, or had whole actual scenes taken out rather than overdub them with cheap music.

Sad, one of my favorite shows of all time.

I found awhile back...on USENET, someone has posted digital copies from VHS with pretty much all of the episodes that appeared to be largely intact...I got copies of some of them.

If I had the time, I'd do a 'labor of love' project...get the DVD's, and mix them with old copies to replace entire cut scenes...and then dub the original music back in....I actually OWN most of the soundtrack to the original as broadcast WKRP's....

:)

Re:Ohhhhhhhhh *smacks head* (2)

AdamWill (604569) | about a year ago | (#41758123)

"If I recall, that isn't actually true, sadly."

You're right. I believe it differs for initial transmission and later re-broadcast (and things may be even more liberal for initial *live* transmission, as in SNL's case). All sorts of shows have to be cut for re-broadcast for music reasons, it's nothing new, it's gone on for years. I was reading just the other day that re-runs of The Gong Show are and always have been cut for music licensing reasons. That's decades old.

Re:This is not new (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#41754503)

Even if they can defend themselves with fair use, a lawyer probably decided it's simply not worth the hassle for the ad revenue it generates.

Or put another way, lawyers are way too expensive.

Re:This is not new (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | about a year ago | (#41756331)

Lawyers are expensive because laws are complex and plentiful. Laws are complex because most politicians are lawyers (or own law firms). It's feeding their self interests. Simplify and reduce the number of laws and you'll have cheaper lawyers.

Re:This is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754727)

Not on NBC.com or Hulu.com but you can still get it here [magnet]

Re:This is not new (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#41754819)

On netflix, they take out the music as well. So I miss out on such notable musical acts as Lana Del Ray, Ke$ha, and One Direction.

I don't know if it's due to copyright, but if so, thank you, copyright law. Fast-forwarding every time would get annoying.

Re:This is not new (0)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#41755061)

SNL regularly doesn't post sketches that involve music in some way. Even if they can defend themselves with fair use, a lawyer probably decided it's simply not worth the hassle for the ad revenue it generates.

And here I was thinking that Oceana had ALWAYS been at war with EastAsia!

Re:This is not new (1)

ljhiller (40044) | about a year ago | (#41755641)

Actually, now that ;you mention it, this makes a lot of sense. I've been looking for the Crazy Cryin' Amazacrazy sketch for years with no luck.

Re:This is not new (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year ago | (#41756591)

SNL regularly doesn't post sketches that involve music in some way.

Is the musical guest posted? I don't know.

A similar issue I see (or rather, don't hear), is that I listen to the NBC Nightly News audio podcast, and virtually any segment that is sports or entertainment related is cut. (Not EVERY time, just the vast vast majority of the time.) So I still download the podcast, but Tivo it too and FF through it quickly to see if I missed anything. I haven't checked the video podcast version, but I have noticed sometimes they're different lengths, so if they post it in video but not audio, that's even stranger.

This seemed to happen for a long tim with the ABC Nightline podcast, but seems to have not happened regularly for a long time.

(I'd pay a *small* amount for these podcasts, if they were always complete and definitely always updated.)

The shame about this sketch is that it was actually one of the funniest ones I've seen in a while. (I do NOT mean that in a "SNL sucks, it used to be better" way that many people parrot either.. Watch *entire* episodes of whenever you thought it was better, and there is a similar amount of good to dud sketches.)

Re:This is not new (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#41758223)

Yeah IIRC it took years of complaints about the classic Belushi "Dueling Cockers" before that showed back on their "best of' sets because it had them singing and I guess its policy that if there is any music to just not mess with it. Kinda sad that copyrights have become such a fucking mess that many shows that had pop music of the time in them are getting butchered (WKRP, Daria) or just not shown at all. If I believed in an afterlife I'd hope that Jack Valenti is burning in hell right now, greedy fuck.

Sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753857)

His impressions were surprisingly good.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753899)

Yeah, when is he going to *stop* impersonating Michael?

Let Me Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753881)

Torrent, or it didn't happen.

Re:Let Me Say (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#41754049)

http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/7747455/Saturday.Night.Live.S38E05.Bruno.Mars.720p.HDTV.x264-BAJSKORV_%5BP [thepiratebay.se]

It happened.

It was pretty good I guess. I think the point of this article is to highlight how ridiculous this has all become. Parody is ALWAYS protected and he mixed up the words [ostensibly] as a form of parody expression. But rather than fight about it, they [too] would rather give up and give in.

