Following Comedy Central vs. YouTube

Last night, spurred on by e-mail questions from Mark Glaser, I dug a little more into “the Comedy Central yanks vids” from YouTube story kept adding to my original post. I’m raising questions about what’s going on. Yes, videos have been removed, but is it a purge, or is it something else, a negotiating tactic, maybe?

Meanwhile, the No Fact Zone lives up to its name (which I realize is a satire, but … ):

Look, here’s the deal: YouTube did two searches for TCR videos, from what I can tell: “Colbert Report� and “Stephen Colbert�. It’s almost impossible to find a decent video with those two tags. However, many of the “saved� videos have obscure tags, or simply say “Funny� or “Comedy�. Those videos are much harder to find in the system. You pretty much have to know they are there. Those are the videos that have survived, and the videos that are circulating among fans.

No Fact Zone doesn’t link to search results for “Colbert Report” or “Stephen Colbert,” but I do … “Colbert Report,” 859 videos (roughly what it has been the past three days; “Stephen Colbert“, 1,149 videos (first time I’ve ever run that search). Pretty much all the video I’m seeing with those searches is “decent,” and much of it has been up for months and months, and some of it is new. As far as I can tell, Comedy Central video (1,890 videos) isn’t hard to find at all. YouTube is still the mother load.

More later, I presume.

UPDATE I: The Washington Post story this morning is balanced, and absent “the great purge” angle of most media coverage so far, adding some perspective.

UPDATE II: Scott Karp addresses the truth vs. rumor aspect of this story.

The blogosphere is a tremendous force for spreading rumors and, in some cases, disinformation — this story’s “truth� or lack thereof may well be surfaced by the blogosphere as well, given the countervailing force of self-correction.

Also read Dan Blank and Mathew Ingram. They are all addressing this post by Mark Cuban.

UPDATE III: Jeff Jarvis reports that NBC reports that Viacom is asking only for full programs be brought down. As comments on the post note, that doesn’t make any sense either. He also links to a post from FishBowlNY that notes a lot of CC clips remain on YT.
[tags]comedy central, youtube, colbert report, stephen colbert[/tags]

Jagels vs. TBC: Round 2

Ed JagelsBakersfield District Attorney Ed Jagels has his latest sensational attack on The Bakersfield Californian posted.

As a matter of fact, the District Attorney’s Office has been extraordinarily successful in its misdemeanor prosecutions. But your reporters couldn’t know that, because they are too busy writing the “impact stories” you demand, i.e., inventing conspiracies and scandals.

You’ve got to love the ad hominem attacks and hyperbole. What a great way to show you’re better than the guy you’re tearing down.

Mike Jenner responds:

“I’m glad Ed Jagels is finding time to prosecute these misdemeanors,� Jenner said in response to Monday’s report. “That’s certainly not the impression I’ve gotten from his comments in the past about staffing issues, or from actions by the city of Bakersfield, which has hired its own prosecutors to press misdemeanor cases that Jagels’ office didn’t have time to pursue. We appreciate the story idea, and we’ll take a closer look.�


[tags]bakersfield, district attorney, law enforcement, newspapers, bakersfield californian[/tags]

The Wisdom of the Opposite

Smart post from Terry Heaton.

In my presentations, I often use a slide featuring a picture of George Costanza from Seinfeld and a quote of George’s from one of my favorite episodes, “The Opposite.” In it, George has decided that his whole miserable life was built on bad decisions, and that if he’d just do the opposite of what he thought was right, he’d end up better off than his current state. The show is filled with hilarious lines built on the premise, but none is more memorable than the one repeated in the slide. In the diner, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer convince George to try his new theory on a beautiful woman sitting at the counter. He does, and she shocks him by agreeing to a date.

Journalists should be Rabbis rather than MBAs

Leonard Witt:

I want our journalists to be wise, thoughtful members of the community, rather than cold and calculating distant observers. In this new participatory culture we will need information providers, aggregators, mediators and navigators, who are part of the community but who have status because of their wisdom and accomplishments, not because of their degree.

