Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

YouTube Begins Defense, Seeks Depositions

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the calling-in-the-big-guns dept.

Google 106

eldavojohn writes "YouTube has begun their defense against Viacom by first calling on 30 depositions from people like Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert. While the article mentions that YouTube has not revealed what they hope to gain in these depositions, I think Jon Stewart's opinions will weigh in favor of YouTube. Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom, objects to YouTube's hosting of their content. Comedy Central hosts many Daily Show & Colbert Report clips on its own site, bringing in its own ad revenue."

cancel ×

106 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

gay (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20229941)

gay

Where the FUCK is iLife '09??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20229981)

Come ON you homosexual deviants in Cupertino. QUIT FUCKING AROUND and update your fucking software every so often. You mincing faggots are worse than Debian....

Off topic thread on this troll (0, Offtopic)

fbartho (840012) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230675)

So... since the first day I saw this troll on slashdot, I've been pretty confused about the purpose of this troll, and what it's message is supposed to be. Ignoring the obvious flame content at the beginning, what is the complaint exactly? That Apple takes too long between revisions? Waits till things are stable instead of releasing buggy code (like Debian), or what?

Re:Off topic thread on this troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20231119)

I think it's more a complaint about rampant homosexuality among Apple employees.

It's a Tactic (5, Interesting)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 7 years ago | (#20229943)

You ask to depose a number of people, hoping that the inconvenience of the process will force the other side to back down. That's why Comedy Central has the Google founders on their deposition list. It's lawyering.

Re:It's a Tactic (2, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230147)

But it should be (and maybe is?) an illegal tactic. Calling a defendant to the stand and everyone that defendant knows or had contact with just to troll for evidence and harass/intimidate the defendant could land a lawyer in contempt i would bet. I gather the blurry line is in deciding as to how much constitutes harassment.

Re:It's a Tactic (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230311)

this is a "deposition". Before the trial, there is a process called "discovery" where lawyers interview people who might have relevant facts (or sometimes they submit a written deposition). There's a lot more leeway than when calling a witness at the actual trial.

Re:It's a Tactic (0)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230685)

yes, indeed relevant evidence during trials and discovery should certainly be permissible, and I think it makes sense to have leeway during discovery, but there should be a limit i think. Like if the RIAA was prosecuting me and wanted to call my landlord, my second cousin, my housekeeper, the guy i buy my coffee from in the morning and so on there is a point at which it's not discovery but intimidation. I'm not saying this particular case is intimidation, but rather just responding to it being called "lawyering" and commenting on it as a tactic.

Re:It's a Tactic (5, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230199)

In this particular case you may not be entirely correct. Stephen Colbert held a contest called Stephen Colbert's green screen challenge, which had viewers take stock footage of colbert messing around with a lightsaber and edit it in any way. The submissions were supposed to be made on youtube, not on any hardware Viacom provided. Submissions of the contest were regularily shown on the Report for over a month.

Both the Daily Show and the Report have used youtube in many ways to poke fun at it and use it for their show. Since Stewart and Colbert both have much to do with their shows content creation, it fits that they might be deposed.

Re:It's a Tactic (2, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230491)

What you say seems to imply they're being deposed to provide backup for a claim by the defendant that no breach of copyright has taken place. That would be an interesting position for Youtube to take, but I don't see it being one they could defend. Allowing a clearly described subset of material to be spread freely does not mean the copyright holder grants permission for all their content to be spread, and I doubt any such claim will be made. The best argument that could be drawn from the way the copyright holders have used Youtube in their shows is that they granted usage rights to some material, and that having their material on Youtube was good for their business. Maybe, just maybe, Youtube could even claim unauthorized use of material distributed on their service, although that would be pretty facetious. A copyright owner is, in any case, entitled to make bad business choices if they wish to do so. I don't see this angle being much more than diversionary tactics, and I'd suspect the real question is to what degree Youtube as a company is responsible for material posted by their users.

Re:It's a Tactic (5, Interesting)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230543)

They can use it to allege unclean hands. If Viacom is taking Google IP, and Google is taking Viacom IP, neither might be able to successfully sue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unclean_hands [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's a Tactic (1)

saxoholic (992773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233103)

That's exactly correct. As an avid viewer of the Colbert Report and Daily Show, I can think of numerous times they have used clips from YouTube. Also, they never credited YouTube anywhere during Stephen Colbert's Green Screen Challenge. Viacom would be much better off working with YouTube to create a new way for media companies to utilize YouTube for everyone's best interests. Why does the media not understand technology?

Re:It's a Tactic (1)

Dr. Slacker (31348) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233487)

Google/YouTube does not own any of the content on their site, so there's no copyright violation on Comedy Central's part.

Re:It's a Tactic (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230889)

They will likely try to show that both Colbert and Stewart encouraged the posting of Youtube videos and that therefore implicitly granted permission.

Re:It's a Tactic (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230265)

You ask to depose a number of people, hoping that the inconvenience of the process will force the other side to back down. That's why Comedy Central has the Google founders on their deposition list. It's lawyering.
Probably not. The goal, here, is to discover exactly what's going to come out in court. Obviously the folks involved with The Daily Show will have information about the impact that You Tube has had on the show, how ratings have been doing, and so on.

