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  Comedy Central clips back on YouTube

arstechnica | November 2, 2006
Nate Anderson

Comedy Central clips aren't leaving YouTube for good. Viacom, Comedy Central's corporate parent, has confirmed that it wants to find some way to keep the clips available, and has apparently given the green light for YouTube to put the material back up. No deal between the two firms has yet been done, but it sounds like one is imminent.

Last week, the company asked YouTube to pull many copyrighted clips of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and other Comedy Central properties, and many of them were taken down. Numerous short clips did remain available on the site, fueling speculation that Viacom was only concerned about longer clips.

YouTube fans responded immediately... using YouTube. One man posted a two-minute clip called "Why did Comedy Central assert copyrights now?" in which he wondered why Comedy Central had waited so long to act, and why they had chosen to do so now.

Viacom told multiple media outlets yesterday in a statement that it was interested in finding a workable business model for making clips available on the Internet, so one can only assume that some sort of revenue-sharing deal is in the works like those that YouTube signed with several music labels. Last week's takedown notices may have represented legitimate concern about giving away too much content at once, or they might have been a bargaining device designed to show YouTube exactly how upset its users would be if all Comedy Central content was pulled.

For now, at least, the clips are back—even the long ones, so get your Colbert fix on before Viacom has another change of heart.

Update
While our own searches showed that a huge array of Comedy Central content was still available on YouTube (including long clips of eight minutes or more), not all of the clips are available. It's not clear what criteria was used for the takedown requests, but some videos still remain down. Viacom and YouTube may be exploring a deal together, but their discussions have clearly not led to a total reinstatement of Comedy Central content.

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