Amen, brother.

To take the religious metaphor a step further — though switching faiths — it’s high time for a Reformation.

Previously: A manifesto for change that isn’t.

[tags]journalism, media[/tags]

What’s the count, Alan?

Alan Jacobson has been at the forefront of modern newspaper design recently, pushing for designs that publishers hope will increase readership. Here’s a list of his recent redesigns, topped by my former employer, The Bakersfield Californian (“the most dramatic and innovative design in America,” according to Alan).

The news is everywhere today: Circulation is down across the nation.

I’d like to know how Alan’s redesigned papers are doing? Did they decline, too? If so, how much, and now did they compare to the averages in their circ category? Did any show a circ gain? If so, why?

If I can get my hands on the full Fas-Fax report, I’ll share.

The decline of not-quite-national papers

Interesting observation from Steve Yelvington:

I think it’s significant that the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe and other traditionally “great” supermetro newspapers are at the top of the list of those suffering major circulation declines. Newspapers that are clearly local, or clearly national, are less affected.

YouTube still running Comedy Central video

YouTube LogoThe New York Times has picked up on the rumor that YouTube is yanking Comedy Central video. And to me, it’s still just a rumor, because the same “colbert” search that I’ve been running for the past several (several is an overstatement — I first heard about this on the morning of the 28th … I don’t know why I wrote “several”) days as a spot check still returns the same well-populated results.

UPDATE: Mark Glaser writes an open letter to Steve Colbert and invites readers to make their own response videos.

To re-emphasize my previous point: Here’s another YouTube search of Comedy Central videos.

It should be noted that the apparent original source for the story is Jeff Reifman, who operates NewsCloud, which appears to me to be a somewhat competitive user-generated content site. His claim is that he an e-mail from DMCA Complaints, a YouTube department.

Doesn’t that sound fishy to anyone?

Possible explanations for the disconnect between what I’m seeing on YT and what the news reports are telling us:

  • Google attorneys are studying the matter without further action
  • The mass removal of video from YT is far more difficult than I can imagine (and I imagine it’s pretty damn easy, knowing what I know about web programming)
  • Reifman jumped to an incorrect conclusion about the meaning of the e-mail, since it references only one specific video
  • That specific video contained an interview with Steve Wozniak, and Wozniak or an associate didn’t want the video on YT, and that’s the mysterious third party involved here

At any rate, I see a lot of big and independent media jumping all over this story without one bit of confirmation that Reifman’s report is accurate or that he has drawn the correct conclusions from the e-mail he received. I still say it’s a rumor.

UPDATE II: Other blogs publishing unskeptical accounts of the story:

On the flip side, here’s a copy of another letter to another user about another clip (an interview with Al Franken (somebody should check on whether Franken and Woz have the same agent).

UPDATE III: I just found this YT video that speculates that only clips longer than five minutes have been removed, but here’s a guy called “colbert clips” that has uploaded many longer-than-five-minutes clips in the past week (the videos preroll a plug for Here’s a long one uploaded by another user. Then again, here’s somebody reporting that a bunch of CC clips from a favorite list have disappeared. As for the classics, there’s a couple of versions of “Truthiness” and “Wikiality.”

UPDATE IV: Lost Remote goes along with Glaser’s update to his post above that maybe this is a negotiating ploy by Viacom.
[tags]youtube, google, comedy central, daily show, colbert report, south park, viacom, copyright[/tags]

MySpace is not going grey

Danah Boyd at Corant calls into question reports (powered by comScore data) that MySpace is growing grey.

They have found that the unique VISITORS have gotten older. This is not the same thing as USERS. A year ago, most adults hadn’t heard about MySpace. The moral panic has made it such that many US adults have now heard of it. This means that they visit the site. Do they all have accounts? Probably not. Furthermore, MySpace has attracted numerous bands in the last year. If you Google most bands, their MySpace page is either first or second; you can visit these without an account. People of all ages look for bands through search.