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YouTube Begins Defense, Seeks Depositions 106

Posted by Zonk
from the calling-in-the-big-guns dept.
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."
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YouTube Begins Defense, Seeks Depositions

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  • It's a Tactic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vjmurphy (190266) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:56PM (#20229943) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beakerMeep (716990)
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        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.
        • 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 "lawy
    • Re:It's a Tactic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by megamerican (1073936) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:19PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

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

          by HUADPE (903765) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:54PM (#20230543) Homepage
          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]
          • by saxoholic (992773)
            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?
          • Google/YouTube does not own any of the content on their site, so there's no copyright violation on Comedy Central's part.
            • by OECD (639690)
              Google/YouTube does not own any of the content on their site, so there's no copyright violation on Comedy Central's part.

              That doesn't follow. ALL content is copyrighted these days. If Comedy Central didn't clear the rights with whomever owns them, they are in violation. IANAL, but I'm sure Google will be able to use that to some advantage.

        • 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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:27PM (#20230265) Homepage Journal

      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.
      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ajs (35943)

          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 y

    • by fermion (181285)
      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 yout

  • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:57PM (#20229957) Journal
    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!"

  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:00PM (#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.
    • by Major Blud (789630) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:03PM (#20230029) Homepage
      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.
      • by toleraen (831634) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:20PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

          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... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by istewart (463887)
          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 wou
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          alright, i've seen this enough on slash dot the last few days... where the f^ck are you all getting this free beer?
    • by slib (876774)
      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 yo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kebes (861706)
      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 witness
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dunezone (899268)
      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. Tre
    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NMerriam (15122)

      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

    • by Weezul (52464)
      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.
    • by jorghis (1000092)
      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 agreem
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:09PM (#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.

    • by abes (82351) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:20PM (#20230223) Homepage
      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.
    • 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).

    • 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
    • Doesn't even work (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bombula (670389)
      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.
    • 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 Y
  • Why don't........ (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hasbeard (982620)
    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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      People could just edit the ads out, so there's no guarantee they would stick.
      • by hasbeard (982620)
        But viewers can do that already can't they? With Tivo?
        • by kebes (861706) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @06:00PM (#20230601) Journal
          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: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            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
          • 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.
            • 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.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)
        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:

    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.
  • I swear... (Score:5, Funny)

    by veganboyjosh (896761) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:15PM (#20230155)
    to tell the truthiness, the whole truthiness, and nothing but the truthiness.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:15PM (#20230157) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Volante3192 (953645)
      Jon Stewart can be very serious as well. Should check out his appearance on Crossfire. It's brutal.
      • 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.
  • by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:19PM (#20230197) Journal
    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.

    • by PitaBred (632671)
      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 yo
      • by MBraynard (653724)
        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.

      • aww give him a break he atleast added the "robble robble" at he end and that just made my day.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      Thanks for demonstrating through extended analogy that you don't understand the situation at all.
      • by MBraynard (653724)
        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.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      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.
      • by MBraynard (653724)
        My analogy is not about theft. It's about an employee's opinion on the matter's relevence to the legal issues at hand.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by crabpeople (720852)
      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...

  • Great idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bombula (670389) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:22PM (#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!?

    • 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).
    • by Agrippa (111029)
      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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PJ1216 (1063738) *
    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.
    • by Vader82 (234990)
      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
      • 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
  • 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)
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      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.
    • 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 mak
      • by ItsLenny (1132387)
        u people are simple

        the they can't stop people.. is just incentive

        what my argument was really about... is that they should realize that it could actually be PROFITABLE for them to let stuff be distributed like this...

        infact THEY should get a you tube account and put up the episodes them self (with a watermark and a lower res quality perhaps)...

        I can promise there are people who had never heard of a show until they happened to catch a clip on you tube and now watch new episodes of the show regularl
    • 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gorbachev (512743) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:38PM (#20230367) Homepage
    "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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drivinghighway61 (812488) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:48PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LunaticTippy (872397) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @06:05PM (#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.
        • by BobMcD (601576)

          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

      • No way! They'll just replace him with Craig Kilborn and just keep raking in the cash like when before Jon Stewart joined!
    • by trosenbl (191401)

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

      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.

      I'm sure there will be some discussions like this, and they'll try and explain to him why YouTube is bad for his show. But that being said, once he's under oath, I think he'll give honest opinions.

      Jon Stewart's Daily Show (as opposed to Craig Kilbourne's) is one of the pillar

  • by BobNET (119675) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @06:14PM (#20230743)
  • 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, a
    • by KiahZero (610862)
      [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
  • by sh3l1 (981741)
    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).
  • by slapout (93640)
    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
  • Wouldn't it be jolly if YouTube recorded the depositions and put those recordings on YouTube?

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