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Viacom Sued Over YouTube Parody Removal

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the turnabout-still-fair-play dept.

Television 99

A self aware computer input device writes "Just a week after Viacom sued Google over copyrighted material, MoveOn.org Civic Action and Brave New Films LLC have sued Viacom claiming the cable network company improperly asked the video-sharing site YouTube to remove a parody of the network's 'The Colbert Report.' Couple this with the iFilm fiasco reported earlier, and you have to question how a company like Viacom can cry foul when it can't even accurately account for its own copyrighted material."

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Editing still apparently optional on /. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18456549)

I know I like to cry fowl when I see a turkey of an article like this one.

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (0, Offtopic)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457245)

Strange, I wondered why the tag 'fowl' was there because when I looked at the summary it states 'cry foul'.

Must have been a quick edit.

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (4, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457415)

Slashdot "editors" do not "edit" posts. This makes Slashdot "more real" according to CmdrTaco.

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (2, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457543)

Modded "Funny"? I guess it is funny, like laughing at the village idiot, but I wasn't making a joke, I was just repeating Taco's message here:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=174297&thresho ld=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&pid=14502339#145024 84 [slashdot.org]

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458017)

That's the most bizarre excuse I've ever seen for not doing your job.

"Sorry boss, but I couldn't provision those 4 servers you asked for because I'm trying to keep the data center more 'Real'."

So let's see.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18458347)

Slashdot editors do not:
* Check for dupes
* Actually edit obvious typos/grammar issues
* Remove obvious troll postings
* Read TFA to see if the summary is accurate.

Slashdot editors do:

Apparently, I've been a Slashdot editor all this time and never noticed!

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460687)

From CmdrTaco:

I think it makes us simply look "Real".
Keeping it real, eh? After reading that post, I thought I had stumbled into an evil parallel slashdot universe like Capt. Kirk with a black goatee [slashdot.org] .

Re:Editing still apparently optional on /. (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18469145)

Maybe they should be called "Executive Editors" then. Taco, sorry for that suggestion way back when.

Oh well (1)

DynamicLynk (1070738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459817)

If they don't get video from a respected site like Google Video, they will get it from ISOHunt or a relative. IMO.

Fowl! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18456553)

Couple this with the iFilm fiasco reported earlier, and you have to question how a company like Viacom can cry fowl when it can't even accurately account for its own copyrighted material.

Maybe they're trying to confuse their opponents, so they'll start looking for chickens and turkeys or something?

They can cry fowl, yeah, sure (-1, Offtopic)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456563)

They are chicken. So they cry fowl [sic].

Hate to be the spelling police but at some point, even I cry fowl [sic].

Re:They can cry fowl, yeah, sure (-1, Offtopic)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457193)

Why is your fowl sic? Does your chicken have bird flue? Doesn't it get drafty?

Oookay (0, Offtopic)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456633)

Why dont people learn to just foot the bandwidth bill themselves so they have control over it.

Re:Oookay (4, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456699)

And still have to comply with the DMCA takedown notice, or have enough lawyers to hold back Viacom

Re:Oookay (3, Interesting)

Kj0n (245572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457075)

In this case you are probably right, but this is not always an (affordable) option. In the past, I had to use Google Video to post a video of an event we held. Our current provider doesn't allow us to host the video ourselves, so I did the next best thing: upload it to Google Video.

Re:Oookay (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18463671)

WHy does it have to be on Google Video and YouTube though? Why not use other smaller providers like DailyMotions, PutFile, etc.? I am sure there are plenty of those from out of countries to avoid DMCA.

Re:Oookay (2, Insightful)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18465263)

Why do you post on slashdot and not any of the other online tech forums?

Re:Oookay (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468177)

I do (Digg, newsgroups, etc.). Why do you ask?

Re:Oookay (1)

meatspray (59961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457841)

Because very few legal downloads would make enough money to pay for the insane cost of commercial bandwidth these days. We just got a 5mb circuit for $1000 a month and that was a crazy steal of a deal.

Re:Oookay (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458139)

(1) When a site with a video gets hit hard by /. or digg, the vast majority of people would not be able to maintain it. Google's got plenty 'o cash to take care of the bandwidth for such situations. (2) Plenty 'o people have no idea whatsoever how to go about getting their own video's hosted on their own site, irrelevantly of if they have the financial requirements to do so. Youtube is simple enough for everyone ("You") to use. Between the options of not having the video accessible at all (due to not knowing how, or expecting it to be hit by /. or digg), and having it accessible with small chance of it being taken down - I'd take the latter, as would most people.

