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Jon Stewart, Lorne Michaels Come Out In Favour of YouTube 114

Posted by Zonk
from the somebody-has-to-right dept.
techdirt writes "Viacom employee Jon Stewart recently announced that he believes his bosses are making a mistake in taking Viacom content off of YouTube. Today, NBC employee and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels has stated he can't understand NBC's position on YouTube. The interview with Michaels is especially interesting, because it was a Saturday Night Live clip of the infamous 'Lazy Sunday' music video that is often credited with putting YouTube on the map. At the same time, however, almost everyone admitted that it did wonders in revitalizing SNL's reputation (as well as boosting Andy Samberg's reputation to new heights). Yet, NBC's lawyers shot it down, limiting the benefit to SNL. It appears that Michaels understands that, and says he wishes they could put more of the show on YouTube."
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Jon Stewart, Lorne Michaels Come Out In Favour of YouTube

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  • Lorne Michaels + Out of the loop = me crazy suspicious
    • by maxume (22995)
      He runs a show that gets fairly good ratings for its time slot. It wouldn't hurt NBC a whole lot if the show just disappeared. He isn't 'powerful'.
      • by idobi (820896)

        He runs a show that gets fairly good ratings for its time slot. It wouldn't hurt NBC a whole lot if the show just disappeared. He isn't 'powerful'.

        You mean Late Night with Conan O'Brien? and 30 Rock? and the other 5 tv shows he has in pre-production for next season?

        • by maxume (22995)
          Are you sure he produces Conan? There is reason to believe otherwise(I can believe he was involved in getting it started):

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conaco [wikipedia.org]

          (and I guess you were implying that 30 Rock doesn't do that well for its time slot, ya know, against CSI and Grey's Anatomy?)
          • by idobi (820896)
            I was actually referring to your statement that he isn't "powerful". He's listed as executive producer on both 30 Rock and Conan. The point is that he can still pick up the phone and get things done. And quickly. That's power in television.
  • poof (Score:4, Funny)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @03:31AM (#18729263) Journal
    The reference YouTube clip has already been removed, and I'm among the first 10 posts here.

    Feh.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Short Circuit (52384) *
      It was removed weeks ago, back when Viacom asked Google to remove all Viacom content from Youtube.

      Of course, Viacom went on to sue Google anyway...
      • Re:poof (Score:5, Informative)

        by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:10AM (#18729835)
        I don't think it worked that way.

        from what i remember reading, viacom made a blanket request for google to remove all viacom content from youtube without specifying any shows or videos.. essentially they said "do our work for us".

        google refused to do this, and asked them to identify each clip in takedown notices as per the dmca.

        viacom acted like a spoiled child denied his ninja turtle action figure and threw a tantrum, and is now sueing google with a more or less meritless case.
        • I can't find the links anymore, but I distinctly recall reading about Google staff spending a weekend working on the content removal.
        • by rm69990 (885744)
          Nope, not quite. Viacom specified 100,000 videos for take down, most of which were likely reposted to Youtube. I don't think Youtube should have to filter, but they should at least prevent infringing video from being reposted I think. Of course, I also think that Youtube won't really damage the networks and is mainly free publicity for them, and this whole thing is ridiculous anyways.
      • That's alright, we may not have the Chronic-les of Narnia, but we still have this sublime SNL short [youtube.com]. (WARNING: NSFW and very, very funny.)
    • The second video works fine though.

      I am still wondering where Jon Stewart, as per the article, " announced that he believes his bosses are making a mistake". Stewart says "But to me, the situation is that there's a ton to gain for both companies. Viacom, they put their content on YouTube, it gets exposure, people know about their programming... it's a win for everybody in this situation." Jon Stewart questions everything and uses sarcasm often.

      This article could have as easily been titled "Jon Stewart com
  • Denial (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kaleo (1041478)
    People always accuse big corporations of not caring about the customer. Now it seems like they don't even care about the success of their own products. The posting of the SNL material clearly helped NBC. It sounds like the corporation is in denial over that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grolschie (610666)
      It's not like youtube hosts high definition video. Most are crappy caps anyways.
    • by iminplaya (723125)
      The value of a product is directly related to its scarcity.
      • Re:Denial (Score:4, Insightful)

        by stunt_penguin (906223) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:11AM (#18731119)
        Bollocks. To a TV executive (except those in the BBC) the value of a TV show is directly proportionate to how many people watch it, and how much people will pay for advertising during that show. Clips on Youtube bring in viewers. I wouldn't be a Daily Show regular if I hadn't seen it on youtube. I sure as fuck didn't pick it up on Comedy Central's crappy video player system.
        • by Hachey (809077)
          Thats right. You can't possible tell me that Dick in a Box [vidmeter.com] of SNL's that currently is the 3rd most watched video of all time on the internet didn't help SNL's TV ratings.