Google needs to make the case that brief exposure to copyright violation (while Viacom staff hunts down the content and issues formal complaints to You Tube) has not had a negative impact on the programs that have been infringed. They also need to show that they've been prompt in responding to concerns about copyright violations on their site.

If they can make those two points, they'll have a start to a workable case. The real question is how much effort Google can realistically be asked to put in to make sure that their users don't upload copyrighted material. The answer to that question will have far-reaching impacts on every site (mine included) that allow users to contribute their own content whether text, audio, video or something else.

Re:It's a Tactic (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230557)

Is real-world impact actually a consideration in copyright cases, beyond maybe determining damages to be paid? Is it something that would affect the outcome of a verdict, on the guilty-not guilty axis? If it is, then shouldn't the RIAA, in their suing of peer-to-peer users, need to prove the amount of financial damage done - which is of course utterly impossible?

Re:It's a Tactic (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231519)

Is real-world impact actually a consideration in copyright cases
Sort of.

Google is contending, I believe, that they do what they can do police their users by allowing them to police themselves, and by responding to copyright holders who have complaints. Showing that doing so has limited any financial loss to the copyright holder could make the point that they're doing a sufficient job, even if, at any given time, you can find something that violates copyrights on You Tube.

This would not work for someone who was actively violating copyright (say, distributing a song on your own Web site), but when you're a service provider, there has to be some reality-check for the fact that you simply can't police all of your thousands or millions of users all the time... you have to show a good faith effort and work with the copyright holders to a reasonable degree, but ultimately, it's just not your fault that little Timmy uploaded an episode of The Daily Show.

Re:It's a Tactic (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230423)

Precisely. I doubt either of these individuals have any legal standing in the case. They are paid by their respective employers to perform the stupid human tricks that will fill the time between commercials. No matter how enjoyable these tricks are, and no matter how popular they are, it s unlikely that the contracts allow the control of the distribution of the product that are a part of.

I suppose they could renegotiate their contract, or create their own content, and then allow it to be put up on youtube.

Before the lame flame starts, let me be clear that I believe that places like youtube are going to be key to the continuing success of the traditional media, even though that means the traditional media may not be as profitable. I also believe that enlightened performers should push for this change, as it is in their own self interest. It is just that these depositions are so clearly simple stupid lawyer tricks that are intended to waste time and increase costs. Of course, since this is also the popular tactic of viacom against it's customers, viacom really doesn't have any justification in complaining.

Is there any doubt? (3, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#20229957)

While the article mentions that YouTube has not revealed what they hope to gain in these depositions...

Probably they're hoping that Colbert will raise his eyebrows and bug his eyes out during his deposition. Then they can put the footage on YouTube and rake in viewership from all the Colbert fans: "Look, while he said that he raised his eyebrows and bugged his eyes out! It's funny because he raised his eyebrows and bugged his eyes out!"

From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 7 years ago | (#20229989)

I'm pretty sure both Stewart and Colbert have previously stated that they were pleased to see clips of their shows on YouTube, as it could only generate publicity and drive more viewers to the show. Unfortunately, neither gentleman holds the copyright to the shows, so their opinions might not carry much weight in this case. They may be the stars in front of the camera, but they are still basically employees.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (4, Insightful)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230029)

Yes, people are going to come out and say that they should be considered heroes for standing up to Viacom and caring about user content on YouTube...but the truth is that they are employed for Viacom. If they really cared that much about their stuff being able to show up on YouTube, they would both quit Viacom and go exclusively web-based. This won't happen, and these guys are going to stay with whom their paychecks come from.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (4, Interesting)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230213)

If they quit Viacom, it'd be kinda tough to get any more Daily Show or Colbert Report on the web, wouldn't it? They don't care about having their content "free" (as in speech) on YouTube. They want it on there "free" (as in beer) to generate a larger audience. They understand that if you give some users some free content, they'll be more likely to watch the show 'live' on TV when it first airs.

I know for me, watching Lazy Sunday on YouTube brought me back to checking out SNL again for the first time in several years...maybe that's just me though.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (2, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230363)

Yeah, it's thanks to all those those clips on Youtube that i started regularly watching The Colbert Report, which I get from mininova.org.

What if... (1, Interesting)

istewart (463887) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230847)

a talent like Stewart or Colbert (or, more likely, somebody lower down the comedy totem pole) did break off from their network host and try to self-employ themselves through the web? It's becoming more feasible, and participation in community sites like YouTube is an integral part of future marketing strategies for online video. Consider this business model for a news program, for instance:

1) Every day, broadcast a live stream of the show as it's recorded. If subscriptions are broken up into tiers, this would be the central feature of the top tier, perhaps along with perks like call-in segments in each interview, which by necessity only subscribers would have access to.
2) As soon as the show's recorded, it's automatically up for sale on iTunes and what have you, so that the passive fanbase can download it as a "vodcast" (or whatever term is trendy enough to take over).
3) Have an editing team on hand to create a shorter Headline News-style presentation to be thrown up on YouTube for general consumption. It would still give prospective customers a run-down of the day's news while encouraging them to buy or subscribe to the "full version."