Re:Oookay (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460205)

(1) When a site with a video gets hit hard by /. or digg, the vast majority of people would not be able to maintain it. Google's got plenty 'o cash to take care of the bandwidth for such situations.
Disable all but the BitTorrent download (and HTTP seeding [bittornado.com] ) when the number of requests per hour for direct download of the video exceeds a given threshold. If you're claiming that it's currently too difficult for site administrators to install a BitTorrent tracker and the HTTP seeding client, then patches are welcome.

Re:Oookay (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18464365)

Maybe they might want people to actually watch the video. Downloading via torrent is a pain in the ass.

Somebody has to pay for the bandwidth (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18464753)

Maybe they might want people to actually watch the video.
Then they should have advertisers sponsor the bandwidth.

Downloading via torrent is a pain in the ass.
Is downloading via torrent more of a pain in the ass than not being able to download the video at all?

Re:Somebody has to pay for the bandwidth (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18464933)

Then they should have advertisers sponsor the bandwidth.
Do advertisers generally pay up front for advertising on web pages? I know that bandwidth providers generally charge up front. So, unless you know how many people are going to watch the video beforehand, it's a pretty bad idea. Besides, nobody would have watched this video if they hadn't gotten sued to begin with, and who's going to advertise on that?

Is downloading via torrent more of a pain in the ass than not being able to download the video at all?
No, but it's more of a pain in the ass than watching it on Youtube, which is probably why that is where it was.

My thoughts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18456659)

I don't know about you guys but I am excited by these new developments. Advances like what has happened here could change the world forever. Artificial intelligence is quite interesting and it is amazing that strong AI has been developed and input devices can finally be self-aware. Be better if the spelling wasn't so fowl though.

So when do I get my sexy female robot? :)

Re:My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18466341)

WHOOSH! To the person who modded me offtopic: Read the fucking first line. Oh you get it now? Good.
Hopefully won't be modded troll for this post, it's never nice to have something pointed out to you that you missed before.

subject to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18456665)

Someones' crying fowl
A Flock Of Seagulls above
Hey you! Don't look up.

Fowl (5, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456667)


Those vultures at Viacom have a full-fledged plan to feather their nests by hatching lawsuits -- and it looks like some people are getting soar about it. Hiring those legal eagles to flip them the bird won't come cheep, though.

Bah, the RIAA probably egged them on in the first place.

Re:Fowl (0, Offtopic)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456761)

Dude, is there like a prize for the "Pun of the Century" on Slashdot or something?

Re:Fowl (2, Funny)

DrWhizBang (5333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457181)

That was pretty good for just winging it...

Re:Fowl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457363)

My God! That was the most unbearably punny thing I've ever seen.

Posting this AC cos I'm chicken...

*ducks*

Re:Fowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457965)

>Bah, the RIAA probably egged them on in the first place.

Google egged them on in the first place when it publically ran for cover under the safe harbor clause of the DMCA and stated that it was Viacom's responsibility to monitor its own content.

It works like this:

Viacom pays Colbert a handsome sum based upon the understanding that Viacom has copyrights to his show.

Viacom enforces its copyrights the best it can with the existing technology and does make mistakes.

Why don't you email Colbert and ask him if he would take a pay cut in order that Viacom use that money to better the accuracy of their take down targeting?

Re:Fowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18458461)

offtopic?

Re:Fowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18458907)

Haha, seriously. Is there a rogue retard with infinite karma out there?

Fair use is subjective (0, Troll)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456703)

Viacom have adequate reason to believe that this infringes copyright. Obviously the creators of the parody disagree. they have the right to disagree. Settling these disputes is what the legal system is for. I don't think the creators of this video have a strong enough claim that this was deliberate misrepresentation.

Re:Fair use is subjective (5, Informative)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456923)

Did you even watch the video [youtube.com] ? It is obviously a critical review. Think of the ramifications if all a corporation has to do to stop negative reviews of their products is file a DMCA takedown notice. There is no way in the world that protecting somebody's imaginary "property" is more important than protecting the first amendment.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457097)

Yes. The DMCA is fundamentally flawed. But that doesn't matter. There is no objective measure at the moment whether this video is infringing or not. If Viacom were to sue the creators directly, and made an argument as to why it infringes, then it would take a court to make the decision. Now, as long as the creators submitted the argument "It's clearly a parody" they'd win in court, but that hasn't happened yet.

Viacom probalby should have known that this is non-infringing, but their argument that they aren't in a position to make a legal judgement will be a decent defence in court.