        • by iminplaya (723125)
          That's all fine and dandy, but that's not the way they see it. They put copyright on the books to acquire total control of how and when and where you see their product. They look for stability. They can't work in an unpredictable market. Rightly or wrongly, they feel that this control will provide the desired stability in the market. Of course I disagree with them and don't approve of the true nature of IP law. But money and guns speak louder than words. This will all go away when people realize the true in
    • Far from it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @05:05AM (#18729621) Journal
      What is happening is that the networks are wanting to prevent GOOGLE from owning them. Google is not a search. Google is an ad engine. They were iindirect competition against the networks, but with youtube, are now direct competition. The real problem here is that these companies are thinking like typical American companies. They do not want to be a big fish in an ocean. They wish to be what they consider a whale in a lake. Viacom and others are now working with several youtube wanna-bes because THEY are part owners of these companies. The media companies are hoping to own not just the content but the deliver system.

      Imagine what would have happened had RIAA simply created a new company against napster back when napster first started AND then shut down napster? Today, it would be a mosnter. As it is, RIAA is probably in danger of having the musicians do their own thing, rather than go with a label. MPAA is part of that, and are now taking a different approach. BTW, they are also concerned that the young talent is slowly drifting away from them. If they are stuck making Barbi as Cinderella, or Escape from LA, while the indies run off elsewhere, then the studies will be in serious trouble.
      • I agree with you on your overall point, but I don't think you can compare this to the Napster vs. RIAA theme you stated (although I'm not sure you were actually trying to say the two are the same). The problem now is that companies like Viacom are trying to hook up with smaller companies to create rivals to YouTube, which probably won't work. There isn't a lot of incentive for people to head to 10 different sites to watch their favorite TV clips when they can go to YouTube and see them all. I would argue
      • by drsquare (530038)
        So effectively, Google are making ad revenue from Viacom's content. Why don't Google create their own content rather than pirating someone else's?
    • How did it help NBC? Some other company was taking the ad revenues for a show they paid for. Only if you make some huge assumptions, like people who watch a show on YouTube then go watch it again (with the ads) on an actual TV, does it help NBC. Somebody else posted that SNL ratings didn't change despite the growing popularity of YouTube, so it seems like it didn't really help them.

      Now having said that, I suspect a lot of the YouTube traffic is for people outside of the states who can't watch the shows on

      • Re:Denial (Score:4, Informative)

        by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#18730887)
        A show like SNL is dead if it loses any vestige of a "cool" factor. SNL had lost its big-name cast members like Will Farrell a couple of years prior, and was in one of its many periodic doldrums. This clip made millions of people aware that they had recently hired a group of new cast members that actually have a good deal of potential (although IMO the writing since then has not usually been up to par with the potential talent of the cast).

        The clip and the hype around it really kept SNL from falling off the radar screen for a lot of people. The ratings didn't drop, which they very well might have in light of the strong competition like the Daily Show and its ilk that's saturating cable these days. The clip was a strong generator of buzz in a market where buzz is vitally important for survival.

        • by drawfour (791912)
          It lost its "cool" factor with me a long time ago. Probably when the SNL cast decided it was better to just read everything directly off the prompts instead of rehearsing their lines. I credit Horatio Sanz for making it painfully obvious, and he's someone who can't read his lines to save his life. In addition, the skits are WAY too long, droning on and on and on and on and and and on and on (get my point?).

          Mad TV is a million times funnier (both the writing and the acting). I realize they're not the s
  • by Prophetic_Truth (822032) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @03:39AM (#18729289)
    You see something that you don't perceive as an advertisement, and because of that it has a better effect than had it been an advertisement. If you enjoy a grainy 5 minute clip from a show on YouTube, it might entice you to check it out on your television. Especially if it's referred to you by a friend, then its a whole social dynamic that advertising begs to capture. Word of mouth is powerful, because people generally respect a personal opinion more so than a fake corporate one.
    • by JonJ (907502)
      True. I didn't even know who George Carlin was until I saw him on youtube. Now I own both Life is worth losing and Complaints and Grievances.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by natrius (642724)
      It seems like everyone realizes what you're saying except the business people and the lawyers. For some reason, they think that content consumption is a zero sum game and that it's only beneficial to them if they're directly profiting off of it. It's not a big problem though. It's orders of magnitude easier for creators to get their work out to the public now, and the internet is getting a larger and larger share of audience attention. If they continue to keep bottling things up, people will just watch the
      • oh they realize it... remember "gore's penguin army" being traced back to a major PR firm (clients including the oil industry)?
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      I prefer to think that "viral marketing" refers to faking word of mouth. Ya know, paying people to astroturf for you in the hope that people will pass on what they've heard without sampling it themselves.

      There is something wrong with pay for comment. It's a kind of fraud in my book. You're telling people you've independantly come to a decision which you'd like to share where in fact you haven't.