They can't even be civil among themselves, so what hope to we, the little people, have in dealing with this bastards?

Re:Let Me Say (2)

Artifakt (700173) | about a year ago | (#41754447)

The fundamental paradox of of commercial copyright: In dealing with the consumers, corporations expect to be treated as essentially trustworthy. They approach the courts as though they are decent, responsible, hard working business owners. They expect laws to be tilted toward a presumption that their company would never abuse them. Then in dealing with each other, they act like everyone else in the industry is a rabid shark.

Re:Let Me Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41756189)

Counting on the expression being considered parody, and not satire (which is not protected uder Fair Use), can be a pretty thin distinction to hang your hat on.

Here's the magnet link (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#41757153)

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:f368bff142b0ea45b1689c6e86e2c7ac6569b1e5&dn=Saturday.Night.Live.S38E05.Bruno.Mars.720p.HDTV.x264-BAJSKORV+%5BP&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.openbittorrent.com%3A80&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.publicbt.com%3A80&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.istole.it%3A6969&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.ccc.de%3A80

.

and clickable magnet linky [magnet] seriously, a tracker at tracker . i stole . it ???

.

This link provided in the same capacity that the New York Times provides links in a newsy-informative-way, and not in a these-breadcrumbs-lead-to-anything-you-shouldnot-see kind of way. It's like a binocular closeup view of what you would have seen had you been able to follow the link in the parent post. Are we paranoid enough yet?

drum roll please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753909)

And nothing of value was lost

Re:drum roll please (2)

hedleyroos (817147) | about a year ago | (#41754151)

In all fairness Bruno Mars was very good.

Re:drum roll please (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#41754865)

Yes. I was like "Who??" Then he ended up doing a good job. I still don't know why George Takei hasn't hosted. Ever.

Re:drum roll please (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#41755029)

In all fairness Bruno Mars was very good.

I agree.

I'd never heard of the guy before, but I was a bit surprised to see how well he did on that sketch, and many others.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear him and his band perform...it has been a long time since I've seen a band on SNL, not lip sync, actually sing with real vocal singing (not just talking or yelling), and to see people actually playing instruments WHILE actually be entertaining dancing around, etc.

This was the first performance in years that I did NOT have to fast forward through on my DVR.

They were actually musical, and entertaining....nice to see that again for a change.

Re:drum roll please (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#41756571)

I had never heard of him before I saw his performance at the Grammies. Damn what a performance. The guy has serious stage presence and a band with great sound. The music isn't my favorite genre but there is no denying that level of talent.

(C) (1)

captain_nifty (132748) | about a year and a half ago | (#41753945)

And this is the problem with virtually unlimited copyrights and DRM, it removes items of popular culture from general availability.
Our culture has been monetized and taken from us, to be sold back to us.

Re:(C) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754303)

This particular instance has nothing to do with DRM and it would still be an issue if copyrights were limited to 10 years.

Re:(C) (0)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year ago | (#41754463)

On the contrary, I think this opens the door for more obscure/indie pop culture memes to be archived and remembered. Something has to fill the void. Let the RIAA bastards fall on their own swords. Decades ago, a couple artists already missed their chance to be on the Voyager golden record, to which I gleefully quote Nelson: HA HA!

Crowd-sourced solution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41753967)

"The digital 'Saturday Night Live' archive does not feature a recent Bruno Mars sketch because it includes impersonations of pop singers and their chart-topping hits.

This is the problem with proprietary archives - the host gets to decide what goes in. Someone should go out and invent a distributed system where people can store files locally but share them with anyone else who is interested. If you cut the file into little pieces, you could even get the file from a bunch of other people simultaneously, cutting down the time and sharing the burden. All you'd need would be someone who agrees to record TV shows off the air, then compress and share the files. Admittedly this system relies a lot on volunteers, but it just might work.

Re:Crowd-sourced solution (2)

Gerinych (1393861) | about a year ago | (#41754131)

Yeah, but you have to think about the legality of this system. If the person hosting the files does not have permission from the creator to share them, it could cause a lot of problems, lawsuits and such. And your ISP ratting you out to the DMCA or whoever handles digital copyright laws.

Re:Crowd-sourced solution (0)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about a year ago | (#41756053)

You mean like in torrent?

*WOOOSH* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41756391)

You mean like in torrent?

