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Activist groups sued the parent company of Comedy Central on Thursday, claiming the cable network improperly asked the video-sharing site YouTube to remove a parody of the network's "The Colbert Report."
Although the video in question contained clips taken from the television show, MoveOn.org Civic Action and Brave New Films LLC argued that their use was protected under "fair use" provisions of copyright law.
They said Viacom Inc. should have known the use was legal and thus its complaint to YouTube to have the video blocked amounted to a "misrepresentation" that is subject to damages under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In February, after negotiations broke down, Viacom requested that YouTube take down more than 100,000 videos. We did so immediately, working through a weekend. Viacom later withdrew some of those requests, apparently realizing that those videos were not infringing, after all.
Though Viacom seems unable to determine what constitutes infringing content, its lawyers believe that we should have the responsibility and ability to do it for them.
Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com]