      As such, when every celebrity gets up on tv and says that X product is the best, when they don't actually belie
      • well.. astroturfing is the proper term for it.

        viral marketing refers to encouraging real word of mouth by releasing to the internet (or in other cases free giveaways or evaluation offers for new products)
        • by sjames (1099)

          One way to look at it, viral marketing is an inexpensive and powerful way to market a product or service that a significant number of "real people" will actually like enough to tell their friends.

          Astroturfing is a more expensive method that hopes to be as powerful as viral marketing. The intent is to simulate the viral word of mouth effect to sucker customers in. It is necessary when you believe your product or service is not actually likely to be that well liked.

          That is a great bit of information. When

      • by Miseph (979059)
        Viral marketing covers a lot of techniques. Generally, celebrity spokespeople are not considered to be "viral" because everybody knows celebrities are walking billboards; consider the awards shows, during which every celebrity worth their salt walks the carpet in clothing "borrowed" from a huge name designer in return for their dutifully announcing to anyone who will listen that it was made by so-and-so.

        What is viral is inserting your product into TV shows, movies, music videos etc. "I, Robot" was a giant A
    • Word of mouth is powerful, because people generally respect a personal opinion more so than a fake corporate one.
      Which is why the corporate middlemen want it dead.
      They are fighting for their parasitic jobs.
    • by ballwall (629887)
      The problem is the line between viral marketing and Tivo replacement. The single viral video probably is a great benefit to a company like Viacom, but if all the content is always available to YouTube, what incentive do people have to watch it on TV? They can just call it up any time they want on-demand. This is especially true for shows like the Daily Show or SNL, where you don't really need HDTV to enjoy it.

      I think Viacom and others are trying to kill the viral marketing aspect to avoid the Tivo one. I'm
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      people generally respect a personal opinion more so than a fake corporate one.

      I think it's more that they respect a disinterested third party opinion rather than corp. vs. individual. For example, if I found out Google used Linux distribution X exclusively, I might be more inclined to check it out. At the same time, just because someone tells me something good about themselves doesn't mean I'm necessarily going to believe them. Unless it's my mom. I love you mama!
  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @03:41AM (#18729299) Homepage Journal
    I was interested to read today that the ABC (that's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has a policy that allows for it's content to be used on other platforms by operators.

    I found this out after content was taken down when a teenager pretended to be their representative [smh.com.au] and sent YouTube an infringement notice (complete with awful spelling, "Australian Broddcasting Corperation")! The kid has since apologised [smh.com.au].

    • Ahaa! So thats why my 'Chasers War on Everything' clip got pulled from YouTube!!

      Here I was thinking that the ABC was getting nasty (and slow, considering the clip had been up for almost 12 months).....

      Now to track down some info on this 15 year old, and have all his utilities cancelled :P
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      I was interested to read today that the ABC (that's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has a policy that allows for it's content to be used on other platforms by operators.

      Not to be flamebait or say it's right, but maybe this explains the issues Aussies seem to have getting television shows imported from the States in less than two years. They don't want to show the current season and have someone legally be able to stick it up on YouTube while they're trying to sell the DVD box set still.

      • by clowds (954575)
        The ABC almost never buys the rights to any of the big television shows.

        That's usually left up to our commercial stations under the big media (or as big as you can call Aussie media anyway) or our cable company.

        The ABC usually runs with local content since it's funded directly by the government, not through ads so I really doubt that's the reason. The other commercial statements allow nowhere near the liberties that ABC does with respect to sharing.
        • by clowds (954575)
          That's a statement alright. I meant stations, teach me to post to /. while watching the evening news.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shudde (915065)

        Not to be flamebait or say it's right, but maybe this explains the issues Aussies seem to have getting television shows imported from the States in less than two years. They don't want to show the current season and have someone legally be able to stick it up on YouTube while they're trying to sell the DVD box set still.

        The ABC shows almost no American television, so their content policies are irrelevant. Blame the commercial channels or better yet, ignore them and download your favourite shows. Frankly

      • by svunt (916464)
        The ABC allows its own content to be posted, not the shows it carries. Also, it's a non-commercial station, so it's not really relevant in terms of the Viacom vs YouTube debate.
  • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @03:41AM (#18729301)
    All of the artists and the people who are actual involved with creating all of the content for the music labels, television stations, and other big media companies realize that at least to a certain extent allowing people to freely access and spread their content is good for them. Maybe some bored person who just happens to be browsing around the internet will happen to stumble on this content and for that reason might end up buying a CD, DVD, or something else to support the creaters of that content. I know that I've personally discovered several different things that have interested me and lead to me purchasing a product because I've found free clips or samples on the internet.

    The corporate dinosaurs who are in charge don't seem to realize this and almost flat out refuse to change. EMI offering to sell music without DRM on several online music stores is a good start, but it seems like almost everyone else is trying to despirately cling to a business model that the consumers are rejecting in favor or something better. In a truly free market, I'd like to think that these people would have been put out of business already, but with the fortunes they've accumulated to court government and write their own policy, they keep trying to dictate how we will consume the content that's produced.