*WOOOSH* is the sound of the bits going through the tubes, of course.

the sound of the bits going through the tubes (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#41757283)

I don't know about the sound of the bits going through the tubes, but if they were going through a token ring [wikipedia.org] :, it may sound like this [wikipedia.org]

.

the bits on the token-ring go round-and-round... zoom-n-zoom... round-n-round...

the bits on the token-ring go whoosh-and-whoosh... 'til you give up the to-ken!

Music is always been tricky (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41753989)

Music has always been a very sticky item in the motion pictures (TV and movies).

A lot of the time, you can get permissions to do X, but you can't do Y (e.g., you can tape a production for broadcast, but you can't put it on a DVD). Especially with older things - many TV shows have to be re-cut with licensed music (this can include the opening sequence and credits too) as the original contracts for licensing never included home video or anything else. And some material can't be licensed anymore as their creators are dead and all that (and their estates refuse to grant licenses or permission).

It's just another aspect of the convoluted nature of copyright and licensing.

Top Gun was probably one of the first movies to use a LOT of licensed music during the movie (music composed specifically for a movie (soundtrack scores and such) usually are licensed fully to the movie for further uses as part of the movie, but external music often has commercial value that makes it impractical to grant it).

It's a horrendous mess and something lawyers spend a lot of client money on in trying to obtain releases.

Heck, I know one concert was recorded for Blu-Ray/DVD and PBS. PBS was allowed to include some extra tracks (as a non-profit) that were not allowed to be put on the Blu-Ray or DVD (because those were commercial ventures). Of course, the entire concert couldn't be put in since some didn't include recording and rebroadcast rights...

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754047)

Isn't this problem what basically destroyed the old WKRP in Cincinnati program due to losing all relevance to the music?

Re:Music is always been tricky (2)

hymie! (95907) | about a year ago | (#41754177)

Well, it's the problem that destroyed the WKRP in Cincinnati (and Daria) DVD release. Whether or not it destroyed the original show, I don't know.

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#41754559)

It caused problems for the SCTV DVD releases as well, as they couldn't get permission to use some of the songs. I recall Rick Morranis doing a hilarious version of Stairway to Heaven which now only is available via Youtube as a crappy VHS sample.

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

Life2Short (593815) | about a year ago | (#41754351)

Actually, before Top Gun, FM [wikipedia.org] and Heavy Metal [wikipedia.org] were two other movies that featured extensive and problematic soundtrack licensing issues. Heavy Metal, for example, wasn't released to home video until 1995 (despite being released in 1981 to theaters) because they couldn't get the legal issues sorted. Even the original soundtrack LP left off songs that had appeared in the film.

Re:Music is always been tricky (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#41754563)

This is why contract should stipulate the the music for a show, is part of the show. The musician cna use it for other things records, concerts, etc, but thye can't control the work the piece is attached to.

Of course, this is another example of how royalties are ruining the culture.

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#41755065)

This is why contract should stipulate the the music for a show, is part of the show. The musician cna use it for other things records, concerts, etc, but thye can't control the work the piece is attached to.

Of course, this is another example of how royalties are ruining the culture.

No, it's an example of how people who had no vision of the future are making your life less enjoyable, but it's hardly ruining the culture.

Of course contracts should say that the music is part of the show. Why they didn't is the true issue, not that the original work has a copyright. Mostly it's an issue of the producers of a movie not thinking ahead and foreseeing a huge market for DVDs or the streaming video market.

Really, who would have thought twenty years ago that you could sit in a park and watch videos on your phone?

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#41755135)

This is why contract should stipulate the the music for a show, is part of the show.

Before the mid-80's, no one thought of putting the language to cover home video into their licensing contracts. That's why most of the issues come from shows and movies from before then.

Re:Music is always been tricky (2)

Rakarra (112805) | about a year ago | (#41756017)

This is why contract should stipulate the the music for a show, is part of the show.

That will greatly increase the price of the music used in the show then. Only having the rights to use it in the live broadcast makes it cheaper (and thus more possible) to do.

So You Think You Can Dance is one of (if not my favorite) shows airing. I like dance, I like the performers, the competition, and the artistry that goes into the routines. However, it will never have a DVD release, since 3/4 of the show if dancing to music that was only licensed for the live broadcast. Past seasons are lost completely -- you'd better hope that someone uploaded a favorite routine to Youtube.

It's one case where a show exists, but is held out of any public circulation because it would be too expensive to distribute.

Re:Music is always been tricky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41755033)

In the 'Trash of the Titans' episode of The Simpsons, the show was able to air U2 (probably more specifically just Bono) directly to its audience. But they were never granted the rights for syndication... they actually had to re-record the part when U2 speaks up during the song.

