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August 30, 2015


Seinfelds cleared in copyright suit

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 11th 2009 8:04AM
Deceptively DeliciousIt's been a while since we brought you news that Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife) was being sued for copyright infringement and trademark violations for her book Deceptively Delicious. Author Missy Chase Lapine had accused Seinfeld of copying from her book, The Sneaky Chef, which came out several months before Seinfeld's similar book. Both books feature ways to get your kids to eat healthier foods.

The judge said that, yeah, there are similarities between the two books but not enough to prove Lapine's case.

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You can watch old TV shows on YouTube, but is it legal?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 11th 2007 6:40PM

Rocky JonesFascinating piece in the L.A. Times this weekend, about how many old TV shows are showing up on YouTube. And when I say "old" I don't mean All in the Family or Charlie's Angels. I'm talking about stuff from the 40s and 50s, like Captain Midnight, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, old Dinah Shore shows, and old commercials.

It's great to watch these early shows online (you can watch shows from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today on our own In2TV), but is it legal for people to just put these shows online?

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15 year old tricks YouTube into issuing takedown notices

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 16th 2007 5:41PM
Chaser's War on Everything
A 15-year-old boy in Australia apparently sent a letter to Google claiming he represented ABC (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not the American one). Specifically, he demanded the site remove YouTube videos from the TV show The Chaser's War on Everything.

And Google agreed. Not only did the company remove the videos from YouTube, but it sent copyright infringement letters to the users who had uploaded the clips.

Thing is, actual representatives of ABC say they had no problem with users uploading the videos.

[via Google Blogoscoped]

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Demetri Martin explains the Viacom/Google/YouTube controversy - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 23rd 2007 7:01PM

Demetri MartinThe Boston Phoenix makes an interesting suggestion on one of their blogs: maybe NBC should give the Late Night slot to Demetri Martin in 2009 when Conan O'Brien takes over for Jay Leno. Hmmm...

In this Daily Show clip, Martin explains the whole copyright controversy involving Viacom, Google, and YouTube. It's a great clip, with Martin asking at one point if viewers are watching him right now on YouTube (yes, it's a YouTube clip). He even freezes his body and says "buffering." Funny stuff. Both videos after the jump (YouTube version and Comedy Central's, just in case...)

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Jeff Zucker not happy with YouTube

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 7th 2007 3:45PM

Jeff ZuckerWell, to be precise, he seems to be a fan of the technology but not a fan of the fact they still haven't lived up to their promise of making filters that would catch copyrighted videos.

Zucker, who was promoted to chief exec of NBC Universal a few days ago (replacing Bob Wright), plans to really push NBC into the digital world, getting their content "in front of new eyeballs" and "new platforms." But he wants to do it the right way:

"YouTube needs to prove that it will implement its filtering technology across its online platform. It's proven it can do it when it wants to," Mr Zucker said, referring to the site's controls to block pornography and hate speech. He added: "They have the capability. The question is whether they have the will."

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Fox issues cease-and-desist order to Swiss Family Guy Robinson

by Julia Ward, posted Feb 5th 2007 5:32PM
Froud Swiss Family Guy RobinsonBack in July, Richard gave you the scoop on comedian Brian Froud's theater show Swiss Family Guy Robinson. Froud's one-man act is essentially a staged mash-up of Johann Rudolf Wyss' 1812 novel and Seth MacFarlane's animated series. Froud's show was a hit at Toronto's Fringe Festival, but his chances of ever staging the show again are slim to none. Fox has slapped Froud with a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized use of Family Guy characters.

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America, you are free to mock Barney

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 29th 2006 3:58PM
Evil BarneyPoor Stuart Frankel. He set-up a website satirizing friendly purple dinosaur Barney, and all he got was grief - grief in the form of intimidating letters from Barney's copyright holders, the Lyons Partnership. Lyons threatened to file a lawsuit if doctored images of said dinosaur were not promptly removed from Frankel's site. Fortunately for satirists everywhere, Frankel fought back. An out-of-court settlement has been reached. Lyons must cease all threats against Frankel and pay him $5,000.00 for his trouble.

The parody in question depicted Barney's off-stage persona -- the evil, punky one (pictured). Under the legal doctrine of fair use, anyone can use copyrighted work in a parody so long as it's for "noncommercial purposes, limited to conjuring up the subject of the satire and does not replace the market for the original." So, go to town, people. Mock away. Kick a dinosaur while he's down. Think Barney parodies have been done to death? There's a world of saccharine children's programming just waiting for your comedic intervention.