    Why not give us what we want. Put free clips of The Daily Show on Youtube, but ask the Google display advertisements to buy official merchandise from their store in exchange for the rights to display it. I get to consume some content on demand for the reasonable price of free, and if I'm really interested in it, I've got a nice link to where I can get more or buy something else to support the creators. I think there are a lot of people out there, who like me, don't mind paying a little bit to support the people who make the music, television, or other content that we enjoy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dunezone (899268)
      They never will get it till its too late. The RIAA knew what was coming but instead of embracing the technology and switching their tactics over, they stumbled on their feet for too long and now look what has happened, they had to go with iTunes and share the profit/benefits. The problem all comes down to the profit/benefits. None of these companies want to deal with youtube because someone in the company realizes they can do it themselves and retain full profit/benefits without using youtube. Unfortunatel
    • Not only that... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xelios (822510) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @04:14AM (#18729433)

      I think there are a lot of people out there, who like me, don't mind paying a little bit to support the people who make the music, television, or other content that we enjoy.
      There are also a growing number of people who flat out refuse to support companies with such a heavy handed approach to the inevitable changes the internet is bringing. The actions of companies like Viacom and the various **AA members are creating a lot of consumer hostility, and in a situation where the consumer has a choice between getting content for free or deciding to support the creators such hostility can mean the end of their business.

      I believe most people would willingly support their favorite bands, or the creators of TV shows they often watch, but not when the organizations managing those groups continue to bite the hand that feeds them. The reality of the situation is simple; broadcasters and distributors are being trumped by a much more efficient distribution medium. Instead of adapting their business models they're flailing about in some futile attempt to stop the inevitable and alienating their consumers in the process.

      The Puppeteer in Ghost in the Shell summed it up quite nicely, "All things change in a dynamic environment, your effort to remain what you are is what limits you." (I bought several GITS DVD's after I'd downloaded the first movie, I'd never have bothered to look into it otherwise)
      • by hachete (473378)
        I want the full unexpurgated Last Exile - which I can only (legitimately) get as a set of Region 1 discs from Amazon.com. As I live in the UK, I can do one of the following:

        1. buy a multi-region DVD player (which I don't want)
        2. Futz with my brand new MacBooks region settings [1]
        3. Buy each volume separately.
        4. Download a torrent.

        3. is a possibility but more expensive than 1, esp as Euro-DVDs have a hefty mark-up charge over the US, which I'm beginning to think is a bit of a con. Have a guess which one I'm
        • by tiny-e (940381)
          5. Get a copy of MacTheRipper and get rid of that pesky region encoding
          6. Find some region-free firmware for your drive and flash it (this is a little risky.. ) http://forum.rpc1.org/portal.php [rpc1.org]

          (I know this is off topic...kinda)
        • That anime is awesome.

          Especially when they go in the final excursion to the Grand Stream and finish off the evil lady's ship and regain control of the intergalactic self-defending spaceship.

          oops. spoiler alert.
    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @05:08AM (#18729639) Homepage

      All of the artists and the people who are actual involved with creating all of the content for the music labels, television stations, and other big media companies realize that at least to a certain extent allowing people to freely access and spread their content is good for them.
      That isn't the issue here. YouTube is not equal to "freely access and spread". YouTube is a single website. Some media companies are 100% fine with their content being freely accessible on the internet, so long as it is accessible through their servers only. That is, they make the ad revenue, not YouTube. That is all the Viacom/YouTube issue about - who makes the ad revenue. Not about them 'getting that allowing free access is good for them'.

      Personally, my position is that media should be allowed to be copied and shared freely, so long as it is done noncommercially. Share music with your friends? Fine. Put an MP3 on your blog? Also fine by me. But create a site like YouTube that intends to make big money off of ads - I think that money should go to the media creator, not to YouTube. In other words - if anyone can make money from a piece of media, it should be the creator, but if no one can (and with P2P indeed no one does, as things currently stand), no one should. So I support P2P (and am using BitTorrent right now at 25K download rate), but not necessarily YouTube.

      Note that the big media companies have ironically screwed themselves with the DMCA in the US, because it actually gives YouTube a fairly airtight defense against the Viacom allegations (all they need to do is respond to takedown notices, and they do). So, even though personally I think only Viacom should be making money off of Comedy Central clips, it looks like YouTube may do so as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vivaoporto (1064484)

        "(and am using BitTorrent right now at 25K download rate)"

        OMG! So it is you that is clogging the tubes. 25 K is too much, and if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material. I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because

        • OMG! So it is you that is clogging the tubes.


          indeed.. we need to send some lottery balls through those tubes to remove that clog.
      • by Triv (181010)

        That is all the Viacom/YouTube issue about - who makes the ad revenue.

        It's also about the statistics - people from what geographical areas visit when, numbers on multiple viewers, timeframe between broadcast and peak online viewership. The ad revenue's nice, but the numbers are gold.


        triv

      • by trawg (308495)
        I've got no problems with YouTube making some money of it, but I agree that the lion's share should go to the content creator.

