Comedy Central Clips Removed from YouTube

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 Nov 2nd update: Read more new development on this Comedy Central/Viacom DMCA video take down here.

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Thanks a lot to Steve for posting and commenting on the news about YouTube taking down some video clips as per Comedy Central’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request. By the way, I should note that, so far, none of the Comedy Central YouTube clips that I reference have been taken down. As both a YouTube geek and a legal geek, this news has interested me greatly. Here is the basics of my thinking on this issue (and I left a version of it at Steve’s site),

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Hmmm, interesting development and thanks for your analysis. I tend to agree with you that looks like Comedy Central, since it is also owned by Viacom like CBS, is just negotiating in public. What will be interesting is to see if there are any very popular 100,000+ views videos that gets *removed* by YouTube as per Comedy Central’s DMCA request. For one thing, in my own analysis of the legal situation, I have always rely on the fact that even these broadcasters have “the legal power to take down”, they have lost “the effective power to take down” because if they do that, they will get many people angry very fast.

In one of my long comment in Jeff’s site, I went as far as drawing parallels of the broadcasters’ “power to take down videos” to the “notwithstanding clause” (NWC) (see Wikipedia) in Canada’s Charter of Rights and freedom. In short, the NWC lets Canadian provincial and federal governments to ignore all level of court decisions in some areas protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So the NWC is an extremely powerful legal tool. But the two recent attempted uses of the NWC have been disastrous for the provincial government that tried (namely Alberta), and basically the people (voters) complained so loudly that the provincial government backed off completely and didn’t use the NWC at the end.

As a YouTube geek, I hope Comedy Central and YouTube will sort this out soon and stop this public posturing. As a legal geek, and as an experiment observer, I LOVE to see a ton of 100,000+ views Comedy Central clips get taken down from YouTube as per DMCA. I am still betting my Canadian Loonie (dollar) that if Comedy Central does that, it will hear complains so loudly and so quickly, they will be forced to reverse its decision just like the Alberta government.

By the way, IANAL (I am not a lawyer), and I do change my mind very often and very quickly.

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One Response to Comedy Central Clips Removed from YouTube

  1. […] I never thought Comedy Central or other large broadcasters will really go ahead to request their videos to be taken down from YouTube but I am getting dangerously close to eating my words now. If I am going to eat my words, I want to see some hard data before I do it. (sad face) Here is a very imprecise way to keep track of the progress of Comedy Central video clips take down. The measurements are simple, I will simply search for the following terms every few hours and record the progress or changes in this post. […]

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