Re:Fair use is subjective (2, Insightful)

jibster (223164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457325)

But the default position shouldn't be to take down any work just because a lawer says it infringes. If Viacom prove in court that it's infringing or at least convince a judge that it should be removed pending a case then fine.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457821)

True. Unfortunately the drafters of the DMCA didn't consider that the down period might be a problem. The complete unfairness of the DMCA's safe harbor provisions has prevented other countries from using similar legislation.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467705)

Unfortunately the drafters of the DMCA didn't consider that the down period might be a problem. The complete unfairness of the DMCA's safe harbor provisions has prevented other countries from using similar legislation.
This is because they never thought about the problem. The DMCS was about protecting the copyright holder not someone else's use of it. It creates the provision that allows the library of congress (or national archives, I'm not positive and too lazy to look it up) to make minor adjustments to fix problems like this. They are the ones who instituted much of the fair use provisional exceptions like defeating covered protected measures if the company who made it is out of business or the product is obsolete.

I also believe they have to re-evaluate some of this every so often. So if there is something you don't agree with, like this particular thing, Look to see if something can be done to address it. My understanding is that they don't have to get anything passed like you congress critter who is more concerned about making campaign speeches and such.

Re:Fair use is subjective (3, Insightful)

rifter (147452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459851)

Yes. The DMCA is fundamentally flawed. But that doesn't matter. There is no objective measure at the moment whether this video is infringing or not. If Viacom were to sue the creators directly, and made an argument as to why it infringes, then it would take a court to make the decision. Now, as long as the creators submitted the argument "It's clearly a parody" they'd win in court, but that hasn't happened yet.

The DMCA would not be so bad if it were actually enforced as written. As things are it's only being used in a one-sided manner such that large companies are able to suppress whatever they want with no repercussions and small content providers are not protected at all (and are in fact being silenced via misapplication of the DMCA). In order to compel someone to take down infringing content providers have to swear under penalty of perjury that they own the content. To date, although numerous examples of blatant violation exist, including takedown notices being issued for obviously original works and other work that the submitter does not own, no prosecutions seem to have occurred. This is also the first lawsuit I have heard of on such grounds; it is a wonder that more have not been submitted.

As for your bit about arguments being submitted in court, that is an odd bit of logic. TFA is about precisely that; to wit, the creators have submitted the argument, in court, that their video was wrongfully removed because it is in fact a parody. You don't even need to read the summary because this information is contained in the title of the slashdot article.

Viacom probalby should have known that this is non-infringing, but their argument that they aren't in a position to make a legal judgement will be a decent defence in court.

No, they have to be able to prove that they knew for a fact it was infringing. They are in a positioon to make a legal judgement and have done so wrecklessly. This is a blatant abuse of the DMCA which is covered in the statute itself. It's also an important case because this kind of abuse is far too frequent and comes of content providers not doing the due diligence required by the Act. It's about time someone cracked down on it; let's hope they make a fine example. Hang 'em high, judge! Hang 'em high!

Mod the parent down (misleading) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475991)

In order to compel someone to take down infringing content providers have to swear under penalty of perjury that they own the content.

Moderators, please stop modding people up for perpetuating this misunderstanding about the DMCA. In a takedown notice, the only thing declared under penalty of perjury is that the person sending the notice is authorized to act on behalf of the organization in whose name the notice is sent.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18461371)

There is no objective measure at the moment whether this video is infringing or not.

Fair use guidelines have been on the books for 2 decades +

Viacom probalby should have known that this is non-infringing, but their argument that they aren't in a position to make a legal judgement will be a decent defence in court.

If they weren't sure, they shouldn't have filed the DMCA notice, where the swore under penalty of perjury that the video was infringing.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467785)

If you don't see the instance of fair use, then your not committing perjury. And the difference between infringement and fair use is ht intended goal.

The thing is, you don't have to prove it is infringing at this stage, you have to prove you believe it is. Then the infringer has to say, I have a fair use exception to their copyright claim. Look here for some more on it [chillingeffects.org] .

Being that it is a parody doesn't necessarily make anything automatically fall into fair use. It has to actually say something that might be protected speech.

The fact the guidelines have been on the books for two years doesn't mean the copyright holder needs to lie down for anyone wishing to make a fair use claim. It is up to the infringer to show they are excepted from the law as their defense. I know this seems contrary to the innocent until proven guilty sentiment we commonly have. It is because all the laws on copyright are there to protect the copyright holder. Maybe something could be done in the future to change this. I doubt congress would though.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18482085)

Fair use guidelines have been on the books for 2 decades +

Aye. But they be more by way of guidelines...