        Looking at it in the same way as the traditional model of content production going out to distribution outlets (record shops, video shops, etc) - each person got a cut along the way.

        If youtube gave a cut of ad profits (I'm sure defining an amount deemed "fair" by both parties would be a Herculean effort in itself) to the content creators, then surely everyone would be happy. Viacom c
        • by Sassinak (150422)
          I would agree with that except that the various groups (VIACOM, etc..) don't want to share.. they view it as a all or nothing senario. All your revenue belongs to us (sorry, I had to say it).

          I wonder what would happen if the actual producers and writers of a show actually put their works on Youtube. Granted its being distributed through viacom's channels but I assume that they have SOME rights (knowing viacom, just the right to watch it on viacom's stations).

          These cases boil down to a simple fact that the
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        YouTube is not equal to "freely access and spread". YouTube is a single website. Some media companies are 100% fine with their content being freely accessible on the internet, so long as it is accessible through their servers only. That is, they make the ad revenue, not YouTube. That is all the Viacom/YouTube issue about - who makes the ad revenue. Not about them 'getting that allowing free access is good for them'.

        Free as in speech, not beer.

        I don't care if a media dinosaur has some content on their website, I don't WANT to install real player to see a 100x100px mosaic of slow loading artefacts. The reason why youtube is now a household name is because their system actually works well.
        They don't make you wait for your clip, like the other guys do (no, I do not want to buy your car, I know that after the one second it takes for me to know I'm watching a car ad, forcing me to sit and wait while you harass me with your

        • by RobBebop (947356)

          I'm pretty sure that youTube is offering a profit sharing scheme with the content owners

          I know Revver has revenue sharing with content providers. I know GoogleVideo lets content owners set prices (usually $1.99) for users to pay to access the content. I don't think YouTube or GoogleVideo have figured out how to support ad revenue sharing with the content providers.

          That said, this whole discussion misses a key point. Who paid to have the content created? Lorne Michaels and Jon Stewart may have a strong case that they are critical parts of the content creation... but they aren't paying th

          • My arguement for the evolution of media is for content to free itself from its monetary dependancies on the major studios.
            Building a whole Shire, Moria, Mordor, etc. That ain't cheap, you know.
      • by tajmahall (997415)
        Personally, my position is that media should be allowed to be copied and shared freely, so long as it is done noncommercially.

        Doesn't it then follow that YouTube is allowed to commercially facilitate individuals' noncommercial sharing of media? I think it's intrinsic to Viacom's case that they own the content. If it's okay to share media, how is it not okay for YouTube to provide a service making it easier to share media, and to profit off of the ad revenue? The allegation is that they profit off the con
    • Think about the people removing things from YouTube: the distributors (Viacom, NBC). You all seem to think that they don't get it, but I'm telling you that they do: the big players don't want internet video distribution to change who the distributors are, because it will render them powerless.
  • not a big deal (Score:4, Informative)

    by alphamugwump (918799) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @03:52AM (#18729353)
    While you can certainly find whole seasons of shows on youtube, the more usual thing is to just make a short clip of the relevant part. Then, the youtube superstars post their replies, followed by their hanger-ons, all the way down to the fat, ugly dregs of the internet. As with slashdot, the original article doesn't really matter. The news is more of a starting point than an end in itself.

    It seems to me that "old media" is really being rather obsessive about infringement. So what if a couple thousand people watched your small, grainy, old clip. So what if a crazy, half-naked scot provides more interesting political commentary than your own guys. OK, that one must hurt a lot. But still. You've got loads of money. You've got publishing expertise; you know what the public wants. Probably. Most likely, net neutrality won't go through, so you might be able to clamp down on digital distribution. It'll be just like cable TV, distributed through the same cable providers, but routed over the internet instead. Unlike, say, book publishers, your business model isn't totally shot, not if you adapt.

    Hang in there, Viacom. We're rooting for you.

  • Anyone should watch something free on the Internet that they could've already watched for free over the airwaves or on the basic cable they are almost assuredly already paying for. Oh wait, but then they don't get to see the ads that they'd skip over anyway by changing channels or fast forwarding past on their DVRs.
  • Although the faint hope of commercial value in many television properties does give some television shows some guarantee it will be around for future folks to look at (including historians), I think it is also important that the banal and the "so-common-as-to-be-worthless" content get it's shot at archival also. I think Youtube is somewhat important - it looks to be strong enough to survive until digital storage is cheap enough that our current processes of digital archival are made irrelevant. It's impor
    • I notice that all the commercial music video clips I have bookmarked are still up after the take down. This may have something to do with the fact that they are of artists from before 1990 and in many cases not known globally. Discovering or re-discovering this material tempts me to look for more of it in current published content - where I wont find it except in low quality DRM encumbered form.