An aspiring newscaster could implement the 3rd step first and then expand the format of their program as they gain fame, but an already-big name could probably plop the whole thing onto the Web at once and start raking in the bucks. From my perspective, this requires a critical mass of both consumers and producers to begin realizing that they can finally cut out a number of the middlemen.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20231583)

They don't care about having their content "free" (as in speech) on YouTube. They want it on there "free" (as in beer) to generate a larger audience. They understand that if you give some users some free content, they'll be more likely to watch the show 'live' on TV when it first airs.

That might be the case, but I'm sure they want to generate revenue by selling the show on iTunes. Hard to do that when your content is illegally available on youtube.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20232563)

alright, i've seen this enough on slash dot the last few days... where the f^ck are you all getting this free beer?

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20233809)

Yes, people are going to come out and say that they should be considered heroes for standing up to Viacom and caring about user content on YouTube...but the truth is that they are employed for Viacom. If they really cared that much about their stuff being able to show up on YouTube, they would both quit Viacom and go exclusively web-based. This won't happen, and these guys are going to stay with whom their paychecks come from.

You really think it's that black-and-white? That they can't have the opinion that clips on YouTube are beneficial without making a grand gesture of career suicide by quitting their successful shows (and presumably giving up TV altogether, certainly anything Viacom related) and going web-based? Do you honestly think they care that much either way?

No, they're not "heroes" for this, but they're not cowards either.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (1)

slib (876774) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230209)

They're big figures in the field of entertainment. And even though they're employed by Viacom, that doesn't remove their right to be critical against it. People will listen to them, and the execs at Comedy Central would be sure to defend them (mostly because the Daily Show is one of the only things still watchable on that station). I'd say it's mostly a case of some just-out-of-law-school schlub trying to garner a few credentials (before he starts chasing ambulances and advertising on 2AM about how if you've ever been injured by ANYTHING, YOU are entitled to a dump-truck filled to the brim with 1-million dollar bills). By attempting to turn two of Comedy Central's biggest figures against the conglomerate that feeds them, they'll expose any legal over-zealousness that may be occuring, which in turn will make Viacom "stfu". Hopefully.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (2, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230355)

True. However I doubt YouTube is going to be using their testimony as a means to show that no copyright was infringed. After all, explicit (usually written) permission is required for copyright to be truly licensed. However they can claim that the public opinions of these spokespersons makes it somewhat difficult for YouTube to know whether or not the posted clips were sanctioned.

They may also be using them as "expert witnesses" who can comment upon the economic impact of the infringements. If these witnesses explain how the short clips act as publicity and largely increase the value of the copyrights in question, then this goes a long way to supporting the notion that (most of) the infringements are not damaging Viacom. The fact that the expert witnesses are, in fact, essentially employees of Viacom will not be lost on the judge.

Further, these witnesses can attest to the large amount of user-generated (non-infringing) content on YouTube. Colbert makes reference to YouTube and his fans post many parodies and fair-use remixes of his shows.

Remember that YouTube isn't really denying that some YouTube clips are infringing. Rather, they are trying to show that YouTube has a preponderance of non-infringing (user-generated) content, that they are making every reasonable effort to discourage uploading of infringing material, and that what infringement does slip past their system is not greatly damaging Viacom.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (2, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230411)

Their not employees, their the salesmen of the company. Next to Southpark, The Daily Show and Colbert Report are next on the list of Comedy Centrals biggest assets when it comes to pulling in viewers. Almost every night those two men go on and sell the show to us so that the next day we come back to watch again.

What Google is doing now is getting these "employees" on their side so that they can use them against Viacom later on. Will it help? I don't know but look at the Southpark situation right now. Trey Parker and Matt Stone were not pleased by Comedy Central and Viacoms actions when they censored their shows. When 2009 comes around and they sign the contracts again Trey Parker and Matt Stone will have the power on the table hands down. The last time the contracts were on the table it was rumored they might go to HBO.

Far fetched scenario is that Google/Youtube manages to get these employees pissed off at their company. Instead of just ignoring all these little clips at low quality will end up costing them millions in contracts, lost revenue, and who knows what else.

Its just one of many tactics that Google/Youtube will use.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230901)

However, YouTube could probably claim that since both gentleman work for the company making the videos, barring explicit contradiction, their statements implied that such use was licensed.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (2, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231619)

Unfortunately, neither gentleman holds the copyright to the shows, so their opinions might not carry much weight in this case. They may be the stars in front of the camera, but they are still basically employees


That's not necessarily correct, nor is it entirely the point. First, the contract details aren't known about either show, but the Colbert Report was created by Stewart's production company and the degree of their ownership may well be significant.

The point of them testifying, though, is to undercut the notion that Viacom is acting to defend the ability of creative people to get compensated for their work -- the entire purpose of copyright.

Yes, we're all used to the cynicism of the RIAA/MPAA saying they're standing up for "the artists" while none of the money they collect actually goes to the artists, but it is an important thing to knock that moral high ground out from under their feet in the legal proceedings. If all the creators involved actually state for the record that they have no problem with YouTube, then Viacom has to argue strictly from the financial angle, and there the waters are much, much murkier as they'd be dealing with a lot more unknowns about what real damage is being done to the market for their product.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20232009)

Yes but YouTube has the DMCA already. Viacom is trying to change the law here. So infact winning in the court of public opinion helps YouTube lots, if the judge gets it.

