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October 10, 2015

Google wants to depose Stewart and Colbert in YouTube suit

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 14th 2007 11:00AM
Colber Green ScreenWe've all seen the wary and tired look celebrities get when they give depositions and testimony; they all look like they'd rather be getting a prostate exam than be in that chair answering questions from a lawyer. If Google has their way, we'll be seeing both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert with that look on their face.

According to C|Net News, Google and Viacom are in the discovery phase of the media conglomerate's $1 billion infringement lawsuit against YouTube, which was purchased by Google last year; in that discovery phase, the hosts of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, both on Viacom's Comedy Central, are on Google's list of people they want to have deposed in the case.

Now, just because they want Colbert and Stewart to give depositions, doesn't mean the judge in the case will grant their request. But Google's desire to talk to the two comedians isn't without merit; both have complained publicly before about Viacom's draconian policies towards YouTube clips since the lawsuit was filed. And remember Colbert's Green Screen Challenge? Since he encouraged the participants in the contest to upload their homemade movies to YouTube, Google has an argument that The Colbert Report used YT to promote the show.

So, will we see Stewart and Colbert, sans TV makeup, being grilled by Google's lawyers on videotape? If so, it won't be until late next year; the pre-trial activities for the case aren't set to conclude until December, 2008.

[via Mediabistro]

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It's a tough call, as both sides make compelling arguments. TDS/TCR and YouTube both helped each other during YouTube’s initial growth period. But I can see why Viacom would want to keep traffic directed at the CC site.

Perhaps a fair compromise would be for CC to have its own channel on YT. It could provide its own clips like its corporate cousin, CBS, which provides multiple Letterman clips. They could even take it a step further by embedding ads into each clip.

August 17 2007 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand (but don't agree with) Viacom's policy towards YouTube.

I think from the mentions I've seen on their shows that Stewart and Colbert don't agree with the policy, mock it openly but tow the company line. But thats akin to the fun the Simpsons has at Fox's expense.

That being said, I do think it's *somewhat* unfair that TDS and TCR often use YouTube as both the butt of their jokes and sometimes a mechanism that enables them.

August 15 2007 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Go with the Flow

TDS been on in the UK for less than two years. Colbert not at all. You Tube was instrumental in be becoming a huge fan of both shows (and of disliking Posh Spice, but I digress). Also MotherLoad never used to work on my computer. Also it's really hard to search MotherLoad. I could go on. So I will! MotherLoad is selective and only goes back a couple of years. Without YouTube I might not have become such a massive fan and I certainly would not be buying iTunes episodes of Colbert and putting money into Viavom's oops Viacom's pockets. Viacom has benefited enormously from YouTube. The swines.

August 15 2007 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But are the advertisements embedded in the videos on Comedy Central's website? Not always, if at all. Why is this important? Because the CC site allows you to post video on other sites, away from ComedyCentral.com.

August 14 2007 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Will the depositions show up on YouTube? And if so, will Viacom sue to get them taken down?

August 14 2007 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael - both the daily show and the colbert report show reruns as well as re-airing the show at an earlier time the following evening...at least the comedy central i receive does.

August 14 2007 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you can watch some of there shows on there websites

So they are losing out on advertising revenue if people decide to watch something on youtube instead of one of there websites

August 14 2007 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd love the Google lawyers to make these guys explain how posting Daily Show clips on Youtube harms then in ANY way. There are no reruns, no complete DVD releases, etc., of the show, so if there is a good segment, it seems to me your only option to see it is Youtube... and all the clips get removed from Youtube. It was free advertising for them and they killed it.

August 14 2007 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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