Good news for Daily Show fans: You’ll still be able to watch clips of Jon Stewart on YouTube. The Los Angeles Times reports that Viacom has lost a major copyright suit against YouTube after “a federal judge in New York on Thursday ruled that YouTube had not violated Viacom’s copyright even though users of the popular online site are allowed to post unauthorized video clips from some of Viacom’s most popular shows.” U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton dismissed Viacom’s lawsuit and said that a safe-harbor provision within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects YouTube from copyright infringement charges. In response to the ruling, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said that “this is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information.”
Apple is reportedly in talks to stream films owned by EPIX — a joint venture among Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate — across a variety of devices, including the long-anticipated iTV, according to a report from Reuters. Two people with knowledge of the negotiations told the publication that the talks are in the preliminary stages and no agreement is considered near. The Cupertino-based company is reportedly looking to beef up the content offered through its Apple TV set-top box and upcoming devices. An agreement could prove troublesome, however, due to EPIX’s $200 million agreement with Netflix, which gave the company exclusive streaming rights through September. More →
A federal appeals court on Thursday revived Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google’s YouTube video-sharing website, The Wall Street Journal reported. The media conglomerate had alleged that YouTube allowed users to post unauthorized Viacom content between 2005 and 2008. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to a lower court, instructing a district judge to determine whether YouTube had knowledge or awareness of infringing material and if it was unwilling to remove it. “We are pleased with the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals,” Viacom said in a statement. “The court delivered a definitive, common sense message—intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.” Tensions between the two companies looked to be easing; just yesterday, Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures struck a deal with the Internet giant to allow more than 500 of its movies to be rented through YouTube and the Google Play marketplace. More →
Amazon on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a new agreement with Viacom to provide a larger selection of television content to its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime customers. Under the deal, Amazon’s customers will have access to episodes of The Real World, Chapelle’s Show and the The Sarah Silverman Program from Comedy Central, as well as a number of hit shows from Nickelodeon. “This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available,” Amazon’s director of video content acquisition Brad Beale said. “We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.” Amazon’s full press release follows after the break. More →
A hacking group named LulzSec made headlines recently for attacking high visibility targets, including Sony and the U.S. government. LulzSec announced earlier this week that it was stopping its operations, and rumor has it many of the members joined up with Anonymous’ “AntiSec” hacking group. Now that group is making its own headlines. On Tuesday AntiSec claimed responsibility for attacks against Universal and Viacom. According to The Wall Street Journal, the hackers released personal data, including passwords, from the Universal Music Website. It also obtained and leaked information about Viacom’s network. It’s unclear how many users were affected by the security breach, although we hope to hear an official word from both firms in the near future. More →
We’ve just been tipped that Time Warner Cable has begun emailing users of its iPad application, informing them of a looming channel-lineup change. The app in question — TWCable TV App for iPad — was released on March 15th, and allows TWC subscribers to stream live television right to their tablet device. A very neat feature… for customers. It seems as though several major networks are not all that fond of this customer-centric feature. “While most TV network owners agree with us that this is a great convenience for our customers and their viewers, a few networks disagree,” reads the email. “Unfortunately, that means that channels from network groups Discovery Communications, Fox Cable, and Viacom will be removed from your iPad lineup, effective immediately.” Time Warner notes that Animal Planet, Discovery, TLC, FX, National Geographic, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, and VH1 will no longer be available. In response, TWC has added 17 national and 3 local “replacement channels.” More →
Hulu suffered a setback today when Viacom announced that it is pulling the plug on both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show effective March 10th, 2010. Fans of the two shows need not panic as each show, though gone from Hulu, will still be available online via Comedy Central at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com. Money is rumored to be the reason for the split with Viacom reportedly pushing for a more lucrative advertising agreement or even an upfront lump cash sum that Hulu was unwilling to provide. Despite its amicable press release, Hulu must be feeling a bit of a sting as both The Daily Show and the Colbert Report consistently ranked within the top ten all time watched shows. With two of its headliners gone, should Hulu be concerned about other programs following suit or is it merely waiting for Viacom to come groveling back after failing to make it on its own ?