Just An Online Minute... No Joke -- Google To Use Comics In Copyright Suit
Google lawyers reiterated this position last month at a pre-trial hearing in federal court in New York, arguing that Viacom has no cause to complain about the presence of its clips on YouTube. That theory sparked a retort from Viacom's counsel that the company could decide for itself whether it benefited from having its material shown on YouTube.
Now, in its latest push to show that YouTube helps TV networks, Google filed court papers stating it intends to depose comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, two of Viacom's biggest on-air personalities. Presumably, Google expects the stars to talk about why they personally like the extra YouTube exposure.
This strategy, however, smacks more of grandstanding than solid legal reasoning. It's not at all clear that the opinions of on-air stars, presumably about whether YouTube has boosted them personally, are at all relevant to whether the clips have helped or hindered Viacom.
At the same time, Google does have a point: It seems intuitively right that YouTube does help the networks and that people who watch and like a clip on the video sharing site are more likely, not less, to also want to watch future episodes. Surely at least some of that viewing will be done via television.