YouTube Is Purging Copyrighted Clips
Hitting the financial jackpot, it appears, may have created some headaches for YouTube, the wildly popular video-sharing Web site that has agreed to be bought by Google for $1.65 billion in stock.
The site late last week began purging copyrighted material from Comedy Central, including clips from YouTube stalwarts like “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and “South Park.”
The action was “a result of third-party notification by Comedy Central,” according to one such e-mail message sent to a YouTube user, Jeff Reifman, who broke the news on the Web site NewsCloud.
A week earlier, nearly 30,000 clips of TV shows, movies and music videos were taken down after the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers cited copyright infringement.
YouTube did not respond to repeated messages left over the weekend.
The situation is tricky for a network like Comedy Central, part of Viacom. Its audience is young and technologically sophisticated, and Comedy Central stars in the past have used YouTube and clip services to interact with their audience.
Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report,” for example, gained great attention for his mocking speech before President Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which became one of the most-viewed clips at YouTube before C-Span, which broadcast the event, ordered it taken down.
In an interview with Wired magazine in September 2005, Mr. Stewart explained his view: “We get an opportunity to produce this stuff because they make enough money selling beer that it’s worth their while to do it. I mean, we know that’s the game. I’m not suggesting we’re going to beam it out to the heavens, man, and whoever gets it, great. If they’re not making their money, we ain’t doing our show.”