Re:From the (Wrong) Horse's Mouth (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233049)

It may be in -their- best interest. But that doesnt mean its in the best interest of Viacom (the holders of the copyright). Stewart and Colbert no doubt benefit from all the free publicity. But comedy central does not benefit from people watching clips on youtube when it is pulling traffic away from comedy central's own website.

They agreed to accept a huge sum of money to produce that content for viacom. If they wanted to give that content away for free then they should not have entered into that agreement. Viacom paid them for producing the content, they own the copyright and are entitled to protection of copyright law.

Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video? (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230097)

It's not worth it. Slow, laggy performance and you have to wade through pages of premercials before you get to the crappy player. I've tried it a few times and it's such a lousy experience I don't bother anymore.

They should simply strike a deal with YouTube, take a percentage of ad revenue from pages with Comedy Central clips on them - and let the pros handle the video.

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230163)

...Or...sue them, likely win, make a boatload of money up front, and STILL trike an agreement with them after the fact and make money off ad revenue.

Wow - that works well!

But is Google in the wrong? I don't think so... (1)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230425)

Google is operating under the DMCA as far as I can see. If they are made aware of copyrighted content for which they do not posses the right to display they take it down. They are under the "safe harbor" stipulation of the DMCA. If Viacom doesn't like this they need to get the DMCA changed. Also, I would not fault Google if they gave Viacom any information they had on the users who upload copyrighted content so that Viacom may pursue them for the copyright violations. This will all lead to some sort of deal being worked out between Viacom and Google for shared ad revenue, in the end.

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (4, Insightful)

abes (82351) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230223)

That's the thing that gets me. The amount of effort they put into lawyering could easily be fixed otherwise by making a page that works. And why don't they include whole episodes? It's not rocket science. It's a really simple formula to follow. First take content, then put it on the fucking page, ordered chronologically. Oh, and yeah, please make a decent player.

The thing is, people are lazy. People will watch advertisements. Youtube doesn't usually have entire episodes, the episodes vary in quality, and it can sometimes take a good amount of time to actually find. If they just put the content where people want it (remember that whole economics thing, with supply and demand?), then why not provide it? You can even make money on it. Really.

Not to mention of course, Youtube helps gain popularity for the show. Something called advertisements. Something most companies have to spend a lot of money on.

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (1)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230381)

Which Comedy Central player are you using? I use this one [comedycentral.com] + AdBlock, and I don't see any ads. It uses Windows Media Player (insert your own opinion on whether that's a "crappy player" here).

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230407)

Sometimes it lags for me, But I can't stand the way they chop up the show so you miss parts of it. I'm in the UK and don't get the daily show or the Colbert report so if I want some humor I watch it on there site. But I'm thankful they have stuff on there site, I just wish they would allow youtube to take over the job.

Another problem I've recently been having is it randomly skips scenes.

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230489)

I've found that some web players' performance is improved by holding down the mouse button, especially on a machine that appears to be struggling to keep up with the framerate but the audio comes through anyway. It worked for me with ABC's player last season. It does make it feel like you're watching video on a dead man's switch, though you could wedge a paperclip between the button and the mouse housing on most mice to hold it down.(*)

My theory is that the system can more quickly handle an unwanted mouse-click event faster than it can check all possible events, giving more processor time to the video player.

(*) And now that I mention this, I expect they'll build-in technology where you do have a dead man's switch to watch video so they can get more accurate viewership numbers, perhaps with requiring releasing the button at random times to make sure you're not wedging it down.

Doesn't even work (2, Informative)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230733)

Comedy Central's video isn't just crappy, it doesn't work. Starting about two weeks ago most video clips have not been watchable because the menu for selecting them is messed up.

Re:Have anyone tried to use Comedy Central's video (2, Informative)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231659)

While the "MotherLoad" player sucks, I watch the Flash feed version on each of the shows' main pages every day that they're available, usually in a corner on my desktop at work. I have flashblock on, so I only turn on the flash video that contains the video, and the clips just play in order they appeared on the show.

Occasionally, there's an annoying ad, but I just mute it for the 15 or 30 seconds that it plays, then turn the volume back on.

For me, it's a lot easier than having to search through a bunch of YouTube clips to find the right ones from the right day, hoping that I don't get one that duplicates one I've already seen, or get one with the volume really low, then the next one uploaded by someone else with the volume way up high.

Given the price, I'm satisfied with ComedyCentral's offerings (though I'd appreciate a more complete set of clips, since I have no TV!)

- RG>

Why don't........ (1, Interesting)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230135)

Why don't content providers just go ahead and put all their shows up for downloading, stick all the adds they want in them, and tell people to download and copy them and give them away as much as they want? Can't they make a lot of money by advertising that way? Sure they wouldn't be able to track the results by Nielsen ratings, but the number of times the clips are downloaded should give them some measure of popularity to show advertisers and calculate advertising rates. I know an Israeli web site that I believe does something like this (for Israeli shows).