If they weren't sure, they shouldn't have filed the DMCA notice, where the swore under penalty of perjury that the video was infringing.

They have every legal right to. They only swear that they are the copyright holders of the work allegedly being infringed.

But if they're not sure, the only way they have of naking sure is to sue the makers of the video and let the court decide. But to do that they have to follow thge procedure under the DMCA, which requires them to send a takedown notice and sue the party that posted the infringing work. This also requires that they identify the infringing party, which also requires a takedown notice.

They're using the law legitimately. It's the law that's wrong.

Re:Fair use is subjective (2, Informative)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457159)

It is obviously a critical review.
Um, no, it is obviously a parody. It attacks Colbert for claiming to tell the truth, which in turn is his parody of organizations like fox news. Colbert is a joke, and this is a joke on that joke.

I am going to venture a guess that you have never actually seen the Colbert Report, or that you never watched the video. What some of his videos and then rewatch the parody. It makes a lot more sense.

http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/player.jht ml?ml_video=&ml_collection=70004&ml_gateway=&ml_ga teway_id=&ml_comedian=&ml_runtime=&ml_context=show &ml_origin_url=%2Fmotherload%2F%3Fml_collection%3D 70004&ml_playlist=&lnk=&is_large=true [comedycentral.com]

Re:Fair use is subjective (-1, Offtopic)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457485)

Parodies of parodies never work. The whole idea of a (comic) parody is that it shows the funny nature of something that is serious. Trying to show another funny side of something that is already intentionally humorous is just pointless.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457873)

Just because you don't find a joke funny doesn't make it any less of a joke. It just means that the person is bad at telling jokes. The question isn't whether or not the parody is funny but whether or not it was intentionally made as a parody, and as far as I can tell, it was.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458869)

Seemed more like a parody of the media in general, and moveon.org especially. The end was hilarious. "That's the magic of online petitions."

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457581)

There is no way in the world that protecting somebody's imaginary "property" is more important than protecting the first amendment.

The First Amendment applies only to actions by the government.

Everyone else is free to censor content spoken or published on their home grounds for whatever reasons they damn well chose. You are not entitled to a soapbox and a megaphone, a printing press or a web blog.

Re:Fair use is subjective (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458065)

The First Amendment applies only to actions by the government.

The government passed a law that allows people to trivially infringe on the first amendment rights of others. If you don't think there's an action of government in there somewhere, you're not thinking.

Re:Censorship by Proxy (2, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459011)

The DMCA is probably the single worst piece of legislation on the books. Clearly no one took the prototype and demonstrated how to abuse it prior to issue.

However, the Constitution of the US is all about how the gub'ment interacts with the people. It has little to with how people interact with each other (anti-discrimination elements are an excption.) The government says I have a right to bear arms. That does not imply that you are powerless to prevent me from bringing a sidearm into your home or place of business. It only means that the government (and it's agents) are restricted in what they may do regarding my firearms.

Similarly, the government is obligated to provide a level playing field for the citizens regarding freedom of speech, liberty, pursuit of hapiness, etc, etc. The executive summary is basically "The government may not demonstrate a bias." You however, are free to "bias" all you like. If you run a coffee shop, and allow customers to use an open mic on "political rant night," you're not obligated to allow anyone equal time. You're not an agent of the state, so those rules don't apply directly to you. If someone takes the stage and says something you don't like, you may ask them to leave. If they don't, they're trespassing and you have the option of bringing in law enforcement folks. Said individual may cry "I'm being oppressed" at the top of his lungs, but an individual (you, the coffee-shop owner) is not held to the same standard as the government. Granted, tossing someone out on open mic night is probably a bad move with respect to the customer base, but that's an image-issue, not a government-regulation one.

If you can demonstrate that Viacom (or anyone else) is acting as an agent of the state, then you've got a valid claim of Nth Ammendment violation. That would be a government action by proxy, and I would fully expect any judge to get extremely angry at a government agency attempting such an end-run. Otherwise, it's just the DMCA being an overly-broad piece of crappy legislation. It could probably be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it horribly infringes on fair-use under copyright law. But that's a totally different fight. Perhaps that's the one Google wants to fight - "In order to exercize my fair-use rights, I'm required to obtain a circumvention device (my PC) and to disable the kindergarden-grade protection measure." That's a shell game - in order to have these rights over here, you're required to break this other law. The situation allows the government to arrest you for exercizing your rights ... and that's the fundamentally-bad part. To quote Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!"