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Lots of Comedy Central clips have vanished from YouTube

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 28th 2006 1:23PM

Daily Show and Colbert ReportLost Remote is reporting (via Fimoculous) that several Comedy Central video clips - mostly clips from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and South Park - have been taken off of YouTube and replaced with the "This video has been removed due to copyright infringement" message.

Hmmm...what's going on here?

It's interesting that this should happen, because YouTube has been a great benefit to Comedy Central. But maybe things are starting to change, especially since YouTube was bought by Google and has started to make deals with several networks, including CBS, part of Viacom like Comedy Central.

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YouTube and CBS strike deal

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 9th 2006 2:20PM

cbsCBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves and YouTube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley announced today a deal with the streaming video site that will feature short-form content from CBS, Showtime and CSTV on a daily basis starting this month. Clips from such shows as Survivor, 60 Minutes, Late Show with David Letterman, CSI, The Early Show and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will be featured as well as clips from Showtime series Dexter, The L Word, Brotherhood and Sleeper Cell. Sports footage from CBS Sports will also be included. YouTube and CBS will share any ad revenue, and CBS will be able to keep or remove any copyrighted content found on the site.

I'm not going to pretend to know how these sort of deals work, but if a network is going to strike a deal like this, I don't know why they wouldn't just offer full episodes, even if it's for a limited time. Maybe that's not feasible, but I can't imagine people getting too excited over mere clips. What do you guys think?

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YouTube sued for copyright infringement

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 20th 2006 9:31AM
YouTube logoYouTube has kind of a weird policy when it comes to copyrights. Essentially, they will leave a clip up on their site until the copyright holder contacts them and tells them to take it down. I guess it's easier to do it that way than to police the thousands of clips that get uploaded to the site every day. But that does leave it open to infringement lawsuits.

So, the fact that no one's sued them until now is equally strange. Robert Tur, a freelance news reporter, is the first to do it, suing the site for putting up his report on the 1992 L.A. riots without his permission. Now, the folks at YouTube took the clip down after he requested it, but Tur decided to sue anyway. This ought to be an interesting case; even though the site cooperated with his request, was it still up long enough to infringe upon his copyright? The site says the case is "without merit", but I'm not so sure about that. What do you folks think?

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Making sense of YouTube and copyright issues

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 16th 2006 1:03PM
computerI've mentioned the recent kerfuffle surrounding YouTube, copyright, and other assorted legal mumbo jumbo before, but being a layman I can't really speak about such things with any real authority. Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has an informative piece in the Hollywood Reporter about YouTube and its rights and responsibilities when it comes to copyrighted material. It's an interesting read, but what jumped out at me, and also jumped out at Amid over at Cartoon Brew, is Lohmann's statement that content owners who remove "noninfringing content" could be sued by either YouTube or its users, an idea that adds a whole new dimension to this ongoing discussion. Check out the article here.

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John K sends letter to YouTube

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 7th 2006 3:31PM

porky in wackylandRen and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi is not happy with YouTube. The Spumco founder has been using his blog as a kind of "online classroom" to discuss the history of animation, as well as techniques and craft that were a major part of the "Golden Age" of animation. As a visual aid, he's been posting a lot of clips from YouTube of old Warner Bros. cartoons, but recently received an e-mail from YouTube telling him many of those clips have been taken down due to copyright infringement.

Now, I don't know enough about copyright law to take any definite stance on this, but Kricfalusi's assessment is that he's actually helping to promote these cartoons, and that people who see the crappy versions on YouTube will want to go out and actually purchase the higher quality DVDs. He writes: "While Warner Bros. stops promoting their own great properties by taking the cartoons off of the TV networks, the only way left for young fans to discover these classic films is through YouTube and our fan blogs."

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MTV2 and YouTube strike deal

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 3rd 2006 1:28PM
andy milonakisIt looks like MTV2 gets it. YouTube, the popular video download site that has been embraced by Web users and scorned by some in the television industry, has signed its first formal deal with MTV2. The network has already began to toss up clips on the site for The Andy Milonakis Show and Wonder Showzen. There are still plenty of clips on YouTube that violate copyright, despite the efforts of networks like NBC and CBS to have clips taken down. Here's hoping the site forges more partnerships like this one and other networks start to understand what a great method of promotion this can be.

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