It's all very crazy if you ask me!

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#41755049)

The 1980 Heavy Metal movie had legendary problems, too. Nobody thought to clear ahead of time VCR sales, cable TV rebroadcasts, and so on.

As for SNL, music in skits, like the musical guest, is a plum spot since it leads to sales for the musician. But being able to go watch it over and over any time for free on the Internet cuts into those sales.

So, live show and the rerun, Ok. Infinite reruns of just that skit or song, no.

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#41755409)

Music has always been a very sticky item in the motion pictures (TV and movies).

A lot of the time, you can get permissions to do X, but you can't do Y (e.g., you can tape a production for broadcast, but you can't put it on a DVD). Especially with older things - many TV shows have to be re-cut with licensed music (this can include the opening sequence and credits too) as the original contracts for licensing never included home video or anything else. And some material can't be licensed anymore as their creators are dead and all that (and their estates refuse to grant licenses or permission).

For some examples that are probably most relevant to US viewers...
"Quantum Leap" has had all licensed songs replaced on the home video releases in region 1 (USA and Canada) for this reason.
"WKRP In Cincinnati" was delayed from coming on DVD for many years for this reason and the final resolution of the issue (you can read the story on Wikipedia) has not made fans happy.
"Malcolm In The Middle" will not likely ever have seasons 2-7 released in any home video format in region 1 for this reason. In one episode somewhere between seasons 2 and 7, about one minute of Abba's "Fernando" was played. That might actually fall into fair use (a court would have to decide), but it was licensed. The license holder wanted so much money for just this song for DVD that the producers said that the fee they would have to pay just for 1 minute of "Fernando" was likely to be more than the entire profit they could make for selling the DVDs of that season. So far they have been unwilling to replace the music with soundalikes as Quantum Leap and WKRP did for region 1.

Re:Music is always been tricky (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | about a year ago | (#41757383)

"Freaks and Geeks" had big problems with this, too. They used a lot of well-known music and apparently paid dearly lot for it.

  Fun but irrelevant fact: the high school and the town in the show were fictional, but located right about where I was going to school in 1980.

Re:Music is always been tricky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41758163)

except it can't really cost so much in royalties that they never see dvd release. a dollar per set should cover all music licensing. if not, perhaps we need to scrap it all and have an industry set scale with mandatory licensing for everything. i want malcolm in the middle, wkrp in cincinatti and china beach released in their original glory. that or they can forgo any profits and i'll get them however i can. they can take it or leave it. my hands are clean.

So? Who cares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41754011)

First figure out a way to license WKRP in Cincinatti. Then maybe I'll find time to give a flying shit about Saturday Night Live.

Curious (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about a year ago | (#41754033)

It's a good thing I grabbed this show when I did. I saw the sketch... it was a 'meh' sketch. Bruno was really good though, but it just didn't compare to previous music impersonation sketches like 'bunny business' or the much better Star Wars screentests. I wonder how often they've removed sketches before with music issues?

Radio, Radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754125)

I always figured it was sour grapes that kept it out of Hulu and got it aggressively expunged from YouTube. However, given that NBC allowed a re-enactment of that famous performance, maybe it really is music lawyers to blame.

NBC does not want more fair use case law (5, Insightful)

djl4570 (801529) | about a year ago | (#41754153)

Maybe NBC and it's parent corporation realized the original parody was fair use. They redacted it from the archives because they don't want bots sending DMCA notices and they don't want to take them to court and argue fair use.

Re:NBC does not want more fair use case law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41755803)

Maybe NBC and it's parent corporation recognized that the songs (lyrics and music) weren't being parodied, the performers of those songs were being parodied.

Copyright is to protect the musicians, right? (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#41754235)

Luckily we have copyright to protect the artists like Louis Armstrong and Michael Jackson. Otherwise they would just stop making music.

Re:Copyright is to protect the musicians, right? (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about a year ago | (#41754833)

posting to undo moderation mistake. why the hell do they put redundant next to insightful?

Re:Copyright is to protect the musicians, right? (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about a year ago | (#41756121)

Copyright is to protect the musicians

It's to protect the rights holders, who are often not the musicians.

The idea is that if the musicians can sell the rights to their music, then they can buy food and gear while writing and practicing.

Re:Copyright is to protect the musicians, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41757861)

Dont' you realise that they have already stopped, only because copyright is just plain insufficient?