      So yes Youtube is a video archive and no the owners of the content haven't a clue how to make money out of it.

      It a
  • Sometimes you'd have to step back and wonder, "Are these corporations run by idiots?" The answer is an emphatic "Yes"

    I believe the old-media bosses at RIAA, MPAA, Viacom, NBCUNIVERSAL, et. al. are doing the world a favor by being so foolishly stubborn.

    This whole situation reminds me of a PBF comic [pbfcomics.com]
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      Sometimes you'd have to step back and wonder, "Are these corporations run by idiots?" The answer is an emphatic "Yes"

      Hmmm, Let's compare your basement to their mansion. Let's compare your lonely splendor to his wife screwing the pool boy, then being drowned in the bathtub and the body thrown into the pool [bbc.co.uk] to make it look like an accident (Man! If only OJ had it so easy)...wait a minute...that doesn't work. Oh well, you get the idea.
    • Not necessarily, Viacom and their ilk probably have legal divisions that run on autopilot to find infractions to their copyrights and take appropriate action as outlined in their corporate policy. While Viacom suing youtube may be an exception to the rule (might not be), most cases probably don't reach the executive board room. Any concern that the board members may have, is how it affects their stock price. They don't give a shit if it's depriving some kids/young adults of a small grainy clip. Lost ad reve
  • Whether or not it is in Viacom's best interest to allow Google to do whatever they want with their intellectual property is beside the point. The question is whether or not Google is profiting off of Viacom's content without an agreement in place to allow them to do so. You can argue until you are blue in the face about how Viacom ought to run their business, it has no bearing on whether or not Google has the right to make money off of Viacom's content without their permission.

    I'm not saying that Viacom i
    • by dissy (172727)
      The question is whether or not Google is profiting off of Viacom's content without an agreement in place to allow them to do so.

      Concidering the creators of the content viacom 'owns' want it there, I find it hard to believe you're still arguing IP law is to protect content creators and 'compensate artists'
      • by jorghis (1000092)
        Why should it matter what the creaters want? They agreed to produce the content (for a huge sum of money by the way) for Viacom. If they didnt want Viacom to own it they shouldnt have agreed to it. Viacom owns it, they can do as they wish. And yes, this copyright system ensures that people like John Stewart who enter into these agreements get compensated.

        If you hire me to build you a house should I be able to come back later and tell you that I think you should allow someone to stay in one of the rooms
        • Viacom owns it,

          no, viacom has a copyright on it, and is priviledged with a limited set of exclusive trade rights, trade rights which the people should (and according to the US constitution DO) have every right to take away should they find them onerous or unreasonable.

          congress may be a reeking cesspool of corruption and graft, but the internet allows us to do with overreachig copyright laws what we did before with the volstead act, nullify them through civil disobedience.

          copyright does not equal property,

          • by tkinnun0 (756022)

            no, viacom has a copyright on it, and is priviledged with a limited set of exclusive trade rights

            U.S. Copyright Office seems to disagree with you: [copyright.gov]

            "(b) Works Made for Hire. -- In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright." (Emphasis mine.)

    • by QuantumG (50515)
      It's not their content. We don't have that kind of property in the western world. We have copyright which is a system where the public interest is balanced against the desire to encourage the creation of more works. Any argument for or against Google's use of the works Viacom owns the copyright on must be made in terms of the public interest.. otherwise they're just irrelevant to our society.
    • just that there are a lot of articles on Slashdot trying to find excuses for Google that miss point entirely.

      or for Viacom, indeed.

      Google/YouTube is not deliberately putting Viacom's clips up, and they are obeying take-down notices, as per the DMCA. Their model was originally, and still is, based upon original content created by users of the site, and if their users all decided to obey basic copyright laws tomorrow, YouTube would still exist and still be very popular. Perhaps not as popular, but very p

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @04:01AM (#18729395) Journal

    He cares because exposure on youtube gives him popularity, wich increases HIS earning potential. Very sensible off course BUT why should the actuall owner of the show care?

    Imagine if you like a supermarket, say the meat department feels SURE that they can have more success if they were allowed to re-arrange the isles, the placement of the registers, in fact overhaul the entire way the shop is being run. Yippie? OR would the actuall owner of the store perhaps wonder if what is good for the meat department is good for the entire store?

    NBC has a business model. It don't really matter wether you agree with it or not, or even if it is the right one, or wether new tech is making it obsolete. It is THEIR business model and theirs to follow or change by their choice.

    It to a degree depends on giving people restricted access to their content so they can in turn expose those people to ads for wich they are paid.

    NBC's primary income comes from selling ads, NOT from tv shows. They are just the way to get people to watch the ads.

    The popularity of a tv-show therefore only matters if you get people to watch ads. Youtube does NOT run NBC ads, therefore it don't help NBC.