Re:Why don't........ (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230185)

People could just edit the ads out, so there's no guarantee they would stick.

Re:Why don't........ (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230255)

But viewers can do that already can't they? With Tivo?

Re:Why don't........ (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230601)

Exactly. The sooner the content industry gives up on this obsession with complete control, the sooner a viable business model will emerge (and by "viable" I mean "fits with the internet").

Yes, some users will edit-out the commercials. Others will skip past them. It doesn't matter. A very large number of users won't bother skipping the commercials (if they are sufficiently short and not too frequent). And, if you make the shows very easy to find and download, users won't bother looking on P2P sites for the equivalent commercial-free version.

The key here is to make the experience for the consumer sufficiently convenient that they no longer feel the need to overcome "the system." When commercials are annoying, people learn to circumvent them (e.g. adblock on webpages, record and fast-forward for video). When commercials are "good" (sufficiently short, infrequent, and maybe even entertaining), people will watch them.

Re:Why don't........ (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230683)

Here's an example of a "good ad" situation: the YouTube channel for Wallstrip [youtube.com] regularly releases professional-quality segments on various stocks and business trends. The segments have a short (2 second) ad at the beginning ("brought to you by--") and a full-length ad at the end. Because the ad is always relevant to the content, and because it is not "in your way," it is highly effective. (Sometimes the ad is even funny.)

Do I dutifully watch the ad every time? No. However I see the ads enough for them to have the intended effect: they increase the exposure for the advertised company/product... all without annoying me.

Re:Why don't........ (1)

anti-pop-frustration (814358) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234073)

When commercials are "good" (sufficiently short, infrequent, and maybe even entertaining), people will watch them.

As far as I'm concerned no ad will ever be considered good and I will always do what I can to avoid them, not matter how infrequent, relevant or "entertaining" they are.

Re:Why don't........ (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234167)

I'm willing to bet you're in an extreme minority, I don't have anything to back that up, but I would certainly lay money down.

Re:Why don't........ (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230275)

why bother?
If you can download them at will from their site at good speed who needs to edit anything?
Personally though, flashplayers like youtube or adultswim.com are the way to go. ABC.com managed to fuck this up by checking for the browser ID and OS. why I have no idea since flash runs on just about every browser and OS.

Colbert's Deposition (2, Funny)

prxp (1023979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230149)

Colbert's Deposition:

Jugde: Overruled! Let the witness answer the question.
Colbert: Nation, there's no problem about people adoring me on youtube. That's only natural.


I've always wondered how Stephen Colbert would behave in real life.

Re:Colbert's Deposition (2, Interesting)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230195)

There's been a couple NPR interviews with Colbert, where he's obviously not in-character. Here's one, pre-Report: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?story Id=4464017 [npr.org]

He also hosted an episode of The Daily Show a few years back, and you can see the real Stephen interviewing David Cross.

I swear... (4, Funny)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230155)

to tell the truthiness, the whole truthiness, and nothing but the truthiness.

Because they're entertaining (2, Funny)

iabervon (1971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230157)

Obviously, they want Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert's depositions because it's going to be really funny and make Viacom's position look stupid. Frankly, I'm surprised that more people don't depose Jon Stewart just to get snide commentary that will play well in front of a jury. In this case, it's even relevant so the jury could end up hearing it.

Re:Because they're entertaining (2, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230577)

Jon Stewart can be very serious as well. Should check out his appearance on Crossfire. It's brutal.

Re:Because they're entertaining (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231921)

That was the first thing I thought of. Sure, he's funny on the show, but deep down he really means it. It's funny when he calls somebody out for doing something stupid, it's down right sobering when he does it to their faces on national TV.

Objection: relevance? (4, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230197)

I recently was arrested for stealing a hamburger from McDonalds. McDonalds has a new get-tough policy lately because of this growing trend of 'hamburgling.'

My lawyer has suggested - quiet brilliantly - that I subpoena Roger. Roger is the guy who works the register at the location where I've been hamburgling. He sometimes sweeps the floor. His IQ is around 75 and he has worked there for over ten years. He really knows the restaurant business because of all of that experience.

Roger agrees with me that the hamburgers cost too much and are of too low quality to pay for. He also thinks that having me come into the store in my hamburglar outfit [outlet4toys.com] excites the customers by giving them a little drama in their supersizeme lifestyles - so they are more likely to return and eat more. A testament to my success is that since I have been working that golden arches, on-site cardiac arrests and ambulence visits from all the McD customers have triped. Toilets overflowing incident reports have quadroupled.

We think we can get Roger to testify on my behalf that my hamburgling is actually helpful to McDonalds and that I'm not stealing anything of much value anyway.

Robble Robble.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230323)

Have you taken your valium today? Really, you should listen to the doctor.

The "Objection: relevance" should apply to your post. Free advertising is in no way comparable to theft, not to mention that what you actually expounded on would really BE beneficial to McDonald's. If someone was "stealing" my hamburgers and I could sell 4x as many, I'd make sure that it kept happening. Keep trying, though. I'm sure your superior IQ (as compared to Roger's) of 76 and inability to spell "hamburgler" will garner you some sympathy.