Re:Censorship by Proxy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18468131)

If you can demonstrate that Viacom (or anyone else) is acting as an agent of the state, then you've got a valid claim of Nth Ammendment violation. That would be a government action by proxy, and I would fully expect any judge to get extremely angry at a government agency attempting such an end-run.
Nothing you said is fundamentally wrong except for this. And it is more contextually wrong then factual. It is a common position to be in.

The government made the laws protecting the copyright of the person expressing it. Viacom is acting by proxy according the the wishes of the government. Fair use in speech has often resided under the principle that according to the constitution that you have freedom of speech (1st ammendment) but this free speech doesn't include the right to copy my speech. This is illustrated by the specific inclusion of the mandate that congress should take steps to protect copyrights and patents.

Now when congress makes a law concerning limiting the rights to use something based on the original interests of the person responsible for that something, they have provided Viacom with all their rights to that something. This is how Viacom is acting as an agent of the government or rather using instruments of the government to set the preference. So fair use exists to ensure free speech isn't being thwarted or back doored by other obligations imposed on the government. But it is quite clear that the fair use is supposed to be saying something other then what the copyright holder has already said (repeating my speech)unless it is a matter of political expression or news worthy.

Could you imagine the first person who said "bush lied, people died" having a copyright on it that prevent anyone else from saying it or writing it? Or worse yet, forced them to oay a fee to repeat it? It is a complete concept and idea outside the mere use of words, It is likely copy-write-able in the first usage and context. But more importantly, I could claim ownership to it and prevent anyone else from freely using it by acts of the government. Without fair use making exceptions in this way, I could effectively use the government to stop any and all serious opposition to my cause by thinking of every possible damaging slogan and copy writing it.

And unfortunately, your correct, it is a trap. A parody in itself doesn't make something fair use. It has to say something that would be considered free speech and not necessarily repeating my speech for other goals. This is why currently, the protection is on the copywirte holder and the infringer has to claim an exception to it. As for the DMCA, it only considers the rights of the copy holder and not the free speech because it is a separate entity. If you really want to see a crappy piece of legislation, just imagine congress trying to determine what speech is free and what isn't.

Re:Fair use is subjective (1)

MutantHamster (816782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18467877)

Uh, did you watch the video? It's obviously not a critical review, it's a satire in the same vein as the show. Al Franken is a satirist himself and is very similar to Colbert in some respects. MoveOn.Org is a left-wing political site. They may be criticizing the persona Colbert plays on his show but they're obviously doing it in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Whether it's protected by Free Speech or not, this is certainly more of a tribute than a parody.

Subjective is objective (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459187)

Viacom have adequate reason to believe that this infringes copyright.

On what basis do you make such an assertion?

And on what basis would they get around 17 USC 201(a):

Copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a joint work are co-owners of copyright in the work.
...and 17 USC 103:

"The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

I don't think the creators of this video have a strong enough claim that this was deliberate misrepresentation.

By Definition [cornell.edu] , a DMCA notice must include "A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." Emphasis added to point out how serious the misrepresentation is, even if it isn't deliberate. IAmALaymanNotALawyer, but someone else claiming "under penalty of perjury" that they are the rightful copyright holder to a parody you created sounds like almost enough for a Slander of Title [groklaw.net] lawsuit. (Alas, it probably isn't.)

You Tube link (3, Informative)

had3l (814482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456797)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNHqX27hlz8 [youtube.com]

Pretty unfunny imo.

Re:You Tube link (3, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456999)

I dunno, some of it was hilarious:

We may not have a TV show, but we have something better: online petitions.

That was hilarious. The rest? Not as much. I think their humor was a little too subtle and poorly executed - the people making the jokes weren't comedians (Al Franken's a politician, right?).

So, not the funniest thing ever, but still mildly amusing. They were obviously trying to be funny, but didn't quite succeed, and so they sounded more like people who simply didn't get the joke than people who were really just advertising for the Colbert Report.

Which is obviously why Viacom had to try and take it down. No one but Viacom is allowed to advertise their shows. If you so much as mention their show ... oh crap. Gotta go.

Re:You Tube link (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457979)

I liked the self aware part at the end where they make a ridiculous statement about the way online petitions work (Even Steven Colbert will sign it) and then say "That's what we are all about at moveon.org".

Re:You Tube link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18462627)

Al Franken is not best described as a politician; he is a former Saturday Night Live writer, and current radio show host and author of some political books, so he would perhaps be best described as a former comedian/current political commentator. I don't think he's ever held any office.