    Their MIGHT be a side-effect, that because people saw a NBC show on youtube they will watch the regular version with ads included BUT there is a huge risk. What if people just expect ALL the NBC's shows to be on youtube instead and stop watching the ad-laden tv-shows all together. Those people that claim that exposure to shows on youtube leads to increased television watching are ignoring that it could just as easily just lead to more youtube watching.

    Imagine if you like of a thirdparty pulled all the content of slashdot and re-published it without slashdot ads leading to massive exposure. Sure individual story submitters might be pleased BUT would CowboyNeal welcome this? Would he be told that people reading slashdot stories somewhere else is going to lead to increased traffic to his own site? Slashdot stories are NOT there because CowboyNeal wants you to know about thing, but because they are the way to get you to see ads.

    NBC and the likes are fighting for their business model, selling ads by offering free content. If someone else redisplays that content they can't sell ads. It is perfectly simple. Perhaps their business model is bound to die off (unlikely, youtube == google and google gives free content in exchange for watching paid ads as its core business model) but they are under no obligation to hurry it along.

    I wonder what Jon Stewart and Lorne Micheals would say if their tv stations came to them and said, "hi, we are going to stop broadcasting your shows on tv with ads and just post them directly to youtube instead, your salery? Well, negotiate that with google, they are the ones displaying the ads."

    IF youtube display's NBC programs then NBC becomes NOT a television studio but "merely" a producer. This is not unusual, there are plently of tv-producers who do NOT own the means of actually broadcasting what they create, (at least they do in europe) and they sell it to companies/organistions that can. If youtube wants to show NBC programs, with their own ads inserted, they need to pay NBC for the production.

    Anything less just doesn't make sense from NBC's point of view.

    Unless offcourse Jon Stewarts and the likes are going to do their work for free. Not bloody likely is it?

    • by Kelz (611260) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @04:45AM (#18729539)
      Solution: Put small text as punch lines/etc in most popular shows! That way, youtube watcher's don't even get the jokes!
    • For whatever reason, and I am not trying to appear difficult, I have an extremely strong aversion to ads, especially at the obnoxious frequency they
      are displayed in American TV programming.

      What appears significant to me here is not so much who owns, business models going the way of the dodo, and so on... but the fact that such things might
      actually empower some people to think for themselves and start to shun this system of ad-supported content, somehow and over time. I'd much prefer
      watching a show a
      • As you mention, google has ads. Quick question, is google a search company (developing and selling seach related technology) OR is it an ad seller (selling ad space to people and getting people to view those ads)

        The answer is offcourse simple, google is an ad seller, in similar ways as tv-stations (those paid for by ads anyway are).

        In a way its business model is almost like that of CNN. CNN doesn't create the news (well, it ain't been proven at least :p ), like google they have a "system" in place that al

        • not to nitpick or anything, but cnn does "create" news.

          i once walked into a local eatery and catch a news story about cnn.. the anchor droned on and on about how mexico was "interfering with our national security".

          after a long and completely bizarre "the sky is falling" sermon, he finally got to the point..

          the story was about... wait for it... mexico voicing protest to a (hundreds of miles long) fence along our border with them.

          i'd call that creating news. "mexico said they didnt like it, OMG THEYRE IN THE
    • The popularity of a tv-show therefore only matters if you get people to watch ads. Youtube does NOT run NBC ads, therefore it don't help NBC.

      Bad example [youtube.com], dude.
  • Putting the daily show on YouTube won't be good for it's DVD sales. I for one are interested in a +-25 DVD collection of a single season of the Daily Show.
    • by xx01dk (191137)
      Boggles the mind indeed. Could be a good way to promote Blu-ray or HD DVD's...

      Actually, I like to download a week's worth of Stewart and Colbert and then watch it in my off-time (and don't question the legality of my choice--I'd do the same thing if I had a Tivo and that's how I justify it so there). But I find that if I get behind by a couple of weeks that I'll just let those episodes go because they aren't current anymore.

      A good Daily Show DVD would contain all the interviews, all the comic bits, and perh
    • That's why I can't understand why Viacom would really be that upset about Daily Show and Colbert Report clips being online. Once the show airs, it's pretty much done. It's not like regular television series where they can show reruns, sell syndication rights, or sell DVD's. After all, Comedy Central's website has all of the clips from the shows already. I bet the lawsuit would get dropped in a day if Google went to Viacom and said "let's set up something where we host clips from the shows and we'll split th
  • by xx01dk (191137) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @04:15AM (#18729435)
    to make the corporate lawyers feel comfortable. And shameful as it may be, there is no small amount of greed involved; the big corps want to maximize the earning potential of their products and the established way to do that is to clamp down on who gets access to what. NBC/CBS/FOX/CommedyCentral/etc want you to go it THEIR websites to see their content so they can generate discreet viewership tallies to entice more advertisers to give them more money.

    The flaw (as I think the common view is) in espousing the "virtues" of spreading content around for free is that the people who produce the content do not benefit from it directly and that's all the traditional been counters care about. "We lost X amount of potential viewers to our site (which is oriented to get them to see what we want them to see) and that equates to Y amount of lost revenue. Clamp all our content down so that we can maximize our profit." Think of the NFL's end-of-broadcast disclaimer for a perfect example.

