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Google lawyers seek testimony from comedians in YouTube case

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 14 Aug 2007 8:44 User comments (10)

Google lawyers seek testimony from comedians in YouTube case Comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, whose programs were once among the most viewed on YouTube, were requested by the video site to give testimony in legal proceedings as it fights a $1 billion lawsuit by Viacom Inc, according to court filings.
The two hosts of the Viacom hits "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" were listed as numbers three and four out of 32 people called by YouTube to give a deposition in Viacom's case against it and parent Google Inc, according to a document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week.

Viacom sued Google and YouTube in March after failing to reach a distribution agreement. Viacom said YouTube carried the entertainment company's programs on its site without permission.

At the time, Viacom said its Comedy Central shows were among the most viewed video clips on YouTube's service overall, which allows users to upload material. Ahead of the suit, Colbert had even urged fans to make him a star on sites like YouTube.

This seems to open up the possibility for a defense that responsibility for the large number of clips from those shows lies not with YouTube, but rather with representatives of the shows themselves, who not only condoned, but even encouraged viewers to post them to the viral video site.

Given Viacom's right to challenge the selection of Stewart and Colbert as witnesses, it's also possible the intent is simply to point out that some in the entertainment business view YouTube as a free marketing outlet.

Colbert's statements on his show, apparently with the expectation that video posted on YouTube would increase viewership, would seem to cast some doubt over any claims of financial damages.

Certainly Colbert seems to have an understanding of the power of motivated viewers. In August 2006 his on-air suggestion that viewers could replace reality with so-called truthiness, the feeling of truth that doesn't rely on facts, resulted in Wikipedia locking the entry for Elephant.

Maybe Google's lawyers are really just trying to point out that Viacom's supposed facts are really just truthiness in disguise.

Sources:
PC World
Ars Technica

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10 user comments

114.8.2007 8:52

Stephen Colbert rules!! I can't wait until he has clips from the trial on his show.
And thank god someone realizes YouTube is a marketing tool. I mean watching short clips is fine. But, they just makes you want to watch the show more.

214.8.2007 9:11

LMFAO. That's some funny stuff. about Wiki locking the entry for Elephant.

314.8.2007 10:32
vinny13
Inactive

The Word!

414.8.2007 13:47
BIGnewb
Inactive

colbert is the shit.and ofcourse him and jon stewart will make a joke out of this and i cant wait to see the episode.im watching from today forward not missing a show until i see it lmao

514.8.2007 14:03

YouTube is the ultimate teaser site for fans looking for more. I watched a few clips of Penn & Teller: Bullshit, and this caused me to go out and buy the DVD set.

YouTube is marketing without the consumers knowing that it is marketing. It is great to see that somebody actually realizes this.

614.8.2007 14:58
AXT
Inactive

Stupid companies all want a piece of the Pie. Youtube should not have merged with GOOGlE. Every week somebody wants to sue Google or Youtube for one reason or another. Just leave things there. IT'S FREE ADVERTISEMENT.

715.8.2007 11:00

Youtube/Google know they deep hole and are trying anything to get out. Just because Viacom post a video on Youtube does not mean that every jackass on Youtube can repost or post the same video. The damages will be easy to calculate take the number of views for each video not posted by Viacom multiple by some cash value=damages.

HOWEVER, IF youtube/google win with their lame ass argument then that sets a precedent for EVERY Ripper/copier/returner, P2P out there. By coping movies and putting them on torrents a person, according to Youtube/Google is providing free advertisement.

All in all its really pathetic that youtube/google is doing...I can't tell you how many time youtube/google took down my 10second videos on the basis of copyright infringment......

In the end Youtube sucks big time, all youtube is now is a bunch wannabes putting their own stupid crap up.

Google video has always sucked, it sucked from day one.

815.8.2007 11:57

nanu-nanu
thats of half of what youtube is abotu (user videos) the ther half will be having a part or bit from the media mafias video or sound in it and they don't like getting their 3X profits for nothing!

915.8.2007 20:52

Nanu - Viacom didn't post videos on youtube. Viacom is the massive entertainment company (which also owns comedy central) suing youtube/google for having clips of their shows uploaded on youtube. You mention that google took your own clips down due to copyright infringement, which they did for colbert and stewart clips. Viacom is still suing, saying youtube didn't do enough to keep the clips off the site. Colbert and Stewart openly support youtube, though, which is google's point.
It's like a music artist singing "please share this song", and then the label filing lawsuits against filesharers. Google isn't being greedy, Viacom is.

1018.8.2007 4:51

Quote:
Colbert's statements on his show, apparently with the expectation that video posted on YouTube would increase viewership, would seem to cast some doubt over any claims of financial damages.

Certainly Colbert seems to have an understanding of the power of motivated viewers. In August 2006 his on-air suggestion that viewers could replace reality with so-called truthiness, the feeling of truth that doesn't rely on facts, resulted in Wikipedia locking the entry for Elephant.

Maybe Google's lawyers are really just trying to point out that Viacom's supposed facts are really just truthiness in disguise.
I think this says it all :)

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