Re:Objection: relevance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230385)

Wait, so you take somebody elses content, generate revenue through advertisements and then tell them you're giving THEM 'free' advertising? Fucking BRILLIANT!

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230777)

My point wasn't about the piracy question, though I understand how you can read that into it since it must be hard to read with all the other idiots in the asylmum screaming non-stop.

My point was that having a low-level employee of a company that is suing you testify in an attempt to undercut the company's case is... retarded.

Re:Objection: relevance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20231021)

To make an actual response without flaming, the "low level employee" in this case might well testify that Viacom was often indifferent to copyright issues, liked the advertising, encouraged placement on YouTube to hype some segments, or only made intermittent efforts at notifying YouTube of copyright violations. Or even that there was disagreement within Viacom about the impact.

Any one of which would be highly relevant for either liability, amount of damages, or both for a copyright trial. Though not in a larceny case, which is why your analogy is leading you astray--a proper analogy in your terms might be if Roger could testify as to whether or not McDonald's had already thrown away or sold the hamburger.

For Google's team, *not* running through the company looking for evidence that Viacom employees often liked the advertisement or hype on YouTube would be close to negligent, and certainly it's reasonable to think that Colbert and Stewart have some insight into how Viacom markets and hypes their shows.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231599)

The problem is that Colbert, like Roger, has no reason to have any knowledge about the company's policies.

And it doesn't matter if the employees liked the 'advertisent.' It's wholly irrelevant.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231851)

aww give him a break he atleast added the "robble robble" at he end and that just made my day.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230715)

Thanks for demonstrating through extended analogy that you don't understand the situation at all.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231521)

Thanks for demonstrating your inability to explain how. See post above. My point isn't about copyrights, it's about trying to have a company's employees testify on issues they have no qualification to testify on and whose opinions are not relevant.

Re:Objection: relevance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230863)

"Toilets overflowing incident reports have quadroupled."

quadpoopled. It's four times the poop.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230967)

Objection: This is a copyright infringement case and not theft.

Speaking of which manslaughter, 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, assault, assault and battery, breaking and entering, tresspassing, copyright infringement, libel, slander, criminal negligence, piracy on the high seas, treason, and sedition are all different crimes.

Personally... I'm still confused what the difference between libel and slander, but I believe in the court of law there is always a big difference.

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231655)

My analogy is not about theft. It's about an employee's opinion on the matter's relevence to the legal issues at hand.

Its NOT STEALING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20231005)

When you steal a hamburger, the previous owner cannot eat it.

When you copy a video, the previous owner still has his copy and can still watch it.

Are people really so thick-headed that they can't understand this? Or do they deliberately choose to pretend that the law of conservation of matter applies to data in order to make their case sound better?

Re:Objection: relevance? (0, Offtopic)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231299)

So wait, colbert is mcdonalds? or is he the hamburger? roger? Viacom is the hamburgler outfit, right?

Jesus man thats the most confusing analogy ive EVER read...

Re:Objection: relevance? (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231687)

Try reading it again without the crack pipe.

Re:Objection: relevance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20235351)

I think I understood, and understanding, I agree. Who the fuck cares what Colbert et. al. think about Youtube, it was my understanding that the rights to the work were owned by Viacom, etc.

Great idea (5, Funny)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230235)

[From the executive offices of Viacom and Comedy Central]

"OK guys, I've got a great idea! There's this company out there on the interwebs called youtube, and they're owned by Google, and they get tens of millions of visitors every day. Now they're willing to host our videos - get this - for free!

So here's my idea: let's put our videos on our own website instead! That way, we can pay for all our own web design, site maintenance and bandwidth, we can make sure that the interests of the advertisers who finance us go unserved thanks to our site getting just a tiny fraction of the traffic youtube gets, AND we can piss the whole world off in the process! How can we lose!?

Re:Great idea (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230699)

viacom pays for, and owns, the content in question. Google/youtube doesn't have a right to leach their content (and gainad money/mindshare from it).

Re:Great idea (1)

Agrippa (111029) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231367)

Your logic is wrong. This is the business logic the Viacom lawyers used:

if(size of settlement(infringment violations * max penalty) - cost of(web design + site maintenance + bandwidth + bad press)) > cash google has) {
      sue google;
} else {
      work with google;
}

Since their costs are low compared to the potential payoff, the risk is worth the reward. FYI this is the exact same logic was applied by the record labels when they sued MP3.com.

Maybe (2, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230239)

Maybe YouTube is trying to prove that its not causing harm to other businesses. Jon Steward and Stephen Colbert can talk about how they've spoken highly of YouTube and yet they haven't seen any drop in ratings that can be attributed to YouTube. I mean, if they can prove they're not causing damages, Viacom may have a difficult time pursuing $1 billion dollars in damages.

Hopefully though, they'll still try to use safe harbor laws in their defense. I think they have a much stronger case there.

Re:Maybe (1)

Vader82 (234990) | more than 7 years ago | (#20232147)

Hear, hear. The DMCA (which I absolutely abhor) has the "Safe Harbor" provision, which says that if you remove the content once the copyright holders notify you, you're in the clear. It is not YouTube's responsibility to police the videos. Neither is it AT&T's responsibility to police their IP network. Should your ISP be responsible for the things you post on Usenet?