The others...well, Eli Pariser is who hyped online petitions, but he was clearly just acting there (he ended up saying that online petitions are so great, that eventually everyone would sign them, including Stephen Colbert), in an exceptionally self-deprecating manner.

Re:You Tube link (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18466717)

The thing is, that in this instance, Colbert probably will end up signing the petition. I wouldn't be shocked if he did it on the show personally.

Re:You Tube link (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458273)

That's not a parody of The Colbert Report. That's a parody of Outfoxed [wikipedia.org] .

Doesn't matter (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459921)

The parody protection doesn't apply just to funny material. They may have no comedic talent, but that doesn't mean that a parody isn't still protected.

Let's call Kyle's dad (2, Funny)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456919)

and organize the Everyone vs Everyone trial.

Re:Let's call Kyle's dad (1)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457011)

The only people that seem to be excited about the DMCA are the lawyers going to town on YouTube.

It gives them an excuse to spend pointless hours watching viral videos of some guy getting hit in the face with a blunt object. "It's research, I tell ya. Research!"

Re:Let's call Kyle's dad (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458999)

I read the summary, and this song [metrolyrics.com] immediately came to mind. Especially "Aww, do I even need a reason?"

Submitter misses the point. (5, Informative)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456969)

Viacom's complaint is exactly what's stated in the headline--that they CAN'T POSSIBLY track all the content they want taken down.
They want to shift the burden of policing to the website operator.

The law:
Copyright violator puts material on website without proper rights to do so.
Copyright holder complains to website operator.
Website operator immediately takes down material, then follows up as appropriate.
Courts, whatever follow.

In exchange for certain protections (and they made out like bandits, but it's still not enough), the industry's lobbyists agreed to bear the weight of policing when the DMCA was finally passed in 1998.

What Viacom wants:
Website operator is responsible for making sure material in violation of license never appears on their site.
If this ever happens, copyright holder gets one biiillllion dollars (well, 1.6, but you get the pinky anyhow).
Well, that, or viacom just gets to dictate terms to google when they finally partner up.

As the google/youtube lawyer said this morning on NPR--this is something they should take up in the Congress, not the Courts.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457029)

Isn't a parody free and clear anyways?

Especially of the Colbert Report (of all things). Even ignoring the "oh-you're-one-of-them" reaction from fans, somehow I don't think it's in Colbert's best financial interests to restrict parody.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457377)

It's not Colbert that's doing it, it's Viacom.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (0)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458393)

I don't think that explanation will fly. The irony is too much. I wouldn't expect Colbert to lie down if he were sued for parodying Bill Oreilly, even if Oreilly did try to distance himself from it.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (1)

Dasmonger (745619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459409)

What you will find out is that is that Viacom did NOT ask that this specific video to be taken down. This is really Google goof.. And the Law suit is really about Google not even maken slightest attempt to clean up thier obvious copyright violations.. however had no problem keeping the Pr0n off etc.. As a real content producer, I loved the true idea of Youtube where "YOU" the user can post and share your own content. Not just copy and past others hard work..and then let the wonderfull "do no evil" Google make money from thier work. No evil my. my ass..

Re:Submitter misses the point. (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18462135)

This would be a parody of a parody.

Do we need the Supreme Court to decide how to deal with that?

Re:Submitter misses the point. (1)

DevStar (943486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459141)

Precendent from the Napster case shows that this is not the case. The music labels can effectively drop their catalog in your lap and then say, "Now make sure these don't show up on your site", and in Napster's case, they weren't even hosting the music!

All Viacom has to do is say, "Here's our catalog of shows, they'd better not show up." The burden has now shifted to YouTube to do the policing of the catalog. And given that YouTube actually hosts the content, I think the case against them ia actually more compelling than the case against Napster (which was pretty weak).

At the end of the day, everyone in the industry knew this was going to happen. The only thing that was surprising was that Google didn't force a lawsuit before they bought to see how things would play out. I think the thing that surprised people was Google buying YouTube, which made a big money play all but inevitable. Either Google has already calculated a multi-billion dollar payout with the YouTube purchase, or they feel like they can show that this is a DMCA case, which Napster could not.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459189)

What Viacom wants: Website operator is responsible for making sure material in violation of license never appears on their site.
And this is the most important part of the issue. Google, Youtube, et al, have exactly zero insight into the contractual arrangements of Viacom or anyone else. It's impossible for them to have access to the necessary information such that they may pass judgement over the validity of a submission.

