(This is my video rant on this subject)
Note to public relations professions everywhere. Don’t let your company turn into the poster child for copyright insanity. In one of the more tasteless moves yet, the company used an independent film maker’s video on its hopelessly unfunny Web Junk 2.0 show without permission. Then when the creator posted the evidence, Viacom had it removed. Read about it directly from the creator by visiting The Knight Shift by Christopher Knight. Thanks to Mike Abundo from InsideVideo for bringing this to my radar.
Says Knight: “So Viacom took a video that I had made for non-profit purposes and without trying to acquire my permission, used it in a for-profit broadcast. And then when I made a YouTube clip of what they did with my material, they charged me with copyright infringement and had YouTube pull the clip.”
Lately it seems television has been asking my permission more frequently than not. I used to get messages from people saying they’d seen my videos on television, and that’d be news to me. Video fans are amazing infringement police!
I really wanted to give Viacom the benefit of the doubt here, but now believe this stunt was premeditated. Knight wrote about being on VH1 back in early July (see post). Any half brained intern hired by Viacom would have found this post using Google alerts. So Knight made it quite easy for Viacom to find out he posted an excerpt of the show. I am guessing he even tagged the video on YouTube with words like VH1, Web, junk, Viacom. Then again, I made it kinda easy for ’em to find this parody I did on the circular garbage a while back. Be sure to rollover that link and read the tag.
So what should have Viacom done?
- First, it certainly has rights to object if Knight, you or I grab a piece of its lousy television and post it illegally on YouTube.
- However Knight too has cause to object to having been used on his show (which he didn’t when he first announced his discovery of Viacom’s theft).
- Proper etiquette would be for Viacom to permit Knight’s posting of its show given that it would appear hypocritical to pull the video… having been guilty of the same offense.