When you assume... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#41754315)

The article states "... it can be presumed that the company refrained from uploading the sketch into its digital archive to avoid any legal issues", but doesn't seem to provide any supporting evidence - but it just proceeds to assume this is fact. The article does say "almost all of the best Saturday Night Live skits are currently available online" (emphasis mine). Even in the small number of comments posted here already there's already mention that this may not have been a particularly good sketch, and it's not like the archive is comprehensive - so why assume this sketch isn't in the archive because of legal concerns?

Parody has been long proven to be protected speech. Additionally, an artist covering a different artist's song is long-established practice. There's simply no reason to believe this presumption has any basis in fact.

Re:When you assume... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#41755511)

Saved me the trouble of typing all that out. If every SNL skit was available except this one then they'd have a clear point, but sometimes you just don't make the cut.

It's all up to the individuals with their VCRs (4, Interesting)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#41754639)

to preserve artistic performances for future generations. Because the Big Four will never release footage of many performances (either because it isn't worth their while, or they are so scared that pirates will record and distribute for free or below cost). Really, such as VHS tapes made from 16mm film transfers of performances such as Jayne Mansfield playing the violin and another of her playing the piano on the Ed Sullivan show (yes, she really could play those instruments). A few people have copies of this (but they keep low profile to avoid attention from the Music And Film Industries Association), not sure if they ever will post on youtube (probably be taken down anyway). I've looked and see if Sullivan estates has this on DVD, apparently not as only sell Elvis, Beatles, Beach Boys. There are many other artists and music but have faded into obscurity, but probably be rediscovered by a 20-something musician rummaging through sheet music saved by some old timer from the 20th century. They will read the notes, thinking this is a brilliant piece of work and make a change in melody and release it as a "new" hit.

Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754669)

In this day in age, with terrorism and everything else we can't afford to have any humor or things like parody, I say, don't let the door hit you on the way out. If we could purge the internet from the evils of parody and humor the world would be do much better off. One should not go buy a Weird Al CD, rather it is obvious to all, he should just be jailed for daring to be stupid.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41754777)

Oh, and one more thing, sarcasm is evil as well, it should be purged. while we're at it.

Rights and Clearances (2)

JazzHarper (745403) | about a year ago | (#41754755)

If the show aired without the necessary performance and sync clearances, then they already have legal issues. Simply removing it from on-line archives does not make them go away, but it does mitigate damages.

On the other hand, they may have secured the necessary clearances and paid royalties for the original airing, but found that the royalties for on-line distribution were too high. In particular, since the music was integral to the storyline in a skit, as opposed to a standalone musical performance, one or more of the publishers may have demanded "grand rights" (performance, sync _and_ dramatic use), which carry heavy royalties for rebroadcast or distribution. That's a particular hassle because a dramatic use license must be negotiated with each publisher individually--it isn't handled automatically by the performance rights organizations--and the publisher may deny it altogether. Conceivably, one of the publishers may have raised the dramatic use claim after the show was aired, in which case, the video of this skit may be dead forever.

You should really just relax (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#41754913)

This is the same damn reason why I can't see most of the old MST3K shows, too.

I hope the industry kills itself soon. (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#41754923)

I hope that entire 'entertainment' industry implodes into being just lawyers who sue each other all day. Starting with SNL which has never ever ever been funny except for maybe the first 2 seasons in the '70's.

BTW I'm waiting the first popup ads IN motion pictures in the theaters. You know it's coming. Product placement, like Coke in Skyfall doesn't pimp it hard enough.

This is why we need piracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41755261)

Whenever I read an apologetically-toned blog post from the DVD team for a show I'm looking forward to, about how they had to change some of the music because the license was too expensive, I want to be able to say "fuck it, pirate bay." For that to work, we need people recording the original on-air broadcasts and uploading them to torrent sites, or rapidshare, or u****t. Even if it seems pointless, we need people doing it anyway. Even if it's available on the official website for free, with no commercials, on demand, with a free blowjob we still need piracy; it's about freedom and control of information.

Oh come on ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#41755569)

It's freaking parody or satire ... it's absolutely supposed to be protected use.

This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Alright, Bruno Mars Sketch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41756901)

We shall see again after 70+N years has passed. Oh, wait we don't as only worms will see you, only worms.

seen it else where (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41757765)

a sketch show here has a recurring part where they record old songs replacing half the words with "penis", recently got sued by the grandchild of a long dead writer for "offending his dead granddad" ...or something like that, was laughed out of court

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