If Viacom can shift the policing effort onto someone else, they might as well be able to print money directly.

Re:Submitter misses the point. (2, Interesting)

BadMrMojo (767184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459415)

Excellent post, but I think you missed one option, bolded below:

The law:
Copyright violator puts material on website without proper rights to do so.
Copyright holder complains to website operator.
Website operator immediately takes down material or files a counter-claim explaining why this is not an infringement .
Courts, whatever follow.


To be honest, I can't recall who, if anyone, followed that correctly or incorrectly in this case. Just a small note on the process.

The real point, however, is what disturbs me.

Viacom's complaint is exactly what's stated in the headline--that they CAN'T POSSIBLY track all the content they want taken down.
They want to shift the burden of policing to the website operator.

IANAL but I have spent a lot of time discussing the details of this with a 3rd-year law student with a copyright class fresh in her mind.

My primary argument is that the website operator can't possibly police all the 3rd party content they handle either. If this does get taken to Congress rather than the courts, are we looking at a possible amendment which will effectively kill the notion of user-generated content. A site like slashdot would suddenly be legally responsible for accurately reviewing every comment posted, if you take the approach to its logical extreme. Currently there are different standards for search engines vs. hosting services but any amendment could even blur those lines further as well.

I wish I could say that I have enough faith in our legislative branch to see the obvious logistical impossibility of forcing every website operator to constantly monitor the tubes. . . well. . . You can see how well that will turn out.

My apologies to my Fowl-ow slashdotters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18456997)

Now I understand. It isn't you guys who don't know the difference between lose and loose, between road and rode, between to, too, and two, or fowl and foul.

Cowboy Neal and Taco and the other illiterate /. editors are editing!

News for illiterates, stuff it (matter). How in the hell a nerd like me (and you) got sucked into this den of illiteracy, stupidity, and double digit IQs I'll never know. Oh wait; it must be the (+5, funny) that got us here!

Neal, go back to the first fucking grade, moron.

</Squawk>

Re:My apologies to my Fowl-ow slashdotters (1)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460389)

>>It isn't you guys who don't know the difference ... between to, too, and two...

Yeah, that's almost as bad as when people use "between" to differentiate a choice amongst three or more options.

Re:My apologies to my Fowl-ow slashdotters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18501699)

>>It isn't you guys who don't know the difference ... between to, too, and two...

Yeah, that's almost as bad as when people use "between" to differentiate a choice amongst three or more options.


Yeah, almost... but since the 5th meaning of the word "between" is "5. among: sharing the responsibilities between the five of us." I'm not sure if it's quite as bad. http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=betwe en&ia=luna [reference.com]

As far as I am concerned.... (4, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457003)

.....Viacom gets a Wag Of The Finger!

Re:As far as I am concerned.... (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457585)

"Viacom gets a Wag Of The Finger!"

Indeed. Seems to me this is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
I'm sure Colbert is loving the parody of a parody, but Viacom's lawyers are obviously to dense to figure it out.

If Colbert was smart, he'd take the video and "rip it apart" and do his own "behind the scenes" investigation of Moveon.org and Al Franken and Media Matters for America.

Re:As far as I am concerned.... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457839)

Indeed. Seems to me this is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
 
Yes, this would be apt, if one hand was a giant, all ecompassing hand that controls almost everything, and the left hand was a miniscule part of the other hand, employed by the other hand, and in the situation where almost all content produced is owned by the other hand. Yes, then this would be apt. What Steve personally wants, has very little do sway in what Viacom wants, and it probably shouldn't.

I really think there is a problem when media companies get so big, I hope that governments in the US and Europe do something about this, it is not good for anyone.

Re:As far as I am concerned.... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457627)

Never mind the 'wag of the finger', they can just get the finger!

Cold, Wet, and Slimy... (0, Flamebait)

Beefslaya (832030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457251)

MoveOn....ewwww...*shudder*

Viacom claims this is not their doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457413)

"Your complaint is the first information we have received about this clip. We have reviewed our takedown notices, and have found no record of a takedown notice with respect to this clip," Michael Fricklas, general counsel at Viacom, wrote in a letter to the EFF. "We maintain careful records of all of our takedown notices, so any takedown notice most likely did not come from us."

Viacom reviewed the clip on the "Stop the Falsiness" Web site and has no problem with having it viewed on YouTube or anywhere else, Fricklas said.

