Viacom Accuses Guy Of Copyright Infringement For Showing Video Of Viacom Infringing On His Copyright
I just simply can not stop laughing about this.... it's gotta be one of the funniest news stories in a long time!
Ben S. was the first of many folks to submit to us this incredible story of Viacom's latest ridiculous claim of copyright infringement. As you're most likely aware by this point, Viacom is in the middle of a nasty $2 billion lawsuit with Google over what it alleges are videos that infringe on Viacom's copyright appearing on YouTube. Of course, in making those claims, Viacom has been known to be a bit too aggressive in taking down videos -- including some that clearly did not violate Viacom's copyright. This latest case, however, may be the most ridiculous.
VH1 is a Viacom property that has a popular TV show called "Web Junk 2.0." It basically just takes the more popular/funny/stupid clips that show up on YouTube every week and shows them on TV along with some goofy commentary from the show's host. I'd always wondered if Viacom compensated the owners of those videos -- especially given the company's position about YouTube. It turns out that neither Viacom nor VH1 compensate the video owners, or even ask their permission. It just assumes that it can use them. Most turn out to be perfectly happy (not surprisingly) to get this sort of free publicity. One guy thought it was so cool that he recorded the clip of Web Junk that featured his own video and posted that on YouTube so he could blog about it. And, in an incredibly ironic move, Viacom sent a takedown notice to YouTube forcing it offline. Just to make it clear: Viacom used this guy's work without permission and put it on TV. The guy then takes Viacom's video of his video and puts it online... and Viacom freaks out claiming copyright infringement. Effectively, Viacom is claiming that it's infringement of Viacom's copyright to display an example of Viacom infringing on copyright.