    Put simply, the crux is this: juxtaposing the need for people to see your product with the need to make real, quantifiable dollars from it. It used to be that we lived in a 3-channel-plus-PBS TV world, where the best way to spread interest about your shows was found in the TV guide, seconded by word-of-mouth. These companies need to embrace our digital world rather than try to fight it like the RIAA and MPAA have done (with questionable success). Offering their content on DVD's and Itunes is a great start but what better way to get people to want to purchase this stuff than by releasing low quality 320x240 vids on Youtube? I'll even go so far as to posit that the spreading and sharing and bookmarking of popular "viral" videos is the new "word-of-mouth"...

    So it's all well and good that some celebrities are promoting the easy spreading of digital media such as the TV shows they produce and star in; let's just try to understand it in a way that satisfies the demands of the bottom line and also the public's need for more content. It's going to have to be a compromise...

    • The flaw (as I think the common view is) in espousing the "virtues" of spreading content around for free is that the people who produce the content do not benefit from it directly and that's all the traditional been counters care about. "We lost X amount of potential viewers to our site (which is oriented to get them to see what we want them to see) and that equates to Y amount of lost revenue.

      then it's time to fire the "traditional bean counters". Even the founding fathers could not predict how powerful c

  • Network executives are stupid.

    Water is wet.

    More earth-shattering revelations tonight at eleven.

  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @05:05AM (#18729623)
    Let's see if we can apply actual logic to this question, shall we?

    1. Jon Stewart is an entertainer whose personal fortune, success, and prestigate is much more closely tied to personal recognition and likeability rather than the long-term profitability of his network. Hence, he has every reason in the world to want to be associated with the 'free beer' aspects of let's put stuff on youtube.

    2. lazy sunday's youtube success doubtlessly brought some fame back to SNL. however, to start as that as a premise and then argue that ergo snl/viacom should not care if the funniest bits of their shows are put onto the internet en masse by anonymous users is completely disingenious. more realistically, it makes sense from SNL's / the network's standpoint to be against random copyright infringing posts of clips from their show but to put carfully selected teaser bits up that may encourage viewers to their television show, where they actually make money through advertising. and this is exactly what they do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hachete (473378)
      Logic has little to do with taste. The problem is that those "carefully selected teaser bits" invariably suck. The committee of good taste within NBC (and most media companies) don't have a fucking clue about what will make the water-cooler or the playground the next day. Nobody does. That's why letting viewers clip what they want, let them decide what the best bits of a show are, could be such a win - and was, for a time there. However, doing this takes a whole heap of faith and a jump in the dark; a young
    • by Mr2001 (90979)

      more realistically, it makes sense from SNL's / the network's standpoint to be against random copyright infringing posts of clips from their show but to put carfully selected teaser bits up that may encourage viewers to their television show, where they actually make money through advertising.

      How's that supposed to work? SNL, like most weekly network shows, is not repeated regularly.

      If you see a "teaser bit" from a great sketch that aired last week, what are you supposed to do: watch next week's episode, which you know won't have that sketch because it's a different episode? Buy the DVD when it comes out a year later, if ever (SNL doesn't seem to do DVDs of each season)? Neither seems like an acceptable alternative.

  • Colbert actually had a person from the EFF [comedycentral.com] on the show, which filed a lawsuit [eff.org] against Viacom on behalf of Moveon.org for a "baseless copyright complaint from media giant Viacom." If one watches Colbert and Stewart, they've clearly taken a liking to youtube, enough to mention it in other guest interviews and the casual banter that starts and ends each show.
  • 1. Post clip on youtube
    2. Millions watch it
    3. Viewing figures go up
    4. Advertisers, uh, advertise on your program.
    5. Profit

    Once lawyers start running the company, kiss goodbye to profits and future.
  • Every now and then I watch SNL, and it still mostly sucks. Like your typical album put out by major record companies, there are one or two good skits buried in a bunch of mediocre garbage. So I just switch back to MadTV and watch a bunch of good skits with only a little mediocre garbage. I normally only stick with SNL when I want to watch it for the guest host (such as Rainn Wilson, etc.)

    What YT exposure does is show off the good stuff that you don't see because you got tired of waiting for it and simply a

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:08AM (#18731099) Homepage Journal
    You see, I don't know about Lorne Micheals, but Jon Stewart is sane. That means he's not equipped to understand the subtleties of company policy.
  • John Stewart is a very smart man and he knows free publicity when he sees it. When a particularly funny bit comes along why not post it? Really, what are they protecting? Who is going to pay for episode of TDS from a week ago or even last year? It's comedy that's very time sensitive, making past episodes of limited value on resale, however it can still be great advertising!
  • Digging in your heels and cursing the onrushing tide has worked so well for the RIAA.

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