McSherry of the EFF said YouTube confirmed that Viacom sent the takedown notice on the clip before the lawsuit was filed. "It may be that (Viacom's) records are confused" given the vast number of takedown notices that they have sent, she said. "I am pleased that Viacom recognizes that MoveOn.org and Brave New Films are allowed to do exactly the same thing that Stephen Colbert does every night, which is engage in parody."

http://news.com.com/2100-1030-6169765.html?tag=yt [com.com]

Counter-Notice? (1)

SQFreak (844876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457475)

While I'm a supporter (and member) of the EFF, I don't see the strategy in not filing a counter-notice. Under the DMCA, if a copyright holder files a DMCA takedown notice (Section 512), the service provider has to take down the content and notify the account holder. The account holder can file a counter-notice explaining why the content is not infringing, then 14 days after the counter-notice, the content can be put back if no lawsuit has been filed. (See http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/faq.cgi [chillingeffects.org] )
S ince the method of restoring content is well established, why didn't MoveOn.org/EFF use it? Why was no counter-notice filed?

Re:Counter-Notice? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458185)

My best guess, and I could be way wrong, is that a counter notice wouldn't carry enough legal weight to stave of Viacom in the long run. If they file a counter notice, and get the content restored, it just becomes a battle of lawyer memos. If they sue Viacom in court for falsely filing DMCA claims, they can get some legal legs to stand on to shut this stuff down quickly in the future.

Re:Counter-Notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18458687)

It's pretty obvious why no counter-notice was filed if you read your own post. Once a counter notice is filed, the complaining party has 14 days to either let it drop or to file suit. In other words, filing a counter-notice is essentially daring Viacom to sue. In fact, it's almost REQUIRING them to sue.

Now, if I'm someone who made a video I considered kind of funny, and put it up on youtube, I probably don't have the money for a court fight with Viacom. If someone wants to promise to foot all the legal bills, I might feel differently. But absent that, there are real limits to how far I'd be willing to go as "a guy who made a video" to fight this, whether right is on my side or not. And shouting "let's settle this in court!" at Viacom is over that line for me.

Re:Counter-Notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18468075)

Probably because MoveOn.org has no interest in following a legal process unless they can use it to point the finger and say it is Bush's fault? Come on, they are protestors, even their lawyers don't take them seriously unless they put a cash deposit down.

c@0m (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18458681)

before playing to be a co3k-sucking RAM) for about 20 ass of them all, reas0ns why anyone be any fucking

Two wrongs don`t make a right (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459015)

Even when the kettle is calling the pot black, two wrongs don't make a right. Viacom may be a hypocritical tattletale in this case but it doesn't absolve YouTube of responsiblity. The submitter is silly to suggest this.

Re:Two wrongs don`t make a right (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459621)

Colbert should put Viacom "On Notice"

Re:Two wrongs don`t make a right (1)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460943)

That's not the issue at all. The issue is Viacom is trying to foist the responsibility onto YouTube to actively police their content, when under current law it is clearly Viacom's responsibility. They are trying to make a case in the courts that YouTube should be doing more, when all this shit starts hitting the fan and kinda just shows that Viacom themselves cannot keep copyright matters straight.

Re:Two wrongs don`t make a right (2, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460981)

Even when the kettle is calling the pot black, two wrongs don't make a right. Viacom may be a hypocritical tattletale in this case but it doesn't absolve YouTube of responsiblity.
Which responsibility are you talking about? To take down works where a copyright holder claims infringment? They do that. To reinstall them if the uploader files a counter notice disputing the claims on infringment? They do that. So where is YouTube at wrong? They just comply with the DMCA.

Colbert shoud run with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18459289)

I think the funniest thing Colbert could do would be to get on his show and rant with (mock) fury at the audacity of someone daring to PARODY his oh-so-serious show. The more he rants about how parody is wrong and un-american, the funnier it would be.

Re:Colbert shoud run with this (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18461199)

YESYESYESYESYESYES

making a big deal out of nothing (1)

mcguyver (589810) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459835)

viacom - gootube = pattern of abuse
viacom - ifilm = isolated incident
slashdot = grasping at straws for news

/bye karma

Gosh (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460727)

With a name like "MoveOn.org Civic Action and Brave New Films LLC" they can;t possibly be a bit full of themselves, could they?

Someday we will evolve beyond the mind cancer known as politics.

shit?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18463231)

consist3nt wi7h the

Gotta say though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18467403)

I don't have any sympathy for the dipshits who had their stupid, boring, lame clips removed because they chose to use misleading keywords like "Colbert" and "Daily Show" to get attention.
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