What happens if I upload a picture that someone else copyrighted to Flickr? Did Flickr commit copyright infringement? NO! I DID!

What Viacom is trying to do is utterly ridiculous. The law is not in their favor. I think they're really just mad that they have to pony up a bunch of money to police YouTube. It probably seems easier to sue them to make them create a filtering system (after which Viacom would drop the case) rather than police it themselves, ask nicely, or get the law changed. Unfortunately for them, Google has plenty of money to lawyer with too.

Not to mention, with the amount of highly skilled people at their company they could probably even come up with some applications for automatic generation of depositions, interviews, and even legal briefs and motions. Kinda like those kids from MIT created an automatic paper generator a few years ago and actually got a couple of conference acceptances. http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ [mit.edu] How can you lawyer a company into submission that has, for all intents and purposes, an infinite number of lawyers at their disposal for dollars a day? They could completely bog down the legal system if they wanted to.

Re:Maybe (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234565)

Not to mention, with the amount of highly skilled people at their company they could probably even come up with some applications for automatic generation of depositions, interviews, and even legal briefs and motions. Kinda like those kids from MIT created an automatic paper generator a few years ago and actually got a couple of conference acceptances. http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ [mit.edu] How can you lawyer a company into submission that has, for all intents and purposes, an infinite number of lawyers at their disposal for dollars a day? They could completely bog down the legal system if they wanted to.

Admit it, you took that idea from Accelerando [accelerando.org]

simply (1)

ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230321)

They should realize that they can't STOP people from distributing videos like this... and accept the fact that it serves as free advertising for their shows. sure THEIR ads are not in it.. but it's like an AD for people to watch there ad... they should sue Tivo too for letting people skip commercials (did that already happen?.. meh whatever)

Re:simply (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230549)

Because the neighborhood store can't stop me from stealing packs of gum, and just a pack of gum every so often doesn't really hurt their business they might as well just adapt.

You know, adapt or die.

Re:simply (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230671)

The other half of this argument (setting aside for a moment the fact that the law can't STOP anyone from doing anything) that are against the law) is that they shouldn't have to stop people from distributing because people shouldn't be doing it in the first place. It's not yours. The internet and computers don't change the things that you should do. It's not your video. That's really the end of it, right there. Regardless of how easy it is or how little harm you see in it, it's not your decision to make and a rational person can see that. You can debate about how it's an artificial monopoly or how it shouldn't be considered property until you're blue in the face, but whatever 'it' is, it's not yours.

Even if you've got a legitimate copy, it doesn't exist in a standalone vacuum under your express and complete monopoly. No law or legal system has ever endorsed that view. If you own stock in a company (and really it's not far off from having a copy--you're essentially an investor in the product), you can't make copies and give them away because it devalues every other investor. Even if you own just two shares and you give two shares to just one other person and the effect is negligible, you don't have that right. And before you say that a stock share has value and a copy doesn't, let me remind you that a stock share is a piece of paper whose "real" worth is nothing more than the paper it's written on--it only has value because the company and the stock market say it has value.

Re:simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230893)

Your arument's fault lies with the "it's not yours" mentality, which is so broad that you can apply it to situations where "it's not yours" but you are legally in the right to distribute it.

Re:simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20231733)

Nonsense. The fact that specific exceptions have been carved into the law prove the point--it's not yours, and you can't do as you please with it. The law has allowed certain, specific, narrow uses because of that natural limitation.

Re:simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20232297)

You don't get it:

I'm saying that you are so generalized that you are glossing over the times where the rights owner wants you to distribute the work for free. Not always, grated, but I never say that is always the case, and for you to imply that, if you are, is horseshit.

Re:simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20232877)

That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

It is simple: it's not yours. If the person it belongs to gives you permission to distribute, that's fine, but it is not a determination for you to make on your own. It's the owner's right to control it, absent any specific exemption in the law. As in the GP, it is not yours to distribute--it's not that "they" need to realize that they can't stop illegal distribution, it's that "you" should not be doing it. A store owner can't stop shoplifting; the law can't stop graffiti. These are beside the point that a person should stop himself from doing those things. Pursuing them via a legal system is a backup and not a replacement for self-restraint.

Re:simply (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230821)

Right. The owner of the right of distribution should just, you know, throw that right away because asshats will break the law and distribute it anyway. Same lame rehas of "I want it free!".

Opinions change (3, Insightful)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230367)

"I think Jon Stewart's opinions will weigh in favor of YouTube."

I wouldn't count on that. I bet Mr. Stewart will be thoroughly "briefed" by Viacom Corporate Counsel prior to the deposition about what's an appropriate response in behalf of Mr. Stewart's employer.

Re:Opinions change (3, Insightful)

drivinghighway61 (812488) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230487)

Viacom needs Jon Stewart more than Jon Stewart needs Viacom. Think about it. If Jon was fired from his job at The Daily Show, he would immediately be signed by a rival to Viacom. I don't think he really has much to worry about other than speaking his mind. At the very least, he might make Viacom look good for hiring an intelligent man.

Re:Opinions change (3, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230647)

It doesn't really matter who needs who. There is a contract that doesn't expire until next year. There have been rumors that NBC may try to hire Jon Stewart to do late night, and an alleged dinner with the head of NBC, Jon, and his agent.

Given how popular his show is, I would be surprised if there wasn't a bidding war for him once his contract is up.

Re:Opinions change (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#20235443)

There is a contract that doesn't expire until next year.
Man, I wish I was an actual law-dude, instead of just an armchair one, but -

It seems to be that if Viacom dismissed him for obeying the law and telling the truth during a deposition they would have a hard time binding him to said contract. I'm certain it has all the usual 'employer can do whatever it wants' language, but my understanding of employment contracts is that they only apply to the actual transaction of the employment. You can't interfere with due process of law just because both parties signed a piece of paper.

IANAL, but still...

Re:Opinions change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230661)

You mean there are cable channels that Viacom doesn't own!?

Re:Opinions change (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20230929)

No way! They'll just replace him with Craig Kilborn and just keep raking in the cash like when before Jon Stewart joined!

They Can Ask Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20230785)

If they want me to give a deposition I'll give them one. I'll tell them Sumner Murray Redstone blows and that should do it.

A few ideas for approaching this mess.... (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 7 years ago | (#20231011)

Showing copyrighted material for profiteering is obviously wrong. The REAL question is, should "GooTube" (Google & YouTube) be held responsible for the discovery and/or removal of infringing content they host. Also, for this content that isn't discovered or removed, is it reasonable to force GooTube to dicover & remove 100% of those? And, if GooTube makes the offer as it has been to remove all infringing content, does that cover their ass?

Here are some different approaches I have to this issue, although they still don't answer the basic question or whether or not GooTube or Viacom and company should be responsible for notifying GooTube about infringed material. Just brainstorming...
  • Preliminary assumption:
    Either GooTube or copyright holders will be responsible for identifying their copyrighted materials. There's really no other way around it, because copyrighted materials will need to be identified, unless the court somehow decides that GooTube is not infringing upon copyrights, which I seriously doubt.

  • Solution #1: Revenue sharing
    GooTube shares all or a portion of ad revenue generated on the page which holds the copyrighted material to the company who holds the copyright. This could allow the content to remain up (at the copyrighter's discretion?) and possibly be beneficial for all companies invovled.

  • Solution #2: Revenue removal
    GooTube removes all advertisements on pages that contain copyrighted material, so they are no longer profiteering. This could pave the way to hosting copyrighted material by removing one of the most 'illegal' aspects of what YouTube is doing, and also perhaps at the discretion of the copyright holder.

  • Solution #3: Monitoring & removal
    GooTube finds someone who knows what every single thing that has ever been copyrighted looks, sounds, feels and smells like... And every file that is uploaded to GooTube passes through this one person. This person will be responsible for filtering all infringing material and if he or she lets something slip, well... This person won't, right? Perfectly reasonable.

    It seems GooTube's crutch is the copyright holder is responsible for notification and/or removal - not GooTube. However, we all know companies like Viacom would rather not deal with it so they are hoping this won't hold ground in court, I'm sure.

    I personally believe that it is ridiculous to hold GooTube responsible for absolutely every video that passes through, especially when they do so much filtering/removal already, but it IS wrong to profit on copyrighted works that you don't hold the rights to.

    It is also my belief that it is unreasonable to place the burden upon copyright holders to monitor and notify GooTube for every single infringing video they may have.

    But lastly, I believe very strongly that YouTube is a positive force in this world. You can LEARN so much, ENTERTAIN yourself silly or SHARE your yourself however you'd like. And we've all seen the headlines with YouTube busting criminals, crooked police offers etc.. I think the worst alternative is shutting YouTube down. Not that we won't survive without YouTube, from guitar lessons to how to tie your own tie, I think it does far greater good than harm, whether or not it may unlawful.

Re:A few ideas for approaching this mess.... (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20232811)

[quote]I personally believe that it is ridiculous to hold GooTube responsible for absolutely every video that passes through, especially when they do so much filtering/removal already, but it IS wrong to profit on copyrighted works that you don't hold the rights to.

It is also my belief that it is unreasonable to place the burden upon copyright holders to monitor and notify GooTube for every single infringing video they may have.[/quote]

Thing is, that's the law as it stands right now. A content provider has the DMCA safe-harbor. So long as they qualify (which YouTube does, since they respond appropriately to DMCA takedowns), they aren't liable for infringement.

Additionally: note the lack of advertisements on video pages. There are ads on other pages, but there are none on watch.

Re:A few ideas for approaching this mess.... (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20232871)

I fail at hitting preview. Dammit.

Colbert (1)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20232755)

I personally think that Colbert will be more supportive to Youtube. He asked in a number of episodes to have people put him on youtube (green screen challenge for one).

Crazy (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 7 years ago | (#20235411)

This whole thing is ridiculous to begin with. This is what Viacom should have done: Post the clips to YouTube themselves and at the end of each one have something saying "Watch The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Every weekday at 8!" They could have made a deal with YouTube to have their own Comedy Central Channel on YouTube.com
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?